Tag Archives: Town Hall

Pic Of The Day #1191

Welcome to Town Hall (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

COVID Roundup: Town Hall; Therapists’ Webinar; EMS Week; More


Rsetaurant, stores and offices are beginning to open. What about Town Hall?

Town staff are staggering shifts and remote work, to provide all town services to the public.

Appointments are accepted for complex matters. Staff members are doing their best to answer phone calls, and try to return all voicemails and emails within 24 hours.

Click here for a staff directory, or visit departmental pages for instructions on how to conduct business with a specific department.

Town Hall (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)


As shuttered Westport businesses open up, they’ll soon welcome a newcomer.

Garelick & Herbs’ Saugatuck location — which closed in late February, just a couple of weeks before the coronavirus swept through — will become Kneads.

A sign calls it a “bakery, cafe and mill.” It’s “coming soon.”

(Photo/Wendy Cusick)


Happy EMS Week!

In honor of our great crew — especially during the pandemic — 1st Selectman Jim Marpe says: “EMS practitioners are professionals of the highest caliber; keeping up with the latest training to ensure that they know the most effective life-saving emergency treatments that will benefit us all. As dedicated first responders, Westport’s Volunteer EMS provides immediate care during a health crisis; whether there is an accident or an illness, these trained professionals work around the clock to make sure care is available quickly for all our residents and those in need.

“We in Westport join those across the nation in honoring the valuable and vital contributions that EMS practitioners provide each and every day. With gratitude and appreciation, we express our deepest thanks for all our EMS professionals do for our community.”


You’ve got relationship questions? Jennifer Strom, Samantha Lavy have answers.

Or at least, they can help you frame your thoughts better.

The local marriage and family therapists — both mothers of teenagers — see many families navigating a new world filled with uncertainty, loss and changes in routine. Teenagers in particular have lost social outlets, sports and other activities. They’re filled with questions about school and college, but lack structure and schedules.

“As we stare at screens and find ourselves with lack of connection, parenting during lockdown has become more complicated,” the therapists say. “In addition, as couples, emotions intensify.”

They’ve compiled common concerns and challenges that families face during COVID. In a pair of free webinars, they’ll outline strategies and tools they use to help manage in times of stress. During each live session, they’ll take viewers’ questions.

The topics are “Teen Stress: COVID and Beyond” (Thursday, May 28, 6 to 6:30 p.m.; click here to register) and “Couples Coping: COVID and Beyond” (Thursday, June 4, 6 to 6:30 p.m.; click here to register).


And finally … as Westport (and the rest of Connecticut) start opening up …

COVID-19: Local, State Updates

Westport municipal offices — including Town Hall, the Senior Center and the Parks & Recreation Department office — will remain closed to the public at least through March 31. Public meetings are canceled through at least that date too.

However, staff will be available by phone or email weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. First Selectman Jim Marpe urges residents to be patient regarding response time.

He adds, “The public is also encouraged to utilize the town’s online services, such as paying taxes electronically.” The town’s website is www.westportct.gov.

Town Hall is closed. However, employees will be available by phone and email. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)


State Representative Jonathan Steinberg reports that Governor Ned Lamont is launching a Joint Information Center to coordinate Connecticut’s response to COVID-19.

The goal is to provide residents, municipalities, school districts, hospitals, medical providers, colleges and universities, the business community, the media and others with specific information related to the state’s response to the virus outbreak..

There are many ways to stay up-to-date about COVID-19:

  • CT-N carries the Governor’s press conferences (with sign language)
  • Call  211 24/7 with questions about COVID-19
  • Text  CTCOVID to 898211 for updates
  • Smart Speaker:  Ask for the 411 Coronavirus podcast
  • For the blind without TTY capabilities, the CDC and national news updates are shared through the TuneInCOVIDUpdates podcast

Here are resources for small business owners:

Note also:

  • The state Insurance Department commissioner told all travel insurers that they should accommodate travel cancellation requests and take into account the circumstances of the state of emergency.
  • State civil statutes prohibit price gouging. The attorney general will be monitoring closely. If you suspect price gouging, file a complaint immediately with the Attorney General’s Office by calling 860-808-5318.
  • Eversource has suspended all disconnects for customers until the governor lifts the state of emergency.  This applies to electric, gas and water companies that are not municipally owned.

Pics Of The Day #1044

Downtown Westport, courtesy of Brandon Malin’s drone:

National Hall, and the west bank of the Saugatuck River

Downtown

Bedford Square

Westport Library

Town Hall (Drone photos/Brandon Malin)

The Road To Town Hall Is Paved With …

An alert “06880” reader — one whose car now regularly rattles — writes:

I love our town. I have worked here for over 50 years, and lived here almost as long.

It is sometimes said that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Why is the road to Town Hall and the Board of Education the worst paved in all of Westport?

For years, Myrtle Avenue has been the best route for me to take as I return home – for lunch and dinner – from my office. However, I now take an alternate route.

I thought that after the utility work was finished, it would be repaved. But it’s been this way for months now.

This is the road leading to Town Hall. Is this the impression we want to give visitors about our town?

Town Hall looks handsome. Myrtle Avenue in front: not so much.

Another reader wonders about a nearby street.

“The Post Road was paved nicely,” he says, referring to this fall’s work near CVS heading downtown, and the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge over the Saugatuck River.

“But what about near Main Street?” he asks. “It’s a mess.”

He’s right. From Myrtle Avenue (!) to Parker Harding Plaza, it’s rough and bumpy.

The area by Anthropologie and Tiffany is supposed to be our downtown’s crown jewel.

Instead it’s like a cheap giveaway, from the bottom of a Crackerjack box.

Free Tax Help Offered

No one likes paying taxes. And almost as bad is figuring them out.

Plowing through all those IRS forms and regulations can be particularly tough for folks without accountants or access to other help.

Fortunately — in conjunction with AARP and the IRS — Westport’s Department of Human Services provides a free, full-service tax assistance program. Special attention is paid to senior citizens, and low to moderate income households. (It is available to all filers, regardless of income or age.)

Tax preparation and electronic filing of federal and state taxes is offered from January 27 (early) through April 15 (really, really late) at 2 locations.

The Senior Center program runs Wednesdays (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.). Call 203-341-5099 for appointments.

The Town Hall program runs Mondays, from 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Call 203-341-1050 for appointments.

Nationwide, more than 35,000 IRS-certified volunteers help out, at nearly 5,000 sites. Last year, 748 returns were filed in Westport.

Tax forms can be daunting for anyone.

If married, both spouses should be present at the appointment. Taxpayers must bring:

  • Copy of last year’s federal and state tax returns
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Social Security or ITIN numbers for all taxpayers and dependents
  • Bank account/routing numbers (blank check preferred) if expecting a refun
  • SSA1099 if you were paid Social Security benefits
  • W-2s from employers
  • W-2G from gambling winnings
  • 1099G from unemployment compensation payments
  • 1099s: bank interest, stock dividends, retirement distributions, broker statements
  • Receipts for deductible expenses, including real estate and vehicle taxes paid
  • Verification of the original purchase price of sold assets (home, stocks, etc.)
  • Receipts/canceled checks if itemizing deductions (charitable contributions, etc.)
  • Form 1095-A if health insurance was from the Access Health Connecticut Marketplace.

For more information, call the Department of Human Services: 203-341-1050.

NOTE: The “tax assistance program” refers to helping figure out your taxes — not actually paying them. Damn!

Pic Of The Day #962

A gaggle of children joins 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (center), 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker (left) and the Staples Orphenians, to count down before Westport’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony this evening, at Town Hall.

The Christmas tree, in front of Town Hall on Myrtle Avenue. (Photos/Dan Woog)

Photo Challenge #234

Wow — last week’s Photo Challenge was harder than I thought.

The image itself was obvious: an aerial photo of Staples High School, in its autumnal glory. (Click here for the great shot.)

The challenge was: Where in Westport can you see the actual photograph?

There were plenty of incorrect guesses: Westport Library, the Senior Center, the Board of Education office, Rolnick Observatory, a charging station (!), even Staples itself.

Here’s the correct answer: It hangs in Town Hall — on the main floor, around the first corner to the right as you walk in the front door. To be precise: near the tree warden and Conservation Commission’s office.

It’s just part of a remarkable series of aerial photos, all taken by Larry Untermeyer a few years ago. They provide a great, comprehensive, beautiful bird’s-eye view of our town.

Congratulations Matt Murray, Tammy Barry, Patti Brill, Wanda Tedesco, Bruce Salvo and Andrew Colabella. You must spend a lot of time at Town Hall.

The rest of you: Go see the photos for yourselves!

Now it’s “time” for this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Photo Challenge #201

Two mysteries were solved last week: The Photo Challenge — faded “No Parking” paint sprayed on the wall of what was clearly a parking lot — showed the back lot at Town Hall.

Krystof Bondar, Mary-Ellen Kuhn, Edward Bloch, Andrew Colabella and Bruce Salvo knew where Mark Mathias took the shot.

Incorrect guesses included Trader Joe’s, the Playhouse, People’s Bank, Sunny Daes, Fortuna’s and the train station. (Click here for the photo, and all the guesses.)

The 2nd mystery was: Who painted it there? And why?

Alert “06880” reader — and Bedford Elementary School graduate (long before it became Town Hall) — Chip Stephens says:

The photo shows where the buses used to pick up and drop off
Bedford El students. The buses came up St John’s Place, entered the loop and picked up passengers lined up on the playground by bus number. The loop adjoined the paved playground and the school itself.

So of course there was no parking there. It was an active bus loop!

Now on to the next mystery: this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this fantastic fall scene, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Wrong Way, Myrtle!

At first glance, there’s nothing wrong with this photo:

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

But look closely. The car is cruising the wrong way down the 1-way stretch of Myrtle Avenue, between Avery Place and Main Street.

After never in my life seeing that happen, I spotted it twice in 2 days recently. Alert “06880” reader/photographer JP Vellotti saw it too — a different time — and snapped this photo.

Then yesterday evening — while standing with 100 or so people outside the Westport Historical Society, at the opening of the (fantastic) new exhibit on our town’s African-American past — we all watched another car zip past Town Hall, headed the wrong way. (For good measure, it blew past the stop sign at Avery Place.)

I have no clue why there’s this sudden epidemic of driver cluelessness.

But it gives me a chance to ask a question I’ve thought about for years:

Why is Myrtle Avenue 1-way in front of Town Hall?

There’s no logical reason. The road is wide enough for 2-way traffic (if there’s no parking on the street next to the stone wall). It’s a waste of time — and a teeny bit of gas — to send people leaving Town Hall on a 180-degree loop from Main Street to Avery Place, just to go south on Myrtle toward the Post Road.

With 2 traffic lights on the way.

I know why Myrtle Avenue is one way at the Main Street/North Kings Highway light. There’s not a lot of room there, and traffic from Myrtle heads left, straight and right. All I’m talking about is 2-way traffic from the Town Hall exit, back toward Avery Place.

If someone has a good argument for keeping Myrtle Avenue 1-way, I’d love to hear it.

Otherwise, let’s make this little-but-big change now!

Traffic coming out of Town Hall should be able to turn left as well as right — right? (Photo/Alison Patton)