Tag Archives: Town Hall

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)

Unsung Heroes #45

Last week, I stopped at Town Hall. I needed a copy of something on file at the Town Clerk’s office.

The clerk’s clerk could not have been friendlier or more efficient. She quickly found the document — it dated back to 1986. As she Xeroxed it, we chatted.

It was the sort of thing she does, I’m sure, countless times every day. Yet she made me feel like I was the most important person to visit all year.

Bureaucracies can be impersonal. (Hey, DMV and IRS, how you doin’?!)

It may be because this is — ultimately — just a small town. It may be because we’ve hired wonderful, and wonderfully nice, people. It may be because we’re very lucky.

But whatever the reason, Town Hall is filled with folks who make it a joy — not a chore — to go to.

You may need a property deed, a building permit or some other form. Perhaps you have a question, a problem or a complaint.

Whatever it is, the men and women who staff the many departments — assessor’s office, conservation, planning and zoning, human services, tax collector, registrar of voters — are there for us, all day and in all ways.

I don’t have any fantastic above-and-beyond stories. But I’m sure that many readers do. If you’ve got one, click “Comments” below.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Pic Of The Day #368

Spring comes — slowly but surely — to Town Hall (Photo/Dan Woog)

Pic Of The Day #346

Rev. Alison Patton spotted this object this morning, on her daily walk. If you know what it is — or why it’s there — click “Comments” below. (Photo/Alison Patton)

Pic Of The Day #176

Peace at Town Hall (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Pic Of The Day #154

There’s a new addition to Town Hall: a fountain in front. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Friday Flashback #45

Last weekend, the United Methodist Church celebrated the 50th anniversary of its home on Weston Road.

“06880” recounted the history of the church. It’s been here, in one form or another, since 1790.

From 1850 to 1908, congregants gathered in a building at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Main Street. A law office now occupies that site. This photo — from Seth Schachter’s postcard collection — shows that church.

Note the fence on the lower right, which still encloses what is now Veterans Green. And the hill on the left is where Town Hall sits. It was built as Bedford Elementary School in the 1920s.

Pic Of The Day #62

Seasonal plantings at Town Hall. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Photo Challenge #114

Last week’s challenge was perfect.

It was timely (it looked like an Oscar trophy). It was tough, with several wrong guesses.

But it was not impossible. Elaine Marino was the first — and only — “06880” reader to know that Lynn U. Miller’s image showed one of 2 trophies — there’s a similar one next to it — in the hallway on the lower level of Town Hall, a few feet from the Town Clerk’s office.

They were presented to “Citizens of Westport” by the East Haddam Civic Association, for Best Voter Turnout in the state in the 2000 election (87.54 percent), and the non-presidential year of 2006 (72.7%). Many of us have walked past them often — but never really “seen” them. Click here to see this pretty-cool-to-win trophy again.

This week’s photo challenge again comes from Lynn U. Miller:

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Again, it’s something many of us see often. But where do we see it? Click “Comments” below.

NOTE TO YOUNGER READERSThe photo shows something called a “pay phone.” Back in the previous century, you would put a dime (later a quarter) in the slot on the upper right. Then you would pick up the “handset” and “call” your parents to come pick you up. Or your friend to say you’d be late.

In fact, you could do anything with it you can do with a smartphone today. Except text, get driving directions, play games, download movies, deposit checks, find someone to hook up with…

 

 

O Christmas Tree!

With the help of a gaggle of little kids, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe lit the town Christmas tree this evening, on the Town Hall lawn.

Staples’ Orphenians sang. The Westport Historical Society provided hot chocolate. Youngsters gleefully counted down “3 … 2 … 1!”

Rockefeller Center it ain’t.

But it doesn’t have to be. Another Westport holiday season has “officially” begun.

Luke Rosenberg leads the Staples Orphenians.

Luke Rosenberg leads the Staples Orphenians.

Boys and girls help 1st Selectman Jim Marpe with the countdown.

Boys and girls help 1st Selectman Jim Marpe with the countdown.

The tree is lit. It's on the front lawn of Town Hall, on Myrtle Avenue.

The tree is lit. It’s on the front lawn of Town Hall, on Myrtle Avenue.