Tag Archives: Westport Police Department

Roundup: Ear Piercing, Car Show …

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The Asian American and Pacific Islander group of Westport invites everyone to a free outdoor family event tomorrow (Friday, August 13, 4 to 6 p.m.), at MoCA Westport.

There’s an art presentation by local artist Rosie Jon; music with Westporter Stacie Morgain Lewis (Glenda from “Wicked”), and more.

This will be a very lucky Friday the 13th!

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Need your ear(s) piereced?

Rowan — already established in New York — opens in Westport location on Saturday. The store — at 47 Main Street — boasts “licensed nurses.” They also make home visits.

Click here for details.

(Photo courtesy of Westport Moms)

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Don’t care to get your ears pierced? Or looking for something to do afterward?

The Westport Police Benevolent Association hosts their 3rd Annual Car Cruise this Saturday evening )August 14, 4 to 8 p.m., Lot 1, Saugatuck train station).

All years and models are welcome (entry fee: $20). There’s music, JR’s good truck, Micallizi’s Italian ice, trophy awards and tons of raffle prizes. The first 100 cars receive goodie bags.

Funds raised help the PBA support non-profit organizations like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Special Olympics, veterans and families of fallen officers.

Westport PBA car rally

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Speaking of police: The Westport department teamed up with ASF Sports recently, to collect items for the Gillespie Center. Cops and business doing something wonderful for folks in need: May the Force be with you!

Donations gratefully accepted.

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Today, “Westport … Naturally” shows chick #3 about to leave the Burying Hill Beach osprey nest.

(Photo/Peter Swift)

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And finally … today in 30 BC — a mere 2,051 years ago — Cleopatra died. She was 39.

Roundup: Staples Class Of ’76, Coney Island, Sherwood Island …

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This is the 45th reunion weekend for the Staples High School Class of 1976. (Sorry, guys — time marches on.)

Like most classes, they’re enjoying each other’s company at the Duck, the beach, and a more formal affair.

But they’re also doing something every reunion class should emulate. This morning, members volunteered in a service project at CLASP Homes.

Tracy Flood — a proud member of Staples’ bicentennial class — is president of the local non-profit, which serves people with autism and intellectual disabilities, and their families.

(Coincidentally, CLASP was founded in 1976.)

Thanks, and congrats, to Staples’ Class of ’76. They came from all over the country to celebrate. To help their classmate. And to give back to the town where they grew up.

And, as is clear, grew into wonderful human beings.

Members of Staples High School’s Class of 1976, helping CLASP. Tracy Flood is 2nd from left.

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Connecticut’s COVID numbers don’t look great.

There’s been a 225% increase in cases over the past 2 weeks. Hospitalizations are up 93%, and deaths 133%.

The 2 most troubling hot spot  Windham County, in the northeast (up 682%) and New Haven County (up 244%). Fairfield County is up 253%, the 2nd highest percentage of the state’s 8 counties.

It’s not back. It never left.

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The other day, David Pogue interviewed Robin Frank for his “CBS Sunday Morning” feature.

David’s subject was Coney Island. Robin wrote a great book about it (“Visions of an American Dreamland: 1861-2008”), and curated a traveling exhibition about it.

The interview took place at the Coney Island Museum, and on the famous boardwalk. (Click below to see.)

Only afterward did David and Robin discover that both live in Westport.

“06880”: Where Westport meets the World. Including — especially — Coney Island.

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Sherwood Island — the 235-acre gem between Compo and Burying Hill Beaches — is the oldest state park in Connecticut. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014 (as the many Westporters who discovered it during the pandemic now know).

But who knew that this is the 100th anniversary of lifeguards at the famed beach?

Well, Karen Scott did. The KMS Partners @ Compass realtor snapped this photo the other day. Congratulations,

PS: Entrance is free to all cars with Connecticut license plates.

(Photo/Karen Scott)

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Speaking of Sherwood Island: The park is filled with natural wonders. So — naturally — it’s a great subject for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Elena Nasereddin)

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Thanks to the Westport Police Department — and the generosity of many Westporters — Homes with Hope’ food pantry is now 303 bags of groceries more full.

Yesterday’s drive at Stop & Shop was a roaring success, says Helen McAlinden, CEO of the Westport non-profit that runs the Gillespie Center, and associated supportive housing and meal programs.

Missed your chance? Click here to see how to help.

Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers deliver food from today’s drive to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.

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No, Linda Ronstadt was not at the Levitt Pavilion last night.

But Rita Harvey’s tribute made it seem like the star was on the Westport stage. Harvey — a Broadway veteran — interspersed songs with anecdotes about Ronstadt’s long career.

Tonight, the Levitt features the American Patchwork Quartet. Upcoming: Treehouse Comedy (Tuesday), Hopalong Andrew (children’s series, Wednesday), Nicki Parrott Trio (Thursday), The Lone Bellow (special benefit show, Friday) and Isaiah Sharkey (Saturday).

Click here for times, tickets (free — except Friday!), and more information.

Rita Harvey (Photo/JC Martin)

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Our athletes in Tokyo will never see it.

But — like graduates before them, who were also honored by a clever, colorful sign — this display on Pumpkin Hill near Colony Road illustrates well: It’s the thought that counts.

(Photo/Ed Simek)

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Yesterday’s “Roundup” featured the Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers arrangement at the Wadsworth Arboretum.

(Photo: Susan Nettesheim)

It did not last long. Within hours, four deer devoured it.

Hey: As with the Olympic sign (above), it’s the thought that counts. (Hat tip: Dottie Fincher)

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And finally … I never liked the song “Chuck E.’s in Love.” It just kind of sat there.

But Chuck E. Weiss — the blues musician, club owner and “outsize Los Angeles character” who was the star of Rickie Lee Jones’ hit — died the other day in LA, of kidney failure. He was 76.

So, Chuck E.: This one’s for you. (PS: If for some reason you want his full obit click here.)

 

Railroad Parking: What Drives Empty Spots

It may have been the most vivid reminder of COVID’s effect on Westport: our nearly deserted train stations.

Now, more than 16 months into the pandemic, both Saugatuck and Greens Farms parking lots remain almost entirely vacant, every day of the week.

Many Westporters still work from home. Others have forsaken the train for increasingly clogged I-95 and Merritt Parkway.

June 30 marked the deadline for train station parking permit renewals. Yet despite the precipitous drop in ridership, most folks have paid to hold on to their precious passes.

The new normal (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Railroad parking is under the purview of the Westport Police Department. (I don’t know why. But they do it well.)

According to Police Chief Foti Koskinas and director of railroad operations Sam Arciola, there are 2,500 total available spaces, at Saugatuck and Greens Farms.

Even in pre-coronavirus times, not everyone utilized their spots every day. By monitoring usage closely, the Police Department knows how many permits to issue each year.

In July 2020, there were 3,900 permits. About 70% went to Westport residents. Another 900 people were on the wait list.

This year, only 3,100 people requested permits. That cut the wait list nearly in half, to 490.

Why did the WPD not issue permits to everyone on the wait list?

With commuting patterns in flux — and a number of New York offices reopening this fall — Koskinas and Arciola were watching what happens. Now, they’re ready to offer permits to everyone on the wait list. That will happen around August 1.

Meanwhile, they see renewed interest from former parking permit holders who did not renew by June 30, but now wish to.

“We welcome them to reapply,” Koskinas says. Former permit holders — and anyone else with questions — should call 203-341-6052.

(Hat tip: David Loffredo)

In the absence of commuters, utility crews used the Greens Farms railroad station as a staging area after last year’s Hurricane Isaias. (Photo/Robert Cornfield)

Tesla 3 Cop Car Earns Kudos

There were snickers in 2019, when the town announced it was buying a Tesla Model 3 for the Police Department.

You can stop laughing.

The vehicle — put in service in February 2020 — is being celebrated for “exceeding performance, cost savings and environmental benefits estimates.”

That’s not just hopeful hype. It’s the verdict of a study by the EV Club of CT.

The Westport Police Department’s Tesla 3.

The report says the Model 3 police cruiser recoups the purchase price premium, and saves money — even in the first year.

It adds:

• After 4 years the Tesla will have saved enough money to buy another one.
• Each EV avoids emission of over 23 tons of CO2 per year, and saves $8763 in
environmental and health costs.
• There is a $12,582 savings in fuel alone after 4 years, from using electricity to
power the vehicle.
• Reduced maintenance comes from regenerative braking (the engine slows the
car and recaptures some of the kinetic energy, replenishing the battery and
reducing wear on the friction brakes), as well as no spark plugs, transmission,
alternator, water pump, or catalytic converter. The Tesla does not require oil changes.
• Even during the winter months, the Tesla ran 2 patrol shifts without needing to be recharged. There were no issues related to charging and battery use.

The EV Club reports that there was a $15,300 differential in the purchase price of the Tesla versus a Ford Explorer, previously the the “workhorse of the fleet.” That was recouped in the first year due to reduced customization and lower operating costs.

Though Police Department would not receive the discounts applied to the initial vehicle, a second Tesla is still projected to recoup the price premium in one year due to lower customization, maintenance, and fuel costs.

For a full financial analysis, click here.

According to the EV Club’s report, there are non-financial benefits too.
“The car’s catlike alacrity enables an officer to quickly overtake a moving suspect’s vehicle, which reduces the risk to the driver (and) officer, as well as other vehicles and pedestrians.”

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says:

What initially attracted us to the Tesla was how it compared to our traditional fleet vehicles in terms of performance, 5-star crash ratings, and collision avoidance technology.

While the Police Department has been using plug-in hybrids for parking enforcement for several years, this was the first fully electric car to be used in active duty. We needed to confirm our estimates on things like mileage per charge and how the vehicle would stand up overall in the challenging environment of police work.

And of course, we were tracking expenses. The purchase price of the Tesla was higher than the Ford Explorer, but we hypothesized that we’d recoup that expense in lower fueling and maintenance costs for the Tesla.”

Charles Sampson of the WPD managed this project. He adds, “Feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve have been contacted by at least 50 other police departments – from all over the world – with questions about our experience. I know many of them have gone on to purchase Teslas for their fleets.”

The Tesla 3 takes to the road.

 

Unsung Heroes #187

Uh oh. “06880” missed National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

The town of Westport did not, though. As posted on their Instagram, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and 2nd Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker visited the police and fire departments last week — and brought gifts.

(Photo courtesy of Town of Westport)

As the town noted: “Dispatchers are the first line of the Police, EMS and Fire departments. They are voices behind every call for help that we never see but only hear. They work tirelessly to protect department members and residents of Westport. This week we celebrate our heroes with the headsets!”

“06880” adds our thanks to these men and women who work 24/7/365. It’s a stressful job, which they do with incredible poise, professionalism and compassion.

So to last week’s pizzas, we add this week’s Unsung Heroes honors. Thank you all!

Roundup: Autism Awareness, Burying Hill Rocks …

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To honor Autism Awareness Month, Westport Police officers bought special commemorative badges. They’ll wear them on their uniforms throughout April.

The blue badge prominently features the puzzle piece logo — the symbol of autism awareness. A portion of the badge’s purchase price will be donated to Autism Speaks.

Westport Police officers show off their autism badges.

In addition, Fleet Auto Supply donated autism logos for the doors of all police cars.

During Autism Awareness Month, the Police Department reminds Westporters about the town’s Disability Registry. A combined effort of the Westport Disability Commission, Human Services and the Police, the confidential registry provides essential information to assist police and other emergency workers to address the needs of residents of all abilities. Click here for signup information.

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Westport’s rockiest beach is getting some love.

Two machines were hard at work yesterday and today, at Burying Hill Beach.

One ran rocks through a sifter.

Another smoothed the sand.

(Photos/Art Schoeller)

It’s not as difficult as freeing a 220,000-ton ship from the Suez Canal.

But it’s close.

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Concerned how much longer the bull market will run? Worried what’s next?

Y’s Women’s Investment Group has a few slots for new members. The club has analyzed the market for more than 20 years — and achieved better results than some famous prognosticators. For more information, email dynamicr@icloud.com.

Y’s Women membership is $45 a year. To learn more, click here. For the latest newsletter, click here.

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Betty Stolpen Weiner writes: “I recently moved back to the area (Weston), and wanted to share a nice Westport experience.

“I needed a large and very heavy table moved to my basement. I saw on Facebook that the Staples High School wrestling team moves furniture in exchange for a donation for the team.

“Sal Augeri sent his son Nick over with some friends to help. I was so impressed with how polite, responsible and helpful the boys were! It was a nice reminder of why I chose to move back to the area.”

If you’ve got moving (or other physical labor) needs, email salaugeri@me.com or terrybrannigan5@gmail.com.

Among the wrestlers’ jobs: moving a chicken coop. (This was before the pandemic, which is why they’re not wearing masks.)

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Samantha Lavy and Jennifer Strom — aka the JSRC Group of therapists — has opened a Westport office, at 26 Imperial Avenue. They’ll continue their Stamford practice too.

“We support couples, families, teens, and individuals as we all move through these challenging times and beyond,” they say. “We also continue our work advising families navigating the particular complexities and family dynamics which often occur in the context of family business and wealth.”

For more information call 203-212-8383, or email hello@jsrcgroup.com

Samantha Lavy (left) and Jennifer Strom.

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A worried “06880” reader writes:

“I was on my way to the transfer station, when a lady behind me took a picture of my minivan. I thought, oh boy, I bet with the wind, a trash bag fell out of the can on my cargo hitch.

“I got the station. Sure enough, one bag was missing.

“I drove the same route back, and found it. I picked it up and drove home.

“I am writing just in case a picture of my super-cool white minivan with an awesome cargo hitch gets carrying a couple of trash cans gets to you.

“I thought the lady who took a picture of my minivan would post it on social media and send it to you. I thought I would have to sell the super-cool minivan to avoid being identified and embarrass my children forever.

“I swear I pick up after my dog and park my car using one spot. Nevertheless, the fact that someone had a picture of my car was a very strong incentive to trace down the fly-away-trash bag.”

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And finally … tons o’ musical birthdays today, with a variety of genres. We salute:

Jay Traynor, the original “Jay” of Jay & the Americans (replaced later by Jay Black); born in 1943, died in 2014, age 71.

Eric Clapton: 76 years old today.

MC Hammer: 59 years old.

Tracy Chapman: 57 years old.

Celine Dion: 53 years old.

Norah Jones: 42 years old.

Roundup: Long Lots Readers, Nature …

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Long Lots Elementary School students love to read. And they love sharing books with others.

The other day, as part of a “Reading Across America” project, students and staff brought in 1,200 new and gently used K-5 children’s books. Bridgeport’s Lighthouse Program will donate them throughout the city. Westport and Bridgeport Police officers, and Connecticut State Police, helped with collection and distribution.

Way to go, Long Lots Lions! (Hat tip: Ned Batlin)

(Photo/Trooper P. Muniz)

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Sure, you lost an hour of sleep last night. But look what this late winter day has given us:

Blooming crocuses on Riverside Avenue (Photo/Katherine Ross)

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Michael Catarevas writes:

“This is what happens when the neighbor on one side has a deer fence on their property, and the other side neighbor’s backyard is swampy. We have drainage pipes in the backyard, so the ground is nice and dry.”

(Photo/Michael Catarevas)

And finally … On this day in 1794, Connecticut’s own Eli Whitney received a patent for the cotton gin.

BREAKING NEWS: Beach Benches Found!

For 2 days, Westporters grieved with Laurie Crouse over the loss of a Compo Beach bench dedicated to her husband.

Today, we can all celebrate!

This morning Westport Police — working with the Parks & Recreation Department — recovered Martin Crouse’s bench. It was in the channel, near Ned Dimes Marina.

Martin Crouse’s bench was found in this channel.

A closeup of the bench.

Recovered!

They found a second bench too. Spotted yesterday from afar by Tina Green, as she looked for birds, it had traveled all the way to Cockenoe Island.

A second bench recovered from Cockenoe Island

The plaque from the bench near Cockenoe Island had come loose. But it was found very close to the bench.

Both benches have been brought ashore. They’ll be cleaned, and put back in their honored spots.

The benches were probably thrown into the water as a thoughtless prank. Fortunately they floated for a while; they did not sink to the bottom.

Even more fortunately, our Police and Parks & Rec departments were there to help. Thank you, Chief Foti Koskinas, Deputy Chief Sam Arciola; your men and women, and the Parks & Rec crew.

If that doesn’t make you smile today, nothing will.

A closeup of Martin Crouse’s bench, this morning. (Photos/Courtesy of Westport Police Department)

Craig Bergamo: Westport Kids’ Best PAL

Craig Bergamo has quite a back story.

He grew up “everywhere,” he says — in and out of shelters. He and his brother were shuttled from place to place.

When Bergamo was 17, his parents died. He wanted to join the military, but for his brother to keep Section 8 housing, Bergamo had to live there as his dependent.

During tough times, police officers had always been nice to Bergamo. He looked up to them. To give back, he studied criminology in college.

Craig Bergamo

In 2006 — just 22 years old — he was hired by the Westport Police Department. His duties include overseeing the car seat program, motorcycle instructor and field training.

Bergamo won the Medal of Valor, for his actions in the Westport force’s first shooting in 30 years.

He also earned a Community Service Award for his fundraising with LivFree, a pediatric cancer support group.

Giving back is a key part of who Bergamo is. He coached in Norwalk’s Pop Warner football program for 6 years.

Early in his Westport police career, PAL athletic director Carmen Roda suggested he get involved with the local program. He became head football coach for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, then volunteered as secretary and vice president.

Now he’s in charge of the entire Westport PAL.

Earlier this month, Bergamo succeeded Ned Batlin as president.

It’s a big job. PAL serves thousands of youngsters through football, lacrosse, basketball, wrestling, rugby, track and cheerleading programs.

PAL also runs a robust scholarship program, the ice skating rink at Longshore — and Westport’s annual Independence Day fireworks.

Plenty of (pre-COVID) action at the PAL Rink at Longshore.

“This is an amazing organization,” Bergamo says. “The motto is ‘All about the kids and community.’ It’s safe and friendly. There are not many Police Athletic Leagues still out there. But ours is going strong.”

Bergamo is already planning new fundraising efforts — like a car show, digital events, perhaps a gala “when things are normal.”

Wrestling is one of Westport PAL’s many programs.

For someone who grew up in shelters, and lost his parents as a teenager, offering hope and activities to youngsters is crucial. In addition to his PAL efforts, he coaches his daughters in softball.

“When I see 3rd graders I coached move up to high school, and then graduate. I get chills,” Bergamo says. “I’ve had great interactions with them, and their parents. That’s what PAL is all about.”

(To learn more about Westport PAL — and participate in the See’s Candy Shop fundraiser — click here.)

Stolen Car, Attempted Robbery Shake Westport

Two crimes in less than 14 hours have jarred Westporters.

At approximately 8:05 a.m. yesterday (Monday), Westport Police received a report of a vehicle stolen from the Post Road East Exxon gas station, near Maple Avenue South. The operator of the 2019 Honda Pilot was paying for gas inside the when his car was stolen from the pump.

Post Road Exxon: Scene of the car theft.

A short time later, Westport Police located the stolen vehicle near Turkey Hill Road and Post Road East. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle but disengaged due to the suspect’s reckless driving and high speeds.

Minutes later, at approximately 8:12 a.m., a Fairfield Police detective came upon a motor vehicle crash involving the stolen vehicle at the intersection of Post Road and Jelliff Lane in that town.

The gray Honda Pilot rolled over and came to a stop. The driver, later identified as a juvenile male from Bridgeport, was ejected from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries. Fairfield Police and fire personnel provided emergency medical care at the scene. He was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center, where he died.

The Fairfield Police Crash Investigation Unit is conducting an investigation and reconstruction of the crash, while the Westport Police Department continues to investigate the stolen vehicle incident. Initial data indicates the suspect vehicle was traveling 99 miles per hour 5 seconds before the crash occurred.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has additional information should call Westport Police: 203-341-6000.

The day before — approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday — Westport officers responded to Walgreens, on a report of an attempted robbery.

Walgreens: Scene of an attempted robbery.

The victim had finished purchasing some items. As she was about to enter her vehicle a Toyota Rav 4, which had been reported stolen from the city of Norwalk earlier that day, backed into the parking space next to her car.

Two males exited the Toyota, approached the victim, and threatened to harm her if she did not turn over her keys and other personal property.

When the victim did not comply, the men rifled through her pockets. A third man came out of Walgreens, and got in the car.

Unable to locate her keys or any other items of value, the suspects fled toward I-95. The victim was uninjured.