Tag Archives: Westport Police Department

Unsung Hero #243

“06880” reader and RTM member Lisa Newman writes:

The other evening, the mother of a friend had a serious fall at home while caring for her grandchildren, ages 6 and 9.

My friend rushed home to find her mother sitting on the floor with multiple injuries, and the children shaken and teary.

She called 911 for an ambulance. I arrived shortly after to stay with the children, so my friend could accompany her mother to the hospital.

The ambulance was coming from Fairfield, so it took 30+ minutes to arrive. While we waited, Westport Police officer Shawn Booth responded to the call.

Westport Police Officer Shawn Booth

Officer Booth calmly and efficiently assessed the situation. He also provided interim first aid to my friend’s mother, sat with her for nearly the entire time we waited for EMS, engaged us all in light conversation (no easy feat – we were all upset), and managed to delight 2 very frightened, teary eyed children by bringing them badge stickers and showing photos of his (adorable) dog on his phone.

To top it all off, as he was leaving Officer Booth told the children he’d return the next day with plastic badges for them.

I assumed there was little chance he’d recall saying this; the evening was chaotic, and surely he’d have another busy day serving our community.

However, a few moments ago my friend texted that Officer Booth showed up at her house as promised, with plastic badges for the kids. She said that he was “amazing,” and she was “blown away by his kindness.”

I am too. We are lucky to have someone like Officer Booth in our police department.

(This is not Officer Booth’s first nomination as Unsung Hero. He was also cited in 2020. Click here to read. If you know an Unsung Hero, email 06880blog@gmail.com)

(“06880” is entirely reader-funded. To contribute, click here.)

Roundup: Kowalsky Property, WPD Bench, WWC Art Show …

A controversial plan to subdivide one of the last remaining parcels of private open space in Westport hit a roadblock Wednesday.

As first reported by Westport Journal, the Conservation Commission will report negatively on the proposal to put 6 houses on the 12-acre Kowalsky property on Clapboard Hill Road, between Morningside Drive South and Turkey Hill Road South.

Earlier, the Flood &Erosion Control Board expressed concerns about an underground drainage system, built earlier on the property without a permit.

The Planning & Zoning Commission will discuss the application on Monday (7 p.m., Zoom).

Site of the proposed subdivision, at 109 Morningside Drive South. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

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There’s a new bench downtown — courtesy of the Westport Police Department.

The handsome furniture — with a plaque identifying them as donors — now sits near the Spotted Horse restaurant.

No word on whether the cops will run you in for loitering, if you sit too long there.

From left: Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Deputy Chief Sam Arciola, with the Westport Police Department bench.

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I ate really well last night.

I was a judge at the first-ever Queer Cook-Off. The fundraiser for Westport Pride drew over 100 people to Aitoro Appliance in Norwalk. They watched 3 teams of local celebrities — headed by an area professional chef — whip up an appetizer and entrée, using items from a mystery box.

I was honored (and well-fed) to be a judge, along with Matt Storch (chef/owner of Match and Match Burger Lobster), Brian McGunagle (founder of Westport Pride), and store owner Tony Aitoro.

Bill Taibe (Don Memo, Kawa Ni and The Whelk) and Jes Bengtson (Amis, Terrain) and their teams created some outstanding food. But the Top Chef award went to Arik Bensimon (Monogram Design Center) and his crew.

Meanwhile, everyone enjoyed great food and drinks. Thanks to all who participated. I was “proud” to be a food taster there!

Westport 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker (far right) joined chef/restaurateur Bill Taibe (left) on a team for last night’s Queer Cook-Off.

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Local artists are on display tomorrow and Sunday (May 21-22, 2 to 6 p.m.) at the Westport Woman’s Club, 44 Imperial Avenue). Their annual art show is free, and open to all. All works are available for purchase.

Curated by Miggs Burroughs, the popular show features a variety of works and styles. Participating artists donate a portion of their sales to fund WWC community service grants, scholarships and programs.

Artists in the show include Ola Bossio, Trace Burroughs, Ann Chernow, Susan Fehlinger, Larry Gordon, Tom Kretsch, Arpad Krizsan, Paul Larson, Erzsebet (Bet) Laurinyecz, Jena Maric, Jon Puzzuoli, Peter Savarine, Gay Schempp, Oksana Tonasiv and Larry Untermeyer.

There’s also a drawing of the artists’ work, plus a special drawing of a piece by the late artist Howard Munce.

Musician Mark Naftalin — a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band — will play piano both days.

For more information on the Westport Woman’s Club and art show, click here.

This work by Gay Schempp will be on display at the Westport Woman’s Club art show.

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Longtime Westporter John Luscombe — the husband of former State Representative Jo Fuchs Luscombe — died on Sunday, at Danbury Hospital. He was 86.

The Oahu native was an electrical engineer. He was proud to work on many government contracts. One was part of the Apollo Project, which resulted in the first moon landings.

John was a devoted sailor and boater. For many years he was part of a local group, he “Ancient Mariners.”

He served as treasurer and commander of the Saugatuck River Power Squadron, having achieved the grade of senior navigator. He was also treasurer of the Minuteman Yacht Club.

An avid tennis player, for a number of years he ran the summer program for Y’s Men, playing both indoors and outdoors.

In addition to his wife, John is survived by his niece, Debbie Harding MacInnes,; nephew John Harding; grand-nephews and grand-nieces, and Bill Abrams, brother of his late first wife, Cornelia Abrams Luscombe.

Services be will announced at a later date. Click here to leave condolences for the family.

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“Westport … Naturally” features animals, flowers, plants, trees and more.

But there are other natural wonders here too. Today’s example: a double wave at Compo Beach.

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … today is the birthday of energetic English musician — and famed Players Tavern regular performer — Joe Cocker.

He was born today in 1944. He died in 2014 of lung cancer. He smoked 40 cigarettes a day until 1991, when he quit.

[UPDATE] Scarice Adds Details On “Suspicious Person”

Following up on the Westport Police Department’s information about this morning’s “sheter in place” order at Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools, superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says:

Earlier this morning a student who missed their bus walked to the Dattco bus yard and requested a ride to Bedford Middle School. Personnel at the bus yard mobilized to provide transportation for this student.

Some time thereafter, personnel at the Dattco bus yard contacted the school district’s transportation coordinator to inform the coordinator about their plan to transport the student, but unfortunately provided incomplete and inaccurate information regarding the student’s identity and school.  Our transportation coordinator immediately contacted the BMS and central office administration.

The administration then swiftly contacted our Westport Police Department School Security Officer (SSO) and School Resource Officer (SRO), and the Staples administration.  After investigating to determine the identity and location of the student through video surveillance, our SRO discovered that the student was dropped off at Bedford Middle School, but then left the bus and walked towards Staples High School.

As a precaution, our SSO and SRO then sought additional resources from the Westport Police Department.  Both schools were placed in a shelter-in-place.

Through collaboration with the school and district administration, the student was then correctly identified, interviewed, and it was determined that the shelter-in-place could be lifted.

The administration is committed to identifying the breakdown of the Dattco bus yard communication and protocols in this incident.

Again, I have complete confidence that at no time were our students and staff in danger. Additionally, it is clear that the positive and collaborative relationship we enjoy with the Westport Police Department, and the swift actions of our Bedford and Staples administration, along with our transportation coordinator and central office administration, all contributed to the timely resolution of this matter.

“Suspicious Person” Caused School Shelter-In-Place Order

The Westport Police Department says:

At approximately 9 a.m. today, the Westport Police Department’s School Security Officer and the Staples School Resource Officer began to investigate a report of a suspicious person on school grounds.

An unknown male who appeared to be in his teens was dropped off at Bedford Middle School, but the person then left that campus and walked towards Staples High School.

The incident was deemed suspicious because at the time no one recognized this individual, and it was unknown what he was doing on school property.  Out of an abundance of caution, the school’s superintendent placed both Bedford Middle School and Staples High School in a shelter in place status.

Several patrol officers responded to make sure that students at both schools were kept safe, and to look for this unknown person.  Westport detectives also went to the scene and worked with school officials to attempt to identify the party.

It was ultimately determined that the person in question was in fact a Staples student. The student was simply running late and after managing to get a ride to Bedford, he walked over to Staples.

Chief Foti Koskinas said that “this was the best possible outcome,” and that the timely resolution of this incident is a testament to “the excellent working relationship that the police department has with the school system.”

Fundraiser Set For Victim Of Car Robbery

A GoFundMe campaign has begun, for the victim of last night’s car robbery across from Stop & Shop.

At 7 p.m., a 64-year-old Westport woman who supplements her income by driving for Uber Eats picked up an order at Golden Pizza, in Westfair Plaza. Inside the restaurant, she saw someone enter her unlocked car. When she went outside to prevent the theft, she suffered a serious head injury. This morning, she is reportedly in intensive care at a local hospital.

The fundraiser will help with medical and other expenses (click here to donate). Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas has promised that 100% of all donations will go to the victim.

Checks and get-well cards can also be dropped off at the police station on Jesup Road.

When Westport police responded last night, they learned that the man who stole the car had gotten out of a black car moments earlier. Both cars headed westbound on the Post Road.

An officer at the Sherwood Island Connector saw both the stolen Hyundai and black Acura traveling together. Both cars got onto I-95 eastbound.

The officer pursued them. He lost sight of the Hyundai but continued to chase the Acura. It got off Exit 29, where the driver lost control. He struck an occupied vehicle and several parked cars. Two occupants fled. A third was detained by the pursuing officer.

Bridgeport Police officers quickly apprehend the 2 people who ran. The Acura had been stolen from Hamden earlier in the day. The car was searched and a handgun was located. It is not believed that the handgun was used in the commission of the motor vehicle theft in Westport

An 18-year-old and 2 juveniles were taken into custody. All were charged with 1st degree robbery, conspiracy to commit 1st degree robbery, 1st degree assault on an elderly person, 1st degree larceny, conspiracy to commit 1st degree larceny, 3rd degree larceny, criminal possession of a firearm, illegal transfer of a firearm, theft of a firearm, engaging police in pursuit, and reckless driving.

The adult was held on a $100,000 bond. The juveniles will be transferred to a detention facility.

Koskinas praised the Westport officers, and the Fairfield, Bridgeport and State Police for their assistance.

Westport Officer Prevents Suicide

Like all police officers, Westport’s men and women vow to “protect and serve.”

Whether on duty or off.

At 6:45 this morning, Officer Brian Meraviglia was driving to work on Fairfield’s Redding Road. On the bridge, he saw a man preparing to jump onto the Merritt Parkway below.

Meraviglia stopped, and spoke to the distraught man. Moving closer, Meraviglia grabbed him and moved him away from the bridge.

Meraviglia and a good Samaritan who was passing by comforted the man, and gave him emotional support.

Fairfield Police officers and State Police troopers soon responded to the scene.  The man was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Officer Brian Meraviglia (Photo/James Fiffer, courtesy of Ursus)

Ursus — the Bedford Middle School newspaper — reported in 2019 that Meraviglia was the school’s security officer. He had been a state police trooper for 32 years, then served for two years as Saugatuck Elementary School’s SSO.

The towns of Westport and Fairfield join Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas in thanking Officer Meraviglia for his quick and caring actions.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please understand that there are people who want to help as well as available resources.  For further information, click here.

Civilian Review Panel Seeks Civilians

Want to help diversify hiring, oversee investigations of civilian complaints, and work on other initiatives with Westport’s Police, Fire and EMS Departments?

The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Public Protection Committee seeks 2 candidates to fill spots on our Civilian Review Panel.

The CRP includes 5 civilian members:  the 2nd and 3rd selectwomen; one member of TEAM Westport, and 2 residents appointed by the RTM.

Specifically, the Civilian Review Panel handles:

  • Hiring Oversight: Participate in the interview process of new hires and lateral transfer applicants, offering feedback on the selection of candidates.
  • Complaint Review: Review and provide feedback on civilian complaints regarding Police, Fire and EMS.
  • Transparency & Accountability Improvements: Advise departments on policies and procedures to improve transparency and accountability.
  • Meetings:  Hold special meetings as needed.
  • Training:  Receive training from the Police, Fire and EMS Departments, to fully understand policies, procedures, general orders, internal affairs, and legal issues.
  • Reporting from Departments:  The Departments will provide an annual report of all disciplinary complaints received, their status and resolution.

Applicants must be registered voters in Westport. No member of the CRP can be an employee, or family member of an employee, of the Police, Fire and EMS Departments.

If interested, email a resume and letter of interest to jdunkerton@westportct.gov; by mail: Westport Town Clerk, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. 203-341-1110. Indicate how your experience would qualify you for consideration as a panel member. The deadline is February 7.

Questions? Call 203-341-1110.

Scarice Addresses School Safety Concerns

Yesterday, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice sent this message to all Westport Public Schools parents:

Late yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon, the district was informed of a disturbing trend of school violence threats on social media. Social media posts have mentioned acts of school violence on December 17.

The state Department of Education shared information this morning [Thursday] that state law enforcement officials have determined that these threats are not credible. The posts have not originated in our town, and there have been no specific threats to our schools. However, some of our students have mentioned this trend to faculty and administrators today.

We are fortunate to have a very effective partnership with our local law enforcement experts, the Westport Police Department. In addition, a security guard is assigned to each school, there is a School Resource Officer at our high school, and the WPD has assigned an additional police officer dedicated exclusively to our school campuses.

As a precaution, the Westport Police Department has offered to station an officer outside each of our schools tomorrow [Friday] for the school day. Again, although these threats are not deemed credible or specific to Westport, at a minimum this presence will serve to reassure any members of our school community who might have concerns about this social media trend, particularly for tomorrow.

If you or your child receive any information related to specific threats to our school community, it is critically important that you make a report to the WPD and school immediately.

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.)