Tag Archives: Westport Police Department

Roundup: COVID, Outpost Pizza, New Cop, More


Here’s one way to look at Westport’s COVID numbers: Since March, we’ve had 516 cases (483 confirmed and 33 probable).

Here’s another: With a population of 26,213, 1.97% — nearly 2% — of the entire town has been infected. (Hat tip: Peter Gold)


Outpost Pizza — an outpost of the Stamford spot — opens Monday. It’s in the mini-shopping plaza with Coffee An’, across from the new Hudson Malone restaurant (most recently, 323). The space was formerly a dry cleaner.

Need a job, as well as a pie? Outpost is looking for cooks, prep workers, cashiers and drivers. Call 203-323-7678. (Hat tip: Jerri Graham)

(Photo/Jerri Graham)


The Westport Police Department has sworn in a new officer: Dominique Carr.

The Hartford native earned a BS in justice and law administration at Western Connecticut State University, where he also played football. He comes to Westport from the Windsor Police Department.

Welcome to Westport, Officer Carr!

Officer Dominique Carr


If you missed “Pride and Prejudice” — Staples Players’ 2nd radio play of the fall — you’ve get another chance this Sunday (November 15, 6 p.m.).

It will be re-streamed by the high school radio station, WWPT. Click here for the link. NOTE: It’s available on the website only — not on the radio dial itself.

Seniors Sophie Rossman and David Corro rehearse “Pride and Prejudice.” (Photo/Kerry Long)


Speaking of teenagers and the arts: High school students throughout Fairfield County are invited to apply for the just-announced Westport Country Playhouse Youth Council.

Meeting 6 times a year (virtually, to start), members will learn about the workings of a professional theater. They’ll also contribute creative solutions for how the Playhouse can broaden its appeal to a more diverse community.

Youth Council members will also participate in a speaker series, attend Board of Trustees meetings, create an event, and have behind-the-scenes access to the Playhouse.

The application deadline is November 20. Click here for more information.


The Leonard Schine Preserve got a spruce-up last weekend. And we can thank a bunch of SLOBs.

The group — okay, they’re actually Staples High School’s Service League of Boys — worked with Meg Armstrong and Barry Guiduli at the Natural Playground, a hidden children’s gem off Weston Road.

(From left): Nick Seitz, Ben Berkley, Bruno Guiduli, Gabe Maiolo at the Leonard Schine Preserve.


I don’t spend a lot of time at Sherwood Island. (I know. My bad.)

But Chris Swan does. The other day, he sent photos of what seemed to me like a strange sight.

But, Chris says, horses (and riders) are a regular occurrence at Connecticut’s first state park.

(Photos/Chris Swan)


And finally … today is a day to honor our veterans. As Billy Ray Cyrus sings, some gave all. And all gave some.

Isaias: Lessons Learned

Next month (November 9, 6 p.m., online), the Westport Emergency Management Team will discuss its response to Tropical Isaias.

Meanwhile, a 15-page report on the storm and its aftermath has been posted on the town website.

It’s a fascinating document. From acknowledging the unique challenges of responding to a major weather event during a pandemic, to statistics on the thousands of phone calls and incident reports that poured in to first responders, and nuggets like the importance of hiring a retired Eversource engineer (and Westport resident) to lend expertise, the report is a blueprint for what went right during the August storm.

And what did not go so well.

Several days after Isaias, this was still the scene on Charcoal Hill Road. (Photo/Pat Blaufuss)

The document summarizes challenges, including staffing, technology, data and reporting, call dispatching, WiFi and charging stations.

It concludes with “Lessons Learned.” They include:

  • The importance of flexibility. For example, Westport planned for a flood event. Isaias’ damage came mainly from wind.
  • Anticipating that technology will fail. Downed wires and power outages rendered cell phones inoperable. Backup plans are always needed.
  • The importance of advertising Staples High School radio station WWPT (90.3 FM) as a resource, and reminding residents to have a radio at home — with batteries.
  • Aggressive tree pruning and removal “should be more seriously considered.”
  • Continued participation in regional emergency response drills. These simulate multiple simultaneous crises, and encourage creative solutions.
  • Nixle “is best used for short concise emergency notifications.”
  • The Police Department is acquiring more emergency signs.

Cones — not signs — confounded drivers on Post Road West. (Photo/Leah Nash)

Among the specific recommendations:

  • Developing a plan for technology failure — specifically, internet issues.
  • Improving senior-level communications and relationships with Eversource, cable and telephone utilities, and especially internet and wireless carriers.
  • Continuing to urge residents and businesses to sign up for town news, and follow the town on social media.
  • Establishing a town-wide mailing with emergency and preparedness information.
  • Establishing an annual plan for community preparedness educaiton.
  • Sending all department supervisors — not just Fire Department personnel — to national emergency training.
  • Developing a shared Excel file for tracking and coordinating road closures and downed wires, between departments.
  • Updating the Local Emergency Operation Plan, and dedicating time for all departments to train.
  • Investing in minor technical improvements to WWPT-FM.
  • Closing all Parks and Recreation facilities immediately upon advice of incoming storms, and reopening them only after each location has been deemed safe.

Click here for the full Emergency Management Team Isaias after-action report.

(The Emergency Management Team meeting on November 9 will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and broadcast on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Members of the public may submit questions and comments to webmaster@westportct.gov with the subject line “Storm Isaias After-Action Meeting” before November 9. Relevant uestions and comments received during the public comment portion of the meeting will be read aloud.)

It took a while for utility crews to arrive in Westport. The post-Isaias report recommends better communication with utilities and technology companies. (Photo/Peter Nussbaum)

Roundup: Sidewalk Stroll, Bank Robbery, Spencer Gabor, More

————————————-

With great weather forecast all week, Westport Moms quickly organized a Shopping Stroll.

Set for this Friday (October 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Elm Street courtyard across from Serena & Lily), it’s drawn vendors from the tri-state area selling unique merchandise: waterproof blankets, winter wear, pajamas, athleisure, masks, fun home accessories, jewelry and more.

The Moms hope Church Street and Main Street stores will put merchandise outside, and restaurants will offer lunch and coffee discounts. Masks are (of course) required.


Yesterday afternoon, a man robbed the People’s United Bank branch inside Stop & Shop.

A suspect has been tied to 3 other bank robberies, in Fairfield, Norwalk and Shelton. Westport Police ask for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. A reward of up to $1,500 is offered.

The detective bureau can be reached at 203-341-6080. [NOTE: The video originally posted with this story is now inoperable.]

A screen shot of the suspect.


After graduating from Staples High School in 2015, Spencer Gabor headed to Fordham University to study business.

But he’d always liked drawing. As he pursued his degree he spent every moment outside class drawing, learning Adobe Suite, and taking on art projects. He reached out to startups and did pro bono work, just to amass a portfolio.

Today he’s illustrating and designing for major brands around the world, like NPR and (go figure) Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

Dribble — a website for design professionals — recently interviewed him about his “drastic but fulfilling” career change. Click here for the full story.

Spencer Gabor (Photo courtesy of Dribble)


And finally … in honor of Friday’s Sidewalk Stroll:

 

Roundup: Statehouse Debates, WitchCraft Cocktails, Police Probe, More


Jake Tapper called Tuesday’s presidential debate “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” That’s being kind to dumpster fires and train wrecks.

But fear not! Normal political discourse will be on display next Tuesday (October 6, 12 p.m., Zoom). The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library are sponsoring an actual “debate” with 4 candidates for 2 local state House of Representatives seats: Jonathan Steinberg vs. Chip Stephens, and Stephanie Thomas vs. Patricia Zucaro.

Click here to register (required). Questions may be taken from the audience.

Coming up on October 13: a debate with candidates for the State Senate.


Speaking of debates and dumpster fires: After Tuesday night’s “shit show” (Dana Bash), we all need a drink.

Wakeman Town Farm will help you make a special fall craft cocktail with mixologist Julia Halina Hadas, author of WitchCraft Cocktails. She’ll share recipes for adult beverages designed for healing, spells, offerings and fun.

It’s Friday, October 2, 5 to 6 p.m. And it’s virtual, so you can drink alone (or at least at home). To register, click here.


In the wake of threatening fliers found downtown Sunday morning, the Westport Police Department says:

We understand that this incident has caused a great deal of alarm and varying levels of concern for many living within our community. We have been working diligently to identify the responsible individual(s). The investigation has remained extremely active. The probe has featured close collaboration with federal law enforcement officials, based on some of the statements expressed in these postings.

Investigative efforts of the Westport Police Department Detective Bureau have yielded information on 2 responsible parties. The Department assures all that there is currently no viable threat to the community relative to this incident. This investigation remains open and active, and any additional developments will be detailed later.


And finally … we continue to lose music stars. The New York Times reports that Mac Davis — “the pop-country crossover star who wrote hits for Elvis Presley and had a No. 1 pop single of his own with Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me'” — died Tuesday. He was 78.

Roundup: Cidny Bullens, Car Seats, Palmball, More


Cidny Bullens just released his 9th country album, “Walkin’ Through the World.”

It’s his first record in a decade — and his first as a man.

The Washington Post recently profiled the trans artist. The story described his life as Cindy, including singing with Elton John and Kiki Dee on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and her marriage to Dan Crewe — brother of Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe.

The article also mentions the couple’s 2 daughters, Reid and Jessie, and their move to Westport in the 1980s.

“Crewe and Bullens were close friends in a monogamous marriage, but their relationship wasn’t easy,” the Post says. “Crewe was gay. Bullens felt trapped behind the wheel of a minivan.”

Click here for the full, fascinating story. (Hat tip: Fran Taylor)


Amy Schneider spotted this sign yesterday downtown. The free car seat checks were courtesy of the Westport Police Department, in the parking lot by their headquarters.

Our men (and women) in blue take their motto — “to serve and protect” — to an entirely new level!

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


Move over, pickleball. Make way, spikeball. There’s a new new game in town: palmball.

The game was invented on Cape Cod in the 1990s. 18-year-old Steven Creelman forgot to bring a Kadima paddle to the beach. So he and a buddy picked up some flat rocks, and kept a tennis ball off the ground holding those.

Back home, he and his friends laid out a court with a garden hose, extension cord and rope. He pitched the game to the director of phys. ed. at the University of Massachusetts, where we was a student, and it became an actual gym class.

Rock paddle is dangerous, of course. So this summer — when he daughters got old enough — Creelman cut wood paddles to the same size.

They took the game to the beach. Combining tennis, volleyball, Kadima and spikeball, it was an instant hit.

On Saturday, there’s a palmball tournament at Evan Felcher’s house here. In 2018, he played on Staples High School’s state champion tennis team.

You heard it here first. (Hat tip: Ben Sturner)


And finally … Speaking of the Four Seasons (see above): Tommy DeVito, a member of that group even before Frankie Valli joined them, died Monday, from COVID-19. He was 92.

Here are the real Jersey Boys:

It’s Election Season. Sign Here.

The Westport Police Department is non-partisan. But — like every Westporter – every fall they get caught in the great political sign crossfire.

They say:

With the approaching November elections comes the traditional posting of political signage.

Once again the Westport Police Department has begun to receive complaints related to the disappearance, removal, and/or theft of these signs.

Residents and visitors are advised against taking it upon themselves to remove
signs that do not belong to them, from either public or private property. The
enforcement of the town’s rules is the responsibility of the town of Westport, not
private citizens.

The removal of signs from public or private property by someone not authorized to do so by the town, or by the owner of the sign, may constitute theft.

Entering onto private property to remove signs may also constitute
trespassing. Both of these acts can ultimately result in arrest.

Political signs are considered an expression of free speech, and are allowed on
public property.

It is not advisable to place signs on state property (including rights of way and islands along Routes 1, 136, 57, 33, and the Sherwood Island Connector, nor on the exit or entrance ramps of I-95 or the Merritt Parkway), as the state may remove them.

No sign may be placed on any school property without the prior permission
of the Superintendent’s office.

No sign may be placed within the interior of Compo Beach or Longshore.

No sign may be placed on Town Hall property.

No sign may be placed on trees or utility poles.

No sign may interfere with traffic visibility.

Signs on private property require property owner approval. Signs on private
property must not extend beyond the property line or into the town right-of-
way. It is suggested they be removed within 2 days after the election.

Finally! A candidate we can all agree on. (Photo/Luke Garvey)

Roundup: Big Top Ribs, “Best In Show”, EV Club, More


Owner Pete Aitkin wants to add some new “flashback” items to the Black Duck menu.

And he needs “06880” readers’ help.

“Many readers have fond memories of the Big Top,” he says, referencing the beloved, mouth-watering burgers-and-more joint on the Post Road and Roseville Road that is now (aaaargh) McDonald’s. “Some even worked there.”

Pete wonders: What kind of ribs did they serve? Baby backs? Beef? He thinks they were pork spare ribs. Any info on sauce or seasoning would be great too.

Email duckpeter78@gmail.com, or call 203-227-7978.


Yesterday marked the start of another school. It’s different than any that came before. But — as students, staff and parents saw yesterday at Coleytown Elementary School — some things never change:

(Photo/Stephanie Mastocciolo)


The Artists Collective of Westport knows about shows. So they’re proud to collaborate with the Remarkable Theater on a showing of “Best in Show.”

The drive-in movie — a biting satire about dog shows — will be shown Thursday, September 17 at 8 p.m. at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. The gate opens at 7.

Tickets are $50 per car. Click here to reserve.


Who says parades must be loud?

The EV Club of Connecticut is sponsoring a (socially distanced) electric car parade. It’s set for Sunday, September 27 (check-in at 9:30 a.m.

It starts at 10 a.m. at the eastbound Westport train station, by Donut Crazy. The parade ends at Fairfield’s Old Town Hall.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas will lead the parade in the department’s Tesla Model 3 police cruiser.

All makes of EV are welcome. To register, click here.

The Westport Police Department’s electric car.


And finally … today is September 9. Which means, whether you’re using American or European style, it’s 9/9. Which means …

 

Take A Tour With The Tesla Cops

Tesla is touting Westport’s new police car. The Teslerati blog says:

A Tesla Model 3 has been patrolling the streets of Westport, Connecticut, since January 2020. However, an inside look at how effective the Model 3’s performance is for the law enforcement agency has never been given. That is until Westport Police Department Chief Foti Koskinas gave 2 members of the Now You Know YouTube channel a peek of how patrolling the streets of the small Connecticut town in an electric police car is advantageous for those who look to protect the community….

“Chief Koskinas seems pleased with the Tesla’s performance during the first 8 months of ownership, and efficiency and performance seem to be the main factors in his happiness thus far.

Click here for the story. Click below for the video.

PS: Check out the YouTube comments too. My favorite: “Just Awesome, what a PD, Chief, Officers and Town. Sometimes it can feel lonely caring about this planet, but this kind of steps and thinking gives hope.” (Hat tip: Avi Kaner)

As Schools Starts, Cops Urge Caution

As COVID continues — and the new school year begins — the Westport Police Department urges all drivers and pedestrians to exercise extra care.

As an added “incentive,” officers will be extra-vigilant for violators. 

The department urges families to discuss these rules together:

As COVID-19 has significantly altered our schools’ scheduling with staggered student arrival and dismissal times, motorists will for the first time share the roads throughout the day with school buses making frequent stops, as well as children who are walking or biking to school.

This year more than ever, we strongly urge commuters to allow extra time to prepare for traffic delays. Please remain vigilant and alert around school zones, bus stops and school buses. Obey the school bus laws of Connecticut, which include slowing down and preparing to stop for yellow flashing school bus lights and stopping for red flashing school bus lights.

Drivers

In neighborhoods with school zones or when backing into a roadway, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.

Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.

Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

Learn the “flashing signal light system” used by school bus drivers to alert motorists of pending actions:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists on both sides of the roadway must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

Children

Get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

When the bus approaches, stand at least 3 giant steps away from the curb, and line up away from the street.

Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.

If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 5 giant steps ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.

Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps do not get caught in the handrails or doors.

Never walk behind the bus.

Walk at least 3  giant steps away from the side of the bus.

If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

Follow instructions given by school crossing guards. Do not cross until they have stopped traffic completely and have advised it is safe to cross.

Unsung Hero #156

Like many 6-year-olds, Tess Hinojos loves to dress up and play pretend.

One of her favorite costumes is a police officer. The other day, as she and her mom Hilary were on a walk, an actual Westport Police Department cop drove by.

Tess waved. He waved back, and kept driving.

A few minutes later, he pulled up next to the pair. Officer Shawn Booth stepped out of his car, and handed Tess and her brother Julian “official Junior Westport Officer” badges.

Junior Westport Police Officer Tess Hinojos.

“Tess couldn’t have been more thrilled,” Hillary says.

“We are so fortunate to live in a town with such an exceptional and kind police force. Thanks for making her day, Officer Booth!”

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