Tag Archives: Westport Weston Health District

Restaurant Health Inspections: The Sequel

This morning’s “06880” story about Julian’s — the Post Road restaurant that received its first-ever failing grade from a state Health Department trainee, then lost customers when the score was disclosed to the media (despite passing with a high score on its re-inspection) — generated plenty of reaction.

Readers wrote, relieved that one of their favorite restaurants was not suddenly gross. Others commented on their own experiences working in restaurants.

A Westport owner sent me a detailed reply. He asked not to be identified, but said he spoke for many colleagues. He wrote:

This is so interesting. I thought I was going crazy.

An inspector who was just hired by the town paid us 3 visits in 2 weeks. A little excessive, I thought.

No hands — but gloves required?

She deducted points for a broken tile in the customer seating area. How is that a health violation? Until then, I thought the craziest thing I had heard before from a health inspector was to use gloves to make an espresso (there’s no hand and food contact when making an espresso).

I have said for years that all health inspectors should, by law, have worked in restaurant kitchens for at least 6 months, so they understand the pressures. Some of the regulations make no sense, and they can’t explain them.

Just last week we were told we could not cook whole turkeys, porchetta and roast beef because our kitchen is not “equipped” for that. She told us to buy pre-cooked crap meat. Mind you, we have a type 4 license, which allows us to cook whatever we want.

When taking over our space we added more modern ovens and a lot of refrigeration in order to get that type 4 license. When we asked the inspector why we couldn’t cook the meats, and how to comply with regulation — meats that made us known among our customers — she didn’t know how or why.

The other thing that bothers me is that the health department has been unwilling to explain things through the phone or email, so we can quickly fix or adapt. They are requiring these long, in-person meetings.

Even with all of this going on, our lowest grade was 85.

Fortunately, I recently had a lengthy and productive conversation with Jeff Andrews, the health district’s chief sanitarian. We were able to find solutions for the “problems” they encountered.

I’m relieved to know that this was not a targeted attack on us. Please let Mike Sayyed of Julian’s know that we thank him for speaking out. This business is tough. Most of us operators are honest, and want to make sure all health regulations are met in our places. Crazy inspectors make our life very hard.

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #67

Last week’s photo challenge took us to the highest point in Westport.

And therein lies the story.

Peter Tulupman’s image showed an abandoned building next to the Rolnick Observatory, behind the Westport Weston Health District on Bayberry Lane.

Those buildings were originally part of the Nike missile launch site. The reason they were there — to protect Bridgeport’s electronics manufacturing industry from Russian attacks — was that the launch site (and the missiles themselves, on the North Avenue land that’s now Bedford Middle School) had to be at the highest elevation possible. Bayberry Lane fit the bill.

Edward Bloch, Dan Lasley, John Sexton, Susan Huppi, Sharon Paulsen and John Brawley all knew the photo was taken at the former Nike missile site. To see it, click here.

This week’s photo challenge comes with a back story — but I don’t know it. If you have any idea why the bridge in the background was built — or when, by whom, whatever — please add those details when you comment. Inquiring minds want to know!

Oh My 06880 - April 10, 2016

KHS Votes Westport A Winner

Election Day has come and gone. But for alert “06880” reader Christie Stanger, the good feelings linger. She writes:

On Tuesday, as adults took to the polls, younger Westporters took to the hallways and sidewalks outside of polling places, at bake sales to raise money for schools.

While Kings Highway Elementary is not unique, our adventure highlights what a wonderful town Westport truly is.

When KHS was closed as a voting site, we had to move our Election Day bake sale to the Westport Library. Westport Weston Health District’s Mark Cooper, Norma Jarrett, Sandy Arcudi and Melissa Romano helped us get our permit to sell baked goods. This is not like bake sales of old, but their kindness made the process seem very small-town.

Next, we coordinated with Town Hall. Janet Suchsland and Eileen Francis in the first selectman’s office gave us permission to operate in a public space. The library’s assistant director, Paul Mazzaccaro, allowed us to operate at both entrances. He provided us with tables and chairs, meeting us bright and early on Election Day (and wishing us luck).

Kings Highway Elementary School students, parents and siblings rock the Election Day bake sale at the Westport Library.

Kings Highway Elementary School students, parents and siblings rock the Election Day bake sale at the Westport Library.

And lucky we were! 70 degree weather with blue skies on November 3. That was fabulous — but the people of Westport were even warmer.

Voters, candidates and library patrons stopped by for goods made by loving hands, and others donated by generous businesses (Saugatuck Sweets, Great Cakes, Starbucks and Atlantic Pizza). The number of times we  heard “Keep the change!” and “Let me just give!” gave us warm fuzzies more real than the ones teachers handed out as pencil toppers.

Finally, we did not notice even one person parking outside the lines in either parking lot!

It all added up to one of those magical days, when you’re reminded that people are good and generous, that we are all in this together, and that Westport is an amazing town!

Flu You

I don’t scare easily.

But Sunday’s “60 Minutes” story on the H1N1 virus terrified me.

H1N1Before Scott Pelley’s report, I’d thought of swine flu as some sort of overdone media hype, like the Y2K, um, bug. 

Now I think of H1N1 as another 1918 pandemic, except I’m alive for this one.

And I hope to remain so.

Which is why, at the end of the segment, I and every other “60 Minutes” viewer raced to our computers and clicked on the link the show thoughtfully provided, to find out where to get our own flu shots.

I drilled down several levels.  The good news is, I easily found the “CT Flu Watch” page, and from there the Westport Weston Health District page.

The bad news is — well, read it yourself:

Both the Westport Weston Health District and the Wilton Health Department have received a limited amount of live, attenuated influenza vaccine. This is a thimerosal-free nasal spray indicated for healthy individuals ages 2 – 49 years of age who are not pregnant. At this time, use of this vaccine is restricted to the following priority populations:

Children aged 2 – 4 years

Persons who live with or care for children less than 6 months of age.

The vaccine is currently available at 3 pediatric groups:  Bay Street, Village and Willows, as well as the Health District itself.

As more vaccine becomes available, it will be offered to the following high-risk target groups:

Pregnant women

People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age

Certain healthcare and emergency medical services personnel who work directly with patients

Children 6 months through 4 years of age

Children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

Finally — I should live so long — the vaccine will be available for my demographic:  “everyone (else) who wishes to be vaccinated.”

I’ll keep checking the Health District site, as suggested.

In the meantime, I’ve got another plan:  Stop watching “60 Minutes.”