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News predictions for the new year

January 18, 2019

Sure, it’s mid-January. The new year — the last of the 2010s — is cruising along. There are just 341 days until Christmas.

Still, it’s not too late to peer into our crystal ball. We may not know what the rest of the 2019 will bring. Yet, just as we have no idea what exactly Donald Trump will tweet about each morning, but we know it will be about something absurd he just heard on “Fox & Friends” — Westporters can predict general outlines of what’s ahead.

All we have to do is look backward. So don’t be surprised if you see these headlines and first paragraphs in the coming year.

Late January: “Pickleballers Vow to Stop South Beach Bathrooms.” Despite a failed petition drive, a group of determined pickleball enthusiasts have not given up their fight. Chanting “Do the right thing — don’t make doo-doo,” and chaining themselves to stalls in Town Hall, they say they won’t stop until there is a new place for beachgoers to go.

February: “New Affordable Housing Proposed for Post Road Median.” There is not much unused space left in Westport. But a Stamford development firm has found what it claims is the “most suitable” spot for a new apartment complex: the grass strip dividing Post Road East, between New Country Toyota and stores like Calise’s Market and Torno Lumber on the other side. A proposal for 188 one- and two-bedroom apartments — 38 of them classified as “affordable” under state 8-30(g) regulations — has been filed with the Planning and Zoning Commission.

March: “Major Storm Knocks Out Power to Thousands of Westporters.” Winds roaring up to 60 miles an hour — and over four inches of rain — played havoc with the town yesterday. Nearly 10,000 customers remain without electricity — for the third time in two weeks. Officials called the odds of three “500-year storms” in just 14 days “astronomical.” But that was no solace to residents facing toppled tree limbs, drenched basements, and the possibility of one more storm on the way this weekend.

April: “Neighbors Sue to Block Aquarion Water Towers.” Pleas and petitions to lawmakers failed. So did chaining themselves to a fence surrounding the Aquarion water tank on North Avenue. So a group of residents has gone to court to force the utility to stop construction of two large water towers directly opposite Staples High School. The reasons: fears of increased traffic, brought about after the Board of Education’s recent decision to construct a sixth grade academy, by adding a fourth floor to Staples High School across the street from the Aquarion property.

May: “Democratic Presidential Candidates Flock to Westport For Funds.” It’s not yet Memorial Day, but already 19 of the 27 Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination have come to town for private fundraisers. “Like Willie Sutton said about banks, ‘this is where the money is,’ ” explained Hillary Clinton, a resident of nearby Chappaqua, N.Y., as she embarked on her third bid for the highest office.

June: “Despite Controversy, South Beach Bathroom Finally Opens.” A woman pushing 6-month-old triplets in a stroller was the first person to use the new Compo Beach bathrooms yesterday. She had to push her way past nearly a dozen pickleball players, who had chained themselves to the outside of the controversial structure.

July: “Despite Heat, Art Show a ‘Great Success.’ ” EMTs were busy over the weekend, tending to dozens of attendees who collapsed on the broiling pavement during the annual downtown Arts Festival. But as Westport endured its third straight week of 100-plus temperatures, organizers noted, “No one died. The artists had plenty of water. And the art itself was really, really spectacular.”

August: “Hurricane Ignatius Moves Offshore.” After battering Westport with 115-mile an hour winds and more than 10 inches of rain, Hurricane Ignatius has finally moved on. Workers moved quickly to restore power to some of the 14,188 customers who lost it, though officials warned that full restoration could take “up to three weeks.” The worst damage was at Compo Beach, where the roof of the new South Beach bathroom ended up on the pickleball court.

September: “New 8-30(g) Application Sought for North Avenue Site.” Developers moved quickly, after Aquarion abandoned its quest to construct two new water towers across from Staples High School. A Stamford development firm announced plans to build 339 studio, and one- and two-bedroom apartments, at the North Avenue site. Of those, 82 would be “affordable,” under state 8-30(g) regulations.

October: “Early Snow Stuns Area.” Ten inches of heavy, wet snow brought down hundreds of trees early yesterday. The Oct. 1 snowfall — the earliest on record — closed schools and business throughout the East.

So that’s some of what will happen this year. As for November and December — hey, who do you think I am? Nostradamus?

Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his “Woog’s World” appears each Friday. He can be reached at dwoog@optonline.net. His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.

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