Where Westport meets the world…
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DISCLAIMERThis blog is personal opinion, and is not representative of the views of the Westport School District or Board of Education.
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Alert — and only slightly suspicious — JP Vellotti recently noticed an interesting sight at the Sherwood Island Connector’s Post Road traffic light.
His passenger snapped a photo.
The lights are new. It looks like a camera has been added too.
Who sees the feed? The police? Or maybe the state police, because this is a state road? Or News 12 for traffic? Or….
And how do cameras get approved, anyhow?
I’m not adversely against these. I’m just curious, having never seen a public notice about their installation. After all, if you’re recording the public, they should at least have the right to know.
What do you think? All “06880” readers — no matter where you fall on the civil liberties/police state spectrum — are invited to weigh in. Just click “Comments” below (and please use your full, real name!).
From the outside, it doesn’t look like much.
It doesn’t advertise. Even the name — Curio Cottage — seems musty and old-fashioned. Better suited to rural New Hampshire than dynamic Westport, perhaps.
But the Curio Cottage — the little thrift shop next to the Westport Woman’s Club, perched on the Imperial Avenue hill not far from Jesup Road — is filled with wonderful
curios merchandise like glassware, tableware, frames, jewelry, furniture, clothing and books.
And it’s all for a good cause. Over the past 15 years, the shop has raised nearly $400,000. The funds go directly to local charities and need-based scholarships.
That’s fantastic work for any organization. It’s particularly impressive for an all-volunteer, low-key (but very energetic) group like the Woman’s Club.
And it’s even more noteworthy because the prices are so reasonable.
Those prices go even lower from February 8-13. Everything is half off.
The Curio Cottage women — an amazing bunch, led by Karen Eickhoff — call this “a sweetheart of a sale.” They suggest buying something for Valentine’s Day. And then — always thinking of the town — they hope you’ll purchase something from a local merchant, to fill it with. For example, a Curio Cottage bowl, which you’ll then fill with chocolates. A vase (and roses). A pair of wine glasses (duh).
The merchandise always changes. The volunteers always know what’s new and interesting.
And the charities and students who benefit from the Curio Cottage sales are always very, very grateful for its patrons.
(Curio Cottage special sale hours are Monday, February 8 through Saturday, February 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, non-sale hours, and details on how you can donate your own items, click here.)
By noon, the snow had moved on. The quick storm dropped 8 inches of heavy, beautiful stuff. It was a photographer’s delight.
The commercial real estate listing is pretty straightforward: An 11,000-square foot brick and stone office building on Saugatuck Avenue, close to I-95 and the train station.
There’s a photo —
— and a name: The Eno Foundation Building.
But the listing doesn’t give a hint what the Eno Foundation was.
It’s named for William Phelps Eno. He was a Westport businessman known as the “Father of Traffic Safety.” His innovations included the stop sign, pedestrian crosswalk, traffic circle, 1-way street, taxi stand and pedestrian safety island. He designed traffic plans for New York, Paris and London.
For many years, his worldwide traffic institute was headquartered on Saugatuck Avenue, near the Norwalk line.
Believe it or not, Westport — with all our traffic woes — was once the place where transportation ideas that transformed the world were hatched.
William Phelps Eno — who (you can’t make this up) never learned to drive — is no longer around to solve our current traffic issues. He died in 1945. If he were, he could start right around the corner from his headquarters, then work his way through town, ending up at the Merritt Parkway Exit 42/Weston Road/Main Street/Easton Road goat rodeo.
But you can now buy his building. It’s a beauty.
And there’s plenty of on-site parking.
(For more information on the real estate listing — or to buy it! — click here. Hat tip: Kate Schwartz.)
As the snow continued throughout the morning, alert “06880” readers sent in photos from around town. Here are a few:
In the 1st stop along what may be a long legal journey, the Planning and Zoning Commission last night unanimously denied an application to build a 6-story, 48-unit apartment complex on one of the busiest, most environmentally sensitive corners of Westport.
Concerns about safety and damage to wetlands adjacent to the 1.16-acre parcel at the corner of Wilton Road and Kings Highway North dominated last night’s proceedings in Town Hall.
P&Z commissioners questioned the developer — Garden Homes Management — about many aspects of the plan. They also appeared miffed that a consultant and lawyer for Garden Homes did not attend (due to illness and a conflict), and that Garden Homes submitted a raft of supporting materials at the meeting, but refused to request an extension so the P&Z could study that information.
P&Z members also refuted Garden Homes’ contentions that the commissioners’ minds were already made up — and that they were opposed to the plan because a portion of the apartments would be deemed “affordable” under state 8-30g regulations.
“We never said we’d fight 8-30g,” P&Z chair Chip Stephens said. “We said we would fight inappropriate locations for 8-30g. Period.”
Garden Homes president Richard Freedman promised to appeal the decision.
Westport students received an unexpected day off from school today.
It wasn’t a blizzard — just a very pretty snowfall.
If you didn’t have to go out, it was a nice start to the weekend.
Even if you had to get on a train, it was not so bad:
For others, it’s a day for beauty. But not for sitting in the garden…
…or a hot tub.
On the one hand, Westport teenagers always complain “there’s nothing to do here!”
On the other hand, they love to eat.
In an effort to convince hungry kids that there are things to do in Westport — like, go to a variety of local restaurants — the Youth Commission has created a Student Discount Partnership.
Working with the Downtown Merchants Association and Chamber of Commerce, commission members have signed nearly 30 restaurants (and 2 businesses: Suited.co and Lux Bond & Green). They offer 10% off for Staples, Weston High and Greens Farms Academy students presenting a school ID. Only 2 places said no.
Participating locations sport a sticker. The eye-catching Minuteman design was created by Staples senior Julia Schorr. Baker Graphics printed 70, for free.
The program began just a couple of weeks ago, with low-key publicity. But participation — and feedback — has been great. Oscar’s, for example, has seen a definite bump in business, from groups of teens.
A girl reported that she and her friends had a great time at Spotted Horse. They gave everyone a discount, even though a couple of kids forgot their student IDs.
“We wanted to concentrate on home-owned places, where kids could have an impact,” says Youth Commission member Reece Schachne, discussing why members selected restaurants instead of chain stores.
Publicity has come mainly through Instagram (“wycstudentdiscounts” is the handle). Youth Commission co-chair Kyle Ratner is helping coordinate an official launch this week, with announcements on the “Good Morning Staples” TV show, a story in the school newspaper Inklings, and the website westportyouthcommission.org (launching February 9).
You’re probably wondering: Why do Westport students need a discount for anything?
Lower prices are not the main aim, Reece and Kyle say. It’s more about making sure teenagers know they have plenty of things to do, and many places to do it, all around Westport.
Especially if it involves food.
(For more information, click here. Participants in the program include 323, Acqua, Angelina’s, Arezzo, Bartaco, Black Duck, Blue Lemon, Border Grill, Da Pietro’s, Finalmente, Freshii, Garelick & Herbs, Jeera Little Thai Kitchen, Joe’s Pizza, Lux Bond & Green, Mumbai Times, Oscar’s, Planet Pizza, Rizzuto’s, Señor Salsa, SoNo Baking Company, Spotted Horse, Suited.Co, Sweet Frog, The Boathouse, Tutti’s, Villa del Sol, Viva Zapata and Westport Pizzeria. Any restaurant or business interested in joining the program should email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photographer Patricia McMahon says: “No matter how the light hits our jetty, it always entices me. This view never gets old.”