Happy Anniversary To Us!

Today, “06880” turns 5 years old.

What a wild, wacky and wonderfully Westportesque that half decade has been!

When I hurled my 1st post into cyberspace on March 6, 2009 — click here for that baby — I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I thought I’d offer some moderately interesting stories about the people, places, events and history that make this town our home. My goal was 1 post a day.

I had no idea — even though my tagline was “Where Westport meets the world” — that I would find connections everywhere: from Broadway to the Boston Marathon bombings, from Sochi to Syria.

Rafaella Sforza -- who last month closed her tailor shop in Colonial Green -- got a well-deserved send-off in "06880."

Rafaella Sforza — who last month closed her tailor shop in Colonial Green — got a well-deserved send-off in “06880.”

I did not realize that — right here at home — so many amazing people are doing such amazing things. Children, teenagers, busy businesspeople, retirees, merchants, volunteers — this town rocks the universe.

I had no idea either that so many talented, accomplished people could suck so bad at driving and parking.

I could not imagine that my vision of a nice “comments” section would explode into a snake pit of controversy, as packs of anonymoids turned the milquetoastiest stories into rants about Obamacare, socialism, and that big bad socialist, Obama.

I also could not predict that after pulling the plug on anonymous comments (click here for that epic post, last April), “06880” turned into a far more thoughtful, civil place to hang out. A discussion last month on climate change/global warming — always a hot topic — was certainly intense. But it ended with the blog equivalent of “Kumbaya.”

Not every "06880" story needs to be told in words. (Photo/Betsy Phillips Kahn)

Not every “06880” story needs to be told in words. (Photo/Betsy Phillips Kahn)

I’ve kept my promise to post at least once daily. Sometimes I post 2 or 3 times. Thanks to ever-increasing tips from readers, and increasing bad weather (thanks, climate change!), I occasionally post 6 or 8 times a day.

That translates to nearly 3,400 stories. Hopefully — if you’ve read this far — you realize you like at least some of them.

For me, “06880” is a labor of love.

But, like any love, it takes work.

As “06880” has grown, so have the hours I spend on it.

There’s writing, sure. But also interviewing, researching, responding to comments (public and private), moderating comments (removing those from people who do not use full, real names), taking and sizing and framing photos, and scouring the web for appropriate (and occasionally inappropriate) graphics.

I spend a few bucks too. I pay to keep “06880” ad-free. I pay for domain mapping. I pay for photo-editing software.

So, once a year — on my anniversary — I put out my tin cup.

Will work for food. Or cash.

Will work for food. Or cash.

If you like what you read, please consider supporting “06880.”

Am I worth $1 a month? $1 a week? Perhaps (my choice!) $1 a day.

If my 3,400 stories are worth a penny each, that’s $34. If half of them are worth a dime each, that’s $170. I’ll leave other calculations to you.

I hope that if “06880” has ever

  • made you laugh, cry, think or wonder
  • spurred you to go to an event, read a book, try a restaurant or patronize a store
  • kept you up to date in a blizzard, hurricane, windstorm or power outage
  • delivered news about a favorite person or store
  • galvanized you to support a cause
  • helped publicize your event, book, appearance or concert
  • published your photo
  • paid tribute to someone you loved or admired
  • connected you to your hometown from many miles away
  • opened a window on Westport’s history, helped you think about its future, introduced you to someone in town you never knew, or helped you look at someone or someplace in a new way
  • given you a voice in the “Comments” section
  • inspired you
  • made you sit up and say “Wow!” (or “holy f—!”)

– you will consider tossing something my way.

Thanks for 5 great years. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, whether anyone sends an anniversary gift or nice.

And we’ll still have our now-annual summer “06880” party at the beach.

But hey. You tip a taxi driver you don’t even know for a 5-minute ride, right?

You can donate by PayPalclick here. It’s easy (and safe)! You don’t even need a PayPal account. If you get an error message, try www.paypal.comthen log in, create an account, or send money from the drop-down menu by entering this email address: dwoog@optonline.net. Or click the “Donate” button on the home page of “06880.”

Checks (or cash, if you’re paranoid I’ll find out who you are) may be mailed to:  Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880.  Put “06880″ on the memo line.  It won’t do anything for the IRS, but it may help you remember at tax time why you sent me something.

Next year's "06880" party will NOT be held on the hottest day of the year. (Photo/Jo Shields)

Next year’s “06880” party will NOT be held on the hottest day of the year. (Photo/Jo Shields)

52 responses to “Happy Anniversary To Us!

  1. Jack Whittle

    Congratulation Dan! (the man behind 06880) – this has become an invaluable town forum, and your work at introducing topics which generate lively and meaningful conversation cannot be underestimated.

  2. Matt Murray

    Congrats Dan!
    You forgot the tag line “But wait, there’s more…..”
    Best!

  3. bobbi essagof

    You have helped keep me and those around me informed about what is going on in our town. How else could I keep track of all the GFS grads after they’ve grown and gone? I often find myself thinking “Could that go on 06880?” as I see wonderful and not wonderful things that go on in this town. You’ve made me laugh and made me furious, not at you, and I look forward to seeing your emails everyday.
    Thanks and congrats. Looking forward to many more years of 06880.

  4. Fred Cantor

    Happy bday (and I still think you should have acquired the rights to “The Town Crier” logo for branding purposes)! And I’m happy to contribute.

  5. Michael Nuzzo

    Thank you Dan for your insightful, intelligent and always entertaining stories. I truly enjoy reading your daily posts and hope to continue to do so for many years to come

  6. Thank you Dan but t’was oogles of fun to read the anonymous posts after you, the DJ, spun your tunes, inciting the crowd to dance the night away.

  7. Richard Kaplowitz

    Not sure the link to paypal is a good one…..

    Would like to use it but I get an error message.

    Please check it out…

    Richard H. Kaplowitz, Esq. kaplowitzlaw@yahoo.com

  8. Armelle Daniels

    Happy Anniversary! Thx for my daily “didn’t know that” moments, and emotions – laughter, sadness, admiration, encouragements, and more. Thx too for helping me park (almost) perfectly straight by fear of ending up photographed and on “06880” :) FYI, I clicked on the PayPal link both in my email and in browser, both didn’t work (got an error message from PayPal).

  9. Betty Lou Cummings

    Happy Anniversary (5 years)…every morning I click on 06880 to see the latest in Westport…you are the best and we love you. Betty Lou Cummings…

  10. Barbara Sherburne '67

    Congratulations to you, Dan, on five years of hard work in producing this informative blog. It is apparent that oftentimes quite a lot of research goes into the story. Keep up the excellent work. As others have said, the PayPal link does not work.

  11. Anonymous Congratulations

    Congratulations! It’s fantastic to see a start up succeed. I am looking forward to what I hope is your next stage of development as a money making form of media. This blog is worth it, and you deserve it.

  12. Peter Flatow

    How time flies when you are having fun. Dan whether it is/was with the students or the adults around town you have been Westport’s thought leader. Keep it coming!

  13. Kathie Bennewitz

    Congratulations Dan! Your love of Westport is infectious and you help share news and events–the interesting, the offbeat and, yes, all too often the sad–and, in doing so, connect people, stir debate, as well as touch many, here and afar. Can’t wait for the next 5!

  14. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Hey Dan, congratulations!!! Five years already?? I find that I cannot live without hearing what you have to say every day! I guess that is the objective, huh? I love “06880” and will continue to look to it for my Westport news. Thanks for all the work that you do out of your love for Westport!

  15. Congratulations, Dan! You’re doing old fashioned people-oriented journalism in a brand new wrapper, and it’s become everyone’s must read. Westport is an incredible town, and we’re lucky to have you working so hard to bring out all the great stories.

  16. betsy pollak

    Dan, your way with words is unparalleled, I love reading your posts and sharing with friends. Here’s to the next five years!

  17. THANKS to all for the best wishes. You are providing many more reasons to love this town — in all its many ways!

  18. Bart Shuldman

    CONGRATS DAN. WAY TO GO!!!! With no personal gain, you have created the best medium for any and all issues, events both good and bad, and history amongst many other things for all of is to read and comment. And asking for names has made it so much better.

    Glad you never caught any of my bad parking. Just kidding.

    • THANKS, Bart — and you gave me a great idea. For a small fee, I will NOT post people’s bad parking jobs. What do you think?

      • Bart Shuldman

        Too funny—-of course you have to Post the bad parking–it keeps me from considering or even thinking about it. Never know where you are or someone on the blog. 👀👀👀👀

        Our check is coming anyway….💲💲💲💲

  19. AUDREY HERTZEL

    You’re the man, Dan! Always willing to help, whatever that may be! Congrats on 5 years and to the next 25! :-) Audrey (one of your many fans)

  20. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Thanks Dan, 06880 is a “can’t live with out it. Thought I knew a lot about this town, but it turns out it just scratched the surface. Enjoy the stories about Westport’s wonderful citizens, especially the kids. Look forward to seeing what’s on the agenda every day, thanks!

  21. Dan
    Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!
    There seem to be as many opinions about downtown Westport as there are residents – plus plenty of ex-Westporters weighing in as well – and your blog helps keep everyone informed, involved and engaged in all the issues.
    Although the Downtown Merchants have been both applauded and taken to the woodshed by you, we value open discussion and thank you for continuing to keep it lively!

    • THANKS, WDMA (I guess the Supreme Court is right — corporations are people). This comment is one of the nicest I’ve ever gotten. I hope I’ve used the velvet glove more than the fist, but I know I and all other Westporters appreciate all you do, for all of us. Gracias.

  22. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a BRILLIANT 5 YEAR OLD.
    Michele

  23. Wendy Crowther

    What do I read? Westport News? Nope – I don’t subscribe anymore. Minuteman? Sometimes. WestportNow? Now and then. 06880…always! Thank you, Dan, for putting your heart, soul, sense of humor, sense of history, and hometown love into your blog. I’m heading to PayPal now. Happy Anniversary.

  24. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    So glad to have (re) discovered “06880” from afar, Dan. Thanks for your patience, for letting people vent (for understanding my love-hate relationship with the place)! Your cheque is in the mail (I must remember to write it out in U.S. currency, or you’ll feel gypped!)

    • Thanks, Nancy. Yeah, your love/hate relationship comes through. Glad we have so many “ex-pats” who follow “06880” from afar!

  25. Dan, I’ve have been a fan since the beginning. The memories and love of Westport never leaves anyone who spent their youth in Westport even though some of us don’t stay. Thanks for all of the stories you’ve given us, the laughs, tears, the arrghh’s from the anon comment section!! Glad those are gone :) The longer I live, the more I love the memories of a childhood spent in Westport. Morning coffee is not the same without 06880.

    • The next time you’re in town, give a yell. The coffee’s on me. (At Java.)

      • Will do! Looking forward to it. I was thinking about those of us here at 06880. I join those who passed the big 50 b’day a few years ago and also joined the “remember when” club here :), and that’s a time in life when you start taking stock of things, look back a little because you have the time – kids are out of the house. So, when my mind wanders back, Westport looms large as my whole childhood psyche is there. The snow, the beach, the sand in my lunch at the beach, the pincher crabs walking out at low tide, the food, the smells, the roads, the legends, the people. I remember the day Kennedy was shot walking home on Main Street, stopping for a candy necklace from the Merritt Superette that day. The yeasty glazed donuts from the donut shop there. It’s all like yesterday so, I really appreciate this blog, Dan and I think we all do. Whether it was 50 years ago or 5.

  26. Like a typical 5 year old you are very cute–along with all your other attributes!
    Michele

  27. Barbara Sherburne '67

    Three words came to me just now that a friend of mine always used: “To be continued…” May this blog continue for a very long time into the future.

  28. Doug Conner

    I look forward to your summer bash at Compo. Hey, maybe Hall & Oates will make a surprise appearance??

  29. Dewey Loselle

    Dan – Thanks for all that you do with your great blog!. I read it every morning first thing. You often “break” stories first or bring stories to life that wouldn’t get attention otherwise. You delve into some items that get only short shrift elsewhere. You provide a great vehicle for the community to comment and thrash things out in advance of getting officially debated before formal Town bodies.You are always providing a history lesson for Westporters about their town, whether someone has been here two years or thirty years..Finally, you cover the human interest side of our Town which helps build a sense of community, a sense of connectedness and a small town feel.

    I will be sending a contribution (old school way by check) and I urge all Westporters to “pony up’ in helping Dan with this great institution.

  30. THANKS, Dewey, for this great comment. When I first started blogging, my one concern was that I would run out of story ideas. Thanks to you, the rest of the “06880” community — and everyone else in and around town — I know now that I never will.

  31. Lisa Rosene

    I first learned of your blog when someone posted your wonderful rememberance of Rich Rollins, and have been hooked ever since. As a Westporter living “away”, I am grateful to be able to keep in touch with the goings on in my hometown. I continue to be amazed, though not surprised, by all the wonderful achievements of my classmates and others, and appreciate your thoughtful – and sometimes snarky! – writings. And just when I wonder if moving back is the answer, you post a perfectly timed bad parking picture! Thanks for all you do, Dan!

  32. Marina Evenstein

    Thank you so much for this blog. We are new to Westport and moved here very recently mainly because of a) schools b) the amazing piano teacher who lives and teaches my kids here c) we like the town. Being newcomers your blog makes me feel more at home, more informed about things happening here. Love your work. Thank you.