Category Archives: Totally random

Brian Chapman’s Mission Of Mercy

As summer fades into memory (very quickly), here’s a nice beach story.

Westporter Brian Chapman lives a quiet life. His daughter Colby (Staples High School Class of 2011) says his favorite activities are golf, and watching the sunset several times a week at Compo’s South Beach, with a circle of friends. She relays this story, from her mother.

The other night, Brian noticed a seagull struggling in the water. He borrowed a nearby kayak, and quickly paddled out.

Brian Chapman paddles out...

Brian Chapman paddles out…

The bird’s wings were tangled in a fishing line, and a lure was wrapped around one leg. Brian got the bird in the boat. His reluctant passenger nipped him many times, as Brian paddled to shore.

With the help of the kayak owner, they untangled the bird. Within minutes, it flew off into another beautiful Westport sunset.

...and saves a seagull.

…and saves a seagull.

Lynn And James’ Roadside Adventure

An alert “06880” reader who asked to be identified only as Andy writes:

Many folks in Westport do their best to help keep our town great. Here’s a story about 2 of them.

My weekend bike route takes me down Saugatuck Avenue, and ends at the Cedar Point Yacht Club. On the 1st  weekend of the month, I usually ride by Lynn and James picking up roadside trash. They’re easy to spot, with a purpose-made trash grabber in one hand and a large plastic bag in the other. James used to fill up plastic grocery bags. But they were outlawed, so he now uses regular garbage bags.

James and Lynn, hard at work.

James and Lynn, hard at work.

Their “trash pick-up route” is about 1 1/2 miles long — 3 miles round trip. The 2-hour gig begins on Saugatuck Avenue (New Haven side of the train station), and goes up Duck Pond Road onto Harbor Drive. Lynn and James cover both sides of the road.

The roadside trash usually fills 4 large plastic bags. In order of frequency: cigarette butts, cigarette boxes, drink cup lids and fast food packaging.

These 2 fine folks preferred I not use their last names in the article. But if you pass them on the road one weekend day, feel free to slow down and salute these terrific neighbors of ours.


Lost And Found: Kayak

“06880” is loath to post lost-and-found stories, because

  • Most of them are pretty narrow in scope
  • If we start doing it, we’ll be inundated
  • We can’t control who will claim an item.

But this is a special case.

Alert reader Leigh Gage writes:

This kayak with outriggers has sat at Old Mill Beach for a few days. It’s a really nice boat.


There was a water bottle in it with someone’s personalized label: James Perse – Los Angeles.

If you know someone who’s lost a kayak, let him or her know it may be sitting on our beach.

If it’s not yours, don’t take it.



Who You Gonna Call?

Bob Rogers — president of Coastal Tree Experts — has a well-deserved reputation for excellent work, and concern for Westport. Recently, for example, he donated Coastal’s services to Earthplace, for some very important work.

But Bob cares about far more than just customers and their trees.

Recently, he and his company saved not 1, but 2, cats stuck in trees. One was up there for 13 days; the other, 8.

Checking out the scene.

Checking out the scene.

Bob says that he is not in the business of cat rescuing.

But if the job needs to be done, he’s happy to do it.

Just before the rescue, after 8 days in a tree.

Just before the rescue, after 8 days in a tree.

John Weymouth rescues Foo-Foo on Side Hill Road:

(Hat tip to Betsy Pollak)

3 Bears For Sale

No, not the longtime restaurant on Newtown Turnpike. That was sold awhile ago — to Chabad Lubavitch.

These 3 bears — papa, mama and baby? — have stood for years outside the Post Road BP gas station, near Maple Avenue.

Bear collage

Now it’s an Exxon station.

And the bears bear “For Sale” signs.

The oil industry doesn’t get more cutthroat than this.




Finally, A Perfect Parking Job

Little car

The Saddest Estate Sale Ever

On the face of it, there’s nothing remarkable about the sign for this estate sale:

Estate sale

Any Westporter knows it refers to an event in the Gault Park section of town, off Cross Highway.

But if you’re not from here, it takes on a whole different meaning.

(Hat tip to Bruce Borner, for first posting this sign on Facebook.)

Andy Yemma Thought About Tweeting This Photo…

…but realized that “06880” readers would appreciate the photo more (if not the pun).


The robins’ nest is in a hemlock bush in his backyard. Mixing cartoon characters, the family named the fledgings Sleepy, Grumpy and Goofy.

Spring has definitely sprung!

Connecticut: A Very Moving State

About half of Connecticut’s residents would move to a different state — if only they had the chance.

That’s the result of a Gallup poll, taken for god knows what reason and passed along by alert “06880” reader (and longtime Nutmeg State resident) Andy Yemma.

The 49% wanna-get-out results compare to a 33% national average. The only state with less satisfied residents is Illinois, where 50% of the folks would move if they could.

Three very different states had the most satisfied people: Hawaii, Maine and Montana. Only 23% of those residents wanted to flee.


Hartford radio station WNPR — which reported this story — quoted UConn economist Fred Carstensen (hey, why not?) as allowing that residents in coastal Connecticut are probably satisfied, what with our close access to New York City, lots of local cultural attractions, and strong sense of place.

However, he noted, “If you are in central Connecticut, [like] Hartford, Waterbury — the I-84 corridor — I suspect you would be thinking about moving.” 

So what do you think, “06880” residents? (And those who live elsewhere.)

Would you move away if you could? Why or why not? Did you come here by choice? Have you actually moved away? Would your answer be different if you lived in Waterbury?

Click “Comments” to respond. Please use your full, real name.

And zip code.



Whats In A Name?

You would think that a certain amount of care and checking goes into the manufacture of street signs throughout Westport.

But you would be wrong.

Setting aside the lack of standardization — there must be half a dozen styles of signs on public roads, plus the hundreds of private ones — there are also instances in which even the people who live somewhere must be confused.

Consider Sipperley’s Hill/Sipperleys Hill Road. (Which, I am sure, most Westporters think of as “Slippery Hill.”)

Sipperleys collage

Or Hillspoint/Hills Point. (Which, I think, was actually named for a family called Hill, not the geographic feature heading toward the beach. That means neither rendering is correct; instead it should be Hill’s Point, right?)

Hillspoint collage

Now look closely at the sign above, on the right. It says Greens Farms Road. There’s an ongoing debate which is correct: that, or Green’s Farms.

Whichever side is right, I know the one below is dead wrong:

Green Farms Road


(Hat tip to Bruce Nemirow — who actually lives in Norwalk.)