Category Archives: Westport life

But Wait! There’s More!

As noted yesterday morning, I’ve set a pretty high bar for photos of poor/ entitled/passive-aggressive parking. To make “06880″ these days, you’ve got to be spectacularly arrogant.

This one sees that challenge, and doubles it.

Last Friday, an alert reader came out of Fresh Market. She saw a white Audi, parked in a handicapped spot. (Okay, “parked” may be the wrong word.)

Fresh Market - 1

As she took a picture of that hard-to-believe sight, a black Mercedes pulled into the other handicapped -spot, and parked like this. You can’t make this stuff up.

Fresh Market - 2

In the glass-half-full department, handicapped placards did hang from both rear view mirrors.

Though if this is the way they park, neither driver should be allowed on the road.


New Zip Code In The Works For Westport

First it was new telephone area codes.

Now, it’s a new zip code.

According to the website ZipCodesUSA, the United States Postal Service is “seriously considering” a plan to slice Westport into 2 zip codes. Other suburban communities with similar populations nationwide would also be affected.

This is not John Nissenson.

This is not John C. Nissenson.

“It’s a way of adapting to changing technology, and changing postal mailing patterns,” said John C. Nissenson, USPS director of zip code enhancement. “We think we can handle delivery more efficiently with added zip codes.” The “enhanced” zip codes would take effect January 1, 2015.

Approximately half of Westport’s residential customers would lose 06880 — our well-known zip code since they were introduced in 1963. The new zip code would be 06882. 06881 is used for town offices, while 06883 is Weston’s zip code.

Fortunately, my zip code won’t change. And rest assured: This blog’s name won’t change either.

But yours might. Click here to see a map of the proposed changes.

Oh, Doctor!

An alert “06880″ reader writes (and swears every line is true):

So there I was, 4th in line at the Walgreens on the Southport line. One clerk worked feverishly to account for more than 30 items in a cart. Our line watched in amazement as the customer — a doctor in scrubs — pulled coupons from her handbag. She was like a magician drawing handkerchiefs out of a hat.

The poor clerk struggled to match the coupons to the products. Many were for wrong-size items. Back to the bag the doctor went, to find the right coupons.

After what seemed like 10 minutes, the 2 agreed on a total. The doctor abruptly turned and walked to the ATM, where she screamed, “How much is that again?” Our long line was stunned, but no one uttered a peep.

After paying, the doctor went to her car. I could not contain myself. I asked my new friends to hold my place in line. I had to see what she was driving.

It was a Mercedes S550.

Parked in the fire lane, right in front of the door.

This is not the doctor at Walgreens.

This is not the doctor at Walgreens.

A Hawkish Outlook

Dr. Richard Epstein’s Redcoat Road dental office features a back yard filled with birdhouses and feeders. The birds that hang around — and come right up to the windows — provide a wonderfully distracting show for patients, as they open wide in the dental chair.

This morning, a hawk perched elegantly on the largest feeder.

Hawk on Dr Richard Epstein's feeder

“I suspect it was looking for a different item on the breakfast menu,” Dr. Epstein says.

A Shi**y Day At Winslow Park

Alert “06880″ reader Chip Stephens took a walk in Winslow Park this beautiful early spring morning. He sent along a photo, of a cute-looking puppet or sculpture or something, hanging in the trees:

Winslow 2

Or not.

Here’s what else Chip emailed:

The crocuses were up, but so was something else: many, many bags of dog droppings.

Folks pick them up with plastic bags, then throw them into the woods, or trees.

Winslow 1

I got a large bag, and started picking them up. The final tally was about 317 blue bags. Most were filled with dog doo. There were also a half dozen beer bottles in blue bags, plus a dozen soda cans.

We have a beautiful park. Do you think we can all help keep it clean? Drop those droppings in the receptacle on the way out, please.

A Westporter Makes A Very Difficult Dog Decision

A Westporter who asks to remain anonymous writes:

We all love our dogs, but how often do our dogs not love us? With a heavy heart I have come to a decision. It  won’t earn accolades from friends or even family, but it needs to be made nonetheless: I’m going to put my 4-year-old dog down.

One day, the dog broke its owner's glasses.

One day, the dog broke its owner’s glasses.

He is a canine felon. He has a rap sheet in Virginia, and a bad reputation in NY and Maryland with years of biting: me, my daughter and handlers. He lunges with bared teeth at his dog friends, without any provocation. My biggest concern is…what if? What if he pulls away from me, and a child tries to stop him? I could not live with myself if my dog — a known biter — hurts someone.

At Thanksgiving I received reports of his biting when I kenneled him in Maryland. Earlier this fall he was requested not to return to another facility when he bit a handler who placed her hand on his collar as she tried to keep him from another dog.

In his 1st year here, my dog was attacked on a Westport beach by an unleashed and unregistered bully breed. The damage was significant, and it took a few weeks for my dog to get back to “normal” — able to run and jump like nothing had happened. Afterwards I heard from others whose dogs had been injured at Winslow Park or at the beach, some warning me of repeat offenders.

Compo Beach attracts many types of dogs.

Compo Beach attracts many types of dogs.

I reached out to the breed rescue group I had adopted my then-9-month-old puppy from, for advice on my next steps. The former rescue coordinator responded:

So sorry that you have had to go through these very trying experiences. A biting ‘Big Dog’ is definitely not the norm…BUT it has occurred and will occur since ‘bad breeding’ is something we can’t control. Wish we could but that is a fact. Your dog is clearly NOT the ‘norm’ and the unpredictability of his biting means just that, not predictable and therefore could seriously hurt an innocent person, or worse, a child.

You have done what you could, and gone beyond what many would put up with for so long. That risk of a bite from a good sized dog, a Big Dog, is something you cannot take.

Believe me, after 27 years coordinating the Rescue program, these decisions are the hardest to make, but they are the right ones when folks like you have done  your best, and with so many instances, a peaceful permanent sleep is the only solution.

It's tough saying goodbye to any dog.

It’s tough saying goodbye to any dog.

You, we, cannot pass this on to another person or family. Your dog is too dangerous, and others might NOT have the supreme effort for him as you have done. As you do love him, as we all love our Big Dog, this is the loving thing to do. It will be more ‘painful’ for you but the right thing for him.

You have done your best.

“He has a very high opinion of himself, he has no respect” an animal behaviorist told me after several home visits, and I thought: Of course he does. He lives in Westport! Those I have told come in 2 camps: One is, How could I put a family member down? Two: Zero tolerance to a biting dog, put him down, he is a liability.

This decision hasn’t been taken lightly — far from it. But after additional bites where he has broken the skin, my skin, it is time to assess the situation and make the call I am loath to make.

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: 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)

Neither Rain Nor Sleet … (The Other Side )

This morning’s “06880” told the tale of a Sturges Highway-area resident who — even though her mailbox is all dug out — has not received mail for a week.

That inspired alert reader Karen Murphy to tell a different tale.

She writes: “I was so impressed to see the mail delivery truck on this day when so much snow fell I took a picture!”

Mail today

The moral of the story: Just like real estate, with mail delivery it’s all about location, location, location.

Be Careful Out There!

If you are one of the 5 families still in Westport this Presidents Day weekend/ February school vacation, this post is for you.

Our plow guys have done a fantastic job this winter, clearing streets and parking lots. But all that snow had to go somewhere, and tons of it ended up obscuring sight lines.

The result: Drivers are inching out into roads further than they’re used to. Meanwhile, roads are narrower than normal, with snow lining the sides.


Bottom line: Be careful when entering into traffic.

And if you’re the “traffic,” watch out for the other guy.

Meanwhile, for everyone else in Anguilla or Cabo or wherever: Don’t forget sun block!

Timing Is Everything

Darcy Hicks was delighted when her private plow guy did a great job on her long, steep Harding Lane driveway.

She was less pleased when the town truck came through a little while later.

Darcy Hicks

The good news: She’s got strong sons to help.

The bad news: It’s gonna snow again tonight.

A lot.