Roundup: Cell Tower, Health & Wellness, Will Haskell …

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The northeast corner of the office building complex at 55 Greens Farms Road — the one that seems oddly out of place, next to Assumption Cemetery between Hillspoint and Hales Roads — may be the site of Westport’s next cell tower.

The site is an alternate for previous discussions about a tower at 92 Greens Farms Road. Both were proposed by Tarpon Towers and AT&T.

Construction at the office complex would involve a wetland crossing. It will be reviewed by the Westport Conservation Commission on January 31. A public information session is set for February 8 to discuss the 2 locations. Both meetings will be held virtually.

Click here for more information.

55 Greens Farms Road: proposed site of the cell tower.

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With COVID still hanging around, health and wellness is more important than ever.

WestportMoms just released their 2022 Health &Wellness guide.

They say: “Whether you need new motivation for working out, new ideas for what to cook each night, some CBD to help you sleep, or even someone to help you organize that closet or garage, we have you covered.”

Referring to fellow moms, they add: “We spent 2020 and 2021 making sure everyone else was feeling ok. Now it’s your turn!”

Click here for the free guide.

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You’ve read about Will Haskell on “06880.” Now hear him live at the Westport Library.

The State Senator dons his author’s hat on Thursday (January 27, 7 p.m., in-person and Zoom). He’ll talk about his new book: 100,000 First Bosses: My Unlikely Path as a 22-Year-Old Lawmaker.

It’s the story of his campaign for the State Senate at age 22 — and then learning

Will is both a gifted politician and an entertaining author,. For a seat at the Library or to watch from home, click here.

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And finally … Jon Lind, who wrote hit songs for Earth Wind & Fire, Madonna, Vanessa Williams and others, died recently. He was 73, and had battled cancer for 2 years.

Among his biggest tunes: “Boogie Wonderland,” “Sun Goddess,” “Crazy for You” and “Save the Best for Last.”

Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 94 Gallery

Bright colors to brighten up mid-winter!

As always, this gallery is open to you. Whatever your age and level of experience — professional or amateur, young or old. In every medium.

All genres are encouraged. Watercolors, oils, charcoal, pen-and-ink, acrylics, lithographs, macramé, jewelry, sculpture, decoupage and needlepoint — whatever you’ve got, email it to dwoog@optonline.net. Share your work with the world!

“Winter Blossom” (Amy Schneider)

“In the Kitchen” (Jo Ann Davidson)

After a recent snowfall, Jerry Kuyper — the artist known for his rock sculptures at Schlaet’s Point — made this ancient mark on Longshore’s 18th green.

A few days later, this was the scene nearby. “Longshore never disappoints,” says photographer June Rose Whittaker.

“Waiting for the Bus” (Lawrence Weisman)

“I Got You: Sherwood Island” (Robin Genser)

Tessa Zimmerman: An ASSET To Manage Anxiety And Stress

During elementary and middle school in Westport, Tessa Zimmerman suffered severe anxiety and panic attacks. Teachers tried to help, she says, but really did not know what to do.

In 2008 she transferred to Easton Country Day School. Smaller classes, and staff trained in mindfulness and positive psychology, helped mitigate her anxiety and stress.

After graduation, Zimmerman headed to the Watson Institute at Lynn University. She studied social entrepreneurship.

Tessa Zimmerman

In the years since, she’s put those lessons into practice. She’s the founder and executive director of ASSET Education. The Boulder-based nonprofit trains and equips educators with concrete tools to help students reduce stress and build resilience.

Each week, Zimmerman says, the organization impacts 40,000 students, in dozens of schools.

In 2018, the National Education Association called anxiety and stress “epidemic.”

That was before COVID. Today, Zimmerman says, there’s a “state of emergency” in youth mental health.

At the same time, a continuing focus on standardized testing, college admissions and job-related skills like STEM limit the amount of time schools can spend on stress reduction — while those same focuses actually increase anxiety.

ASSET offers bite-sized lessons, which can be fit in at the beginning of a class. That’s important Zimmerman says. After all, “We’re not wired to learn when we’re stressed.”

Zimmerman’s goal is to “start conversations about this. When I was growing up, we didn’t talk about my anxiety and stress.”

Eventually, she found ways to cope.

“I got through,” she says. “Now I want to give other kids hope too.”

Click below for Tessa Zimmerman’s a TEDx talk on youth mental health.

Pic Of The Day #1740

Early morning train (Photo/Susan Thomsen)

Friday Flashback #280

Two weeks ago, Steve Baldwin’s treasure trove of December 1967 downtown Westport photos drew plenty of comments.

Here’s another he contributed to the great “Exit 18” Facebook page.

Changes were soon to come to Main Street. Within months, Art’s Luncheonette would become Westport Pizzeria.

Within a few years, the Westport Furniture Center would burn to the ground. Oscar’s would move a couple of doors north.

More than half a century later though, the bones of Main Street still look basically the same.

Remarkable.

Roundup: Carbon Monoxide, Ice Hockey, Local To Market …

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The Westport Fire Department wants residents to know that carbon monoxide poisoning is a winter threat.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible odorless gas that can be fatal. It forms when fuels like gasoline, natural gas, propane, wood, charcoal, and kerosene do not burn completely. Breathing carbon monoxide can deprive the body of oxygen, and may lead to illness, loss of consciousness and death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
  • If several members of a household experience these symptoms when they are home but feel better when they are away from the home, there may be a carbon monoxide problem.

If you have symptoms:

  • Get out of the house immediatelyand seek medical help if you or a family member or guest has unexplained/sudden onset of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s home and the Connecticut Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Carbon monoxide alarms are the only way to know if the deadly gas is present in your home. It is recommended that all residents with fuel burning appliances or indoor equipment install carbon monoxide alarms near all sleeping areas in their home to alert them of the presence of carbon monoxide. Install a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of your home and outside of each bedroom. Install new batteries as per manufacturer’s instructions and replace alarms every five years, as the sensors degrade.

To stay safe:

  • Never use portable generators, charcoal or gas grills, gas or propane powered pressure washers, saws or other fuel powered equipment inside your home, garage, carport, basement, or other enclosed spaces. Opening windows and doors, and operating fans is not enough to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide in a home
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of your home & outside of each bedroom.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe on your standby generator is pointing away from the house.
  • Place portable generators at least 20 feet from the house.
  • Make sure gas dryer vents and automobile tail pipes are not plugged up with snow.
  • Have your heating systems, chimney flues, gas appliances, wood stoves, and generators checked every year, and cleaned and serviced as needed by qualified heating/appliance contractors.

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There are many ways to illustrate the current tensions in Ukraine.
Staples High School 1988 graduate/Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks did it with a unique shot of Ukrainian soldiers jumping into a cross made out of ice, near the Russian front — a tradition in that country.
The image was the lead one today, on page 1 of the Times. (Hat tip: John Karrel)
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Congratulations to the Staples High School boys ice hockey team. The Wreckers beat Norwalk-McMahon 4-2 in the 3rd annual Dale Wemhoff Cup. Wehmhoff attended Westport schools and was the assistant hockey coach at Staples before taking over the Norwalk program. (Hat tip: Hannah Kail)

Staples High School ice hockey team.

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There’s (almost) always something going on at Local to Market. Mark these dates, for the popular food-and-more store on Main Street next to Parker Harding Plaza.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 22, 2 to 4 p.m.): Maria from Fairfield’s Bee Love Project offers tastings, suggests pairings and presents insights into the world of honey bees.

Two days before Valentine’s (Saturday, February 12, time TBD), Samantha from Locavore Kitchens in Westport talks about her rosemary glazed shortbread cookies (and more).
Go for the local food stars. Stay for the samples?

The Local to Market patio.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows 3 deer, trying for camouflage. Or perhaps just hungry.

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)

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And finally … 2 recent deaths with local connections.

Meat Loaf died yesterday, at 74 (or so — read full obituary here). The larger-than-life ’70s singer would of course be commemorated here no matter where he lived.

But for a while he was a Westport resident. He played softball on Sunday mornings at Compo Beach, coached his daughter’s softball team, hung out on Terry and Gail Coen’s very visible Soundview Drive front deck, and was a cheerful, popular presence in town. Everyone of a certain age has a Meat Loaf story from those days.

And Fred Parris, co-founder of the Five Satins and writer of “In the Still of the Night,” died recently after a brief illness. He was 85.

The New Haven native wrote the song while on guard duty with the Army in Philadelphia. His group recorded it “in a makeshift studio in the basement of St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church in New Haven on February 19, 1956,” the New Haven Register says. Click here for the full obituary. (Hat tip: Audrey Rabinowitz)

 

Westport PAL: A Friend To Youth

A Staples High School graduate received a Westport PAL scholarship. Now he’s applying for another.

That’s not unusual. Since 1948, the non-profit has helped local kids in countless ways.

What is unusual is the letter the young man sent. It’s appreciative, insightful, and spot on.

It deserves to be read by many people — not just as an example of how to write a good scholarship application letter, but to shine a light on the work this important organization does every day, often under the radar.

Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the PAL Ellis Scholarship.

PAL represents the best of what local youth programs should be about. I have noted many changes in the universe of youth sports since the days when I played PAL sports.

There seems to be so much pressure on parents and children nowadays to get into the most prestigious clubs for their respective sport, no matter the cost. As a result, I see and hear about many children who feel burnout early on because these profit-first systems seem to forget that youth sports are about community and fun.

These highly paid coaches and sponsored teams may be able to provide world-class coaching an hour away at the price of a new car, but they cannot do what PAL has done for young Westporters like me: make kids fall in love with their
sport.

PAL has always been a huge part of my life. My father played PAL football, and still talks about the wonderful coaches and friends he made to this day.

As soon as I was old enough, I signed up for football in the 3rd grade. Despite being the smallest player on the team and never getting a single touchdown, I was encouraged, welcomed, and treated like I belonged.

When the football season ended, signing up for PAL wrestling was an easy decision, and perhaps one of the best in my life.

I first met Coach Chacho in the Coleytown gym as an elementary schooler. At that time, I had no idea there even was a Wrestling Hall of Fame, much less that Coach Chacho was in it.

John Chacho, longtime Westport PAL wrestling coach.

But he lit the spark in me that still burns bright today. I think about him and his PAL program all the time. Coach Chacho taught us about pride and what was possible with hard work — all the same things I felt with PAL football.

I’ve been fortunate to find success with wrestling, and have attended many amazing camps and clinics. While the technical coaching is great, it’s just not the  same as what the neighborhood volunteer coaches gave me when I first started with PAL.

PAL remained present throughout my high school days, as a huge sponsor of the
wrestling team, even donating our competition mat and supporting the young kids who came in twice a week to practice at Staples. I also got to see my younger brothers follow the same PAL path that I did. I’ve watched these programs have the same impact on them as they had on me.

I am so grateful for the PAL scholarship I was awarded my senior year. I made a promise in my first thank-you letter to honor the organization that gave me so much for so many years. I am constantly working hard every day to keep my promise.

Today I am a sophomore in college, and still thrilled to be wrestling. I am majoring in music and physics (and will likely stay a fifth year for my master’s in that), with a minor in integrated design, engineering and applied sciences. If I am fortunate enough to be selected for the Ellis scholarship, I promise to continue to do everything I can to reflect positively on PAL, and hopefully be able to continue to be associated with the program long after I graduate.

Pic Of The Day #1739

The scene from Robin Frank’s window, earlier today (Photo/Robin Frank)

Roundup: Kids Chill Out, Leadership …

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The Westport Library’s Children’s Winter Reading program has a cool name: “Chill Out and Read.”

The program runs from Monday (January 24) through March 19. It’s for children of all ages — “and their grown-ups.”

For every 50 minutes a child reads, he or she receives a snowperson that will be displayed in the Library. When 500 minutes are read, the child can choose a free book to keep, from the library’s titles.

Click here to register.

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Speaking of books: Willys DeVoll published his first one.

After graduating from Staples High School in 2009, and earning a master’s in English at Stanford University, Willys worked for Google for several years. He now is a freelance writer. T

Leadership Is a Relationship: How to Put People First in the Digital World is a collection of interviews with men and women who succeed by prioritizing the well-being of others. It includes stories from leaders like Olympic legend Kerri Walsh Jennings, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald, and visionary principal Dr. Virginia Hill.

Click here for more information, and to order.

Willys DeVoll

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Speaking once again of authors: State Senator Will Haskell’s new book — 100,,ooo First Bosses: My Unlikely Path as a 22-Year-Old Lawmaker — is getting plenty of attention.

National attention.

Click here to see Will on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Click here to hear him on Will Haskell on NPR (the segment starts at 17:35).

State Senator Will Haskell

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“Westport … Naturally” includes some classic local scenes. But it doesn’t get more classical than this.

(Photo/Josh Stern)

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And finally … on this date in 1964, Capitol Records released the LP “Meet the Beatles!”

There are many ways to note the beginning of Beatlemania — a force that changed the world. This is as good as any.

 

 

Westporters Should Know About The Knowlton’s Space

Sophia Livecchi is embarrassed to admit it. But growing up in Westport, the 2017 Staples High School graduate had a bit of fear of leaving this bubble.

“People are nervous to step outside of their comfort zone to try something new,” she notes.

Now — a year after graduating from Skidmore College — it’s her job to get people in places like Westport to take that step.

Sophia Livecchi

Sophia is the marketing manager for The Knowlton. That’s the waterfront event venue, artist studios and mural park in Bridgeport that most people here have never heard of.

And if they have — well, maybe they also have misperceptions about the big city, less than 10 miles from our border.

Sophia first heard of The Knowlton from James Brown, a Westporter who is one of the 27 artists with a studio there.

She was looking for a “creative community,” and found it strange she’d heard nothing about it. “It’s in our back yard,” she notes.

The Knowlton is located on Bridgeport’s East Side. It’s on the Peconic estuary, within walking distance of the train station.

Owner Shiran Nicholson — a native New Yorker and professional event planner — has created a vibrant, welcoming and eclectic space in his adopted city.

The Knowlton: a bird’s-eye view.

It includes a large boathouse with deck overlooking the water; 2 galleries; those 27 studios, and a plenty of space for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, corporate events, outdoor dinners and more.

The main building dates to 1865. The first hybrid electric car was built there, Shiran says, and it survived a tornado in 2010.

The artists with studio space there have formed a true community, Sophia says. They get together often, for social events and creative collaboration.

Children play at The Knowlton’s mural park.

The Knowlton is just one of several spots that make up Bridgeport’s burgeoning arts and cultural scenes. The Bijou Theater is one example; they just welcomed alternative radio station WPKN-FM to new studios upstairs.

Steelpointe is planning luxury apartments. They may be linked to The Knowlton by a walkway, with floating gardens.

“People come here and say, ‘How come I didn’t know about this?'” Sophia says.

“I love the vibe here,” Shiran says. “I’m so glad I found this space.”

So is Sophia.

“If I lived my life being closed to new opportunities, I’d really regret it. This is a creative, comfortable space. I can be myself there. That’s not always the case in Westport.”

She is thrilled she stepped out of her comfort zone.

Now she wants many other Westporters to follow.

The Knowlton’s boathouse interior.