Pics Of The Day #459

Scenes from Saugatuck Shores: The lighthouse …

… and the Saugatuck River. (Photos/Gene Borio)

Friday Flashback #99

The William F. Cribari bridge is all over the news. Plans are meandering and/or plowing ahead for reconstruction. Meanwhile, emergency repairs will begin soon.

And there’s a brouhaha over the recent spate of rush hour closings, in order to accommodate a boat moored just north of the swing span.

A discussion rages in the “06880” comments section: Is the 136-year-old bridge historic? Or just old?

You be the judge. This photo — sent by Carmine Picarello — comes from Eve Potts’ great book, “Westport…A Special Place.”

We’re not sure what the future holds. But whatever a renovated or new bridge looks like, one thing is sure.

It won’t have trolley tracks.

“06880” Party In Pictures

If you couldn’t make last night’s “06880” blog party, I understand.

We competed with the Senior Center lobster dinner, and the Chamber of Commerce after-hours social.

Plenty of readers are on vacation. Others live far away.

But the 120 or so folks who made it to Compo Beach last night had a great time. Politicians, candidates and commission members (even the P&Z — thanks for canceling your meeting!) mingled with artists, bankers, retirees, stay-at-home moms and dads, teachers, lawyers and local merchants (thanks, Julie, for repping Savannah Bee Company!).

Special thanks go to Westport’s Parks & Rec beach crew, who went waaaay out of their way to be helpful, warm and welcoming.

We ate. We drank. We chatted about everything except politics.

We watched the sun set. We realized how grateful we are to live in Westport — or to have some ties to it.

See you at next year’s bash!

Nicole Klein and her son Carter came to their first “06880” party 5 years ago, just 3 weeks after moving to Westport. They’ve been regulars ever since.

Great minds think alike. They did not coordinate their outfits — but they sure looked great! (Photo/Susan Garment)

Sean Byrnes’ 1967 Corvette — a true 427, as the license plate notes — was a huge hit.

Author Prill Boyle and Homes with Hope CEO Jeff Wieser mixed and mingled.

Former Westporter Bonnie Bradley — whose family lived near Compo for many generations — came from Roxbury for the “06880” party. She brought a special gift: This painting of the Saugatuck River and National Hall.

It’s not an “06880” party without an 06880 hat. (Photo/Susan Garment)

“06880” Readers Pick The Worst Signs In Town

The other day, I posted a photo of my choice for Worst Sign in Westport. The message — “When Flashing School Bus Stopped Ahead” — is both grammatically challenged and bizarre. In Westport, a school bus is always stopped ahead.

I asked “06880” readers to send in their least favorite signs. A wide variety get our goats — and for many different reasons. Here are a few:

(Photo/Eric Bosch)

The Little League diamond on North Compo is not exactly Eric Bosch’s field of dreams. He says:

“There are 64 of these large advertising signs (specifically positioned for maximum road traffic visibility) on Westport town property. I guess the town’s rules aren’t enforced when business ads make money. Get ready to see the political banner-size signs to go up in this space soon.”

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Chip Stephens does not care for this faded, passive-aggressive sign near Whole Foods near the Norwalk border, “welcoming” drivers to Westport.

(Photo/Brian Porter)

Brian Porter admits that the sign above — at the steps to Old Mill Beach, off Hillspoint Road — may not be the worst. However, it is confusing. “If you ignore one sign, please comply with the other and clean up after Fido,” he writes.

An anonymous contributor sent the image above, from the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. I agree: You should definitely not park that way, ever.

(Photo/Chris Woods)

For over a decade, this sign — and the accompanying traffic light — near the VFW at the Riverside/Saugatuck/Treadwall Avenue intersection has been Chris Woods’ pet peeve. Chris adds, “The 3-lights-for-2-lanes going the other direction are equally confusing.”

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

JP Vellotti offers this innocuous-looking sign, from a recent Levitt Pavilion show. He explains: “The au pairs all sat together. The woman in charge brought the sign. Funny, because I’ve been in big groups there. We figured out how to sit together without something that looked like a free ad. At least it wasn’t a politician running for office meet-up!”

Thanks for all the submissions. But I still think mine is the worst:

Pic Of The Day #458

Black Duck dock (Photo/Nancy Lewis)

“06880” Party On Tonight!

It’s all good for tonight’s 6th annual “06880” Compo Beach “blog party.”

We’re set for 6 p.m. at South Beach — the alcohol-is-fine-except-no-glass-bottles end, furthest from the cannons.

Please bring your own food and beverages. If you’d like to bring something extra to share, feel free!

We’ll provide the “06880” community — a chance to meet commenters and lurkers. Each year there are oldtimers, newcomers, politicians and normal human beings. It’s a chance to talk, laugh and trade stories about this wild, wacky and only slightly dysfunctional town we share and love.

Plus, the weather is supposed to be perfect.

See you tonight!

PS: If you’re coming over the William F. Cribari Bridge, allow extra time. You never know when it might be closed.

We’ll be just to the left of this jetty (near the boat and kayak launch). Without the car, though. (Photo/Linda Gramatky Smith)

Fire Department Tour: A Day To Remember

“06880” reader Sharon Maddern sent this letter to 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Fire Chief Robert Yost and Deputy Fire Chief Brian Meadows. But it’s worth sharing with a much larger audience:

I’d like to let you know about an outstanding experience my son and I recently had visiting the Westport Fire Department, and what an impressive, dedicated and professional team they are.

My son Derek is 21. Though he has some disabilities, he is a huge firefighter fan. He listens to all the calls over the scanners, and follows them online. For him this was a super-exciting day.

With the help of Sal Liccione, who set up the visit, we arrived on a Saturday morning. I expected a basic 20-minute overview. But our guide, Lt. Jonathan Piper — a veteran fireman of 20-plus years — gave us an incredibly informative tour of the facility. Even I was enthralled by the advanced technology, and his extensive knowledge of all the sophisticated equipment.

He explained the various roles of the department beyond firefighting, including HazMat and emergency responses like pulling cars out of ditches.

We also got a firsthand look at the new fire engines.

Derek gets a close-up look at a Westport fire truck.

I cannot tell you how meaningful this was to my son, and how appreciative I am of the time Jon took with us. Even I could follow his articulate, enthusiastic and patient explanations!

While I have spent the last 17 years working in commercial real estate in Westport, I was never aware of the extent that the fire department and these men are involved in: all the day-to-day aspects of our safety, including road hazards, building inspections, alarm responses, etc.

I hope that the WFD continues to receive Westport’s respect and the funding that it deserves, as they have an enormous burden of responsibility. They are an invaluable part of the community, and should be generously supported in their endeavors to continue to provide such an efficient, effective resource for the town.

This was a day both my son and I will always remember. Our thanks go out to the WFD!

Pic Of The Day #457

Saugatuck River view, from the small park on Riverside Avenue (Photo/Peter Tulupman)

More Closings For Cribari Bridge

Town officials have been notified by the state Department of Transportation that an inspection several weeks ago revealed structural deficiencies in both the substructure and ornamental truss structure of the William F. Cribari Bridge.

ConnDOT says that immediate repairs are necessary to maintain “the continued safety and stability of the existing bridge structure.”

Repairs begin on July 30. The tentative schedule calls for 6 weeks of work — weather permitting.

The contractor will work between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. The bridge and sidewalk will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Marine traffic requiring bridge openings may be limited during work periods.

ConnDOT will continue to focus on the longer term future of the Cribari Bridge.  As previously announced, their Project Advisory Committee meets tonight (Wednesday, July 18, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium).

The historic, controversial and soon to be worked-on William F. Cribari Bridge. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

Unsung Heroes #57

Last week’s Westport Library Book Sale went off without a hitch.

Thousands of visitors bought tens of thousands of books. And CDs, DVDs, even LPs.

The library earned thousands of dollars. Even yesterday — when everything was free (contributions gladly accepted!) — the library earned something just as important: grateful good will.

One scene from last weekend’s Book Sale.

But as easy as it all seemed — hundreds of volunteers hauling boxes, posting signs, pointing patrons in the right direction, smilingly totaling up purchases, answering idiotic questions (“Do you have …?”), handling setup, security and cleanup; volumes sorted superbly into categories from Art to Zoology; no problems despite the loss of the library space itself during the Transformation process — none of it would be possible without a few great leaders.

Mimi Greenlee and Dick Lowenstein are the Book Sale co-chairs.

Suzy Hooper and Heli Stagg have full-time library roles, in addition to their Book Sale duties.

They lead with inspiration — and by example. They give new (and literal) meaning to the phrase “heavy lifting.”

This is not the only Westport Library Book sale, either. There are others, in winter and spring. None would happen without the many volunteers — and these 4 at the helm.

(From left) Heli Stagg, Suzy Hooper, Mimi Greenlee and Dick Lowenstein yesterday. They don’t even look tired! (Photo/John Karrel)

We hope Mimi, Dick, Suzy and Heli enjoy being this week’s Unsung Heroes.

But they probably won’t see it. They’re finishing up last weekend’s book sale.

And starting work on the next.

(Hat tip: John Karrel. Want to nominate an Unsung Hero? email dwoog@optonline.net)