Roundup: Deer, Alaska, Trump …

A deer in distress has been wandering around the Long Lots Lane/Keene Road area.

Tangled in what looks like a badminton net, its gaunt appearance suggests it cannot see to forage for food.

Residents who spot the deer should call Westport Animal Control (203-341-5076) pr Wildlife in Crisis (203-544-9913). They are aware of the situation, and are ready to help.

Ruth Ayles, who sent this photo — which she saw on Facebook — reminds residents to properly dispose of balloons (or skip them all together).

====================================================

You’ve probably seen the ads for ABC and Hulu’s new drama “Alaska Daily,” which debuts tonight.

They’re hard to miss.

But all the marketing for the Hilary Swank show neglect to mention Gabe Sherman’s contributions.

The Westport native is a key writer on “Alaska Daily.” He’s collaborating with Tom McCarthy, who executive produced a show based on Sherman’s book about Fox News, “The Loudest Voice.” For a rave preview of the series, click here.

In addition to this TV project, Sherman is a regular writer for Vanity  Fair.

Gabe Sherman

===================================================

Elections loom in a month. Westport’s League of Women Voters is ready.

They want you to be, too.

They want everyone to know about Vote411.org, It’s a national information center. Type in your address, and get all the voting information you need.

On November 2 (7 p.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum and Zoom), the LWV sponsors a candidates’ debate. Included are Senate District 26 hopefuls Toni Boucher and Ceci Maher, House District 136 (Alma Sarelli, Jonathan Steinberg), and House District 143 (Nicole Hampton, Dominique Johnson).

====================================================

Speaking of politics: Check out the latest “Cross Examining History” podcast (link below).

Host Talmage Boston — a 1972 Staples High School graduate — interviews Peter Baker and Susan Glasser about their new book about “The Divider,” about Donald Trump.

The entire series, in fact, is worth hearing. Boston examines American history and leading books, through in-depth and entertaining interviews.

That’s only one of Boston’s many talents. He’s a commercial trial and appellate litigator in Dallas, a Texas Monthly “Super Lawyer” with a sideline as a writer, on topics as diverse as baseball history and Teddy Roosevelt.

 

=======================================================

There’s something new at Old Mill Grocery: tables.

Three handsome, sturdy tables now welcome customers to sit inside. The Hillspoint Road spot continues to attract a steady stream of guests.

As OMG transitions to fall, regular dinner specials are an added attraction.

Old Mill Grocery tables. (Photo/Dan Woog)

======================================================

Westport’s Representative Town Meeting is seeking candidates to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Arline Gertzoff. The vacancy must be filled by a registered voter residing in RTM District 3.  No party affiliation is required, as Westport’s RTM is non-partisan.  The term expires November 28, 2023.

Residents of RTM District 3 interested in being considered to fill the vacancy should send a resume by October 14 to JDunkerton@westportct.gov.

======================================================

Wait! The Remarkable Theater drive-in movie season is not yet over!

They’ve just added another film. It’s tomorrow night — and it’s the 1941 Disney kids’ classic “Dumbo.”

The Imperial Avenue parking lot opens at 5:45 p.m. for tailgating. The show begins at 6:45. Click here for tickets.

=======================================================

Everyone talks about historic preservation in Westport.

But — as homes and buildings as old as 200 years, and as new as 20, fall to the wrecking ball — what are our greatest protection needs?

The Westport Historic District Commission recently received a Historic Preservation Enhancement Grant from the State Historic Preservation Office.

Funds will be used to hire a consultant to prepare a town “Preservation Plan.” It will identify and prioritize the greatest areas of need for historic preservation.

The plan will also will help establish and prioritize more Local Historic Districts and Local Historic Designations.

Properties within a Local Historic District have a higher degree of protection. The HDC must approve an application for alteration to a historic structure, as well as any new construction within a district.

Gorham Avenue is one of Westport’s Historic Districts.

=======================================================

Push Against Cancer is a family affair.

Jessica and Keith Larit’s daughters Emma, Leah and Katie wanted to do something special for the kids of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Their idea: a “Kids Helping Kids” bake sale.

On October 16 (Staples High School, 9 a.m.), everyone attending the 13th annual Push Against Cancer can do push-ups for pledges — and then reward themselves with tasty treats.

Katie says, “I enjoy helping because all kids deserve to have fun at camp.”

Emma adds, “I hope we can raise enough money to send hundreds of kids and their families to camp to have fun.”

Click here for more information on the Push Against Cancer.

Andrew Berman (red shirt), CEO and founder of Push Against Cancer, with
Emma, Leah and Katie Larit, and their parents Keith and Jessica. The sign refers to this year’s event, which will surpass $1 million raised in 13 years.

=======================================================

“The Afro-Semitic Experience” is the intriguing title of the next Y’s Women meeting.

In 1998 Dr. David Chevan, professor of music at Southern Connecticut State University and Hartford native Warren Byrd co-founded a 6-piece group of Jewish American and African American musicians. The Afro-Semitic Experience has performed, recorded and taught together ever since.

On October 10 (Greens Farms Church. 10:45 a.m.), they’ll share stories and songs, and discuss their conviction that people of different faiths, races and beliefs can come together with music to celebrate and build community.

Click here for more information.

=====================================================

“From the Pen to the Knife” is MoCA Westport’s new exhibit. A free opening reception is set for October 15 (5 to 7 p.m.).

The collection is by artist 90-year-old Marian Christy. She creates innovative watercolors using only palette knives and puddles of paint — no drawing or brushes. Click here for information.

One of Marian Christy’s nearly 300 works, exhibited soon at MoCA Westport.

====================================================

Westport Community Gardens director — and superb nature photographer — Lou Weinberg sends this superb “Westport … Naturally” image:

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

Lou notes: “The magical honeybee is not just a great pollinator. It is also an acrobat, sitting out the rain vertically on glass!”

=======================================================

And finally … on this date in 1927, “The Jazz Singer” — the first full-length “talkie” (sound) movie premiered. The site was Warner Bros.’ flagship New York City theater.

Wikipedia notes: “In keeping with the film’s theme of a conflict within a Jewish family, the film premiered after sunset on the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday.”

Among the many notable performances in the movie: Al Jolson’s performance of “Mammy.” Though he wore blackface, as other entertainers in the era did, he was known as a strong advocate for racial justice, particularly on Broadway.

(“06880” is your source for all kinds of info. Please click here to support this blog, and keep it coming!)

 

 

 

Cornhole Comes To Junamo

If you couldn’t make it to Cyndi Lauper, the Earthplace bash or Staples High School’s Class of 1971 reunion this past weekend, maybe you had fun at John Nunziato’s cornhole tournament.

Last year, amid COVID isolation, the Westporter created a small neighborhood :”Junamo” tournament. (The name combines Juniper and Caccamo Streets.)

This might be the only small gathering with a logo. Nunziato — whose day job is in design — branded the event. He created signage, and gave out swag to participants.

John Nunziato, with his branded sign.

A BBQ truck offered brisket and pulled pork. A bouncy castle and basketball games entertained kids, while a big screen TV for Sunday football and adult refreshments satisfied older folks.

With more than 40 cornhole players, and many more spouses and kids braving the cold, wet weather, a champion was crowned. Dave Frost took home the title this year (and a giant lion trophy that his wife is less than thrilled about).

Cornhole competitors.

It was a great day for the Junamo neighborhood (realtors: Take note of the name.) Meanwhile, Nunziato is already planning next year’s’ event. He hopes to include a charitable component. (Hat tip: Pam Long)

7th grader Caitlin Hand made cookies for the winner. (Photo/Pam Long)

Pics Of The Day #1997

Clouds over Compo Beach … (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

… and Soundview Drive … (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

… and Long Island Sound … (Photo/Jonathan Prager)

… and Owenoke (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Unsung Hero #257

Ellen Botwin’s parents have lived in the same Westport house since the 1970s. Her father turned 100 in June. Her mother is “21-plus.”

The other morning, Ellen’s mother called. Water was coming from upstairs, through the chandelier in the foyer.

Her dad had a stroke in 2018, and uses a walker. But his brilliant mind — he was senior vice president at Norden-United Technologies, and holds over 20 patents — still works.

He knew where the water came from, and tried to fix it. His wife worried he’d hurt himself, and called Ellen.

She lives an hour away, and does not know any Westport plumbers. In a panic she texted Rebecca, her parents’ next door neighbor. She gave Ellen the number for Pat Duffy.

Five minutes after Ellen’s message, Pat replied. She told him the problem. Immediately, he headed over.

An hour later, Pat texted back. The problem was fixed.

Ellen asked for the bill, and how he waned to be paid.

He said that his favorite uncle was named Leo — the same name as Ellen’s dad.

Leo Botwin

“I grew up with guys like him,” Pat noted. “It was nothing but a pleasure working for him. There is no charge. Happy 100th birthday, from Duffy Plumbing!”

Stunned, Ellen sent back her thanks. As they continued texting, she learned that it’s a third generation business. Pat’s father and son are plumbers too.

“My parents have no one really in Westport anymore,” Ellen says. “It’s hard to have friends when you’re 100 — they’re all gone.”

“Pat talked to my dad the entire time he was there. Then he wrote me the most amazing, nicest things about my dad. He showed such amazing respect.”

Pat repaid the compliment. And, he added, “The best part is, I get to sleep tonight knowing I did a good thing.”

For sure. And here’s to another good night’s sleep tonight: You’re “06880”‘s Unsung Hero of the Week!

PS: After Ellen posted about Pat Duffy Facebook, his son Hunter wrote: “My dad wants to thank everyone for their kind words. But he came home yesterday and couldn’t stop talkin about how your father is such a cool guy, and how much he loved talking to him.”

(If you know an Unsung Hero, email 06880blog@gmail.com)

(Every Wednesday, “06880” honors an Unsung Hero. Please click here to help support this feature, and many others.)

Roundup: New Ops Head, Recovery, Window Painting …

Meet Tom Kiely: Westport’s new operations director. He assumes the position immediately.

He graduated from Plymouth State University, with a BS in public management. He spent 21 years with the Connecticut State Police in a variety of roles and supervisory positions, including 11 years as a detective with major crimes. His work involved relationships with local, state and federal agencies.

His honors include Outstanding Service Awards from the State Police and United States’ Attorney’s Office; a District of Connecticut Department of Justice Award, and numerous Unit Citation Awards.

Kiely says, “My entire professional life has been in public service. I am very excited to begin a new career as operations director of this great community. I look forward to meeting new people, accepting new challenges, and collaborating with the team of town employees, business owners, and residents – confident that I bring a fresh perspective and life experience to this important role in town government.” 

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker welcomes Kiely, and thanks town audit manager and senior accountant Lynn Scully, whose work as interim operations director was “exceptional. Her input, advice and guidance as she deftly managed the multiple jobs that we asked her to perform on behalf of the town were invaluable, and we owe her a debt of gratitude.”

Thomas Kiely

=====================================================

Some big names will attend the 9th annual Recovery Celebration — called “The Road Together” — this Sunday (October 9, Westport Library, 3 p.m.).

Liberation Programs and local partners — including Mitchells — host the event. There’s live music, refreshments, remarks from Senator Richard Blumenthal and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, a panel moderated by NBC’s Craig Melvin, and a recovery story from Steven Stone.

Click here for more details.

=====================================================

Calling all painters!

The annual Halloween Window Painting Contest takes place Saturday, October 22. Who wants to paint?!

Last year, over 100 children painted scary scenes on windows offered by local businesses. Participants can paint their own window, or team up with friends.

Judging follows. Winners get a gift certificate from Gofer Ice Cream.

Click here to sign up (or sign up your young Rembrandt) as a window painter.

Last year’s Best Halloween Theme winner: Hailey Kipperman (7th grade), at Bella Bridesmaids.

=======================================================

Another call: This one is for all organizations, businesses, artists, crafters and sustainable groups:  Westport’s Holiday Green Festival is looking for exhibitors.

The event is Saturday, November 12 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Staples High School fieldhouse). Interested exhibitors should click here by October 31.

=======================================================

“Black Excellence Night” — a free communal celebration of Black life and history — takes place next Wednesday (October 19, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse). The event leads into an 8 p.m. preview performance of “From the Mississippi Delta,” a gripping tale of a Black woman’s rise from poverty to prominence.

“Black Excellence Night” is a spinoff of “Black Out,” inspired in 2019 by playwright Jeremy O. Harris, author of Broadway’s “Slave Play.” The goal is to create an environment for a Black-identifying audience to experience theater.

Guests will enjoy drinks from 822 Mixology, a Black-owned, New Haven-based business, and food tables. Live jazz is courtesy of the William Fluker Quartet.

“The Great Migration” — an exhibit curated by the Westport Museum for History & Culture — will be displayed, in conjunction with the “From the Mississippi Delta” storyline. The exhibit chronicles the relocation of more than 6 million Black Americans from the rural South to cities in the North, Midwest, and West from 1916 to 1970, sparked by economic conditions and segregationist laws.

Event space is limited. Click here for more information, and to RSVP. Click here for information on “From the Mississippi Delta, and to purchase tickets.

Goldie E. Patrick, “From the Missiissippi Delta” director.

=======================================================

“When did you know you were LGBT or Q?”

That’s the question a panel of “experts” — lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans people and those calling themselves queer — will answer on October 11 (6 p.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum and Zoom).

The date is significant: It’s National Coming Out Day.

Panelists will talk about, and offer advice from, their own experiences. Audience members can ask questions too.

On the panel:

  • Brian McGunagle – President, Westport Pride
  • Kayla Iannetta – Chair, Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition
  • Anthony Crisi – Executive director, Circle Care Center
  • Sarah Ferro – Westport Pride member, activist, musician, mom
  • Staples Pride Coalition Members

The moderator is yours truly.

Interested, but not in person? Click here for the Zoom link.

=======================================================

Peace came to the Westport Rotary Club yesterday.

John Miksad of Wilton — founder of Fairfield-based World Beyond War, a global peace advocacy group — spoke during the lunchtime meeting at Greens Farms Church.

He identified 3 existential threats to human existence: pandemics, climate change, and nuclear war. 

“We’re missing the big picture and no one nation can solve these on its own,” he said. “We need relentless diplomacy.” (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

John Miksad (Photo/Dave Matlow)

=======================================================

Arline Gertzoff’s family has released her official obituary:

Arline Patricia Gertzoff, 76, passed away peacefully at St. Vincent’s Hospital on September 28 from esophageal cancer. She is remembered as a true daughter of Westport, a dedicated, tireless volunteer for many organizations that contribute to the vibrancy of the town.

Arline was born in Norwalk. Her family moved to Westport, establishing a local dry cleaning business, where she often worked after school. Arline was active in Staples Players and SSTS, the backstage crews. She was head of costumes for several productions, and SSTS President as a senior.

Arline was a proud graduate of Staples and Westport schools, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Boston University in history and education. She taught in New Canaan, and at the International School in Antwerp, Belgium for 25 years, where she was involved with the Model UN.

Arline enjoyed people, the arts, travel, good food and wine, and Belgian chocolate. Students and friends from around the world stayed in touch with her. She returned to Westport in 1979 to help care for her mother, and dove into her community activism.

She loved Westport, and took great pride in its history and contributions. She was filled with local lore and stories, emphatically setting the record straight on Westport history with people newer to town.

For 20 years Arline was a tireless poll worker with the Westport League of Women Voters. Active with Westport’s Democratic Town Committee, she co-chaired the Community Outreach Committee. Arline served on the Board of the Democratic Women of Westport, and in 2016 received the DTC Dora Stuttman Campaign Leadership Award.

She was a familiar face and trusted cashier at the Library Book Sales, and a longtime member of the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut, often bringing interesting speakers and dialogue to the community.

One of Arline’s favorite activities was jUNe Day, which for more than 55 years has welcomed UN delegates and staff to Westport for a day of food, fun and friendship. Serving on the board of directors as membership chair, she was also treasurer of UNASWCT, and on the advisory body for the national UN Association.

Long-time friend Melody James says, “Arline earned a seat at the leadership table of our town the old-fashioned way: through volunteerism, pitching in, and showing up. She was a doer. You could count on her. True in high school; true in 2022.”

When Arline died, she was serving a 3rd term as a District 3 member on Westport’s non-partisan Representative Town Meeting.

Another classmate remarks, “Arline was a connector. She had the ability to connect with different types of people, across age, sex, class, race, religious and nationality lines. She was the thread that joined together a very wide community.”

Back in Westport, Arline became lead coordinator for her Staples Class of ’64, orchestrating several class reunions. At the 50th she appeared with arms full of roses to cast on Long Island Sound for fallen classmates.

She was the confidante, treasurer and detail master who tracked marriages, divorces, deaths, births and career changes. Arline supported her friends and local artists, showing up often to performances and exhibits.

Arline was a leading voice to establish the Laddie Lawrence Track at Staples High School, challenging the argument that a great teacher and coach could only be honored after they died.

Her friend Jennifer Johnson calls her “a lifetime Westporter, and a citizen of the world.  She was a champion of democracy and international understanding.”

DTC chair Mark Friedman adds, “Through her work, she strengthened the fabric of our civil society and touched the lives of people in Westport and around the world, creating a family of friends and admirers, imbuing her friendships with insight, wit and love.”

Arline was predeceased by her brother Stewart. She is survived by cousins Steven Gertzoff of Florida, Ken Bean of Colorado and their families. A memorial service is planned for November 12th (Westport Town Hall, 2:30 p.m.).

Arline Gertzoff, at the Grand Canyon.

======================================================

There’s still plenty of greenery here — as seen in today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, taken at Hillspoint Road.

But it’s October 5. We’ll see lots more color soon.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

=======================================================

And finally … Loretta Lynn — who overcame harsh poverty to become a beloved country star — died peacefully in her sleep yesterday, in Tennessee. She was 90.

Click here for a full obituary.

 

Intimidation Tactic Appalls Residents

Monday’s Board of Education meeting was heated. The Staples High School library’s banned books display was one reason. Another was the board’s vote against adding that issue to their already long agenda.

But residents were allowed to speak during the public session, before the first agenda item. Nine did.

Midway through the discussion, a man in a beige coat moved quickly toward a teenage girl. Lilly Weisz was taking photos for Inklings, the school newspaper.

He stood menacingly over her. “He was really, really intimidating,” one observer said.

Two Westport Public Schools staff members — waiting for a later agenda item — got up, to stand nearby.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice saw what was happening. He left his seat, and stood next to the student for several minutes. “He wanted to make sure she was safe,” a meeting attendee said.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice stands between an Inklings reporter and a man who had moved intimidatingly toward her. (Contributed photo)

One person at the meeting was so worried, he called 911.

Eventually, the man left.

Lilly says, “As a journalist, we’re trained to expect anything from anyone. There was a lot of tension at the meeting, and there are a feelings about journalists all around the nation.”

She says the man approached her, and asked why she was taking pictures. She explained she was with the school paper. “I’m here to gather as much information as I can, and write an unbiased article.”

She felt “aggression toward me.” However, Lilly says, after other people talked to him, he apologized.

“I don’t think he represents his entire side,” she notes. “People from both sides thanked me afterward for reporting on the issue. Overall, I felt supported by the community. I think people wanted me to succeed.”

Lilly’s story will appear in the next print edition of Inklings.

 

The paper’s co-advisor Mary Elizabeth Fulco says, “I am extremely proud of my Inklings reporter, Lilly Weisz, for her demonstrated maturity, professionalism and courage.”

Several residents contacted “06880” yesterday, saying they had never seen behavior like that. One called it “appalling, and abhorrent.”

We all know that over the past few years, social norms, civility and public discourse have deteriorated.

Up to now, behavior like that has happened in other places.

On Monday night, it was in full display at an open town meeting.

Right here in our town.

Pic Of The Day #1996

Biking under the Merritt Parkway Bridge, on Cross Highway (Photo/Seth Schachter)

Banned Books: The Sequel

Earlier today — in response to this morning’s story on public comments at last night’s Board of Education meeting, about a Staples High School library exhibit of banned books — “06880” commenter Tara Tesoriero wrote:

“Sorry, but some commenters here are misinformed. These books are neither classics nor ‘literature.’ I will send a few examples to Dan that I think he should publish. Let’s see if he does.”

She sent them. Here they are:

“06880” Podcast: Dr. Nikki Gorman

For years, Dr. Nikki Gorman was known as a beloved local pediatrician.

Now she’s helping adults get and stay healthy too.

Dr. Gorman recently opened the Westport Medical and Wellness Center, behind the CVS parking lot. It’s a special place, integrating direct primary medicine with yoga, massage, acupuncture, meditation and other holistic types of care.

How and why did she pivot? What’s the difference between working with kids, and now their parents? How did she end up in the healthcare in the first place?

Those are some of the questions I asked recently, when we chatted in the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum. Click below for an intriguing look into Dr. Niiki Gorman’s world.

Roundup: Scholars, Cyndi Lauper, Universe …

Twelve Staples High School seniors have qualified as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Congratulations to Aalok Bhattacharya, James Cao, Sharmila Green, Emma Losonczy, Colin Morgeson, Gavin Thomas Rothenberg, Katharine Shackelford, Matthew Shackelford, Tegh Singh, Lucia Wang, Lilly Weisz, Tom Zhang   

Nationwide, 16,000 semifinalists — fewer than 1 percent of the over 1.5 million students who took the 2021 PSAT/NMSQT qualifying exam –will compete for 7,250 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $28 million.

From left: Aalok Bhattacharya, Tom Zhang, Colin Morgeson, Sharmila Green, Lilly Weisz, Emma Losonczy,


From left: Lucia Wang, Gavin Thomas Rothenberg, James Cao, Matthew Shackelford, Katharine Shackelford. Missing: Tegh Singh.

======================================================

A sold-out crowd loved Cyndi Lauper’s Friday night benefit concert at the Levitt Pavilion.

And she loved Westport.

That’s not just “06880” speculation. The legendary singer/actress posted “thanks” on both her Facebook and Instagram pages.

She put on a great show. It was clear the girl just wanted to have fun.

=======================================================

There’s a true hometown flavor to this week’s Jazz at the Post.

“Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall will be joined by Westport’s own Melissa Newman.

She’s had a long career singing jingles for companies like AT&T and Chevrolet. Neighbors know her from performances at Blue Lemon, Tengda and Harvest.

There are 2 shows — 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. — on Thursday (October 6) at VFW Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue). There’s a $10 cover. Food service starts at 6:30.

Guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Matt Moadel will join Greg and Melissa.

Reservations are strongly suggested. Email JazzatThePost@gmail.com.

Melissa Newman

=================================================

For thousands of years, humans have wondered about the universe: How big is it? How did it start? How will it end?

Only in the last few decades have we had the space tools to begin to find answers.

Marty Yellin has special insights. With a doctorate in biomedical engineering, he worked at PerkinElmer on a top secret program to design and build the largest spy satellite ever. Then he helped design and manage the Hubble Space Telescope.

On October 20 (10 a.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum and Zoom), he offers an overview of the fascinating, often mindboggling discoveries made by modern  telescopes. Click here for the Zoom link.

Just an infinitely small portion of the universe. Can you see where we are?

======================================================

Need another reason (besides great books) to go the Westport Book Shop this month?

How about Susan Lloyd’s shells?

The longtime Westporter exhibits an assortment of 2-dimensional shell art works, including mirrors and mosaics.

Over 15 years, her work has evolved to include skulls (plastic reproductions), old dolls and Saints (for their stories, not religious reasons). Colors, shapes, textures and shell varieties are all important elements n her designs.

Her work is on display through October 31, and is available for purchase. To see more of her art, click here.

Susan Lloyd at the Westport Book Shop, with shell art.

=======================================================

The 13th annual Push Against Cancer is coming soon. And a group of Westport dads is pushing hard, to raise money for campers and their families at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, it offers fun, friendship and a healthy dose of mischief to seriously ill children at its great facility in upstate Connecticut, plus  outreach to hospitals, clinics and communities across the Northeast. All services are free.

The event is Sunday, October 16 (10 a.m., Staples High School). Andy Berman and Adam Vengrow are spearheading the dads’ effort. Click here to help.

Adam Vengrow (far left), Andy Berman (far right) and friends get ready for the Push Against Cancer.

======================================================

It’s still early October. But Al’s Angels is getting ready for the holidays.

This year’s goal is to provide toys to over 20,000 children suffering from cancer, rare blood diseases and financial hardship.

They’ll do it by providing an Amazon wish list. Just click here; purchase as many needed items as you wish, and have them shipped to: Al’s Angels, 342 Greens Farms Road, Westport, CT 06880.

You can also make a cash donation; click here.

==================================================

Date clarification: Westport Moms’ 2nd annual Fall Family Festival is next weekend — not the coming one. It’s Saturday, October 15 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Greens Farms Academy; $20 per family).

The event includes food, crafts, games and fun (bouncy houses, ninja course, music, art projects, DJ, pumpkin and cookie decorating, face painting, hair extensions, glitter tattoos, magic, STEM activities and more).

Many businesses will show off their products and services — all with activities for kids.

Organizers Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post ask attendees to bring gently worn jackets, for donations to a local non-profit.

A scene from last year’s Fall Family Festival.

=======================================================

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is one of the happiest ever.

And why not? Junior, Winston and Frank are thrilled to be back (legally) at Compo Beach.

(Photo/Nicola Sharian)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of the upcoming Westport Astronomical Society lecture (story above):