Roundup: Rye Ridge, Small Businesses, Honey Bees, More

As of 7 a.m., Eversource reported 6,258 Westport customers without power. That’s less than half the town — but by the slimmest of hairs. We’re down to 49.54% in the dark.

The utility “expects” to have 90% of all Eversource customers in service by tonight. That would mean 1,263 would still be waiting.

Of course, Isaias is not our only worry — or theirs. The utility notes, “In light of COVID-19, work practices and reporting procedures have been altered to protect our employees’ health, and those of our communities we serve. Pandemic guidelines have been reinforced across the system and they will be maintained while restoring service to all customers.”

PS: Saugatuck Avenue is closed from the train station parking lot to Duck Pond Road (the Norwalk line), through approximately 5 p.m. today.

PPS: Karen Solicito reports at 9:30 a.m. that the charging station at the Westport Weston Health District on Bayberry Lane is full. There’s a wait to use it. And though WiFi there works, it takes a few minutes for the phone to locate it. “Don’t fret if it doesn’t show up in the WiFi queue right away,” she says.

The cleanup continues. (Photo/C. Swan)


Rose Akin posted this yesterday, as a Comment on the Pic of the Day. But it deserves a much wider audience. So here it is:

“We moved to town recently. My husband and I and our 2 little ones picked up an amazing lunch from Rye Ridge Deli today. Finally made it to Compo Beach and realized we had way too much to carry with one trip from the car to the beach.

“My husband dropped off a few bags, and ran back to the car to grab more, and me and the boys. All of this happened within 60 seconds — and Compo seagulls! ☺️

“Rookie move on our part. They feasted on all of our lunch.

“My husband went back to Rye Ridge to get us lunch again, as the kids were starving. Guess what? Rye Ridge comped him the whole lunch. I mean … what a gesture!

“We were so beyond touched. I texted my friend Lisa Newman, telling her what a great choice we made moving here. She said, ‘you have to email Dan!'”

Thanks, Rose. And welcome to Westport. Once COVID and Isaias are gone, you’ll really love this place!

This was already a disastrous year for restaurants, markets, retail shops, fitness centers — just about any small business you can think of.

Just when they had mastered curbside and online sales, and then adjusted to the new rules and regulations regarding opening — they got whacked by Isaias.

We’re all in this together. We’re all restocking our refrigerators, paying extra for tree removal and new outdoor furniture, and on and on.

But still: Let’s figure out ways to help Westport’s own. Let’s redouble our efforts to shop local. Let’s go out for more restaurant meals than normal (eat-in or takeout) — and leave a large tip too.

If you’ve got an idea for helping the mom and pops who have sustained us for so long — and struggled so mightily — click “Comments” below.

Gold’s reopened a couple of days after Isaias struck. The popular deli had no power — but they improvised, sidewalk sales-style. Customers loved owner Jim and Nancy Eckl’s resourcefulness.

Speaking of small businesses, Savannah Bee’s store manager — the wonderful Julie Cook — writes:

“Nothing keeps us down on Church Lane. I was decorating my windows for National Honey Bee Day next Saturday (in the dark, sweltering heat), and miraculously the lights came on midday yesterday.

“What a bonus! We thought we’d be out until Tuesday night. As a thank-you (to all those tireless electrical  crews from South Carolina — and the universe), please let folks know we’re open for business, we have cold spring water, delicious honey roasted coffee, lovely artisanal teas, all-natural Italian energy drinks called BEEBAD, all-natural plant-based antibacterial soaps with a huge sink to check them out, a large restroom, and the best part: People can charge their phones!

“We’d love to share our Southern hospitality today and next Saturday for our 3rd annual National Honey Bee Celebration. From 1 to 4 p.m., people can meet local beekeepers. We also have a live hive demonstration (safely encased in glass). And we’re making honey sips and sweets, plus beautiful flower crowns for all the queen bees in town.

It’s free and open to all! We’re happy to share the bee love, and our good fortune. It’s the simple things that make us smile these days❤️👍🏻🐝

How tough are things for businesses? Born of Earth spa is leaving its space near Whole Foods.

David Gerard — who has owned Born of Earth for 27 years — cited increasing rent, overhead and COVID-19 as reasons for the decision.

Fortunately, they’re not closing entirely. They’re merging with Artistex Salon & Spa, less than 2 miles away at 260 Post Road East. The entire Born of Earth team will continue at the new location.

Sandy Rothenberg asks: “How are we supposed to contact emergency services with no phone or WiFi at home? Especially in Weston as I’ve heard Westport has set up remote towers.”

Anyone know? Click “Comments” below.

And finally … if you’re waiting for a utility crew from South Carolina, Missouri, Canada or wherever:


17 responses to “Roundup: Rye Ridge, Small Businesses, Honey Bees, More

  1. Sandra Rothenberg

    Thanks again Dan!!! So helpful to have a line of communication!!! I’ll wait for comments!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Michele Perkins

    What a beautiful column this is, Dan. Just what I I needed on this Sunday morning.

    Stay safe and healthy.

    My best, Michèle Perkins 203-858-6117 cell

    Sent from Michèle’s iPad


  3. Julie Van Norden

    We got power back last night thanks to a tireless crew from Brunswick Canada! I brought them some cold iced tea (cold thanks to a hardworking generator) as they toiled in the heat, fixing a damaged telephone pole and replacing a transformer and generally reattaching every wire on the street. If I knew the lyrics I would have burst into a chorus of “Oh Canada”!

    • The next time you (or anyone) sees a Canadian crew:

      O Canada!
      Our home and native land!
      True patriot love in all of us command.

      With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
      The True North strong and free!

      From far and wide,
      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

      God keep our land glorious and free!
      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

      French version
      Ô Canada! Terre de nos aïeux,
      Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!

      Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
      Il sait porter la croix!

      Ton histoire est une épopée
      Des plus brillants exploits.

      Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
      Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

      Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

  4. Thanks for everything Dan! You are just amazing!

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Susan Iseman

    Thanks Dan- and then you post one of the greatest songs of all time.

  6. Ha! Thanks for the shout out, Rose! Dan, your page was, of course, the first thing that came to mind to share such a wonderful gesture by a Westport business. I was already a big Rye Ridge fan, but hearing things like this (especially experienced by newcomers to Westport in the midst of a pandemic and power outage!) reinforces that. We’ve got such special businesses downtown. Love our community!

    Side note on cell towers: Stephen Shackelford (my fellow District 8 RTM rep) asked Jim Marpe in an email yesterday if we could get additional temporary cell towers. It turns out there is only one from AT&T down near Compo. The town will look into it with AT&T and Verizon.

    • ♥️ Thank you Dan for posting our special story!
      We’ll make sure we do everything and take care the small business in town. All it takes is each family do the same thing and Westport businesses and restaurants will be back on their feet before we know it.
      Stay safe and healthy all!

    • Thanks, Rose! And Lisa, I believe the AT&T temporary tower is at the police station parking lot next to Jesup Green, and Verizon has one at Compo Beach.

      • Ah! My error – just reread the email and you are correct; Verizon has the temp tower at the beach.

  7. Vanessa Bradford

    Or as Joni Mitchell sings “Oh Canada, I could drink a case if you, and I would still be on my feet, I would still be on my feet…” Thank you Dan. You, as always rock!

  8. Sal liccione

    Hi guys the att truck is at the police station and Verizon is at Compo beach thanks all

  9. Mary-Jane Cross

    what did you mean by 6,000 Westporters out of service being “just a little less than 1/2 the town”. Westport has 28,000 residents, so 6300 is less than 1/4. Mj Cross

  10. Natalie Toraty

    It is amazing that some of the downtown businesses are fully working, thank God for this, main Street and post Rd, with that said all the business on the West Bank of the river, are still without power, every day that we lose business is on top of the damage that we had during the lockdown, let us not forget that all the business in that side is privately owned local businesses, some will not recover from this.
    I think that the way eversource handled this the way why that the town and the state is a disgrace…. Storms are part of our life, where is the plan to supply people power wifi basics, we have pandemic since Mar, they should know better their is a luck of leadership all over the place!!!