Roundup: Positano, Poll Workers, Church Aid, More

A sign in Positano’s window says, “We are closed.”

The phone message elaborates: “We are now closed. We wish the new owners the best of luck. We thank our customers for their patronage over the last 20 years. Arrivederci!”

The popular Italian restaurant opened in July 2015 next to the Westport Country Playhouse. It relocated there from Old Mill Beach after a long run, replacing the Dressing Room restaurant founded by Paul Newman and Michel Nischan.

Despite what the sign says, Positano is now closed.

It’s the perfect storm: Election Day this November will be held during a pandemic. Officials traditionally rely on retirees to serve as poll workers. But finding willing workers may be hard this year, as older people opt not to spend hours indoors, assisting voters in close quarters.

Which makes this the perfect opportunity for another group affected by COVID-19: college students, forced off campus and back home for distance learning.

Poll workers earn around $200 a day. Some work half days (5:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., or 12:45 p.m. until the end of voting) for half pay. During the recent primary election, full-day workers also received a meal allowance of about $40 (subject to change).

Training is required. Before the coronavirus, the session was 2 hours. Video conferencing may lengthen the presentation.

Registrars also seek high schoolers in the past. They’ve been great in the past — especially with recent technological advances. There is no school on Election Day.

Interested students — or anyone else — can contact for more information. (Hat tip: Lynn Goldberg)

Westport poll workers, in 2017.

This Sunday (August 30, 1-4 p.m.), Saugatuck Church runs a food drive to support Person to Person in Norwalk.

Non-perishable food can be dropped off in the church parking lot. Volunteers will collect donations directly from drivers’ trunks. Among the most needed items:

• Spaghetti sauce
• Pasta
• Canned vegetables
• Dry red or black beans
• Jam and jelly
• Mac and cheese
• Granola/snack bars.

Saugatuck Congregational Church (Photo/Storm Sorrentino)

In other religious/community caring news: Every Saturday, David Vita — director of social justice of Westport’s Unitarian Church — brings hundreds of brown bag lunches to take Bridgeport shelters.

The lunches — of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, a drink, snack and a treat — are made by church members.

Since April 18, over 4,000 lunches have been made and distributed. To help, email or call 203-227-7205, ext. 14.

Westport Unitarian Church.

Yesterday’s Roundup noted that Balducci’s parent company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

An email from the store’s CEO Judy Spires to customers says: “Our stores will continue to be fully operational, offering the quality product and selections you have come to expect. And of course, they will continue to be staffed by all of your favorite people. Please be assured that the wages and benefits of all of our Associates will continue as usual, and our Associates will continue to provide you with the top-quality service you depend on.”

How to rehearse in a pandemic? Outdoors.

The other night, Any Given Thursday — that’s the band’s name — held its final session before their show at Black Rock’s BRYAC (Thursday, August 27, 5 p.m.). They tuned up outside the Gig Center on the Post Road, near Southport.

A small crowd stopped by. It will be bigger on any given Thursday — well, this coming one, at least. (Hat tip: Lou Weinberg)

“06880” loves the Little Free Libraries popping up all over town. It’s simple: bring a book, or borrow a book. That’s it!

Amy Schneider spotted this one at 11 Hillyfield Lane, off Marion Road:

And finally … Happy 76th birthday to Walter Williams of the O’Jays!

8 responses to “Roundup: Positano, Poll Workers, Church Aid, More

  1. Christian Hunter

    Other restaurants that have closed forever that few people know about yet:

    Mama Mina’s in Fairfield, once a best-of-breed Italian red sauce joint run by the famous and much-beloved Amadeo (cousin of the Positano crew) who packed it in, and sold out to amateurs a few years back.

    And Plan B Burger, once a reliable-to-mediocre burger and fries place that never could develop any kind of bar or singles scene despite the place being awash in bourbon.

  2. Melissa Rose

    Dan, Concerned about the lack of poll workers in the upcoming general election, I volunteered in May and was promptly contacted by someone in the local field office. We spoke about training, etc., the…nothing. Same with my son, a high school senior. We’d volunteer our time without pay! Makes you wonder if it’s a lack of volunteers and organization that is causing a shortage of poll workers?

    • Thanks, Melissa. I have no connection with the registrars, but I’m guessing that maybe with only one polling place in all of Westport, there was no shortage for the primaries. Hopefully they’ll take you up on your offer for November!

  3. Ah too bad!  But a catastrophic time for restaurants. I’m amazed at the ones that can still keep going. Speaking of Positano, what is the story about the partly built “Blue Blight” that’s on the restaurant’s former site?

    • Construction on the private home was halted due to violations of the building permit, I believe.

    • Wendy Cusick

      I asked that same question to Dan a couple of months ago too.
      After out email conversation, I took a closer look at the property when I drove by.
      There’s a sign that says ‘cease and desist’. I’m not sure if it made it through the storm.
      The developer running out of money is probably correct because there’s also a for sale sign on the property.

  4. Speaking of poll workers, I have fond memories of doing that at Coleytown El during senior year of high school. Once, former Governor (and actor) John Lodge came in to vote. As I checked him off on the log, he asked me: “Young man, why are you putting a check mark next to my name?” I responded: “To make sure everyone votes just once.” He responded: “Young man, do you know WHO I AM?”