Roundup: Mars Robot, COVID Testing, Citibank, More


The tagline says “06880: Where Westport meets the world.”

Today, it’s “where Westport meets the solar system.”

When Perseverance — NASA’s $2.7 billion robotic explorer — landed successfully on Mars yesterday, it got a boost from a 2012 Staples High School graduate.

Alexandria Rosa spent more than 2 years helping source one of the spacecraft’s arms. She’s a mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.

Nice to know there’s now a little bit of Westport on the red planet!

Alexandria Rosa


The St. Vincent’s/Hartford Healthcare testing on Long Lots Road — a very popular location for several months — now operates only Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (8 a.m. to noon).

On March 1, it will close permanently as a testing site.

The scene at St. Vincent’s Medical Center on Long Lots Road, a few days before Christmas. (Photo/Randy Ford)


Another closure: Citibank’s Post Road East branch — the one by Walgreens — will officially close on April 30. It has been shut for a while, during COVID.

An email to customers says “we assure you that you will receive the same great service, now at a new location.”

The email does not explain where that “new location” is. It does, however, say that “it may be convenient” to use the 399 Post Road West branch.

Many banks have closed branches during COVID. For example, none of Bank of America’s 3 Westport locations are open.

The Citibank branch, in the Walgreens plaza.


Greg Naughton’s new film, “The Independents,” will be released virtually to art house cinemas on February 26. The wider on-demand release comes March 9.

But there’s a special screening — with Q-and-A afterward — at Fairfield’s FTC on Saturday, February 27.

That’s close to here. But the film has an even closer connection: Some of it was shot in Westport.

“The Independents” is a comedy/drama about 3 solo artists who collide at the same crossroads and discover harmony. They share a rollercoaster ride across America for a shot at musical glory.

The film stars (and was inspired by) the real-life folk-rock Sweet Remains. The Hollywood Reporter called it “an extremely engaging film (that) subverts all the clichés of the star-is-born story and proves there are plenty of offbeat ways to satisfy audiences without hewing to formula.”

Naughton — a longtime Westport resident — had quite a bit to do with “The Independents.” In addition to writing, directing and producing, he stars in it.

Click here for tickets and more information. Click below for the trailer.


Today’s New York Times carries an obituary of Bruce Blackburn. The graphic designer — famous for creating both the NASA “worm” logo and the American bicentennial star — died in Colorado, at 82.

He also designed the logo for the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Weston, of which he was a longtime congregant, the Times says.

However, the logo appears only once on the church’s website: on the home page.


And finally … happy 58th birthday to Seal!

6 responses to “Roundup: Mars Robot, COVID Testing, Citibank, More

  1. THE SWEET REMAINS are just an unbelievable band! The fact that they have not risen to massive acclaim is a wonder… their harmonies are reminiscent of CSN…Mama and the papas … and their song writing just amazing…

  2. In addition to the bank closings, I believe Panera has closed. There was a sign in the window stating that they were closed, but their website is still active as well as their phone number. Does anyone have further information? I’d hate to have to go to the Panera on Black Rock Turnpike to get some of their delicious offerings.

  3. Although ‘The Independents’ it’s a great film, it’s not a new release. It was released back in February 2018. Two thumbs up however.

  4. The Long Lots testing site was convenient and had the promise of meeting the 72 hour deadline for a PCR test before travel.

    What’s the best PCR testing site now?

  5. I will definitely check out the film (virtually); it looks very promising. And it sounds in certain respects like the latter-20th-century folk-rock version of the 1960s story of the rock band, The Remains.

    Having heard the Sweet Remains and seen them live, I know one thing’s for sure: the music will be really good.

  6. Ngassam Ngnoumen

    It is pretty cool to see our town’s connection to the successful landing of Perseverance!