Roundup: Car Thefts, Downtown, Melissa Bernstein …

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Lock your cars doors! Even — especially — in your driveway!

That’s the advice (it should be a command) from the Westport Police Department.

Four vehicles have been stolen here since Saturday. All 4 times, the doors were unlocked — and the keys were left in the cars.

Police have also responded to 15 vehicle break-ins in the past 6 days. Items were stolen from all cars — and again, the doors were unlocked.

The department reminds residents to lock all cars, and bring keys inside. Take valuables out of your car for the night too — cash, purses, wallets and electronics. It’s a good idea too to keep outside lights on, and motion lights activated.

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“Westport Downtown Merchants Association” was always a mouthful.

So chew on this: The organization has a new name.

From now on, it’s the “Westport Downtown Association.”

Sleeker. More inclusive. And it does not sound like it’s a radio station (WDMA).

But, the WDA says, they’ll still enhance the downtown experience for shoppers, diners and other visitors.

And they’ll still work with business owners, landlords — and merchants! — to improve the commerce and culture of downtown Westport.

Their website is http://www.westportdowntown.com. As easy to remember as it is to shop and dine.

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Since going public about her battle with existential anguish and depression, Melissa Bernstein has been interviewed by every major American media outlet.

Tonight (Thursday, May 6) she talks to a different audience: her neighbors.

Former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor Dave Briggs — also a Westporter — interviews the Melissa & Doug toy company co-founder today, on Instagram Live.

Melissa will talk about her life, and LifeLines: the project she and her husband Doug have created, to educate and empower people. The conversation is particularly apt now; May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

It’s available tonight at 8 p.m. on Instagram Live (@Westport Magazine). You can ask questions during the segment, or send them now: DM @DaveBriggsTV.

Melissa Bernstein

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Anne Craig no longer reports the news for Fox 5 New York and Channel 8 New Haven. She’s concentrating on her family, here in Westport.

But she continues to make must-see videos. (Remember this one on the yarn bomber?)

Now — right before Mother’s Day — she turns her camera on another inspiring local mom.

Rosie Jon is an outstanding artist who overcame what could be a major obstacle: She was born without arms.

Rosie is upbeat, optimistic, and very talented. Click below to enjoy Anne’s great tribute:

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Neighbors and Newcomers of Westport is one of the town’s great — and greatly unknown — organizations.

Far from a “welcome wagon” — longtime residents are as welcome as recent arrivals — it’s a fun, active group. Members enjoy clam bakes, coffees, holiday parties, kayaking, barbecues, happy hours, wine tastings and TGIF get-togethers.

They play canasta. They go hiking and to movies. There is a book club, culinary group and luncheon club. There are trips to museums, baby and toddler play groups, and girls’ nights out.

Well, they did all that before COVID. The pandemic forced every activity onto Zoom, or hiatus.

But as Westport opens up, the group is returning to in-person events. “With the energy of spring in the air, we are trying our best to serve our community,” they say. “We will of course continue to follow town guidelines in all activities.”

The first monthly event is tomorrow (Friday, May 7, noon): lunch outdoors at Arezzo.

In the works: Book Club (May 27, 7 p.m.), kayaking, and free Pure Barre classes for members.

Click here to learn more. Click here for the Facebook page; For membership information, email membershipnnwestport@gmail.com. For other questions, email presidentnnwestport@gmail.com.

Neighbors & Newcomers enjoy a hike.

 

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Calling all young artists!

Westport Public Art Collections seeks submissions from K-12 students for the 2021-22 school calendar. That’s the one that hangs in every kitchen. It lists all school events — and is decorated handsomely with student art.

Drawings, paintings, photos and computer-generated graphics will be considered (landscape orientation, please).

Artwork scanned at high res (600 dpi — JPG or PDF format file) or a good photo can be mailed to WestportSchoolCalendar@gmail.com. Include the student’s name, email, school and grade. Keep the original art, in case a re-scan is needed.

The deadline is May 28. Click here for more details, and to preorder a calendar.

The cover of the 2020-21 Westport Public Schools calendar was drawn by Sophia Sheng, Coleytown Elementary School 5th grader.

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Bedford Middle School 8th grader Ryan Tzou learned yesterday he was a winner in the Women’s History Month essay contest.

He found out in a great way: State Representative Stephanie Thomas surprised him during social studies class.

“Ryan told the triumphant story of his grandmother, a Chinese immigrant who experienced countless obstacles in her life that she never let hinder her dreams and goals,” Thomas said. “Ryan’s love and admiration for his grandmother poured through the carefully constructed words in his essay, which made it both inspirational and heart-warming to read.”

Ryan Tzou with State Representative Stephanie Thomas (left) and Bedford Middle School social studies teacher Gabrielle Tripuzzi. He holds a citation for his essay.

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The other day, “06880” reported on Staples High 9th grader Cameron Mann’s current gig: He’s part of HBO Max’s “Mare of Easttown” cast.

Three years ago he was part of a 2018 workshop: “The Secret Garden.” Presented for top Broadway professionals and theatre owners, it was directed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, and starred notable actors.

The production is being streamed tonight (Thursday, May 6), and will be available on demand May 7-9. Proceeds go to the Dramatists Guild Foundation and The Actors Fund. Click here for details.

Cameron Mann

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Two photos. Call them “Beauty and the Beast”?

First: Spring colors continue to dazzle Westport:

(Photo/Rowene Weems Photography)

Next: Fertilization project underway at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

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And finally … on this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first human being to run a mile in under 4 minutes (3:59.4).

At least 2 Westport runners (Steve Wheeler and Henry Wynne) have beaten Bannister’s record.

The current world record is 3:43.13, by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco. Who knew?!

 

 

 

10 responses to “Roundup: Car Thefts, Downtown, Melissa Bernstein …

  1. Michael Isaacs

    Car thefts and break-ins is a huge problem in Fairfield County. Hard to believe people would leave keys and valuables in their cars, but lots of people do. The cars in our driveway were entered two years ago. Loose change taken, so big deal. Personally I advise leaving cars unlocked with nothing of consequence in them, to avoid broken windows. The Westport officer who came to make out the report said it’s almost always ‘kids’ under age 16, so they’re juveniles, and are simply released to their parents with no consequences. He said very often the same ‘kids’ are ‘arrested’ over and over and laugh at the cops. Once in a while he said there’s an older thief, and once in a while the have a weapon. If the laws stay the same it will always be a problem, so it’s up to people to take the keys inside. The officer did say that the ‘kids’ very, very rarely will go into a house. It’s all grab and go.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      When our street has been hit, they’ve always left certain houses alone: those of us with security cameras and the locked cars.
      A smashed window creates noise and attention, both of which they don’t want.

  2. About that “sleeker more inclusive” Downtown Association: good luck trying communicate with it if you’re a mere resident.

    • John McCarthy

      Time for a Downtown Neighborhood Association?

      • DNA: I like it, John. It’s sleek and inclusive.
        And when the WDA reaches out to us with questions or concerns, we can treat it with same courtesy it normally extends to its residential neighbors.

        • John McCarthy

          WestportDNA.com registered (because why not)…..What next?

          • Happy to discuss next steps – out of earshot of the grandees at the new Downtown Association for Inclusion and Unreturned Messages.

  3. Joshua Stein

    Insurance companies should not cover car thefts / break-ins when keys are habitually left in vehicles/overnight/etc. Or there should be hefty fines levied against owners for leaving their keys in the cars, its quite a liability, what a minor gains access or someone injures/kills someone with the stolen car? Similar to leaving a purse on the seat of a vehicle, coming back, finding the window smashed, and purse gone. Seems common sense has been lost. Giving criminals easy access will simply mean more criminals will flock to the area to carry out these crimes. One could also argue that will then translate into worse / more violent crimes. I love it when someone goes on social media with an alert that their car or their friend’s car was stolen, and when asked how, 99% of the time its because the keys were left in the vehicle. I would be very embarrassed if that was me, not flaunting my stupidity all over social media, but thats just my opinion.

    • Bill Strittmatter

      I’m generally with you except for the second sentence. I have a hard time punishing the victim of a crime for what a criminal subsequently does with a car they stole, particularly since the criminal is unlikely to face any meaningful punishment for stealing the car if caught these days.

      Still, why people leave their cars parked outside, unlocked, with the keys inside seems rather careless. I get it might happen by accident occasionally but this seems to be a regular practice for some people. Just bizarre.

      • Joshua Stein

        Well the new laws regarding leaving handguns unsecure in vehicles punish the handgun owner if the gun is stolen. So there are already laws that punish the quote unquote victim. I don’t see how it’s any different if a vehicle can be used as a weapon or in commission of a crime or end up in an accident that results in injury/property damage/death? Many of the stolen vehicles do end up used in crimes. So perhaps fines are too soft, why not charge the car owner with a misdemeanor or felony too? Slippery slope, eh?

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