Roundup: Sustainable Gifts, Used Sports Equipment, Cavalry Road Bridge …


Love giving gifts? Hate giving gifts that are energy-inefficient, non-recyclable or otherwise wasteful?

Check out Sustainable Westport’s first-ever Gift Guide.

Heavy on products made or sourced locally, and/or sold by area merchants, it’s a much-needed resource.

And, Sustainable Westport adds: “Some of the best (and most meaningful) sustainable gifts are ones that you make yourself (art or pottery, knitting, baking, building) or include giving of your time (attending local theater performances or sporting events with family and friends or giving lessons in one of your particular skill sets).

Local blogger and sustainably-minded mother Julia Dzafic of Lemonstripes created the guide. Click here to see. Let’s hope she sustains it for years to come.

Screen shot of the Sustainable Gift Guide.


Last year, the Hackett family collected a truck full of new and gently used sports and playground equipment, from generous donors. It was distributed to youngsters who needed it by Leveling the Playing Field, a non-profit organization.

Leveling the Playing Field. The non-profit seemed perfect.

They’re at it again.

Chloe — a Staples High School junior, and an athlete — and her family are at The Granola Bar today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Cleats, field hockey sticks, lacrosse equipment, bats, hockey skates, footballs, softball gloves — it will all make a difference. Click here for a full list of acceptable and non-acceptable items.

Chloe Hackett (organizer) and Max Levitt (Founder of Leveling the Playjng Field) with last year’s donations.


Speaking of sports: I am very proud of the on-field accomplishments of the Staples High School boys soccer team I coach.

I’m just as proud of what they achieve off it.

For the 19th time in 21 years — and the 16th season in a row — the Wrecker boys soccer team has achieved Academic All-American status. United Soccer Coaches honors go to squads with a team GPA of 3.25 or higher. The 2020 side was just announced. Their team GPA was a mind-boggling 3.57.

The award is given for the previous year’s team. All indications are that the 2021 squad will earn the boys soccer team’s 20th award.

The 2020 Staples boys soccer team: Academic All-Americans. (Photo/Drew Douglas)


Bad news for residents of northwest Westport.

The long-running Cavalry Road bridge replacement will take even longer to finish.

The project “has suffered delays related to various aspects of the construction that are beyond the towns’ control,” Westport and Weston officials announce.

“The contractor experienced complications associated with installing the proposed bridge deep foundations. This required additional testing, to ensure the proposed bridge is adequately supported.

“In addition, the process of installing large prefabricated concrete girders has taken longer than expected. The bridge is located on a rural local road and installing the girders with the least amount of impacts to the residents and the regulated waterway is a high priority.”

The current 2-span bridge is being replaced with a single, longer structure. It will provide “more hydraulic conveyance, and reduce future maintenance needs.”

Westport and Weston officials apologized for the delay, and thanked residents for their patience.

Cavalry Road bridge (Photo courtesy of Weston Today)


If there’s an upcoming holiday — and there definitely is right now — then Winslow Park Animal Hospital has it covered.

Check out their decorations, when you’re stuck at the Post Road light between Playhouse Square and North Compo. It will bring a smile to even the Grinchiest face.

The Winslow Park Animal Hospital display. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Avid “06880” reader Jack Backiel enjoyed yesterday’s Friday Flashback: a photo of town directories, the long-ago source for data on all Westport residents and businesses.

And I do mean “all.”

Jack sent along this photo of one page, from the 1950s. Check out the third Taylor from the top. Yes, that’s the actress we know better as “Liz.”

Jack has written in the Comments section of his family’s long history in Westport. He sent along one directory page from the 1920s, and this from the ’50. There sure were a batch of Backiels here then.

Town directories can be found today in the Westport Library.


A Photo Challenge from a couple of weeks ago brought a follow-up report from an “06880” reader.

The image showed a “North Pole Post” mailbox. It’s on Wright Street, though few readers knew it.

Nearby resident Anne Reilly provides the back story. She says the box “just showed up on the tree before Christmas last year … hmmm.

“The letters seem to go into the box and then disappear. Children believe they are magically sent directly to Santa  in the North Pole.”

She asked 2 children what happens to them. One said: “I think that they get scooped up by your elves, and your elves bring them to the north pole like Bam”

The other added, “The elves come get them every night and give them to the reindeer or the UPS man to take up to Santa.”


The Wright Street Santa mailbox.(Photo/Gabriela Bockhaus)


Today’s serene Sherwood Island “Westport … Naturally” shot comes courtesy of Maureen Salko:

(Photo/Marleen Salko)


And finally … hey hey, they were the Monkees.

Michael Nesmith — the “quiet, cerebral, sardonic, contemplative” member of that ’60s TV-turned-true band — died yesterday of heart failure. He was 78.

Nesmith was sometimes called the only true musician in the group. He went on to a successful video career after the Monkees’ 2-year TV run ended. Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

4 responses to “Roundup: Sustainable Gifts, Used Sports Equipment, Cavalry Road Bridge …

  1. Sustainable Westport’s Holiday Gift Guide is certainly timely, but am wondering why no mention of our amazing Farmers’ Market, where almost every item has a local and sustainable connection. Shopping there supports small businesses offering many earth-based culinary, wellness and decorative options. FYI the last Market day before Christmas is Thursday the 23d at Gilbertie’s Nursery, where one can also find a host of green and growing gift ideas.

  2. George Franciscovich

    Thanks for brining the Cavalry Road situation to everyone’s attention. The delays are just making a bad situation worse. It is ironic that they are concerned about the “amount of impact to the residents” as this situation has only made a bad situation worse. The closure of this bridge and road has driven more traffic to the surrounding roads and has turned Broad Street into a racetrack for both cars and trucks.

    There has already been one driver who crashed into a telephone pole resulting in a power outage and another drove into a tree but managed to drive away without reporting it. Young children live on this street and they are at risk.

    The volume of cars and trucks and using this street has soared, even though the State has banned trucks from Broad and surrounding streets going back to 1959. There are signs showing no trucks in place at each end of the street but no enforcement. And I won’t even mention what Waze does to the neighborhood when the Merritt is having problems.

    Residents have already contacted the police and local officials and we would urge any of them who are reading this blog (and we know that they follow your posts) to please look into this and do something before someone gets seriously hurt.

    Traffic was a big issue during the last election and now that it is over we would ask you to do something and not just wait until the next election. The State has already provided you with a remedy-please, please use it.

  3. Jessica Brookbanks

    I agree with George. As a newer resident of Broad Street the traffic is a real problem.

    It is dangerous and I’m afraid for my children’s safety while waiting for the bus in the morning. It is treacherous trying to turn into and out of my own driveway as cars (& banned trucks) are going dangerously fast. The 25 mph limit is completely ignored & not enforced.

    The problem is certainly made worse with the closure of the Cavalry Rd bridge but it was an issue before and will be after the bridge is open again.

    This needs to be assessed and addressed properly before someone gets seriously hurt on this narrow cut through road.

  4. Robert Mitchell

    Perhaps the bridge replacement people are vying to beat the Kings Highway North people for longest bridge replacement project. This one started on April 5, projected completion – October… Now it appears there is no completion target date.