Roundup: Ukraine Rally, Nic + Zoe, MOMBAS …

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Hundreds of cities and towns around the world are rallying in support of Ukraine.

Weston is one of them.

First Selectwoman Samantha Nestor inviting everyone to join her tomorrow (Monday, February 28, 5:30 p.m.), on the front steps of Weston Town Hall.

She says: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is devastating, infuriating, and heartbreaking. I assure you all that you are not alone in feelings of despair. One thing we can do is come together for the sake of unity and peace. As such, please join me to express in solidarity our support for the Ukrainian people, and pray for the safety of those whose homeland is under attack. I’ll be there with my candle. Feel free to bring one of your own.”

The Weston rally will show Ukrainians that they are not alone. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for The New York Times)

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Nic + Zoe — one of the first stores to open in Bedford Square — closed Friday.

A manager for the women’s clothing store was packing up yesterday. She said, “We’re sad to be leaving. We’ll miss everyone.”

Ten other locations remain open, as does online shopping.

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It’s clear from a quick look around any part of town: the babies are here.

Which means there are plenty of new moms. Which means there are plenty of people looking for a group.

The Westport Library is strolling (ho ho) over to help. On Friday (March 4, 10 a.m.) and again April 1, they’ll host meetings of the new MOMBAS: Moms Offering Moms Baby Activity Support.

It’s the brainchild of longtime Westporter Sooo-z Mastropietro. The mother of 3 became a birth doula during the pandemic to provide essential support for pregnant women, who really needed it.

It’s an opportunity to exchange resources, birth stories, and talk. Sooo-z says, “Whether it’s your first or fifth, having the support of people in a similar point in life can be rewarding, informative and empowering.”

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Eight years ago, “06880” highlighted Clay Garner.

The lifelong Westporter and recent Greens Farms Academy graduate was unknown here.

But hundreds of millions of Chinese people knew — and loved — him. Using the stage name of 高山 (“Tall Mountain”), he was a recording sensation there.

Singing his own songs — a combination of traditional styles, R&B and pop — in both English and Mandarin — he was all over the Chinese versions of YouTube and Facebook. He has a huge following on Weibo (the Chinese Twitter), and appeared regularly on Beijing TV and China Radio International.

Because of strict government control of websites, “Tall Mountain” made no money from his fame. “It’s my contribution to international relations,” he said.

At that point, Clay was a freshman at Stanford University. Today — 5 years after graduation from there — he is …

… the chief innovation officer for San Jose, California.

The other day, he was a guest on the “Think Civic” podcast. Click here for a transcript of his insights into a wide range of topics, from how technology helped his city respond to the pandemic, to his advice to young people on the importance of local government.

Clay Garner

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included a reference to Sam Waterston, the “Law & Order” Manhattan DA who was also filmed in Westport for “Gatsby in Connecticut” — the documentary about F. Scott and Fitzgerald’s 1920 summer her.

Jeanne Reed notes that the film was not Waterston’s only connection here.

Turns out Sam Waterston was married to Barbara Rutledge-Johns. Known as “Barby” Johns, she and her younger sister Sandy (Alexandra) both attended Bedford Junior High School in the 1950s.

They are not Staples High graduates, though. Both went off to the Mary A. Burnham School in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Sam Waterston

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Registration is open for Challenger baseball. Focusing on fun and building life-long friendships, it’s Little League’s adaptive program for people with physical and intellectual challenges. Those born between September 1, 1997 and August 31, 2017 are eligible. Out-of-towners are eligible, if their community does not have its own Challenger program.

Through generous donations, Challenger is completely free. To register, click here. For more information, email commissioner Beth Cody: westportball@aol.com.

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Stop the presses (or the pixels): “Westport … Naturally” offers what may be the first hint of spring. The photo is from Thursday morning — the day before our latest snowstorm — in Bob Weingarten’s yard.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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And finally … Sally Kellerman died Thursday in Los Angeles, of heart failure. She was 84.

Kellerman was Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, in the 1970 “MASH” movie directed by Robert Altman. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe award, and an Oscar nomination.

Loretta Swit is better known for her portrayal as the lusty head nurse in all 11 years of the TV series that followed. But Kellerman was the original. Click here for a full obituary.

3 responses to “Roundup: Ukraine Rally, Nic + Zoe, MOMBAS …

  1. Jeanne, thanks, I did not know that. I suppose you could say there is even one more Westport connection here: Barby and Sam’s son, James, also an actor, has appeared at the Westport Country Playhouse on more than one occasion.

  2. rosemary milligan

    Barbie Johns was a friend of my step sister and went to Wyoming Seminary – which is in Pennsylvania! Also Sally Kelerman was at the Westport Playhouse – can’t remember the play, think it was back in the mid sixties.

  3. Patricia+Blaufuss

    You’re correct, Rosemary. Sally Kellerman was at Westport Country Playhouse in 1967 in “A Singular Man” by J.P. Donleavy, also starring E.G. Marshall and Barbara Barrie. Loretta Swit was at the Playhouse in 1994 in “Song of Singapore.” And Fred, you’re also right – James Waterston has been in five Playhouse productions since 2007.

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