Roundup: Distracted Driving, Breakfast Club, Shake Shack …

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If you drove on I-95 or the Merritt Parkway yesterday, you noticed electronic signs warning against distracted driving: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”

They’re part of a state Department of Transportation campaign for April — it’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Westport Police have joined the effort too.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device any time, even a hands-free one.

Drivers who are ticketed pay $200 for the first offense, $375 for the next, and $625 for the third and subsequent offenses.

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If you never saw “The Breakfast Club”: You missed a classic.

If you missed Triple Threat Academy’s staged workshop production of it at Toquet Hall: You missed another classic.

But you’re in luck! Excerpts have just been posted on YouTube.

The performance grew out of TripleThreat’s Zoom production, directed by founder and “Fame” star Cynthia Gibb during the pandemic.

The cast brought such energy and power to their Zoom sessions that Gibb vowed to bring it to the stage as soon as it was safe.

Despite only 10 hours of rehearsal, the show earned a standing ovation. Triple Threat plans more productions like it. Their spring session begins April 12, with acting and improv classes for youth, teens and adults at Toquet Hall.

Click here for details. As for video below: Hey, it’s “The Breakfast Club.” Beware of f-bombs.

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Could Shake Shack be leaving?

It looked that way, from from the commercial real estate listing:

Turns out it’s the small rooms that are being rented by Pinnacle Fitness — perhaps to a physical therapist, chiropractor or similar tenant. Yuri’s Gym has closed.

Sounds like a great opportunity. Especially for a health professional who likes hamburgers. (Hat tip: Steven Goldstein)

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Aspetuck Land Trust’s popular “Lunch & Learn” series returns this Friday (April 8, noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom).

“Invasives to Natives: A Backyard Restoration” features super-gardener Pam Roman. She’ll talk about her COVID-time project that transformed her garden — and also healed her heart and soul. Click here to register.

Pam Roman, in her garden.

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Fortunately, NASA has a deflection plan. Just as fortuitously, the Westport Astronomical Society’s next online lecture is with Dr. Nancy Chabot. She’s the planetary chief scientist at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory. She’ll talk about DART — the “Double Asteroid Redirection Test” defense mission.Here’s one more: an asteroid smashing into earth.

The event is April 19 (8 p.m.). Click here for the Zoom link. Click here for  the YouTube livestream.

It should be fascinating. If nothing has happened to the world in the meantime.

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Former Westporter Barbara Webster died in February at her Oklahoma City home, from complications of dementia. She was  85.

She retired in 2016 after a storied career as a teacher, counselor, professional dancer, choreographer and arts administrator. Her last appointments were as a career counselor at Bunnell High School in Stratford, and executive director of the Connecticut Dance School in Fairfield.

Webster taught dance and fitness for decades through the Westport adult education and summer school programs, and in studios across Fairfield County (including with former Broadway star Bambi Lynn).

She helped choreograph productions and enhanced costumes for Staples Players and at Coleytown Junior High School in the 1970s and ’80s, including shows like “Oklahoma!”, “My Fair Lady,” “Carousel” and “Dromio, Dromio!.” She served as a substitute teacher and guidance counselor too.

She performed with the Dancers of Faith and with Heritage Productions throughout the tri-state region, and presented her original work at the Unitarian Church in Westport. She held additional arts administration roles at the Levitt Pavilion, executive director of the Stamford Community Arts Council, and director of ARTSPACE in New Haven.

An accomplished seamstress and costume designer, Webster was one of 12 needlewomen working on Westport’s Bicentennial Quilt. She also created an original ornament for the Westport Heritage Christmas Tree.

In 1977 Webster co-founded Giftbags, Ltd. She helped develop a customized line of reusable felt bags and puppets for gifts, wine and treats that were featured at the Metropolitan Opera, and local boutiques. Later, she co-created puppets for sale at Blue Man Group performances.A native of New Jersey, Webster graduated first in her class from Barringer High School (Newark) in 1953 and received her BA degree from Douglass College, Rutgers University, in 1957. She earned a Master of Education degree from Rutgers in 1965.

Webster was predeceased by her husband Russell and brother, Dr. Edward C. Sheppard. Survivors include her children Russell Todd Webster of Anchorage, and Catherine Sheppard Webster of Oklahoma City, and grandchildren Haven Barnett, Teddy Webster, and Meredith and Thayer Dycus.

A memorial service will be held August 7 (2 p.m., Unitarian Church in Westport).

The family has requested that contributions in her memory be sent to a scholarship established in her name at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Barbara Webster

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Many “06880” readers sent photos of yesterday’s gorgeous rainbow over Compo Beach. Jeanine Esposito’s made the cut as today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

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And finally … gamed jazz guitarist Larry Coryell was born today in 1943. He died in 2017.

6 responses to “Roundup: Distracted Driving, Breakfast Club, Shake Shack …

  1. That Shake Shack post brought a chill. How else is my mother going to see her grandsons?

  2. Fabulous rainbow photo!

  3. Considering the prodigious fat content of Shake Shack food, might I suggest a cardiologist office go into that space.

  4. Love the rainbow picture!!

  5. Thanks for sharing the tribute to my mom, Barbara Webster! I will be glad to share livestream information about her memorial service when it’s set up.

  6. Lynn Untermeyer Miller

    What a beautiful rainbow picture, Jeanine!

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