Roundup: Cavalry Road Bridge, Staples Graduation, Sharkey’s Cuts …

Residents in the Red Coat Road/West Branch neighborhood, straddling the Westport/Weston border, were thrilled earlier this month when the Cavalry Road bridge reopened.

For a year during the project, they’d faced long detours, constant traffic pattern changes, even property damage. They seldom complained.

But now they’re mad.

Suddenly, a large chain link fence has been installed on both sides of the new bridge. Residents call it an eyesore — and not part of the original plan. They wonder how safety measures more appropriate for a state road became part of their bucolic landscape.

Guardrail and fencing on the Cavalry Road bridge.

Resident Gery Grove — who says it is a Weston project — wrote to officials of both towns:

“This is a low speed bridge (now with extensive guardrails in place) with probably a limited to nonexistent history of injury or death. This is a pastoral residential neighborhood that people move to for quiet charms.

“Behind our backs at the dawn of a holiday weekend, it has been made to look like a downtown Manhattan parking lot with no warning. And likely no historical public record of this addition. No other small bridges that I am aware of (that don’t go over the Merritt or I95) have this extensive fencing.”

Westport 1st selectwoman replied quickly, promising to meet with residents there on Monday morning.

Weston town administrator Jnoathan Luiz said that he asked the engineering company that designed the bridge and provided construction oversight to respond.


For the second year in a row — after a hiatus of nearly 40 years — Staples High School held its graduation ceremony outdoors.

“06880” provided photos of the 135th commencement. But those were only from ground level.

Staples sophomore Charlie Scott adds a new perspective, thanks to his drone:

(Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

The stage is at the north end (bottom of photo). Board of Education and other dignitaries are at the lower left. The 450-plus graduates are massed on Coach Paul Lane Field. The 2,000 spectators fill the bleachers on the right.


Scalp dramatically reduces chemotherapy-induced hair loss in cancer patients.

But it’s expensive.

Scott Sharkey — founder of Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids, the Westport-based haircut chain – has jump-started a fund to support patients throughout New England who cannot afford the treatment.

Each Sharkey’s salon donates a percent of every haircut to charity. “Hair to Stay” will be one more beneficiary of the company’s generosity.


Jillian Elder has a new line of Westport-themed tank tops, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and tumblers.

Some are actually more specific: They say “I’d rather be in Saugatuck” and “I’d rather be at Compo Beach.” There are also red-white-and-blue Minute Man items.

Click here for “I’d Rather Be …”; click here for the Minute Man stuff.


Artists Collective of Westport member Lee Walther curated a new exhibit, “Sculptural Dimensions,” at the Fairfield Public Library. It features Collective artists Sooo-z Mastropietro and Louise Cadoux, plus international artist Alan Neider.

The show runs through August 6. Click here for more infromation.

Art by Sooo-z Mastropietro.


Marie Coppotelli — one of Westport’s first girls “soccer moms” — died peacefully on June 9. She was 92 years old.  .

Stuart McCarthy — a founder of Westport’s girls soccer program, and former Staples High School coach — says:

When we started the first girls travel team in 1977, Marie took charge. She did all the great organization and coordination that comes with the job (but she had no 3-ring binder left behind by the last manager). I will always remember how she was such a sweet lady — until someone fouled one of ‘her girls.’ Marie was fiercely protective, and they were all ‘her girls.’ We were all lucky to have Marie on our team.

Marie was preceded in death by her husband Donald Coppotelli and brother Anthony Cuda. She is survived by her sister Patricia Nole, sister-in-law Lynn Cuda; children Michele (Pat) Solis, Lisa Coppotelli, Alan (Nancey) Coppotelli, Renee (Mark) Dixon, and Claudine (Lee) Martin; grandchildren Emma and Reed Tso, Oliver and Madeline Dixon, Devon Mayhew, Dylan and Eileen
Martin, Ghislain and Mary Melaine, Jeff and Jessica Doerner, and great-grandchildren Molly and Benjamin Doerner and Georges Melaine.

Services will be held privately at a future date. In lieu of flowers,
everyone who knew Marie knows she loves to feed people. Donations may be made online to Connecticut Foodshare, Memories and condolences may be sent to the family:,

The Coppotellis, at Marie and Don’s 50th wedding celebration. From left: Renee, Claudine, Donald, Marie, Michele, Lisa, Alan.


This “Westport … Naturally” wren seems right at home in Paul Delano’s birdhouse.

(Photo/Paul Delano)


And finally … sure, Jillian Elder’s gear and mugs say “I’d rather be in Saugatuck” (or “at Compo Beach”).

But as the Turtles knew years ago:

8 responses to “Roundup: Cavalry Road Bridge, Staples Graduation, Sharkey’s Cuts …

  1. Sean Costello

    The Calvary Road bridge project has been a debacle from its inception. Somehow, a 60’ span over the West Branch of the Saugatuck River popped up out of nowhere (as Mrs, Grove noted above, this is a span with limited to no history of injury or death), has taken over 20 months to complete and ends with them serupticiously installing unnecessary and unsightly safety equipment that exceeds what is done on the Merritt parkway. All the while the project managed by surly, unpleasant and unhelpful contractors (NJM) who treated the residents of the area to the residents of the area, whose lives were negatively affected by the construction, with contempt.

    I reiterate, it took 20 months to complete a 60 foot span that’s throughly 7 feet above high water – that’s 3 feet a month. It took 9 months to build the Empire State Building.

    This ending to this project is fitting for the ongoing failure of the contractor, and of public oversight of this project. Every Westport and Weston taxpayer should be infuriated by this waste of time, money and reduction in quality of life / property value. There needs to be an inquiry into how this project was approved and managed by the towns RTMs and PNZs as well, because this cannot be the standard we hold for our public works.

    • Jim Westphal

      Good grief. I thought this project was bad enough when it was budgeted at close to $4 million several years ago (if I remember correctly). Then the 20 month construction period and, as Mr Costello documents, incredibly over-engineered design. The ugly, unnecessary fence is a perfect finishing touch.

  2. Isabelle Breen

    The Coppotellis were our next door neighbors for 20+ years, very nice people. I’m sorry to hear of her passing. Condolences to the family.

  3. Hope Hageman

    Can’t wait to see the “I’d rather be at Sherwood Island” line of apparel!

    • Chris Grimm

      The options are nearly limitless!

      “I’d rather be stuck in Post Road traffic”
      “I’d rather be living in a Westport McMansion”
      “I’d rather be running a Westport red light”
      “I’d rather be attending a Westport super-spreader event”

  4. Morley Boyd

    The Town of Westport loves to wildly overbuild small bridges so that they resemble something which could regularly accommodate heavily armored mechanized battalions. And it has a particular fetish for guardrails and other barriers. Notions of scale, cost and aesthetics raised by concerned taxpayers are mostly dismissed. I have found that you have beat the people responsible for this waste and ugliness like a rented mule to get any concessions at all. Perhaps Westport’s new First Selectwoman will bring greater sensitivity to this subject as there are more small bridge projects on the horizon.

  5. We live on Cavalry Road. “Westport 1st selectwoman replied quickly, promising to meet with residents there on Monday morning.” When and where is the Selectwomen meeting taking place? Thanks.