Roundup: MLK Day, Club 203 Party, Ruth Bedford Fund …

Westport’s 17th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration next month will be one of its most memorable.

Author/creative artist/filmmaker/playwright/multi-dimensional performance artist Junauda Petrus will be the special guest here.

Petrus’ work spotlights “Black wildness, laughter, futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, spectacle and shimmer.” Her debut novel, “The Stars and the Blackness Between Them,” received the 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award. She is writing a screenplay adaptation of the book.

Petrus’ visit to Westport will focus on “reimagining community diversity, engagement, and civility.”

On Friday, January 13 she will present at area schools. On Saturday, January 14 Petrus will visit the Westport Library for an experiential workshop with local artists (click here for more information), followed by a panel discussion with them (click here to register).

The 3-day celebration culminates on Sunday, January 15 with her 3 p.m. keynote address at the Westport Country Playhouse. Copies of her book will be available for purchase, with Petrus signing copies after her talk. The program is free with registration (click here), and includes a dance performance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

The Martin Luther King Jr. celebration began in 2006, coordinated by the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council and Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy. Since 2016 it has been hosted by those 2 organizations, the Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, and TEAM Westport.

To learn more about Junauda Petrus, click here.

Junauda Petrus

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Tuesday night was magical at Wakeman Town Farm. 120 members of Club 203 gathered for their first-ever holiday party.

The organization offers great social opportunities for adults with disabilities. They’re uplifted by strong community support.

For this week’s festivities, the tent was sponsored by the Riverside Realty Group. Motivators came from TAP Strength. The art project in Tim’s Kitchen was hosted by MoCA.

The hot cocoa bar and snacks were Gold’s, Rye Ridge Deli, The Porch @ Christie’s, Fresh Market and Silverman Farms. The event space came courtesy of Wakeman Town Farm.

A few of the Club 203 party-goers at Wakeman Town Farm. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the December 8-14 period.

Seven people were detained in custody. The charges for each:

  • Forgery, 2nd and 3rd degree; fraudulent use of ATM
  • Larceny, 1st degree
  • Rick of injury to a child; criminal mischief; disorderly conduct
  • Criminal violation of a restraining order; harassment
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol; stop sign violation
  • Failure to appear.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 7
  • Stop sign violation: 6
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 3
  • Cell phone, first offense: 2
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Failure to grant right of way at an intersection: 1
  • Distracted driving: 1
  • Failure to obey control signal: 1
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian: 1
  • Disorderly conduct: 1.

The crosswalk on Riverside Avenue, at South Sylvan. Like many others, it’s clearly marked that drivers must yield to pedestrians.

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For the second year in a row, all 22 Kings Highway Elementary School classes participated in the Connecticut Education Foundation’s Holiday Bear program.

Each class received information about a child in our area who might not receive gifts for the holidays. Families shopped for items on the youngsters’ holiday wish lists. They ranged from toys and crafts to necessities like coats, hats, gloves and pajamas.

Students worked with their teachers and parent volunteers to wrap each gift.  ,

In addition, KHS teachers banded together to sponsor an additional child on their own.

Earlier today, CEF picked up all 23 Holiday Bear duffle bags, bursting with wrapped gifts from teachers, students and staff.

Congratulations to the Kings Highway Elementary School community. That’s the holiday spirit!

Kings Highway students, with a few of the 23 Holiday Bear duffel bags stuffed with gifts. (Photo courtesy of KHS PTA)

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The Westport Domestic Violence Task Force had its own successful holiday drive.

For the past week, they collected gift cards, to benefit the Domestic Violence Crisis Center safehouse and community clients.

Residents donated $3,250 in cards to department specialty, and grocery stores. Survivors purchase what they most need or want for their families this season.

This can be a dark time for victims of domestic violence. The WDVTF thanks all who help make it a bit brighter.

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In 2015, the Westport Weston Family YMCA received a large and unexpected gift from the estate of Ruth Bedford.

The granddaughter of Edward T. Bedford — who founded the Y — she had died the previous year, at 99. The board of trustees established the Ruth Bedford Social Responsibility Fund. Its endowment supports grants to organizations that provide direct or supplemental educational opportunities in Fairfield County.

This week, the Y honored the 31 recipients for 2022.

Representatives from each group described how their grants would be spent. For example:

  • The Carver Foundation of Norwalk serves 2,500 K-12 students. Funds will towards supporting its middle school program.
  • Homes with Hope will help housing insecure people get back on their feet.
  • Mercy Learning Center of Bridgeport will use the grant for its Early Childhood Education program.
  • New Beginnings Family Academy serves Bridgeport’s most vulnerable children. The donation will help “level the playing field.”
  • Wakemen Memorial Association (Boys & Girls Club) sponsors after-school and summer camp programs. They’re also building a second location in Bridgeport,

CEOs Marcie Berson (Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestra) and Novelette Peterkin (Carver Foundation) share a table at the Westport Y’s Ruth Bedford Social Responsibility Fund ceremony.

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Staples High School’s December Students of the Month are seniors Zoe Webster and Mia Vindiola; junior Andrew Cerrito; sophomores Ethen Perry and Kensley Laguerre, and freshmen Benjamin Barger and Annabelle Katz.

The award recognizes students who “help make Staples High School a welcoming place for their peers and teachers alike. They are the ‘glue’ of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students that keep the high school together, making it the special place that it is.”

Students of the Month are nominated by their teachers, who are asked to think of “all-around good citizens” of the school.

Staples High School’s December Students of the Month. From left: Benjamin Barger, Zoe Webster, Annabelle Katz, Kensley Laguerre, Andrew Cerrito, Ethen Perry. Absent: Mia Vindiola.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo …

(Photo/Stephen Raffel)

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… leads naturally to our “And … finally” song:

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One response to “Roundup: MLK Day, Club 203 Party, Ruth Bedford Fund …

  1. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    The Bedford family is widely rumored to have made millions from capitalism. Awaiting the summary judgement from the Museum of History and Culture to determine whether the Bedfords were good or bad people. If the museum says they’re good, then the signage on the schools stay up, if they have anything less than stellar ESG in their past, all signs, tile walls, schools, etc. must come down and the Ruth Bedford Social Responsibility Fund must pay reparations to the museum.