Roundup: PAL Rink, Lithium-Ion Batteries, Christine Ohlman …

The Westport PAL skating rink at Longshore has enjoyed a banner vacation week.

Westport PAL Longshore skating rink. (Photo/Rowene Weems)

The ice — just a few yards from Long Island Sound, between the tennis courts and La Plage restaurant — is one of our town’s semi-hidden gems. Perfect for skating under a bright sun (or moon), it’s open nearly all the time to the public.

Click here for the full schedule, and more information.


The Westport Fire Department responded yesterday to a call about a garbage truck on Fairview Drive.

Firefighters found that the truck operator had already dumped trash from the truck, and extinguished the blaze with a fire extinguisher.

The cause of the fire was lithium-ion batteries for a vacuum cleaner. The garbage truck operator had heard an explosion and seen smoke from the truck’s rear.

Lithium-ion batteries are unlikely to catch fire if handled and disposed of properly. But faults inside the battery or from external damage can cause fires, with potentially severe consequences.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in cell phones, laptops, tablets, electric cars and scooters.

The Fire Department offers these tips:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage.
  • Do not charge a device under your pillow, bed or couch.
  • Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made for the device.
  • Keep batteries/devices at room temperature. Do not place in direct sunlight.
  • Store batteries away from anything flammable.
  • If a battery overheats or you notice an odor, change in shape/color, leaking, or odd noises from a device, discontinue use immediately. If safe, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.
  • Do not put lithium-ion batteries in the trash.
  • Recycling is always the best option.
  • Take them to a battery recycling location or contact your community for disposal instructions.
  • Do not put discarded batteries in piles.

Westport residents may recycle these types of batteries at the transfer station. For more information, click here.

Lithium-ion battery, after garbage truck fire. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)


In the past year, the Westport Library has hosted the multi-genre Verso Fest, and 4 Sundays f blues.

Rock n’ soul rules on January 7 (7:30 p.m.). Christine Ohlman — the platinum blonde “Beehive Queen,” and longtime “Saturday Night Live” — joins Rebel Montez to the Trefz Forum for a Winter Dance Party.

She is no stranger to the Library. She collaborated with Mark Naftalin — the Westport resident and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician — on his “Blue Sunday” series last month.

Ohlman’s career includes appearances with Bonnie Raitt, Keb Mo, Smokey Robinsons, Graham Nash, Steve Miller, the B52s and Elvis Costello. She has sold out the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s David Bowie tribute and the WC Handy Festival in Muscle Shoals.

She has recorded with Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, George Harrison, Sting, Ian Hunter, Bonnie Bramlett, Ronnie Spector, Charlie Musselwhite, Irma Thomas and Chrissie Hynde, among others.

DJ B The T Jr. gets the gig started, with all-vinyl soul classics at 6:30.

Click here for tickets. Use “BLUES” for a $5 discount.

Christine Ohlman


Mark Shanahan — chief curator of the Westport Country Playhouse’s popular script-in-hand reading series — wrote “A Sherlock Carol.”

Launched with a virtual world premier at the Playhouse in January 2021, the show is ending a 6-week season run at New World Stages Performing Arts Complex in New York.

The final three are today (Friday, December 30, 2 and 8 p.m.) and Sunday (January 1, 8 p.m.).

The show is also performing to full houses at London’s Marlybone Theatre. It runs there through January 7.

Shanahan says: “When a grown-up Tiny Tim asks Sherlock Holmes to investigate the peculiar death of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Great Detective must use his tools of deduction to get to the bottom of the crime. But it is a dark and treacherous Christmas Eve, and once again the holiday is haunted by the spirits of the past, present and future.“

The New York show ends with curtain speeches each night asking for donations to Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Shanahan has written and directed fundraising galas for them for years, with Annie Keefe of the Westport Playhouse.

Click here for “Sherlock Carol” tickets, and more information. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Mark Shanahan


Laurie Sorensen was walking back from the Longshore golf course at sunset. She snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo at Gray’s Creek.

“May we continue to enjoy such serene scenes in 2023!” she says. “Happy New Year to all ‘06880’ readers, and to the beautiful wildlife that graces our environment.”

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


And finally … Ian Tyson died yesterday, at his ranch in Alberta. He was 89.

Half of the folk duo Ian & Sylvia, he was “a revered figure in his home country, celebrated both for his music and his commitment to the culture of Canada’s ranch country,” the New York Times said.

“Before Canadian musicians like Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen, there was Ian Tyson.”

His song “Four Strong Winds” was voted the most essential Canadian piece of music by listeners of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005. He also wrote “Someday Soon,” a classic Judy Collins tune.

Click here for a full obituary.

(If “06880” reminds you to skate at the PAL rink, saves you from a lithium-ion battery disaster, or helps in any other way, please consider a donation. Just click here — and thank you!)

4 responses to “Roundup: PAL Rink, Lithium-Ion Batteries, Christine Ohlman …

  1. From the era of great folk music, Ian and Sylvia. Have all their great albums. A song I always loved by them “Changes”- Sit by my side come as close as you can…” many great venues for folk music in the area back in the day. Rabbit Hill at the Methodist Church in Westport and a place I think called Grassroots just over the bridge by across from Age of Reason. Stamford Nature Center had a great venue with people like Bill Staines who recently passed away. Songs like “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir” and “River.” Always think of our own Saugatuck River when I hear that song.

    • Those were great places indeed. I especially remember Grassroots (near the Indian restaurant Love and Serve, and Ye Olde Bridge Grille dive bar). “Changes” was written by Phil Ochs; Ian and Sylvia covered it (as they did Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain,” in the video above).

  2. I sang an Ian and Sylvia song for John Hanulic’s 10th grade chorus class – Song for Canada by Ian Tyson. I gained my first (dis)taste for small group performance in that class. Thank you Sue Shotkin (wherever you are) for getting me through that song. Your guitar and voice carried the performance.

  3. The first concert I attended was Ian and Sylvia. When they turned on the electric guitars, someone in the audience stood up and started yelling at them. Ian walked down the steps in front of the stage to fight the guy. Never came to fist but just lots of arguing. Left a big impression for my first concert. Always enjoyed their music.

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