Roundup: Oka Mural, Ukraine Coats, Joggers Club Jr.,

The other day, alert reader Peter Gold noticed that the mural of long-ago Westporters that once hung behind the Banana Republic register — and before that, Klein’s Department store and, way earlier, the Townly restaurant — is gone.

I guessed that Oka — the British furniture and home accessories retailer that moved in right before Christmas — had no idea of its provenance. I also guessed that an email to their headquarters would yield no response.

Surprise! I got this quick reply:

Thanks for reaching out! The beautiful, historic mural has been well-preserved behind a purposely constructed wall that is papered in grasscloth. If you ever stop by the showroom, the manager, Susan Benedetti, would be happy to show you where it is. Hope this helps!

I emailed back, wondering why it no longer hangs where the public can see it.

So far: crickets.

Judging from the video below, there’s no room amid the “timeless” décor for this perhaps time-worn artifact of history.


For the past 2 week, the Westport Winter Farmers’ Market has collected coats, mittens and more for Ukrainian relief.

Shoppers donated generously. In fact, co-organizer Mark Yurkiw says, “Thanks to everyone, we need a bigger truck!”

With donations at the Westport Farmers’ Market, at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center (from left): Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran-Dougall, organizer Mark Yurkiw, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Wynne Vaast, who brought many bags from L.L. Bean and his employer, Ring’s End.


Sure, it was chilly at Compo Beach yesterday.

But more than 160 employees of Synchrony, the Stamford financial services company — including CEO Brian Doubles — plunged into the 39-degree water.

It was a charity event, for the benefit of Westport-based global community of 30 camps and programs for children living with serious illnesses, and their families. Synchrony employees raised and matched more than $180,000 to the non-profit.

Synchrony says: Everyone into (and out of) the water!


The Joggers Club Jr. returns this spring.

Once again, kindergarteners through 8th graders will learn the basics of running from experts — and have fun, with friends.

Instructors include Coach Alex, who just ran his personal record marathon (2:55). He’s a founding coach at Central Park Running Club, the fastest-growing run club in New York.

Coach Brenn is a collegiate cross country and track athlete.  His post-college PRs include a 4:49 mile, 1:22 half marathon and 3:08 marathon.  He previously trained with the elite Central Park Track Club.

Coach Dave has competed in 13 Half Ironmans,12 Olympic triathlons, 4 marathons and 1 Ironman. He is a cycle instructor at Equinox Fitness in New York, and runs competitively for Central Park Running Club.

Coach Skye is a graduate of The Joggers Club Jr. She placed second in her age group in the 2022 Minute Man 10k, and has competed in every Turkey Trot since she was 9.

The camp takes places Sundays from 2 to 3:15 p.m., from April 23 to June 11 at the Staples High School track. It is limited to 40 runners.

Before March 1, the fee is $49 for Joggers Club members, $99 for non-members. Venmo @CPRCandTJC (include name, age and shirt size of participant). Then go to, and complete the waiver under the “Members” tab.


Laurie Sorensen got her ducks in a row recently at Compo Beach’s South Beach, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


And finally … the legendary Burt Bacharach died Wednesday, in Los Angeles. He was 94.

The New York Times calls him “the debonair pop composer, arranger, conductor, record producer and occasional singer whose hit songs in the 1960s distilled that decade’s mood of romantic optimism….

“A die-hard romantic whose mature style might be described as Wagnerian lounge music, Mr. Bacharach fused the chromatic harmonies and long, angular melodies of late-19th-century symphonic music with modern, bubbly pop orchestration, and embellished the resulting mixture with a staccato rhythmic drive. His effervescent compositions epitomized sophisticated hedonism to a generation of young adults only a few years older than the Beatles.

“Because of the high gloss and apolitical stance of the songs Mr. Bacharach wrote with his most frequent collaborator, the lyricist Hal David, during an era of confrontation and social upheaval, they were often dismissed as little more than background music by listeners who preferred the hard edge of rock or the intimacy of the singer-songwriter genre. But in hindsight, the Bacharach-David team ranks high in the pantheon of pop songwriting.” (Click here for a full obituary.)

His most famous songs may be “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and “That’s What Friends Are For.”

Here are a few of my favorites. What are yours? Click “Comments” below.

(Speaking of “That’s What Friends Are For”: Please consider a donation to “06880,” your hyper-local blog. Click here — and thank you!)

7 responses to “Roundup: Oka Mural, Ukraine Coats, Joggers Club Jr.,

  1. Good job mark and Lori for all the work your doing for Ukrainian o also want thank our fire chief and all the rtm members and bof and boe everyone on this town that is helping this cause that’s what Westport is about we work with everyone and thanks Dan for doing this

  2. @Great work, Mark, and all involved. With the unending crises going on in the world, people dying, children lost and starving, your contributions of time and effort, along with the generosity of the people of the town near and far, make an incredible difference. And what an example to set for our own youth!

  3. I’m a “Raindrops” girl as it was a song we sang all the time at my summer camp. Shout out to the many Towarda alumni that are 06880 regulars. RIP Mr Bacharach and thanks for the memories!

  4. Mark, Do you still want coats?

  5. Aretha Franklin’s rendition of “Say a Little Prayer” is my favorite!

  6. Karen Carpenter’s “(They Long to Be) Close to You”.

    Every year I sing it to my son on his birthday…”On the day that you were born the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true…”

    Love it! ❤️❤️

  7. I cannot believe that this company would at least look into the history of that mural. I remember sitting by it as a child and loving it. I hope someone has a picture of it.

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