Roundup: Wetland Woes, Beach Rocks, Staples Honors …

March is not yet over. But the month has already set a record.

Not a good one.

The Conservation Department recorded the most number of violations in the last 2 years. Seven notices of violation were issued for clear-cutting, illegal fill, or dumping in or near Westport wetlands and watercourses.

Conservation director Colin Kelly says his staff “would obviously prefer to change this trend, but (we need) help from town residents.

After centuries of using wetlands as landfills and watercourses as sewers, the importance of these valuable natural resources and the vital role they play in our ecosystem has come to light in recent decades. Although wetlands and watercourses are now afforded the much needed protection they deserve, it is easy to leave them underappreciated and undervalued, and sometimes, overlooked.

Wetlands are valuable to us, but like any system, they can be overwhelmed. Our wetlands and watercourses provide a range of valuable functions to everyday life, including flood control, pollution filtration, and wildlife habitat. This is the reason we establish buffers around our wetlands and watercourses. Buffers are vegetated zones located between natural resources and adjacent areas subject to human alteration. There is a 20-foot protected buffer around wetlands and watercourses that limits the unpermitted cutting of vegetation or dumping of debris.

If there are wetlands or watercourses on your property, please respect these common resources. A permit must be obtained through the Westport Conservation Department if you want to remove any trees in a wetland. However, it is encouraged and advisable to add, rather than remove, vegetation.

If you are able, add to the vegetated buffer between your home, driveway or lawn and the wetland or watercourse. The best mix of buffer vegetation includes a mix of native trees, shrubs, and ground cover.

Even if there is no wetland or watercourse on or adjacent to your property, you can still help improve the quality of Westport’s environment through your landscaping. It is advisable to leave mature trees standing and plant additional trees in your yard.

Some of the benefits trees provide to Westport include supplying oxygen, increasing property values, muffling noise, hiding unsightly views, providing food and shelter for wildlife, preventing erosion, and filtering pollutants thereby improving air and water quality.

Questions? Contact the Westport Conservation Department at 203-341-1170. If requested, they will send someone to meet you in your yard.

A pond near the Partrick Wetlands. (Photo/Scott Smith)


Speaking of Mother Nature: This is New England. Rocks keep working their way to the surface.

Preparing for the upcoming beach season, crews are hard at work de-rocking the sand.

They were out this week at Compo Beach …

(Photo/Matt Murray)

… and Burying Hill.

(Photo/Art Schoeller)

It’s the kind of work few folks ever see.

But we’d sure notice it if it hadn’t been done.


Meanwhile, at Burying Hill the sand (and water) was enticing enough yesterday to lure this swimmer in.

He was not wearing a wet suit, but seemed to be enjoying himself — not a rush-in-and-out “polar plunge.” Impressive!

(Photo/Patricia Auber)


Staples High School is known for its academic rigor.

So it is particularly impressive to graduate in the top 4%.

The Class of 2023 will have 21 students in that elite group, called “High Honors.”

Congratulations to all!

High Honors students, front row (from left): Ryan Salik, Kyle Ambrose, Krishna Reddy, Matthew Shackelford, Tom Zhang, Jaden Mello, Eva Simonte, Quinn Mulvey, Meredith Mulhern, Sharmila Green, Lucia Wang, Rebecca Schussheim, Lilly Weisz. Back row:
Witt Lindau, Colin Morgeson, Nikhil Kanthan, Jet Tober, Katherine Valante, Reilly McCaffrey, Julia Herlyn, Janna Moore,


The United Methodist Church’s Easter Egg hunt this Saturday (April 1, 2 to 3:30 p.m.) is at “Rabbit Hill.”

That’s not some cute name they dreamed up for the event.

The church sits on property owned earlier by Robert Lawson. As every child knows (or should), he was the author of the book “Rabbit Hill.”

There will be eggs with treats, crafts, face-painting and snacks. It’s the Methodist Church’s gift to families — but they encourage people to give back by bringing donations of cash or non-perishable food items, for local pantries.

All families are welcome — but children only 10 and under, please!

One of Robert Lawson’s many “Rabbit Hill” illustrations.


Melissa Joan Hart moved from Westport to Nashville.

On Monday, she helped lead kindergartners to safety following a shooting at a private school near her new home. Her children attend another school nearby.

“We moved here from Connecticut where we were in school a little ways down from Sandy Hook, so this is our second experience with a school shooting with our kids being in close proximity,” she said. “Luckily we are all okay.”

Click here to read the full New York Post story. (Hat tip: Tom Greenwald)


Westport Police made 1 custodial arrest between March 23 and 29.

An officer on patrol initiated a traffic stop on Post Rd East near the Fairfield town line. The officer determined that the operator had an active re-arrest warrant from another jurisdiction. He was taken into custody.

The Westport Police system does not report citations issued.


The Westport Weston Family YMCA is branching out into video.

They’re creating a series of shorts, highlighting their impact. The first 2 feature the Water Rats swim team.

Competitive director and head coach Ellen Johnston and assistant senior coach Omar Cruz discuss the team, its 70-year history — one of the first 2 in the state! — and how it fits in with the Y’s core values:

The other video features 2 swimmers, and parents. They talk about learning life skills, achieving goals, building friendships — and the Y’s values:


Among Governor Lamont’s 20 nominees for the Connecticut Superior Court yesterday: Westporter Yamini Menon.

She now works as an assistant state’s attorney in the Civil litigation Bureau of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney. Previously, she spent 18 years with the Division of Criminal Justice. She has handled criminal trials, habeas corpus trials, habeas corpus appeals, and juvenile delinquency matters. She also served as a legal aid attorney with Connecticut Legal Services. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

Yamini Menon


Cobb’s Mill Inn has been closed for 7 years.

But while owners Sandra and Kleber Siguenza try to evict 2 people they call “squatters” from the premises –following a Probate Court decision affirming their ownership of the property — the restaurant lives on in Westport.

At least, its sign does.

Anyone walking to Compo Cove by the Sherwood Mill Pond pedestrian bridge can this familiar bit of history, on the side of a house at Old Mill Beach.

(Photo/Jeff Jacobs)


Staples High School Class of 2009 graduate (and Savannah College of Art & Design BFA) David Silverstein is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer and art director based in New York.

His work ranges from paintings on canvas and sculpture, large scale murals and hand-painted furniture to traditional branding, apparel graphics and print design.

An exhibition of his work opens at the Saturdays gallery today (Thursday, March 30 — confusing, no)? It’s 6 p.m., at 31 Crosby Street in Soho.

For a sample of David’s work, click here(Hat tip: Dana Kuyper)

Art by David Silverstein.


Ellen Wentworth’s Highland Road back yard is getting green

This beautiful bird adds a bit of red, in today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” image.

Photo/Ellen Wentworth)


And finally … on this day in 1867, Secretary of State William Seward purchased Alaska from Russia. The cost to the US was $7.2 million — about 2 cents an acre.

It was derided as “Seward’s Folly” — until gold was discovered there in 1898. Alaska became our 49th state in 1959, and is prized now for its beauty (and natural resources).

(“06880” ties together Westporters, wherever they currently live. If you feel connected to our town, please support its hyper-local blog. Click here — and thank you!)

4 responses to “Roundup: Wetland Woes, Beach Rocks, Staples Honors …

  1. Hi Dan.. What do you suppose is the real reason why the WPD won’t report the number of citations/traffic tickets?

  2. Richard Johnson

    WPD should provide some kind of detailed explanation of why they can’t report traffic citations issued, a development that came pretty quickly after they announced a supposed traffic safety unit – a traffic unit that many here have pointed out seems to be all for show. Being generous, this is a coincidence with very bad timing, but one that nevertheless justifies an explanation. Accountability is appropriate when there are police officers earning nearly $300k a year in a town with hardly any serious crime, and when the police chief seems to have time to attend the opening of every envelope.

  3. Eric Buchroeder

    I can’t speak for Westport but in Mayberry they don’t write tickets either, they just give Otis his own key and put him on the honor system. Deputy Fife has never needed his bullet and Sheriff Taylor volunteers to pick up litter on his day off. They don’t have enough money for an electric squad car though but that’s typical in the backward southern part of the country.

  4. Love the Water Rat videos, thank you!

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