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Roundup: Amy Scarella, Staples Books Complaint, Historic District …

Amy Scarella is a 1994 Staples High School graduate. Many Westporters know her as the passionate power behind Little Black Dog Rescue.

She was the woman driving around town with an SUV full of howling canines. She fundraised tirelessly to rescue dogs from kill shelters (usually down South), transport them to Connecticut, and address each dog’s many health problems. Then she matched each dog to a loving family. It’s estimated she and her team have saved over 1,000 animals.

A former teacher in the Bronx, Amy also tutored kids.

Her longtime friend Meghan Bell calls her “the friend who showed up at my house to watch my newborn twins so I could take a shower and a nap. And the friend who drove in a snowstorm to Westchester County Medical Center to pick me up when my father had a stroke and I couldn’t put a sentence together, let alone navigate I-95 in the snow.”

Amy moved to Charleston, South Carolina a few years ago to be closer to her family. Recently, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Due to its size and location, there was no more room to grow. She needed immediate surgery.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by her friends, to help with medical and rehabilitation expenses. Anyone who knows Amy’s Little Black Dog Rescue work — and those who don’t, but wishes they did — is invited to contribute.

Amy Scarella


The next step in the handling of a resident’s complaint about material displayed in the Staples High School library is a special meeting on Monday, April 3 (3:30 p.m., Staples library).

An ad hoc committee, appointed by Superintendent of School Thomas Scarice, will follow up on last week’s session. Westport resident Tara McLaughlin seeks the removal of 3 books — sought the removal of “Gender Queer,” “This Book is Gay” and “Flamer” — from the collection.

Monday’s meeting is the next, in a 9-step process. The committee will discuss previous hearings, and “develop an evaluative judgment and recommendation for consideration by the Superintendent of Schools.”

Public comment will not be allowed. It may be permitted at a later meeting.

The 3 books challenged by parent Tara McLaughlin.


Want input into Westport’s Historic Preservation Plan?

The Historic District Commission is conducting a survey, to guide them as they adopt one. The goal is to “establish a long-term vision for historic preservation in the community, and create a set of achievable goals and strategies for strengthening the town’s historic preservation program.”

Click here for the survey. To learn more about the Historic District Commission, click here.

This sign on Jesup Road is looking a bit historic.(Photo/Morley Boyd)


Speaking of the Historic District Commission:

The agenda for their April 11 Zoom meeting includes 6 homes “to take such action as the meeting may determine to oppose the issuance of the demolition permit … and require the full 180-day delay.”

Among those on the chopping block: 45 Compo Beach Road.

Located across from Ned Dimes Marina, on the way to the beach entrance and just north of Roosevelt Road, it’s one of the most recognizable houses in town:

The yellow house at 45 Compo Beach Road.


Eleven Westport organizations have received arts grants. They come from 3 state sources: General Operation Support, the Connecticut Arts Endowment, and Supporting Arts.

Westport’s total of $183,647 is distributed this way:

American Chamber Orchestra – $5,764
Beechwood Arts, Inc. – $10,000
Fairfield County Chorale  – $12,987
JIB Productions (Play With Your Food) –  $2,371
Levitt Pavilion, Friends of Westport – $54,909
MoCA Westport, Inc. – $60,782
Music for Youth Westport – $5,954
Suzuki Music School of Westport & Orange – $3,128
Westport Community Theatre – $9,417
Westport Country Playhouse –  $12,959
Westport School of Music –  $5,376.

MoCA Westport is one of 11 local organizations to receive state arts grants.


Check out this photo:

(Photo/Dan Woog)

What is it?

You’ll find it in the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum, now through Sunday. It’s part of Verso Fest — the 2nd annual music-and-media festival.

It’s a 1:4 scale model of the Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound. It was created by former Westonite Anthony Coscia.

The “wall” is on display, and will crank tunes (intermittently) throughout VersoFest. There’s even a class about it (and PA systems): tomorrow (Saturday, April 1, 11 a.m.), open to all.

The aim of Coscia’s project is to preserve The Wall’s place in history, and allow people to hear, see, and feel what few were able to experience.

The model features over 500 functioning speakers divided into 8 channels, producing 100 decibels with little to no distortion.

VersoFest kicked off last night, with a concert by Sunflower Bean. A crowd of over 200 people enjoyed the show.

Sunflower Bean, last night at the Westport Library’s VersoFest. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Tonight it’s the (sold-out) Smithereens. Saturday includes panels with Steve Lillywhite and Richard Butler. Among Sunday’s highlights: a vinyl swap, and the documentary “Live from the Astroturf.”

For a schedule and full details of concerts, workshops and more, click here. All concerts are co-produced by the Library and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Sunflower Bean backstage at VersoFest, flanked byTalking Head and Tom Tom Club’s Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)


Matthew Balga — the Whelk chef killed by a car earlier this month, while walking across Riverside Avenue after work — will be remembered on Sunday.

CT Urbanists — a safe streets advocacy group — will place a pair of “ghost shoes” at the site where he was struck.

A group will walk from the Westport train station at 11:30 a.m. to the site. All are welcome.

Similar ceremonies will honor 3 other pedestrians killed this month, in Greenwich, New Haven and Cheshire.

For more information, email

Chef Matthew Balga


Aspetuck’s next “Lunch and Learn” webinar is all about nighttime.

“Working the Night Shift: Pollination Happens after Dark Too!” (Wednesday, April 5, noon to 1 p.m.) explores how moths, flies, beetles and other dusk and after-dark pollinators play important roles pollinating wild and managed plants, along with the ecology, diversity and importance of these hidden pollinators, and how to support them.

The presenter is Emily May (pollinator conservation specialist, and agricultural lead with the Xerces Society’s Pesticide Program). Click here for more information, and to register.


This intriguing photo was recently found in an old barn — used for storage by many families — on Bayberry Lane.

Lloyd and Stacy Stableford think the girl (now woman) in the photo might like to have it back. If you know who she is, email

President Carter, with an unidentified girl.

Also found: something (possibly valuable), with a dedication. The recipient was “Gramp” referred to as “Tia’s 3rd husband”), who had been an attorney and judge in the early and mid 20th century. It hung in his law office and courtroom until he retired in 1961.

The item was embroidered in Japan in 1914 or 1915, and presented around 1920 by a Lt. Cmdr. R.S. Skelton, whose name appears in the 1883 Congressional Record.

The Stablefords’ research did not yield much. If you know anything more about “Gramp,” email


Seen on social media:

“I am absolutely heartbroken over the loss of an Orvis Recon Fly & Reel. It was my personal favorite and a gift from my wife.

It was accidently left on the right-side parking shoulder nearest the water of Ford Road in Westport Wednesday, between 2 and 6 p.m. Reward given to the kind soul who locates and returns it. Please call Mark at 475-731-7400.”

Let’s hope Mark gets his fly and reel back.

And that his wife doesn’t see this. (Hat tip: Mary Beth Murray)

Orvis Recon


It’s not Westport, but close enough:

With 136 new apartments planned for the Route 1 border in Norwalk — including Renzulli Road becoming a cul-de-sac, and the demolition of 7 houses, plus several businesses — decades-old Sanitary Cleaners is closing next month.

The final day to accept clothing is tomorrow. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Sanitary Cleaners


George Billis Gallery recently moved from Westport to Fairfield.

Their original New York location — 527 West 23rd Street — is still open.

That’s where Westport artist Sherri Wolfgang has her next exhibit.

The opening reception is Saturday, April 8 (4 to 7 p.m.). The show runs from April 4-29 (Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m.). For more information, call 917-273-8621.

Art by Sherri Wolfgang


Beginning tomorrow, dogs will begin their 6-month ban from Compo Beach.

That includes Lola — who lives on Soundview Drive, just yards from the shore.

She prepared for her new life by watching workers smooth the sand.

And by posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … if you want to weigh in on the Historic District Commission’s Preservation Plan (story above), do not listen to the first lines of this song (or watch the images):

(Don’t know much about Westport? Read “06880.” Learn. And then support our work. Please click here. Thank you!)

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