Roundup: Beach Weather, Hazardous Waste, Challenged Books …

Yesterday was a beautiful beach day.

The temperature soared to the mid-80s. Schools are on spring break, so nearly everyone who was not in St. Barts or Portugal headed to the beach.

Except employees of Hook’d.

Hook’d has not yet opened for the season. Don’t hold your breath. This photo was from last year, a few days before Memorial Day. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

I got several emails about the beach concessionaire. Amy Schneider’s was typical: “Too bad Joey’s is gone. It would have been open today, unlike the current one which is closed.”

Earlier this week, a reader asked when Hook’d would open. I relayed the question to Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava.

As of this morning, I have not heard back.

Compo Beach, April 13, 2023. (Photo/Dick Kalt)

There was this beach scene too:

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

I didn’t make it to the beach yesterday.

But when I got in my car at 3:50 p.m.:

(Photo/Dan Woog)


It was not quite as warm Tuesday — just in the 70s — but that did not stop these youngsters from celebrating a week off from school.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

Do they know how good they have it?

When I was their age, I sure didn’t.


One of Westport’s most popular events — Household Hazardous Waste Day — falls on a propitious date this year: Earth Day.

The Department of Public Works’ annual collection is set for Saturday, April 22 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Greens Farms railroad station).

There is no charge for residents of Westport, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich who wish to safely dispose of household hazardous wastes.

Among the wastes accepted at the station: gasoline, kerosene, spray paint, paint strippers, paint thinners, solvents, paints, stains, turpentine, varnishes, wood preservatives, degreasers, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, bleach, charcoal lighter, cleaning chemicals, drain cleaners, mercury thermometers, moth balls, pet flea shampoos, photo chemicals, rug shampoos, spot removers, art supplies and paints.

The following items are not acceptable: ammunition, flares and commercial hazardous waste.

Before bringing material to the collection site:

  • Make sure items are clearly labeled. Never mix chemicals!  Incompatible products may react, ignite or explode, and mixed waste may become non-recyclable.
  • Keep products in original labeled container.
  • Place leaky containers in clear plastic bags.
  • Tighten lids of all containers. Pack items in sturdy cardboard boxes lined with paper.
  • Put boxes in the trunk or in the back of the vehicle, away from passengers.
  • Leave pets and children home.
  • Keep your windows open. Drive directly to the collection site.
  • Do not smoke or eat while handling hazardous materials.

REMINDER: Westport residents may also recycle antifreeze, motor oil, batteries of any type, light bulbs and electronics at the transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector, weekdays between 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon.

Questions? Call 203-341-1793.


The next step in the long process following a resident’s complaint about 3 books in the Staples High School library takes place Monday (April 17, 3:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium).

At its last session, the superintendent’s ad hoc review committee took 3 votes. All were 10-0, in favor of retaining “Flamer,” “Gender Queer” and “This is So Gay.” Tara McLaughlin took issue with them, and had previously been given an hour to air her concerns.

On Monday, the committee will review a draft of their recommendation to superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice, and take a final vote on it.

The meeting is open, but residents cannot comment. Public comment may be allowed at a future meeting.

Committee members met at Town Hall, earlier this month. (Photo/Brian McGunigle)


Ain’t Misbehavin’” — the Broadway musical about jazz great Fats Waller — is drawing crowds at the Westport Country Playhouse. The show ends April 29.

Then, the historic theater will get ready for more — including 2 productions just for kids.

“The Pout Pout Fish” (Sunday, May 21, 1 and 4 p.m., grades pre-K through 2) features whimsical puppets and live performers, in an oceanic adventure.

“The Magic School Bus” (Sunday, June 4, 1 and 4 p.m., grades K through 5) is a musical adaptation based on the Scholastic book series.

All tickets are $25. Click here for more information.


Staples High School freshman midfielder Natalie Chudowsky — a star on the Wreckers’ state champion soccer team, and a New York SC club player — is one of 23 girls chosen to attend the US Under-15 national team’s training camp in Kansas City.

In February, she attended the training camp in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Congratulations, Natalie!


New Yorker staff writer — and 1985 Staples High School graduate — David Grann has a new book.

After six years of research into the wreck of a British warship off the coast of Chile in 1740 — including his own journey to the inhospitable island where the castaways washed up — “Grann has delivered what will likely endure as the definitive popular account of the demise of the H.M.S. Wager,” the New York Times says.

It adds:

An engrossing survival story, “The Wager” is a knotty tale of moral compromises and betrayal and a metaphysical inquiry into the elusive nature of truth and the power of stories to shape history and our perceptions of reality.

The book, which Doubleday will release on April 18, has drawn enthusiastic early reviews. It is being adapted into a feature film by the director Martin Scorsese and the actor Leonardo DiCaprio — who also teamed up on a forthcoming movie based on Grann’s book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

To read the full Times story — headlined “A Swashbuckling Tale of Mutiny Took Him Where ‘The Soul of Man Dies'” — click here(Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

David Grann


Nine new members were sworn in Wednesday, as members of the Westport-Weston Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

All are clergy members in nearby towns. They completed a training course, learning how to render aid in a wide range of emergencies.

.New CERT members hold certificates. Fifth from the left is Sergio Roque, a team member and clergyman who encouraged new members to take the training. To his right is Mike Vincelli, president of Westport-Weston CERT. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Congratulations to the Weston History & Culture Center. They received the Connecticut League of History Organizations Award of Merit for their reinterpretation of the Coley House, the historic Weston Road farmhouse that is their headquarters.

The award calls the project “a true gem, reflecting excellent research, a wonderful balance of micro- and macro-histories, and a thoughtful and creative combination of exhibition and historic room interpretation …. (it) stands out as an example of interpretation of a period rarely covered by historic house museums in Connecticut.”

Rooms on the first floor have been interpreted in the 1941-45 period, when 3 generations of the Coley family occupied the home.

Beginning this Sunday (April 16), the Coley House will be open every Sunday and Thursday, with tours at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.


Former 2nd Selectman and Board of Finance chair Avi Kaner will be honored next month, by the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Kaner — co-owner of New York’s Morton Williams Supermarkets — is set to be feted May 11 (6 p.m., Chelsea Piers). Click here for tickets and more information.

Avi Kaner


Johanna Keyser Rossi provides today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, and this background:

“I spotted this bird at the beach, called killdeer. I thought they ate fish, but I looked it up and found they eat bugs, and sometimes seeds. I was a able to zoom in and take pictures.”

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … summer’s here! And the time is right …

(“06880” has already started its Compo coverage. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)


14 responses to “Roundup: Beach Weather, Hazardous Waste, Challenged Books …

  1. John D McCarthy

    According to the Hook’d lease, (which can be found here they are obligated to be open during the Beach Season, which is defined as April 15th through Oct 31st.
    Another fun fact I learned from the lease “All beef sold by Tenant shall be ‘one hundred percent USDA Choice.'” So we have that going for us, which is nice.

  2. About tha same odds that Ms Fava will return your call.

    • That Fava did not call back, on a Friday before a weekend when her office is closed should be reason enough to can her…even were all the other, myriad, complaints about her job performance

  3. Liza Pantschenko

    It would be nice if there were food trucks at Compo Beach. Competition can be a good thing.

  4. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    So, are all incompetent bureaucrats in Westport named “Jen” or is it just an unfortunate coincidence?

  5. The lease at hooked should be revoked and offered immediately to the second choice at that time for a right of first refusal.Lou Promuto of sunset grille and valentinos. He may or may not be interested now, but he was back then. He would bring vast experience, and a fair and delicious menu.
    This would be the fair thing to do considering he was the right person at the time to begin with and should have been awarded the contract.
    It does seem that hooked is very much an afterthought for the current owner. It is a shame.

  6. Michael Elliot

    Just another shout out to all the folks especially the OMG Braintrust who provided impetus and cash to keep Old Mill Grocery open! I hope they did big business yesterday. As for the Hook’d concession I think it should be offered to a Canadian entity. Like Stantec (and the thousands we paid for the Longshore revitalization plan), I am sure a Canadian company would understand the pulse of life in Westport……just sayin.

  7. Michael Elliot

    Another shout out to the OMG braintrust and all those that donated to keep the Old Mill Grocery open. I hope they made a killing yesterday. I think the Hook’d concession should be offered to a Canadian entity. It worked out really well (for the thousands we spent with Stantec to craft a Longshore revitalization plan). I love our neighbors to the north, do that have the pulse of Westport, not so much…..just sayin.

  8. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Check out “Beachcomber Jen’s” LinkedIn page and then compare what’s on it to the reality of her job performance and lack of response on some fundamental issues like safety of the playground and the sanitary removal of trash. I don’t have much skin in the game any more except fond memories but I did spend five summers as part of the maintenance staff at the recreation department. If I still lived in Westport I would start a grassroots campaign to send her packing.

  9. Hook’d ,,, is just what they did to the Park and Rec like hooking a bunker fish, does any Company doing business with the Parks and Rec actually abide by their contract, Example’s , a Sunday morning at 9:00 in AUGUST and the halfway house is still not opened, numerous morning’s not open, the only golf course in America where you can’t get a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich, Next, Brightview the landscape company maintaining the golf course, hired a great young Superintendent, take a look at their contract, they set x amount of training hours, yet I personally know a young gentleman who worked at the course and received no training, was told by BrightView to say he received training, maybe those on the town board who signed these contracts should actually follow up to see if these companies are biding by the contracts, these two companies and the Parks and Rec Director should be terminated…..

  10. Hook’d which is just what they did to the Parks and Rec like hooking a bunker fish, does any company that signs a contract with Parks and Rec actually abide by it. Example, many a Sunday morning in AUGUST BETWEEN 8AM AND 10AM, Hook’d is closed. Longshore is the only golf course in America where you can’t get a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich in the morning. BrightView Landscaping Company the golf course masterminds. they finally hired a Greens Superintendent who is capable of restoring the course after YEARS OF NEGLECT. Their contract offers workers many many hours of training. I personally know a former worker who received no training and was told by Brightview to lie about the training. Those on the Boards that sign these contracts should make it their responsibility to have these companies abide by the Contracts, if it was up to me I would Terminate the contracts of Hook’d, BrightView and Jen Fava who never responds.

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