Roundup: High Honors, Restaurant News, Playhouse Tours …

As graduation nears, every night brings a different celebration.

All are special. But the High Honors dinner at Staples last night was particularly meaningful.

Nearly 2 dozen students — the top 4% of the Class of 2023 — were honored for their achievements.

Each invited one teacher. Each educator spoke for a few minutes about “their” student.

Bonds between the teachers and teenagers were strong and deep. A wide variety of disciplines was represented: English, social studies, science, math and music.

There were stories of STEM students who found loves for literature and government; of conversations about life before and after school that transcended classrooms; of challenges made and surpassed.

Each student thanked their teachers — and their parents — for getting them where they are today.

There are many reasons to be fearful about the future of our world. Last night offered 21 reasons to be very, very optimistic.

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. Rear:
Witt Lindau, Colin Morgeson, Nikhil Kanthan, Jet Tober, Katherine Valante, Reilly McCaffrey, Julia Herlyn, Janna Harrison Moore.


Two bits of culinary news, both from Bill Taibe:

Kawa Ni’s rooftop now offers cocktails, wine, beer, sake bombs and snacks “up top” on Fridays and Saturdays (5 to 9 p.m.). Seating is first-come, first-served.

The rooftop is available all other nights for private events. Email

Meanwhile, Don Memo offers music every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. on, at the patio in front of the Post Road restaurant. (Westport’s original Town Hall, for those who remember.)

(Speaking of dining: Don’t forget our “Restaurants” tab at the top of the “06880” home page (and here). It’s a handy link to our sponsors — including one-click menus.)

Music at Don Memo. (Photo/JC Martin)


The taping was not until 11 a.m. And it was not a Westport story.

But an NBC camera crew was at Staples High School’s Laddie Lawrence track before 9 a.m. yesterday. They were setting up for a few shots of Craig Melvin — the anchor who lives in Westport — as part of a “Today” show piece on a father-son track coaching duo.

They’re from Pittsburgh. But who’ll notice?

NBC’s “Today” camera crew at Staples. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Briggs)


Also yesterday morning:

A Metro-North employee handed out computer and smartphone screen wipe cloths to commuters.

It was part of a “safety reminder initiative.”

On the back of the cloths is information about suicide prevention, including a phone number (800-273-TALK) and text (NEXT2U, to 741741) for people in crisis to use.

At the Westport train station yesterday. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


Have you ever wanted to go backstage at the Westport Country Playhouse?

On Saturday, June 10 (1 to 4 p.m.), you can do that for free. See where sets and costumes are made. Hang out in the green room downstairs, and peek in the dressing rooms where Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman and so many other stars once dressed.

The day includes kids’ activities, music, food trucks and beer tastings.

The box office will be open too, for special ticket discounts.

Former Playhouse company manager Bruce Miller, with some of the 500 head shots near the dressing rooms, underneath the stage.


Westport Police made 2 custodial arrests between May 24-30.

An investigation following a mail theft led to an arrest for illegal possession of personal ID, identify theft, and illegal trafficking in personal identification.

An investigation following complaint that a check with stolen, altered and deposited led to an arrest for larceny, identity theft and forgery.

Police also issued the following citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 2 citations
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Distracted driving, not cellphone: 1
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations: 1
  • Failure to comply with federal regulations for a flotation device: 1
  • Failure to comply with federal regulations for a distress signal: 1
  • Operating a boat without certification: 1
  • Operating an unregistered vessel: 1

    Boats are like cars: They must be registered! (Photo/Daniel Rosenkranz)


Yesterday’s early June weather was gorgeous. Sunset was early-June late; only 3 weeks remain until the days start getting shorter.

The sign at Hook’d said they’re open until 7:30 p.m. That’s part of their contract with the town.

But a few minutes after 7, this was the scene:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Looks like another summer of uncertainty for the beach concessionaire.

And another summer of big business at Old Mill Grocery & Deli, just down the road.


The Westport Library Adult Summer Reading Challenge returns for its 7th year. There’s a fresh set of categories, to keep readers involved from now through the end of August.

There are 25 challenges: Read a book about an antihero, or one that should be a movie, or one with a neuro=diverse protagonist … you get the idea. Click here, then scroll down for the challenges.

After reading a book, fill out this form. There’s a leaderboard, to track your progress (and see what others are reading).

There are only 2 rules: Each category may be filled only once. And each book can be used for only 1 category.

Happy reading!


Speaking of the Library:

Don’t forget tomorrow’s (Saturday, June 3, 7 p.m.) record release party. Verso Studios has produced the first vinyl record ever recorded, produced and released by a public library.

Tomorrow’s event features live performances from The Problem With Kids Today (New Haven), indie rock mainstay Ports of Spain (New Haven), Lulu Lewis duo Dylan Hundley & Pablo Martin (New York), and folk/Americana artist Kierstin Sieser.

The release party is free. A $25 ticket option includes a copy of Verso Records: Volume One (and a free drink). No record player? A digital copy will be available for $10.

Click here for more details about the record, and the release party.


The Verso Records release party is not the only entertainment in town tomorrow. In fact, it’s not the only one at that parking lot.

Grammy-winning Gen Z jazz artist Samara Joy takes the Levitt Pavilion stage for a 7:30 p.m. show. This is a ticketed event; click here for tickets, and more information.

Samara Joy


The spotlight still shines on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County will honor the longtime Westporters with a special President’s Award. It recognizes their “significant impact on arts, culture, children’s education and illness and environmental preservation” in the county.

The Daniel E. Offutt III Arts and Culture Empowerment (ACE) Awards breakfast is set for June 21, at Norwalk Shore & Country Club. Over 200 arts and culture leaders, legislators, artists and others will attend. Clea Newman will accept the honor.

Over the years, Newman and Woodward actively supported many organizations, including the Westport Library, Westport Historical Society and Westport Country Playhouse. They also dedicated themselves to land preservation in Connecticut, including  the Newman-Poses Preserve near their Coleytown home.

Paul founded, with A.E. Hotchner, the Newman’s Own Foundation. Since 1982, it has given more than $600 million to worthy causes. Paul’s interest in helping children with serious illnesses lead to the establishment of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

The breakfast will also honor Jenny Nelson of Westport. She’ll receive the Educator Award, for her work in Fairfield County.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.


The Westport Community Gardens — and “06880”‘s “Westport … Naturally” feature — proudly announce the birth of 4 killdeer chicks:

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … on this day in 1835, PT Barnum — the future mayor of Bridgeport -and his circus started their first tour of the US.

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2 responses to “Roundup: High Honors, Restaurant News, Playhouse Tours …

  1. OMG Samara Joy. So fabulous, can’t wait!❤️❤️❤️

  2. Nancy Kondub- Harris

    Nothing new at the Laddie Lawrence track -Laddie’s son Andrew coached with him!
    (And so did his wife , Katie Zeller Lawrence.)