Roundup: Board Of Finance, Dog Days Of Autumn, Peace Vigil …

Yesterday’s Roundup noted that the 4th agenda item for Wednesday’s Board of Finance meeting is “Long Lots Building Project (Discussion only”).

Chair Lee Caney notes: “On all of our agendas for our regular monthly meetings, we will have an update on LLS.  The updates have been on prior agendas.  We did the same thing with the Coleytown Middle School updates.

“This month there will probably be no discussion, as we just had a meeting. This is not our second meeting on LLS, which will take place at a date to be determined.

“I would never try to sneak in an important meeting, as I welcome and encourage community participation.”

The Board of Finance is just one stop on the road to approval of the Long Lots Elementary School project.


Today will be much cooler than yesterday — like, 30 degrees lower.

So let’s take one look back at the “last day of summer” (aka October 28):

Longshore: The view from a Boston Whaler (Photo/Nancy Lewis)


The view is always spectacular from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation sanctuary.

It’s particularly inspiring on a gorgeous fall day list yesterday.

The foliage framed the UU’s quiet and contemplative peace vigil yesterday. Rev. Alan Taylor and others led attendees through a meditative experience. Cellist Gunnar Sahlin provided musical accompaniment.

“All of us are spiritual people, no matter our personal faith traditions or religious affiliations,” the UU says. “We can find solace in community … in peace, in meditation, and in reflection.”

Cellist Gunnar Sahlin. (Photo/Dayle Brownstein)


The Westport Library celebrated Halloween last night with a Westport and Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored party.

“Bella’s Bartok” played. The stage was decorated. Costumes were worn.

It was, one of the 200 attendees said, “outrageous.”

In, of course, the best way possible.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

There’s a new sheriff in town. Matthew Mandell (left) — director of the Chamber of Commerce — and his wife Cara enjoy last night’s party. 


More traditional entertainment was provided last night at the Westport Country Playhouse.

There was a deserved standing ovation at the opening performance of “First Lady of Song: Cherise Coaches sings Ella Fitzgerald.”

The show continues Tuesday through Sunday, including evenings and matinees. Special events include Pride Night (November 2) and Open Captions (November 5). Click here for schedules, tickets, and more information.

Cherise Coaches, at last night’s curtain call. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


“Billions” — the high-powered Showtime series about a high-stakes hedge fund managed that morphed into a fascinating exploration of people, power, prestige, and (always) the role money plays in it all — ended its 7-year run this month.

Bobby Axelrod’s “Axe Capital” — based, more than loosely, on both Westport’s Bridgewater Associates and Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital — was originally headquartered in Westport, where the character lived. Midway through the series, it (and he, following a divorce) moved to New York.

It was a thrilling series, with plenty of superb writing and acting (including the great Damian Lewis). Click here to see.


The Westport Book Sale hosted their first-ever fundraiser this past week.

The event supports the next phase of their employment and job training program for adults with differing abilities.  Scores of Westporters enjoyed a video about the Book Shop, including plans for expanding their employment program.

Click here to watch.

Some of the scenes at the Westport Book Sale fundraiser.


Sure, it was 80 degrees (or more yesterday).

But it’s still autumn — and peak foliage time.

Claudia Sherwood Servidio snapped this why-we-love-New England “Westport … Naturally” shot yesterday at Vista Terrace. That’s the private road that forms a horseshoe, starting and ending across from the 1st hole at the Longshore golf course.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … today is the 94th anniversary of Black Tuesday.

On this date in 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashed. Investors traded a then-whopping 16 million shares in one. $14 billion of stock value was lost, wiping out thousands of investors.

Some stocks had no buyers at any price. The Dow lost 11.73% of its total value: a staggering 30.57 points.

The Great Bull Market was over. The Great Depression had begun.

(Help “06880” stay solvent. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

16 responses to “Roundup: Board Of Finance, Dog Days Of Autumn, Peace Vigil …

  1. Dan wrote “The Board of Finance is just one stop on the road to approval of the Long Lots Elementary School project.”

    Yes, that’s true. But the train has already left the station and it is moving along quickly. We all want a new school built, but buried into that “school” project, as we all know, is also a Babe Ruth league sized baseball field which is not designed for the elementary school students’ use. And of course, the destruction of the Community Gardens.

    Simple questions: Who decided, and when, that building a baseball field, in a town full of baseball fields, was more important than keeping the town’s only Community Garden? Who decided that the less than 30 families with kids playing Babe Ruth baseball were more important than the 120 families (largely older families) who work the Community Gardens?

    Until those questions are answered, any action by town boards that move ahead a plan which goes beyond the BOE Educational specs to include a non-BOE field, should be rejected. The all-or-nothing approach that is being put forward needs to be split into two requests, the School and the Field.

  2. “We all want a new school built?

    • Jack. Point well taken. I have followed your advocacy for a different approach on the school.

      I believe the sentiment is that it is not a “garden vs school” issue. There seems to be a false narrative that gardeners don’t care about the children and their school. How to get an appropriate school fix is another matter. Are there alternative options to $100 million? I don’t know.

      But I believe the gist of the matter is “one community garden vs another unnecessary baseball field.” And the dishonest school project process that the Administration is following to build that unrelated ball field.

  3. Mr. Caney
    Point of order? If it is a noticed agenda item, allowing public discussion is usually the civil thing to do. I am confident the Chair would never impose a gag order on the citizenry.

    I am still confused by the conflicting views on the sequence of the LLS school process. Some Commissions, Committees, Boards and the RTM expressly said to wait for the official action item to come before boards before discussing at said bodies. Until then we have been denied any opportunity to have a public conversation before them.

    Now, so far BOF has held one official meeting on the topic out of sequence.

    The Parks and Rec Commission, in a sudden turn of events, will now hold meetings on the topic with a publicly stated PREDISPOSITION to build a ball field on top of the garden… after denying SEVERAL requests to include an agenda item in past meetings.

    I am truly confused by “the process” and how it can be manipulated in so many ways, almost as easily as a bulldozer can eradicate 20 years of evolution.

    Is it possible to have an official and objective adjudication of these conflicting interpretations?

  4. Toni, Why don’t you run for First Selectwoman? You seem to be a communications expert! You seem to be a financial expert!

  5. What a nice little schooner that is off Longshore! Do we know any more about it? Looks to be about 28 feet.

  6. NIce to see autumn
    at Longshore from 2 different angles.

  7. Toni, I bet if you were the First Selectwoman, and I wrote to you, you’d respond in some way. I wrote an e-mail to Ms Tooker and I didn’t get an acknowledgement! No response whatsoever. That wouldn’t have happened 40 or 50 years ago. Trust me on that.

    • You are in good company there Jack Backiel – no response to many of our e-mails. Toni – you have my vote! Imagine having a First Selectwoman who engaged with tax-payers and listened with an open mind to multiple proposals instead of secretly deciding the outcome with hand picked, like minded cronies & who had the humility to change course when stakeholders and a significant amount of tax-payers disagreed with her preferred outcome.

      As my husband keeps telling me – She Doesn’t Care! None of them care! They want what they want. I must be a total square, because I can’t imagine putting my very narrow needs/interest over much harm done to excluded stakeholders (Gardeners, neighbors, students – opportunity to integrate Garden educationally with students) in the process.

      Remember, the ballfield being displaced by constructing a new LLES is not on school property, is not used by LLES students and was used for six games last year – and on each of those days – another full sized baseball field was available for use.

      The trophy Babe Ruth Baseball Field they want plopped on Westport’s one & only national award winning Community Garden/Preserves will be used by an elite sliver of the population playing travel baseball (pay for play). The neighbors will certainly miss their quiet Garden that prevented even more flooding, cost the town nothing and actually did make Westport more sustainable.

      An alternative plan – Alt C – allows for: the Community Garden/Preserves to remain in place, a large soccer field to be paced adjacent to it, and a baseball field to be rebuilt in the rear of the property.

      I do recall Jen Tooker saying in an interview that she wanted to be a professional athlete – too bad that wish did not come true – and no harm was done to a town jewel!

  8. Interesting Karen….I actually thought I didn’t get an answer because I didn’t live in Westport anymore. But you’re saying she doesn’t respond to Westport residents too?

    • Jack, the First Selectwoman has not responded to any of my emails, nor any of my fellow Gardeners’ e-mails. Correct me if I am wrong on that – I don’t know of one Gardner who was deemed worthy of a response. She did not engage with stakeholders (Gardener/neighbors) once we accidentally learned of the plan in June 2023. She did not attend any Building Committee meetings nor the BOE meeting when the LLSBC formally made their recommendation. She finally made an appearance at last week’s BOF meeting on this issue – to state the projected timeline – full steam ahead it is; damn the torpedoes – or the bulldozers in Fall 2024!

      • Karen, There could be legal action. It may cost $20 million to fix Long Lots rather than a hefty 100+ million + to build a new school. I hate to keep repeating my opinion, but you’re wasting your tax dollars if you proceed to build a new school, especially with NO SECOND OPINION too! I mean what’s up with that?

        • Because this process was all done in secrecy with no stakeholders at the table nor taxpayers with differing opinions – let alone a bidding process/second opinion – we are in quite a mess Jack. And next up is Coleytown Middle School.

  9. Contractors simply prefer new. More money and an easier build.
    BUT since covid, and all the money our government threw at people like it grew on trees, materials have become more expensive, because everyone started building. There has never been a stronger case for renovation, vs, tear down.
    BUT when you ask contractors to price it both ways.. there’s no chance they don’t make renovate look like a terrible option. It is the nature of the beast.
    It’s hard to get an honest not self serving comparison but my money is on 25 million maximum to perfectly renovate.
    Way more palatable number.

  10. Ciara, That’s why three bids are necessary because each contractor would be told they’re competing for the project! You would think saving 75 million would be an attractive option!, along with saving the gardens, which I’ve never seen, but is obviously very important. Of course Westport was a small town farming community, and my family made a living farming from 1903 to 1953. Thus you can understand why I would support keeping the community garden in tact.

What do you think? Please comment! Remember: All commenters must use full, real names!