Category Archives: Beach

For Everyone Who Went To The Caribbean This Weekend, And Wonders What A 65-Degree February Sunday Looks Like In Westport…

 

compo-beach-playground-february-19-2017

Photo Challenge #111

It took Michael Calise just 1 minute to nail last week’s photo challenge. He knew that Lynn U. Miller’s image was part of the anchor that sits in a small grassy area a few yards from the Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach.

Of course, Michael is a Compo regular, in all kinds of weather. He should have known it!

Joining Michael in the winner’s circle are Kathie Bennewitz, Seth Schachter and Tom Wall.

NOTE: The base of the anchor contains a plaque: “In memory of John J. Benjamin, 1926-1958.” Does anyone know who he was, what he did (and why he died so young)?

This week’s photo was (duh) taken before Thursday’s snowfall. If you know where photographer Maria Vailakis-Wippick spotted this, click “Comments” below. And if you know what it is and why it’s there, add that info too.

photo-challenge-february-12-2017

Giving Thanks For What We’ve Got

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Irene Penny)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Irene Penny)

Friends Of Trees

There are 3 subjects I know will always generate huge “06880” reader reactions:

Parking. Dogs. And trees.

The first 2 are predictable parts of Westport life. The 3rd may be less intuitive.

But as regularly as power goes out when the wind blows, any time I post a tree story we get comments from readers who mourn the loss of every tree. And from others who say hey, easy come, easy go.

Yet — until the other day — I had no idea that both tree huggers and Paul Bunyans could find common purpose.

That’s when alert — and arboreal-minded — reader Johanna Rossi told me about the Friends of Parks & Recreation’s Arbor Program.

Full disclosure: I didn’t even know the Friends group existed, either. They’re a  public-private partnership that finances worthwhile projects and services, beyond those paid for by tax dollars.

The website of the Friends of Parks & Recreation website includes a photo of the Longshore entrance -- before the removal of several trees lining the entrance way. New trees have taken their place.

The website of the Friends of Parks & Recreation website includes a photo of the Longshore entrance — before the removal of several trees lining the entrance way. New trees have taken their place.

One of those programs can be found on the Friends’ website  under the heading “Trees, Trees, Trees.” Launched last year, it’s a way to honor “the lives and achievements of friends and families.”

Working with Parks and Rec, tree warden Bruce Lindsay identifies locations where he’d like to plant trees. He notes the specimens and species that thrive there.

Donors can choose their location and tree. The price is based on the cost of planting, as well as a fund to support maintenance — fertilizing, watering, pruning, etc. — for 5 years.

Planting takes place in the spring and fall. Photos and biographical info can be displayed alongside the tree.

It’s a “living legacy” for people to celebrate those who, most probably, are no longer living.

There’s even a GPS locator to help identify locations and tree types. Right now, there are 2 sites: Winslow Park and Compo Beach.

Tree warden Bruce Lindsay has a plan to remove dead trees at Winslow Park -- and replace them.

Tree warden Bruce Lindsay has a plan to remove dead trees at Winslow Park — and replace them.

So the next time I post a story about tree removal, don’t click “Comments.”

Instead, donate a tree.

Both Sides Now

It’s been a mild winter so far this year (knock wood).

But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been interesting. Earlier this morning, Matt Murray admired this cloud formation above Sherwood Mill Pond:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Matt Murray)

The Minute Man Couldn’t Make It To The March On Washington…

… so he did the next best thing:

(Photo/Susan Iseman)

(Photo/Susan Iseman)

In the past, readers complained when the Minute Man wore a Santa cap, Easter bunny ears and a pink hat for breast cancer awareness.

I think it’s a great tradition. And I think it’s especially appropriate today for the Minute Man to exercise the same 1st Amendment rights he and so many others fought and died for.

And yes, I thought the same thing when he sported Tea Party garb.

(Photo/Carolyn Caney)

(Photo/Carolyn Caney)

Nor’easter Nears

Burying Hill Beach was frothy around noon, hours before the arrival of high winds and heavy rain.

(Photo/Seth Schechter)

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

In other storm news:

  • Power lines were down on Bayberry Lane, near Cross Highway.
  • All after-school activities — as well as tonight’s Board of Education meeting — have been canceled.
  • And Trader Joe’s was filled with a typical pre-blizzard crowd.

Disabilities Commission: It’s Way More Than Ramps

The Americans With Disabilities Act — signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990 — had many consequences.

Some were intended. Others were not.

It opened employment and educational opportunities for tens of millions of Americans with physical and emotional issues. Curb cuts and other design changes now benefit pregnant mothers, parents with youngsters and the elderly.

The ADA also impelled the state of Connecticut to create grants, allowing towns to fund initiatives studying the best ways to promote inclusion for people with disabilities.

In 2006, Westport and Wilton formed a task force. One recommendation was followed: Today our town has a designated official for disability issues (Sarah Heath, in Human Services).

One recommendation was not followed: the creation of a permanent commission.

Until now.

Jim Ross

Jim Ross

Earlier this month, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe announced appointments to Westport’s new Commission on People With Disabilities, which the RTM approved in July. Members include Marina Derman, Diane Johnson, Stacie Curran, LuAnn Giunta, Tom Holleman and Evan Levinson.

The chair is Jim Ross. A successful businessman, he’s also the former head of the Westport Citizens Transit Committee.

Ross is legally blind, and the father of 2 special needs children. “I live this every day,” he notes.

He became a voice for the disabled community in 2012, when  he helped pass legislation giving students access to epilepsy medicine when a school nurse is not present.

Along the way, he  met Human Services director Barbara Butler, who told Ross that the proposal for a town commission had never been implemented.

Ross went to work. Now — with Marpe’s help, and broad public support — it’s a reality.

Westport's former director of human services, Barbara Butler, is a longtime advocate for people with disabilities.

Westport’s former director of human services, Barbara Butler, is a longtime advocate for people with disabilities.

There’s a reason so many Westporters support the new commission. Twenty percent of the town’s population is directly affected by their own or a family member’s physical or intellectual disability. In a community like ours, that means all of us have neighbors, friends and fellow members of civic groups and congregations with disabilities.

“This is an exceptionally humbling opportunity,” Ross says of his post. “It’s a chance to take the ADA — a magnificent civil rights initiative — to the local  level.”

He notes that Westport — a “very socially aware town” — has already done good things. There are ramps everywhere. Compo Beach has a sand wheelchair. The Levitt Pavilion is quite accessible.

But, he adds, “this is about a lot more than ramps. It’s a 2-way conversation between people with disabilities, and the community as a whole. It’s a chance for businesses, organizations, the town and people to have a dialogue to create avenues, paths and bridges for everyone to come together.”

In many ways, Ross says, “people with disabilities are heroes. We can learn a lot about ourselves by including them, and letting them contribute to a more vigorous, dynamic environment. This is not about clubbing people over the head. It’s about everyone working together.”

Beach wheelchair sign

He mentions education, housing, transportation, recreation, employment, the arts and emergency preparedness as areas in which discussions involving people with disabilities can lead to “logistical and tactical benefits” for all Westporters.

He’s eager to get started. Ross calls the 7-member commission “a dynamite group. Everyone has a different area of expertise.”

The Commission on People With Disabilities will meet publicly the 3rd Thursday of every month. The 1st session is Thursday, January 19 (8:30 a.m.), at Town Hall.

Of course, it’s handicap accessible.

Compo Marina: Then And Now

In the wake of my recent “06880” post about the upcoming Compo Beach marina dredging project — specifically, who should pay for it — plenty of folks weighed in (on both sides of the issue).

The 50-plus comments included several from long-time and once-upon-a-time slip owners. Some recalled an era before permanent docks, when you did not have to wait several years for a mooring permit.

Now, alert reader Matt Murray sends along this fascinating aerial photo:

compo-marina-aerial-1965-rp-lentini

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

The shot — taken by R.P. Lentini in 1965 – shows a much less crowded basin, for sure. And yes, owners had to toot horns to be ferried from their boat to the dock.

But there are some other interesting items too, which you can see clearly if you hover over the photo or click on to enlarge.

Chubby Lane’s concession stand sits where the volleyball courts are today.

To the south of Chubby’s and the pavilion are the old (and very scary) wooden bathhouses.

But what are those two rectangular things in the bottom of the photo, near the west end of the circular drive?

And — most importantly — why was there no one at the beach?

It’s mid-summer; the trees are full. But there are just a couple of cars, and no one on the sand.

It’s hard to tell from the photo. Perhaps it was taken just after a thunderstorm.

Or maybe no one went to Compo in the summer of ’65?

A much more recent shot of the Compo Beach Ned Dimes Marina.

A much more recent shot of the Compo Beach Ned Dimes Marina.

You Know What They Say About New England Weather …

… If you don’t like it, just wait a few minutes.

It will change.

compo-beach-january-4-2017-jp-vellotti

(Photos/JP Vellotti)

(Photos/JP Vellotti)