Category Archives: Categories

First Reflections From Lyman: Tooker And Koskinas Speak

Several days after returning from Ukraine, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas are still processing the sights, sounds and smells of that war-torn nation.

But they sat down with Dick Kalt, podcast director for the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

In this special addition of the biweekly feature “Westport … What’s Happening,” Tooker and Koskinas — the first American officials to travel east of Kyiv, to the Donetsk Oblast — describe their visit to Westport’s sister city, Lyman. The trip was arranged by Ukraine Aid International, founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer.

They saw first-hand the life-changing impact of residents’ $252,000 fundraising, over the holiday season. They spent hours with their counterparts, Lyman’s mayor and police chief, cementing relationships that had begun by Zoom.

Though just a few kilometers from artillery shelling, they were well protected by military forces from the moment they crossed the Polish border.

Their time in Lyman was highlighted by impromptu meetings with grateful residents. Some put on their best clothes to greet the Americans, and say thanks.

Click below to hear Tooker and Koskinas’ first reflections from their groundbreaking, friend-making journey.

(The second round of donations for Lyman has begun. Click here, then select “Westport” from the “Where it is needed most” dropdown menu. And mark your calendar for July 9: A town-wide “Lyman-AID”  celebration with food, music and more. It’s free — but there are also many ways to contribute to help our sister city. Click here for details.)

Oystercatcher Alert: Save Our Beach Birds!

“06880” readers know Carolyn Doan for her gorgeous photos of the Fresh Market ospreys. For years she has documented their arrival, their food-gathering forays, the births of their chicks, and their time here.

Today she turns her attention to another beautiful bird. Carolyn writes:

For the past 2 years the American oystercatchers and piping plovers have lost their nests at Compo Beach. This is despite the area being roped off for protection.

Predation has been the main culprit in losing nests and chicks. Fish crows, gulls and canines are all serious threats. Human activity and trash left on the beach attracts predators, drawing them to the protected area on the beach.

An American oystercatcher and chick at Compo Beach, in 2021. Sadly, the young bird did not survive. 

After losing another nest earlier this season, the oystercatcher pair is back. Last night, they were incubating at least one egg.

The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Shorebirds has made every effort to protect these endangered birds. These include marked areas of the beach, large signs and metal cage-like structures placed over nests to assure that eggs are protected. Westport Parks & Recreation Department has been a huge help too.

This weekend and afterward, the American oystercatchers need our help. Please keep dogs off the beach. Canine footprints found in the area could be the result of foxes or coyotes, but of course there should be no dogs on the beach this time of year any way.

Female oystercatcher incubating at Compo.

Also, please stay away from the protected area near the cannons. The most sensitive area is closest to the shoreline where the birds are incubating, so please don’t walk that stretch of beach near the water. This flushes the birds off the nest, and makes it vulnerable to predators.

Please pick up trash and throw it away. Better yet, bring it with you.

On Friday night there was a lot of food and trash left at the beach. Fish hawks and gulls flocked to the area.

Compo Beach trash, last night. (Photos/Carolyn Doan)

And please: no drones. The birds chase them, and risk being injured.

This is their second attempt this season. Let’s help them out!

Rev. Patton Heeds A New Call

Rev. Alison Patton — the Saugatuck Congregational Church pastor, and an outspoken advocate for social justice throughout the broader Westport community — will leave her pulpit this summer.

After more than a decade leading the historic downtown church, she has accepted a call to serve as the senior pastor of First Congregational Church, UCC in South Portland, Maine.

Her final worship service here will be July 30.

Rev. Patton came to Westport from First Church Simsbury in 2012. The congregation was reeling from a pre-Thanksgiving fire. Only a fire wall had saved the nearly 200-year-old building — the place where Westport was established as a town, in 1835 — from complete destruction.

For 2 years she was a pastor without a building. But she accepted that challenge — and many others — with grace, grit, and great good humor.

Though Rev. Patton was the first female senior minister in the long history of Saugatuck Church,, she seldom thought about it.

Her mother and godmother were ministers. So were other women in her life — and her father. “I’m just very used to it,” she told “06880” as she settled in. (For that April 2012 story on Rev. Patton’s arrival, click here.)

In a letter to church members and friends yesterday, Rev. Patton said:

“While I am excited about the life that awaits me and my family in Maine, this departure comes with an obvious mix of emotions: I will miss you.

“You and I have shared a rich and dynamic 11 years of ministry. We have been displaced by fire and pandemic, but never stopped worshiping or living out our mission to ‘love and serve God and neighbor.’

“With creativity and compassion, we have navigated the challenges. We have opened our doors to the wider community whenever possible. We have nurtured an all-ages culture enriched by the gifts and contributions of the young people in our midst. We have made bold public statements in pursuit of love and justice in and beyond Westport. We have played and prayed together, walked the labyrinth, gone on soul-feeding retreats, and gathered around countless tables.

“Throughout these 11 years, I have felt God’s Spirit at work among us, nudging, stretching, and cheering us on. I trust that God will continue to guide and enliven this Saugatuck community. There is so much ministry still waiting to unfold among you. Individually and collectively, you have gifts that this world needs….May God bless our goodbyes and our unfolding ministries.”

During Black Lives Matter protests, a large banner hung on the front of Saugatuck Church.

Asked if she had a message for the town, Rev. Patton told “06880”:

I have so appreciated being part of the Westport community. I am grateful for a fantastic and dedicated group of clergy colleagues, and for the many organizations and people with whom I and Saugatuck Church have cooperated over the years.

Our interfaith connections and the many inter-organizational collaborations are two of Westport’s strengths. It’s been a privilege to have been a part of so many rich conversations, deep learnings and meaningful actions. Thank you, Westport!

Saugatuck Church moderator Bruce Borner and vice moderator Nancy Wargo said:

“Alison, in her 11 years of service, has been there for our church literally through fire and disease. Her focus on equality in every sense has inspired us as members and human beings to rise above our embedded prejudices and make a difference, by example and through action. She’s served us with love, compassion and dedication.”

A search for a new pastor begins soon. In the meantime, plans are underway for a congregation-wide celebration of Rev. Patton’s new call, and her time at Saugatuck.

(God works in mysterious ways: Rev. Patton will be welcomed by some ex-Westport faces at her new Maine church. One is former resident Tim Honey. His wife chaired the search committee that called her to South Portland.)

(In November of 2021, I chatted with Rev. Patton for my “06880” podcast. Click below to see.)

Mischa Skolnik: Imagine. Create. Love.

Mischa Skolnik always wanted to be a wedding planner.

But, the 2006 Staples High School graduate figured, she should get married first.

That happened last July.

As she went through the planning process — the venue, the party, the hoopla — Mischa realized something was missing: emotional and spiritual guidance.

While planning the ceremony, she and her fiancé had deep questions. “The coming together of two families brings a lot of tension,” Mischa notes. “Who expects what? Who pays for what?”

She and her partner addressed those issues themselves, with little guidance. That’s not unusual, she realized.

Mischa Skolnik, in her wedding dress.

Mischa’s involvement in Jewish culture began at Temple Israel, continued as a board member for a national youth organization, was strengthened at the Wheaton College Hillel, then became part of her professional life as she melded religion with environmentalism, cooking and relationship coaching.

She is also an ordained Hebrew priestess, through the Kohenet Institute.

“I draw a lot from the Jewish mystical tradition and feminist perspective they teach,” she says.

But, Mischa adds, “I am also just a person, on my own bizarre journey of self- reflection, self-acceptance and integration.

“I am an out-of-the-box thinker. I’m traditional in some ways, and completely far out in others. Very little surprises me, and I pride myself in my ability to understand a variety of life experiences and personal choices. I’m non-judgmental, experimental, and totally curious about people.”

Pivoting to wedding planning last year, she saw an opportunity to help prepare people of any religion (or none) for an important rite of passage.

“When a couple is emotionally, mentally and spiritually prepared, their actual wedding day — and the years to follow — can be truly incredible and impactful,” she says.

Once a month (or more frequently), clients of Mischa’s Imagine. Create. Love discuss difficult topics with her. They think about what their wedding and relationship really mean, and prepare action steps to address challenges.

She explains, “I can be a sounding board for any creative or tactical decisions they make, and help shape their plans to reflect their unique partnership.” This takes a variety of forms: discussions, rituals, “homework assignments,” creative activities and more.

Sure, a videographer is important. But so is an entire meaningful wedding process.

Mischa knows that many wedding planners and officiants (she is one, too) have not approached the ceremony as she does: with an eye toward personal growth, and a “unique, authentic experience.”

In addition to working through tough questions surrounding weddings, she helps them design “bespoke” ceremonies. Ideas often spring from the discussions they’ve had.

Mischa’s own wedding led to another realization: The moment it’s over, all the attention that planners and officiants have lavished on the couple suddenly ends.

“It’s so important to have extra support after the wedding too,” she says. So she offers 1- to 3-part sessions, “for a cushy landing pad.”

Mischa is “not really part of the mainstream wedding industry,” she says. “People don’t think they need emotional support.

But they have lots to deal with besides the the menu, seating and band. She’s there for the big questions they haven’t thought of — or ones they tried to avoid.

She calls herself “a wedding midwife, helping bring you through the wedding portal and integrate your experience afterward.

“I understand marriage is not for everyone,” Mischa says. “But for those who decide to make a big commitment to another person, this is a big life passage.

We should acknowledge it as a great opportunity for enrichment and growth.”

(To learn more about Mischa Skolnik’s work, click here.)

(Say “I do!” to helping support “06880. Please click here. Thank you!)

Remembering Larry Untermeyer

Larry Untermeyer — a Westporter for over 60 years, whose retirement career of photography made him a beloved local icon — died Sunday night. He was 94 years old.

From the pages of “06880” and WestportNow, to the walls of the Library and art shows, Larry’s photos celebrated his town — and the world — with a keen eye, a fresh perspective, plenty of color, and a bit of whimsy.

Larry Untermeyer (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

Larry was curious about everything he photographed — and he shot photos all over the world. He spent 6 weeks in Greece after his 90th birthday, slowing down only to make sure his shutter was ready.

Larry came to photography after service in the Korean War (Army special services), the early days of television, and advertising.

Westport is lucky that Larry came to us.

Compo Beach cannons. (Photos/Larry Untermeyer)


In 2019, I posted this story on Larry:

In many ways, Larry Untermeyer’s life mirrors lots of residents who arrived in the 1950s and ’60s.

He’s a Korean veteran (Army special services). He worked in TV (“Pulse,” the first-ever morning show) and advertising (JWT, Hill & Knowlton, his own firm).

He and his wife Nikki raised 2 kids. When she retired after 23 years as a Weston Middle School teacher, they traveled the world. With good friends Ted and Carol Diamond, they visited 30 countries.

Larry Untermeyer and his daughter, Lynn Untermeyer Miller. (Photo/Mike Elliot)

She died nearly 6 years ago, of pancreatic cancer. That’s where Untermeyer’s story diverges a bit from other Westport 91-year-olds.

A month after Nikki died, he had a major operation and almost died. He had to learn to walk and write all over again.

Just a couple of months later, he took a trip. He spent 3 months in southeast Asia.

By himself.

His daughter Lynn — a longtime “06880” photographer — was terrified.

Untermeyer had a wonderful time. He calls it “one of the most extraordinary trips of my life.”

It was not his last. He’s traveled overseas 6 times since then — each time to a different country. Most recently, Untermeyer just returned from several wonderful weeks in Tanzania.

The Serengeti in Tanzania. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

His traveling companion was Bill Balch. A former Westporter whose wife died a year and a half ago, he now lives at Meadow Ridge. Previously, the men traveled to Greece — where they rented a car, and also sailed through the islands — and, on another trip, throughout Europe.

The 2 men knew each other through the Y’s Men’s Camera Club. Untermeyer had carried a camera throughout his many trips as an advertising executive. In retirement he became a noted photographer for, among other outlets, “06880” and WestportNow.

Untermeyer and Balch shot over 7,600 photos. They captured “every creature that crawled, walked and swam in the rivers and lakes,” as well as “birds of all sizes and color, on the wing and under brush.”

(Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Untermeyer timed the trip to photograph the annual migration of more than a million wildebeests and zebras. They gather on the wide open plains of the Serengeti, heading several hundred miles north.

“It’s a sight to behold and to photograph,” Untermeyer says.

He and Balch also spent time in the Ngorongoro Crater, an ancient collapsed volcano where rare beasts and birds graze and roam.

Bill Balch and Larry Untermeyer.

Two days before she died, Nikki told her husband of 62 years, “Keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll live a long, long time.”

He heeded her words. Traveling — and photography — is energizing, Untermeyer says.

“I never wanted to sit around and feel sorry for myself,” he says. “I’m very lucky to have my health and my brain, and to be able to use my camera. As long as I can move around, I’m happy.”

Photography has been “a constant thread through my life. From my early days to now, it’s been a steady force.”

Untermeyer is already planning his next trip. It may be Portugal. Or Namibia.

Actually, that sounds like 2 more trips, for Westport’s favorite 91-year-old photographer.

Here is a small sampling of Larry Untermeyer’s “06880” photos:

Early morning workout at Compo Beach (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Geese crossing Canal Street (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

South Beach sunset (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Rye Ridge Deli (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Waiting for spring (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

“A Fall Beauty” (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)


Firing Up Westport’s New Fundraising Gala

When Westport firefighters began planning their 1st-ever fundraising gala, they did not have to look far.

Autostrada — the very cool club/classic car spot/event space — is right next to fire headquarters, on the Post Road.

The result is an exciting new event on the local calendar. The whiskey tasting on April 19 includes silent auction items far beyond the usual, plus a DJ, great food and drinks.

And it’s put on great folks, for several excellent causes.

The Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation includes all 64 men and women in the department. For more than a decade, they’ve hosted a Santa Run and golf tournament.

Proceeds benefit soup kitchens, scholarships, and — most recently, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission (with a donation of more than 800 winter coats).

Westport is indebted to our firefighters for keeping us safe, and protecting our lives and property.

Many of us don’t realize how invested they — even those who live far away — are in helping our community.

Now they’ve targeted another important cause for their April 19 whiskey tasting-and-more.

“Bed-shakers” are devices that are installed on beds of hearing impaired children. They warn sleeping youngsters who cannot hear smoke alarms, or see flashing lights, of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Bed-shaker smoke fire and carbon dioxide alarm system.

The Uniformed Firefighters’ goal is to provide one of the devices for every hearing impaired child in Westport. Eventually, they’d like to expand it to the elderly, and beyond our town.

Proceeds from the gala will also help the Hole in the Wall Gang, and provide cancer screening for firefighters. Carcinogens in smoke, chemicals in their uniforms and diesel fuel in trucks are all occupational hazards. One firefighter recently died of cancer; 2 others under the age of 35 have been diagnosed with it.

Sure, a whiskey tasting is a bit outside the WUFCF comfort zone.

“In the past we’ve stuck with what we know,” says president Rob Lenois. “But Gioel and Ronni” — Molinari, the owners of Autostrada — “are right next door. They’re really excited to host us. It’s been a great collaboration.”

Lenois adds, “If people haven’t been there, they’ll be amazed at the venue. They’ve got a bar, an espresso machine, and all those amazing cars.”

Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation president Rob Lenois. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The evening includes — in addition to whiskey provided by Greens Farms Spirit Shop, and food catered by On the Marc — a DJ, photographer and door gifts.

Plus auction items seldom seen at a fundraiser, like estate planning for 2 from attorney Joseph Maya, a half-day tattoo session with Rebel & Rose, a “King for a Day” package from Hammer & Nails men’s grooming shop, and a year of trash pickup from Malone’s Refuse.

There’s also a diamond necklace from JL Rocks, a month of services and gift basket from Moxie Salon, Guess watches, yoga and spin classes, and over a dozen restaurant gift certificates.

It’s a new, special event, at a new place, for new causes.

But one thing will be old: fire engines.

In keeping with Autostrada’s “classic vehicle” theme, the Fire Department will show off Westport’s old Engine #9, and a fully restored 1918 fire truck from Westbrook.

They’ll be parked outdoors, just a few feet from the fire station.

The whiskey will be waiting inside.

(For tickets to the WUFCF whiskey tasting, click here or use the QR code below. For more information or to donate, click here. To become a sponsor or provide an auction item, email, or call 203-341-5179.)

Large Crowd Hears Staples Book Removal Request

An overflow crowd filled a small Town Hall meeting room yesterday afternoon.

They were there for a public session of superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice’s ad hoc committee to review a parent’s challenge to 3 books in the Staples High library.

Tara McLaughlin — the mother of 2 Staples students and a kindergartener — sought the removal of “Gender Queer,” “This Book is Gay” and “Flamer.” Her initial complaint included other books, but she is focusing now on those 3.

The 3 challenged books.

McLaughlin — a 15-year Westport resident who moved here in large part, she said, because of the town’s excellent schools — had an hour to present her case before the special committee. It includes assistant superintendent Dr. Anthony Buono; representatives of the teachers’ and administrators’ unions; 3 Staples faculty members; a library media specialist, and 3 community members. The meeting was led by former Board of Education chair Elaine Whitney.

The Westport Public Schools’ Superintendent’s Review Committee begins work.

Referencing her own middle and high school days, when she sat in homeroom behind 2 boys who repeatedly passed explicit material back and forth, McLaughlin said her goal was to prevent other students from undergoing a similar experience.

She said, “I can control what my children see. I’m their guide, to launch them into society to the best of my ability. My job is to protect them. I expect the school system to do the same, to the same standards. I’m here for every child.”

McLaughlin — who said “It sucks to be here, but I really believe in this” — spent much of her time reading from the 3 books. She cited “vulgarity” and “pornography”; questioned the books’ educational value, and asked how the books fit with the school district’s “acceptable use” policy for written materials and electronic devices.

Tara McLaughlin

“I 100 percent support the LGBTQ+ community,” McLaughlin said. “But there are a lot of conservative Christians, conservative Jewish people and Muslims here (in Westport) who have expectations for what kids will see in the Staples library.”

McLaughlin noted that she did not object to the books being part of the Westport Library collection.

Calling one of the books “a road map to meet a pedophile,” she said that it “perpetuates stereotypes of all gay men as promiscuous.”

Each member of the committee had copies of the 3 books. They followed along, as McLaughlin read aloud a number of “vulgar” and “pornographic” passages.

Staples principal Stafford Thomas then described the school’s book selection process. He noted regional differences: In Florida and Texas, 1,400 titles are banned from school libraries. In California and New York, the numbers are 12 and 22 respectively. No books have been banned from school libraries in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas.

Referencing a Supreme Court decision, Thomas said, “Students don’t shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door.”

He added that the display that triggered McLaughlin’s complaint was a 17-year tradition at Staples. No one in the building, he said, objected to this year’s books.

(“Banned books” is a misnomer. The display actually shows the previous year’s “most challenged” books, as compiled by the American Library Association.)

Staples library media specialists Jen Cirino and Nicole Moeller provided background on how books are selected for inclusion on the shelves, and in the display.

All 3 earned very positive reviews in educational and library journals, they said, including a Nutmeg Award from the Connecticut Library Association and Connecticut Association of School Librarians.

Staples High School library media specialists Nicole Moeller (left) and Jen Cirino. (All photos/Dan Woog)

The final 20 minutes of the nearly 2-hour meeting included questions from committee members.

Staples English teacher Ann Neary asked McLaughlin how she defined “safe space.”

“I was harassed from 7th to 12th grade,” she responded. “I still carry that. Harassment would not be allowed in the workplace, and it should not be allowed in a school.”

Community member Sivan Hong wondered why McLaughlin had taken other books off her list of those she wants removed.

“I was looking for low-hanging fruit,” she said. “These 3 have to go. They’re horrendous. But the rest should go too.

“I’m doing this out of service to the children in our schools. I wish someone had done that for me.”

Buono asked why McLaughlin would not object to the 3 books being in the Westport Library.

“They’re different standards,” she replied. “There are kids as young as 13 at Staples. Any book there is an explicit endorsement of it.”

McLaughlin concluded with an analogy she’d used earlier. “Even if the rest of ‘Finding Nemo’ is great, but there’s a sex scene in the middle, we don’t show it to 1st graders. If the whole book isn’t good, don’t use it.”

The ad hoc committee will continue its work. Two more meetings will be scheduled, at which the public can speak,

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Reader contributions help us deliver news each day. Please click here to help. Thank you!)

About That I-95 Exit 17 Project …

The ongoing, noisy, environmentally gruesome work being done at and around I-95 Exit 17 has many “06880” readers wondering: “WTF?”

Here’s the official word, from the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s “Welcome to the I-95 Norwalk Westport Project” website:

The Connecticut Department of Transportation announced the start of construction for the I-95 Resurfacing and Median Reconstruction Project to begin July 2022. Anticipated end date is November 1, 2024.

The purpose of this important roadway job is to improve driver safety. This will be achieved by;

  • Reconstruction of the center median and right shoulders along with resurfacing of the highway mainline and ramps at Interchanges 16 and 17.
  • Median will be reconstructed consistent with other stretches of I-95 to provide a 6-foot-wide capped concrete barrier section.
  • Wider left and right shoulders where possible.
  • Improve drainage by replacing and re-routing drainage structures
  • Replacement of the existing highway illumination system
  • Install new realigned Incident Management System (IMS)
  • Install new guide rail
  • Utilize wet retroreflective pavement markings to provide increased visibility of pavement markings in wet conditions.

Connecticut Department of Transportation I-95 project.

Additionally, several bridges along the corridor will have repairs and specifically, the I-95 over Route 33 (Saugatuck Avenue) will be replaced. A synopsis of the anticipated bridge improvements include:

  • The bridge reconstruction of I-95 over Saugatuck Ave. (Route 33/136) will be replaced, utilizing an Accelerated Bridge Construction Methods called Lateral Slide, which minimizes the disruption to I-95 commuters.
  • The I-95 over Franklin Street and I-95 over Saugatuck River bridges will have concrete deck repairs, the replacement of expansion joints and installation of new standpipes
  • A portion of the structure will be replaced over a weekend, in which 2 lanes of traffic will be provided in each direction.

Proposed landscaping at and around I-95 in Saugatuck. (Click on or hover over to enlarge.)

Other improvements will include the expansion of the Hendricks Ave Park and Ride commuter lot, improved storm water quality treatment, utility relocation, I-95 NB Exit 16 on-ramp extension and the extension of the Yankee Doodle Trail.

Traffic will be maintained at all times during the 6 stages of construction to minimize disruptions to the traveling public.

That’s the official word.

“06880” reader Scott Singer has his own thoughts:

Do you or your sources have any info on who among our elected officials are responsible for monitoring the CT DOT work at Exit 17?

They have thus far removed every possible tree and natural sound/visual boundary, despite their map and plan of maintaining existing trees. It looks like a war zone there.

Exit 17 (Photo/Leslie Ogilvy via Westport Front Porch, Facebook)

For all the worry about Saving Saugatuck and trestle bridge repair, nothing is being done to care for the primary entrance to town.

What is the plan to replant? It’s horrendous there.

(“06880” relies on readers’ questions — and contributions. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Happy Birthday: “06880” Turns 14!

Just over a year ago — when we turned 13 — “06880” became a non-profit.

Our mission is to “create a community for Westporters old and new, near and far, through sharing stories, news, events, history and perspectives, uniting all who love our hometown.”

It’s been quite a year.

In the past 12 months, we’ve:

  • Helped build Westport’s sister city relationship with Lyman, Ukraine; led effort to raise over $252,000 for building supplies, generators, police and trash trucks, communications equipment, holiday meals and more, with partner Ukraine Aid International.
  • Published the “Pic of the Pics” photo book, highlighting the best images from “06880”‘s popular nightly feature.
  • Joined with the Westport Downtown Association for the 2nd annual Holiday Stroll, with Santa Claus, music, entertainment and more; over 500 people, and more than 40 retailers and restaurants, kicked off the season together.
  • Served as media sponsor of Westport Library’s Verso Fest music workshops and concerts (2022 and 2023).
  • Partnered with the Library on a meeting with “Little Rock 9” member Carlotta LaNier, and students from Westport and Bridgeport.
  • Organized “Understanding Ukraine: Past, Present and Future” panel with Professor Wolodymyr Zaryckyj, director of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations.
  • Partnered with the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center’s 3 $7,500 scholarships for aspiring art students.
  • Welcomed 150 “06880” friends to the annual July “blog party” community gathering.
  • Volunteered at Experience Camps’ “Day of Champions.”

“06880” helped make Christmas a little happier for 491 children in Lyman, Ukraine.

That’s in addition to churning out several stories a day on town issues, history, organizations, personalities, arts, sports, businesses, opinions, trends and more.

Plus the daily Roundup, Pic of the Day, Unsung Hero, Friday Flashback and Photo Challenge.

“06880” is free to read. There’s no subscription or paywall.

But it’s not free to produce.

Since my first post in March of 2009 — 14 years ago — “06880” has become my full-time job. I spend 6 to 8 hours a day on every aspect of it.

Taking a quick break from “06880” duties. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

I conduct interviews and research. I take, find and edit photos. I moderate the comments (152,000 now, and counting). I answer every email.

I also write all of those 3 to 5 (or more) stories a day. Since that very first post 14 years ago yesterday, I have not missed a single day. That’s over 15,600 (and counting).

“06880” also pays for web hosting, software, bank fees, the Stroll and holiday party — and, hopefully this year, research and writing help.

Which brings us to our annual appeal.

This year’s is special.

With our 501 (c)(3) status, we now offer tax-deductibility to the extent allowed by law. In addition to individual contributions, we can accept corporate matching funds, and foundation grants.

You can donate by PayPal or credit card: click here. It’s easy, safe — and you don’t even need a PayPal account. 

Checks can be mailed to “06880”: PO Box 744, Westport, CT 06881.

We’re also on Venmo: @blog06880

You can even scan this QR code:

Many 14-year-olds forget to write thank-you notes. We won’t.

Thank you! 

“06880”‘s Newest Feature: Restaurant Tab

“06880” always looks for ways to serve our community. Readers always look for ways to find out what’s happening around town – including where to eat.

Which is why “06880” introduces today a new feature: a “Restaurants” tab. It appears permanently in two places on our home page: at the top (directly underneath “06880”), and on the right side (under “Pages”).

It’s a way to feed the hunger of our readers — for both information and food.

The drop-down menu (ho ho) includes:

  • Links directly to a restaurant’s website
  • Its social media handles
  • Its phone number
  • And a 2- to 3-sentence description (from them) about why they’re special.

Each restaurant can choose its own category. (NOTE: Restaurants pay a small fee to be listed.)

Click here (or above, or on the right side of the home page) to access the “Restaurants” tab. For more information on being listed, email

What to eat tonight? Click on our “Restaurants” tab!