Today is Fathers Day. If you’re a father: enjoy! If you’re honoring a father: try to do it the other 364 days of the year too.
But fathers are not today’s only honorees. Today is also Happy International Horseshoe Crab Day!
So — whether you got your favorite horseshoe crab a gift or not — read on. Alert “06880” reader/Friends of Animals communications director Scott Smith writes:
I know today is International Horseshoe Crab Day because Friends of Animals’ latest campaign is a call for Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to ban the harvesting of horseshoe crabs in the state. (Click here for details.)
We heard quickly from State Representative Joe Gresko of Stratford, who 2 years ago got Connecticut to ban harvesting on his local beaches. He said he’d heard that DEEP is considering restrictions this season. They may be around the next high tide — June 24 — when horseshoe crabs are most active in spawning.
Horseshoe crabs at Compo Beach.
Friends of Animals will proceed with legislation to ban harvesting next season. I’m sure we’ll work with State Senator Will Haskell on that.
Connecticut Audubon is part of this effort, as migratory shorebirds rely on horseshoe crabs to fuel their journeys further north. We’ll also work with Jennifer Mattei, a Sacred Heart University professor who runs Project Limulus, which does an annual community-based counting and tagging project.
Perhaps there’s interest among “06880” readers in forming a Westport group to count horseshoe crabs. It seems like a fun way for families to engage. If so, click “Comments” below.
Personally, I try to swim at Compo Beach nearly every evening in summer. On Thursday I went to the rocky beach at the entrance to the marina. Few people swim there, which might explain why several sets of horseshoe crabs were doing their thing.
Other stretches were pockmarked with shallow holes made earlier by females. I saw several smaller males park themselves in the depressions for a minute, so it seems a lot of egg-laying is going on.
Otherwise, my sightings of horseshoe crabs this year elsewhere at Compo have been few and far between.
Tomorrow is worldwide “Make Music Day.” There are more than 1,000 events, in over 120 countries.
Unfortunately, there is no specific Westport celebration. But residents Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss — members of the 4-person band Picnic on the 4th of July — will perform at Old Post Tavern in Fairfield (7 to 8 p.m.).
The CUkes — a ukulele group that originated at the Westport Weston Family YMCA — entertain in the Nordstrom Courtyard of The SoNo Collection mall (Norwalk, 6 p.m.).
And Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth — who live just over the line in Fairfield — are part of an international “This Moment in Time” musical event. Click here for details.
Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin says that — despite the implication in today’s “06880” story that the P&Z is considering a change in flood zone regulations — the pre-application hearing resulted in a resounding “no.”
Piers and pilings will continue to be the only options for homeowners living near the water.
On Thursday, 2 local design professionals presented a potential amendment to the current flood regulations. The changes would have permitted filling properties to FEMA-mandated elevations, in lieu of raising residential dwellings on piers or pilings.
P&Z staff and commissioners expressed concerns about the effect of foundations and basements on subsurface draining, and neighboring properties on lower grades.
They also addressed the impact of future sea level rise, and the departure from best practices that support raising flood-prone structures over raising the grade of flood-prone lots.
Staff and commissions noted that fill in flood zones is specifically discouraged by FEMA regulations.
Current zoning regulations regarding fill and basements in flood zones will not change, Dobin emphasized.
It’s not easy living in a flood zone. Superstorm Sandy made the risks real. Since then, dozens of Westporters living near the water have raised their homes, using piers or pilings.
That may no longer be the only option.
Gloria Gouveia reports: At last Thursday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, 2 local design professionals presented a potential amendment to Westport’s flood zone requirements.
The pre-application process gives applicants the opportunity to explore ideas with the P&Z in a brief, informal, non-binding discussion, saving the time and expense of a formal application.
Citing a desire to provide full basements for homes in some Special Flood Hazard Zones, the proposal would permit filling properties to FEMA-mandated elevations in lieu of raising residential dwellings on piers or pilings.
A home being raised on Compo Cove.
The applicants testified that the benefits associated with raising the height of the land and the use of flood-proofing, versus elevating the structure, included: more (basement) floor area: egress at grade: enhanced flood protection and improved esthetics.
Typically, residential construction in SFHZs requires elevating and supporting structures with piers or pilings that are less of an impediment to flood waters than traditional foundations.
P&Z staff and several commissioners expressed concerns about the effect of foundations and basements on subservice drainage, and neighboring properties at lower grades.
Other issues addressed by staff members included the impact of future sea level rise, and the departure from best practices which support raising flood prone structures over raising the grade of flood prone lots.
Current zoning regulations prohibit the use and/or placement of fill for any purpose in Special Hazard Flood Zones.
Speaking of education: Sure, the Westport Public Schools select a Teacher of the Year. But there’s something special about earning that honor from a different source: the Staples High School football team.
This spring, the Wreckers — used to be cheered for — turned the tables. They gave shout-outs to their favorite educators in a homemade video. At the end, they announced the winner.
Who is this year’s football team Staples Teacher of the Year? Click below to see:
Two more sings that Westport is getting “back to business.”
The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce held its first in-person gathering in 20 months yesterday, at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center. Over 60 people gathered in the garden, in beautiful weather. They shook hands, ate food catered by Calise’s Deli, and — as they did for years before the pandemic — exchanged business cards.
Sal Gilbertie spoke about the 100 years since his grandfather began as a flower grower, then turned to herbs. Today Gilbertie’s is a major micro green seller, in addition to their nursery’s plants and trees.
Sal Gilbertie addresses the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.
But the Chamber wasn’t the only major Westport organization holding its first live-and-in-person meeting yesterday.
Sunrise Rotary also gathered together, for the first time in over a year. Attendance was solid. Handshakes and hugs were heartfelt.
And for those unable or not yet ready to attend, the event was livestreamed.
Westport Country Playhouse has 4 new trustees. Three are from Westport: Jessica Caldwell, Will Haskell and Margie Jacobson.
Haskell — a state senator whose district includes Westport — has a long theatrical history. As a member of Staples High School’s Class of 2014, he was elected of Players, the drama troupe. One of his first memories of live theater was seeing “Curious George” as a child, at the Playhouse’s old barn.
Caldwell graduated from Columbia University’s MFA film program. She produced independent feature films, while her feature film productions have premiered at Berlinale, SXSW and Tribeca. Her short film work has premiered at Sundance, Telluride, and Tribeca. Caldwell was also the writers’ room assistant and showrunners’ assistant on “Billions.” She is also a Moth storytelling contest GrandSlampion.
Jacobson is a nonprofit leader and attorney with legal experience spanning a variety of diverse settings. She is currently of counsel to a boutique law firm advocating for students’ rights from birth through post-secondary education, and co-founder of Woman’s Compass Forum. Jacobson previously served on the Playhouse board, from 2010 to 2016. She also serves on the boards of the ADL and the Remarkable Theater.
The WCP board of trustees is chaired by Westporter Ania Czekaj-Farber.
The Westport Library has 2 new trustees too.
Anna Alemani is CFO of Pierrepont School. Previously she had a 15-year career in finance. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan, where she focused her studies on management of museums and cultural institutions.
Dave Briggs spent his career in television, as a sports and news reporter/anchor. He has moved from South Dakota and Oklahoma to Boston, where he covered Red Sox World Series championships, Patriots Super Bowl titles and a Celtics NBA crown. He also hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend,” and (for NBC) NHL, NASCAR, NFL and Olympic tennis, before anchoring “Early Start” on CNN. He currently interviews important Connecticut residents for Moffly Media content.
Starting July 1, the Senior Center will reopen. It’s limited, sure — but it will be wonderful for the thousands of Westporters who rely on our great center.
The phased reopening will include in-house, outdoor, hybrid, televised and Zoom classes all summer long.
Director Sue Pfister and her staff have meticulously established safety protocols. They includes enhanced air-handlers, sanitizers, and other CDC-guided precautions.
There’s also a canopy over part of the back patio, to extend outdoor space.
The congregate luncheon program will remain closed until September. In addition, summer plans will not include drop-in visits or congregating during the initial reopening phase. Water fountains will not be available, so participants are encouraged to bring a water bottle from home.
For months, Westporters have wondered about the fate of the Kowalsky property. The large tract of land on Morningside Drive South and Clapboard Hill Road is some of the last privately owned open space in town.
Perc tests and a Conceptual Plan are now available outlining a proposed 8 Bedroom home, Infinity Edge Swimming Pool and Septic. Build your dream home on this prestigious 2.0 Acre property in a well established Greens Farms neighborhood.
This property is truly majestic with part ownership of a man made pond, and several character outbuildings. This sought after location is less than a mile to Metro North/Greens Farms train station and Burying Hill Beach. Two homes on Morningside Drive South (# 90 and # 88) have SOLD within the year, both currently in stages of being torn down for over a million dollars an acre. There is value here on this special piece of land.
This is a Land listing. The home on the property is ‘As Is’. As with any Land listing, buyers to perform their own due diligence.
Plenty of people like Hook’d on the Sound, the new Compo Beach concessionaire.
Plenty do not like the fact that it closes at 6 p.m.
The previous snack bar tenant — Joey’s by the Shore — stayed open till dark. Two years ago, he relocated to the former Elvira’s, around the corner across from Old Mill Beach.
Now Joey’s has introduced a delivery service to Compo. It’s available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
You can order online. Enter “2 Soundview Drive” as the delivery address. Your food will be delivered — in a thermal bag, with no extra charge — at the pickup/ dropoff location next to the Compo volleyball courts.
The undefeated, nationally ranked Staples High School rugby team kicked off its national tournament quest in Kansas City yesterday with a 26-22 win against St. Thomas Aquinas. The Wreckers are ranked #5; Aquinas was #4. The temperature at the start was 100.
Little Barn The Little Barn in Westport is the local site for viewing. The next match is tonight (6 p.m.), against #1 Herriman from Utah.
Watching yesterday’s game at Little Barn. (Photo/Terry Brannigan)
Previewing the tournament, a rugby publication described Staples as “the best-kept secret of the tournament. (They have) compiled one heck of a season up in Connecticut. Winners over big dogs Xavier, Greenwich, and Fairfield, these boys are battle-tested and battle-accomplished. Jot them down as your dark horse now.”
For more information on the national rugby tournament, click here.
Wakeman Town Farm kicks off its farm stand season tomorrow (Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
Every Saturday, the Cross Highway stand features farm-grown veggies, baked goods, honeys, Shearwater coffee, Wave Hill breads, Kneads pastries, Pam’s Jams, Guardians farm goat soap & lotion, plus logowear.
Tomorrow’s fresh produce offerings include collard greens, lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, garlic scapes, Chinese green onions, strawberries (limited quantities!), and herbs.
This year, WTF expands its offerings with a rotating list of local guest vendors. This week they welcome Lorenza Arnal, creator of Alma de Mexico’s homemade salsas, and Sk*p, a sustainably packaged hair & body care line with local roots.
Staples High School’s Class of 1976 is planning their 45th reunion. And — in the spirit of ’76 — they’re doing more than their share.
The July 30-31 weekend includes parties at the Black Duck and Compo Beach. They’ve added a “Great Gatsby” town tour.
And — because several classmates volunteer with CLASP Homes, the supportive housing organization for people with developmental disabilities (and Tracy Flood works there), the reunion-goers will do yard projects at the site. (They might not even know that CLASP was founded in 1976!)
With more and more people wearing fewer and fewer masks, it may seem like that’s one part of the pandemic now in the rear view mirror.
But unvaccinated children still need them. And youngsters in Bridgeport summer camp programs don’t always have access to nice masks.
Since March 2020, Virginia Jaffe and her crew of volunteers has sewn over 8,500 masks. They gave them all away — and they’re still doing it.
Last month, they donated 200 masks to New Beginnings in Bridgeport. A thank-you note cited the “wonderful craftsmanship,” adding, “Their beauty will bring joy to our students. This donation has provided some of the most vulnerable children in the state with the resources they need to thrive.”
Virginia wants those youngsters to feel that brand new, unused masks show they feel cared for, and just a little bit safer.
To help in any way, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two of Westport’s most creative institutions are the Library and Artists Collective.
This summer, they’re collaborating on a very creative project.
“Piece by Piece” is a grid of 60 12-inch squares. Each of those 60 artists contributes one square. When assembled together, they form one image.
The work represents the artists’ response to the isolation they felt during the pandemic. E
Each square is available for sale. For $100, you can select one or more of the squares from a grid. Proceeds will be divided between the Library and the artist. The name of the artists, and the iconic masterpiece on which Piece by Piece is based, will be revealed on July 10th.
It, and more works by the Artists Collective, will be on display at the Library from July 10 through September 28.
For more details — including how to own a piece of “Piece” — click here.
Speaking of the Artists Collective: Their great live (!) exhibit ends this Saturday, with artist talks.
Works hang in the barn gallery at Westport Country Playhouse. Among the participants: Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack and Ellen Schiffman.
When PJ Pacifico plays the Levitt Pavilion June 25 (7 p.m.), the Westporter won’t have far to go. He lives right around the corner.
The singer/songwriter’s new single, “Every Little Heartbreak,” speaks to a world eager to embrace a fresh new day after a time of intense challenges. Sound familiar?
PJ’s perspective on the ups and downs of being an indie artist and songwriter are influenced by his experiences as a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Beating cancer after undergoing months of chemo and radiation, and losing his spleen and part of his liver, made him feel like he had a second chance.
But he suffered with survivor’s guilt and “impostor syndrome.” He’s battled through all that — and is ready to rock the Levitt.
Just down the hill from his home.
The event is free, but tickets are required. Click here to register.
Monday — the first full day of summer — is the longest day of the year.
Recognizing that for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, every day is “the longest” — but also, that art has the power to inspire and excite — RaRa (“Real Art. Real Artists.”) is partnering with the Residence at Westport to produce an art exhibit.
The show (June 21, 3 to 5 p.m., The Residence, 1141 Post Road East), is open to the public. There’s wine and cheese, plus live entertainment. A portion of art sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Can’t get out (even on the longest day)? Click here for information on the virtual version of the exhibit.
In this hybrid summer, the Westport Library offers 2 learning clubs. Both are “blended” — meaning in-person classes at the Library, and a remote option for distance education.
The program for grades 1 to 5 includes week-lonf literacy, math and STEAM sessions. Grades 6 to 8 enjoy STEAM, book clubs, and other programs that encourage academic independence. They beginning June 29, and end August 19.
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo includes a Fresh Mark osprey update.
Carolyn Doan reports: “We checked on the nest Monday and Tuesday. The parents were doing such a great job at shielding the chicks from the rain that they were impossible to see. The next day was a different story. Making lots of noise and waiting for an incoming fish, these two were front and center — literally.”
Doug Tirola — one of the founders of the Remarkable Theater — is a native Westporter, and father of a Staples High School student. He know we’ve got some remarkable members of the senior class — and that they had a remarkable year.
Tomorrow Doug — whose day job is filmmaking — wants to hear about their experiences. He’s making a short feature starring Staples seniors. It will play before (naturally) the drive-in screening of “The Breakfast Club” later this month.
High school seniors are invited to a quick interview tomorrow (Wednesday, June 16, 3 p.m.) at Staples’ front entrance.
NOTE: Seniors who are not yet 18 should email email@example.com for a release form, to be signed by a parent prior to film.
“The Breakfast Club”: Quite possibly the best high school movie ever made.
But the young staff — overseeing kayaks, paddleboards and the increasingly crowded Saugatuck River — has major responsibilities.
Yesterday, owners Taryn and Robbie Guimond brought Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services staff onto the Riverside Avenue site. EMTs ran everyone through every imaginable safety scenario and protocol.
The entire Westport Paddle Club staff is now certified in CPR, first aid and “stop the blood.” They’re ready for anything — and for you.
“With so much negativity about police in our country, we feel lucky we have a Police Department that responds quickly and professionally to our needs, on many levels.
“On Sunday around 2:30 p.m., my husband Larry and I, 2 Westport friends and our puppy were stranded on our small boat in the Sound. It just stopped, and refused to start again no matter what we were tried.
“To our much appreciated rescue came 2 police officers: a man and a woman. With efficiency, respect and utmost professionalism, we were towed to our marina on Saugatuck shores.
“We are privileged to live in a town with such an incredible Police Department. Thank you!”
The Lefkowitzes’ boat, after being towed to safety.
For weeks, Pequot Trail neighbors have been upset about the clear-cutting done in preparation for a teardown and new home.
Yesterday, News12 reported on the issue.
As noted in the report, owners can do whatever they want with their property. But, Tree Board chair Monica Buesser notes, trees play many roles beyond beauty — including noise abatement and reduced flood risk.
Marketplace at Franny’s of Westport celebrates its first year as a local pop-up partner this Saturday (June 19, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
The Bedford Square shop will be filled with live music, free samples and giveaways. Tracey Medeiros will sign copies of “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” and Franny Tacy — founder of Franny’s Farmacy — will be on hand too, to say, um, “hi.”
The world is opening up. But plenty of neighbors are still in dire straits.
To help fill Person 2 Person’s Norwalk food pantry, Westport Sunrise Rotary members will collect food donations in the rear of Saugatuck Congregational Church (Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
They urge folks to include these items on upcoming shopping trips: hearty soups, snack and granola bars, pasta and sauce, 1-pound rice boxes, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, canned tuna and chicken, canned fruits and vegetables, dried and canned beans, pancake mix, cold cereal, oatmeal and shelf-stable milk.
Among the most needed household and personal items: laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, dryer sheets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, disinfectant wipes, hand and body soap, kitchen sponges, deodorant, liquid dish detergent, diapers and wipes (especially sizes 5 and 6), tissues and Kleenex.
From left: Greg Dobbs (Person2Person food pantry site manger) with Westport Sunrise Rotarians Rob Hauck and president George Masumian.
The Westport Museum of History & Culture honors Juneteenth — the commemoration of the end of slavery in the US — with a special walking program on Westport’s African American history.
The June 19 event (2 to 3:30 p.m.). features guides, who will share stories of the area’s Black community from colonial times through today. It’s based on the museum’s exhibit “Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport.”
Meanwhile, this Tuesday (June 15, 6 p.m.), the museum will showcase objects related to Black history. It’s part of their Tuesday Treasures program, showcasing objects from the collection not normally on public view.
It’s one thing to have a national champion rowing team.
It’s astonishing to have two — and both in the same age group.
That’s what Saugatuck Rowing Club did yesterday. Both girls U-17 teams — 4+ and 8+ won the US Rowing Youth Nationals in Sarasota, Florida.
Congratulations to 8+ rowers Mia Kirkorsky (coxswain), and rowers Claudia Chadwick, Elisabeth Chadwick, Hannah Clemens, Maia Freeman, Isabella Furman, Jane Leahy, Janna Moore and Lauren Schramm. All except Isabell and Lauren are from Westport.
In the 4+ boat: Westporters Victoria Bazarko and Rosie Lundberg, plus Ella Casano, Kelly Kennedy and Alexandra Cowan.
Coaches are Gordon Getsinger, Anna Yamamoto and Mike O’’Hara.
Look for them all back soon, on the river. You’ll know who they are by the gold glinting off the sun.
Saugatuck Rowing Club’s U17 8+ boat: national champs!
What’s better than a dinner of Pizza Pete’s homemade pies at Wakeman Town Farm with the family?
The same event — but without the kids. (C’mon — admit it!)
An adults-only event — yes, there’s wine — is set for Thursday, June 24 (7 p.m.). The outdoor event includes individual pizzas from Skinny Pines’ Jeff Borofsky, a bottle from The Grapevine, and live music. Click here for details, and tickets.
Jocelyn & Chris — their siblings, so I guess they don’t need last names — entertained an appreciative MoCA Westport crowd Friday night.
The outdoor concert was part of their summer-long concert series. Next: a classical piano concert by Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung (Friday, June 25). They’re married, BTW. Click here for tickets and more information.
Jocelyn & Chris entertain at MoCA Westport. (Photo/Maddy Martin)
That’s the plan for next Saturday evening (June 19). Westport Paddle Club — the great kayak rental/lesson/tour place on Riverside Avenue — invites everyone to grab a kayak or paddleboard. The friendly young staff will help you launch (and provide bags and gloves, if needed).
Scour the Saugatuck River for trash and debris. It starts around 5 p.m. — an hour or so before high tide — so you can paddle up with the tide, then drift back with it too. Bring it back (or hand it off to a support skiff) to the Paddle Club-provided dumpster.
Everyone will be back before 8. It will still be light — and time to party. Jr’s Deli & Grille provides the grub.
Westport Paddle Club’s Taryn and Robbie Guimond organized the event. But they’re not doing it alone.
Longshore Sailing School has hopped on board. They’ll donate kayaks and a support boat to clean the south side of the river (below the bridge), and the harbor area. They’ll head to the Paddle Club when they’re done too.
PS: Neighbors can collect garbage along the shoreline too, then dispose of it in the club’s dumpster. Or just leave it on the curb; the club will haul it the rest of the way. But be sure to stay for the fun!
Launch from the dock. Scour the river. Then have fun!
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