Category Archives: Environment

Roundup: Dance Party, Menorah, Yuki Kitchen …

I’m an idiot.

I posted yesterday’s Roundup story about the Hackett family’s used sports equipment drive — it benefits Leveling the Playing Field, a non-profit that helps youngsters in need — without including where to drop the cleats, balls and more off.

They’ll be at the Granola Bar this Saturday and Sunday (December 10 and 11), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Click here for a list of items you can donate. You know you’ve got some of it lying unused all around your house!

From left: Max Levitt (Founder of Leveling The Playing Field), Alex Hackett, Daisy Hackett, Chloe Hackett

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Before COVID, Julie Whamond hosted a dance party every year. It was her gift to friends — a way to let off steam during the stressful holiday season.

This year, it’s back.

And it’s better than ever. Julie is using the festivities to raise donations for Westport’s Warm-Up Fund.

The Fund — an initiative of Westport’s Department of Human Services — helps income-qualified residents with their home heating expenses.

The date is next Wednesday (December 14, 7 to 10 p.m.). Julie secured Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall. She hired a DJ.

Now she just needs even more folks to attend. Whether you know Julie or not: You’re invited!

Venmo a $30 (or more) donation: @Julie-Whamond. Wear festive attire. Bring a drink or snack to share. Then party down for the Warm-Up Fund.

Questions? Email Whamondjoy@gmail.com.

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The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the December 1-7 period.

Two people were detained in custody. One was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to obey traffic control signal, and failure to drive in the proper lane.

The other custodial arrest was for conspiracy to commit burglary; oeperating a motor vehicle without a license; failure to renew registration; misuse of plates, and insurance coverage fails to meet minimum requirements.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 18
  • Stop sign violation: 4
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation: 3
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Failure to display plates: 2
  • Misuse of license plates: 1
  • Insurance coverage fails to meet minimum requirements: 2
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Failure to renew registration: 1

Not a suggestion. A command.

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Longtime ESPN reporter, E60 host Jeremy Schaap — a 1988 Staples High School graduate, and current Westport resident — never shies away from important issues.

He is the lead reporter and narrator of a new film, “The  Survivor.” The documentary examines the 1972 Munich Massacre. That September, terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletics at the Summer Olympics.

Schapp will screen the film at the Westport Library on Monday (December 12, 7 p.m.). Immediately afterward, the 11-time Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist will host a talkback

Schaap traveled to Israel and Germany to tell the story through the eyes of 86-year-old Israeli race walker Shaul Ladany. He survived the massacre — as he had World War II and the Holocaust, when he was a child.

“In his long life, Shaul Ladany has seen up close the worst of humanity,” says Schaap. “Not only has he survived, he has pressed forward, constantly, to lead a life of achievement. The lessons of his life are valuable to us all. I was honored to be part of the team that told the story of what he endured and what he witnessed. Ladany’s story is not so well-known here in the United States — but it should be.”

The Munich Massacre was the first terrorist attack broadcast live on television around the world. “The Survivor” breaks down the tragedy through archival video and news reports, along with new interviews and reporting.

Jeremy Schaap

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Open Rice — the Chinese food takeout place between Sherwood Diner and Earth Animal — closed in June.

It’s been replaced by Yuki Kitchen. The Japanese food takeout place features sushi, bento boxes, noodles and more. Click here for the menu.

Yuki Kitchen (Photo/Dan Woog)

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What will you do with over 500 pairs of shoes?

If you’re Soles4Souls — the non-profit that collects new and gently used shoes — you’ll distribute them to people in need.

And you’ll do it with Westporters’ help.

This holiday season, Ken Bernhard and Ted Freedman led a drive that collected all those 500-plus shoes here. Collection boxes were placed at Town Hall, police headquarters and the Senior Center.

Ken and Ted thank all who contributed. It’s one small step — now, in proper shoes — to help break the cycle of poverty.

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An outdoor menorah will be lit on December 20 — and everyone is invited.

The event — on the 3rd night of Hanukkah — is set for Weston Center, at 6:15 p.m.

Doing the honors are Rabbi Levi & Chanie Stone, co-directors of the Chabad Schneerson Center. There’s live music too.

Hanukkah gelt and cookies, doughnuts and dreidels will be distributed to all.

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The Westport Rotary Club presented its annual Community Service and Public Protection Awards on Tuesday.

Recipients included artist and homeless advocate Nina Bentley; former Westport 1st Selectman Jim Marpe; RTM veteran Velma Heller; the Westport chapter of the National Charity League (represented by member Lisa Price), and Builders Beyond Borders executive director Amy Schroeder-Riggio.

Firefighter Rob Lenois and police officer Kevin Smith also earned awards for individual acts of heroism.

Nina Bentley receives her Westport Rotary Club award from Karl Mergenthaler and Leslie Roberts. (Photo/Jeff Wieser)

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These women don’t need shoes. Flip-flops are fine.

All year long.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

They swim every Friday and Sunday — yes, even now.

The water temperature these days is 50 degrees. The air temperature is lower.

It will get a lot lower soon. But they promise to be in the water, when the rest of us are sitting lazily by a fire.

To each her own.

And congrats!

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A concerned reader emailed this photo yesterday:

It shows oil on the Saugatuck River, just below the Cribari Bridge.

“I don’t know where it’s coming from,” he says. “But it’s been there all day.”

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George Billis Gallery is moving again.

After opening on Main Street in late 2020 — in the midst of COVID, the 3rd outpost after New York and Los Angeles — the exhibit space moved to Post Road East.

Next stop: Fairfield. The 1700 Post Road location opens January 1.

“I love Westport. But the rent it too high for permanent space,” owner George Billis says.

He looks forward to welcoming customers to his new gallery. And hopes they’ll stop by before he relocates, for the moving sale going on now.

The first site of George Billis gallery, on Main Street.

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The moon sets every morning. That gets less love from “06880” photographers than when it rises, and hangs high in the sky.

And a lot less love than sunrises and sunsets.

So today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shines a light on the moonset. It was taken this morning by Matt Murray, and shows Sherwood Mill Pond, looking west toward Hillspoint Road.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … Joyce Bryant died recently, in Los Angeles. She was 95, and suffered from Alzheimer’s.

I’d never heard of her. But according to her New York Times obituary, she was :a sultry singer of the 1940s and ’50s who broke racial barriers in nightclubs and raised the hackles of radio censors before setting aside her show business career in favor of missionary work, then reinventing herself as a classical and opera singer,”

Click here for her fascinating life story. Click below to hear a bit of her work:

(Obscure nightclub singers, police reports, menorah lightings, new Japanese restaurants — “06880” brings you all the Roundup news, every day. If you enjoy our work, please click here to contribute. Thank you!)

Roundup: Hamlet At Saugatuck, World Karting Champ, Italian Culinary Tour …

The Planning & Zoning Commission continued its discussion of the Hamlet at Saugatuck proposal last night.

P&Z members and proponents of the plan — which includes hotel, retail, residential and waterfront space near the train station — spoke about height, floor area ratios and requirements for public open space.

Votes on text and map amendments — necessary for the project to move forward — may be taken at the next P&Z meeting (Monday, December 12).

Part of the proposed Hamlet at Saugatuck marina.

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Speaking of real estate: November’s numbers are in.

Here are the figures for single-family homes, with comparisons in parentheses to November 2021:

  • Total sales: 23 (down 30.3%)
  • Median sales price: $1.595 million (up 1.6%)
  • Inventory: 118 (down 7.8%)
  • Days on the market: 57 (down 9.5%).

83% of homes sold within 90 days of listing.

Only 1 condo sold in Westport last month. The price was $495,000. However, the inventory of condos is 37. (Hat tip: Meredith Cohen at William Raveis)

The most expensive home on the market in Westport right now is on Charcoal Hill Road. The 6-bedroom, 8 1/2-bath house can be yours for $12.5 million.

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The last time we checked in with Vivek Kanthan, he had qualified to represent the US in the 2022 ROK Superfinal World Karting Championship in Italy.

He did win. But now the 13-year-old Westporter is a world champion.

Vivek Kanthan: world karting champion.

The venue was South Garda Karting Track in Lonato, Italy. Ninety racers from 25 countries qualified through their own national competitions.

The event is raced over 4 days. Competitors are eliminated, until only 36 drivers remain for the Superfinal world title.

Vivek won all 4 elimination heats, with a perfect score. He was the first American ever to do so.

In a very tactical, skillful and tense Superfinal, he executed a switchback passing maneuver on the last lap, to win by 0.077 seconds. Racers from Australia and Romania were 2nd and 34d, respectively.

Next year, Vivek moves up a race category. He will continue to compete in Europe against the world’s best kart racers. To follow his Instagram, click here.

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The sun was out yesterday. The high was almost 50.

So these 5 guys headed to Old Mill for a swim.

(Photo/Denise Pearl)

And why not? It’s the off-season. No beach stickers required.

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Westport Book Shop’s December artist exhibitor is Westporter Jarvis Wilcox. Seven oil paintings featuring nature, landscapes and still life are on display in the Jesup Green used book store. A reception is set for December 10 (5 to 7 p.m.).

Wilcox painted in upstate New York for a decade, then in the Hamptons for 25 years. He now lives here, and is a member of the Artists Collective of Westport, and Silvermine Guild.

All artwork on display is available for purchase. To see more of his work, click here.

Jarvis Wilcox

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Steve Davis returns to VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 on Thursday (December 8), for Jazz at the Post. He brings some great collaborators too.

Davis — one of the most widely recorded trombonists today — will feature selections from his latest CD, “Correlations,” and his Grammy Award-winning original compositions.

He’ll be joined by saxophonist/”Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall, pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Jason Clotter and drummer Jason Tiemann.

Shows are 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. There is a $15 cover. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Steve Davis

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Take a culinary tour of Italy — without leaving Westport.

Chef Robert L. Gorman leads the first in a series of Wakeman Town Farm dinners on January 6 (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.).

In Tim’s Kitchen, guests will experience many flavors of Italy. Chef Robert starts with imported salami and cheeses; moves on to tagliatelle Bolognese and a variation on bistecca Fiorentina with gremolata and harvest-roasted vegetables, ending with classic tiramisu. He’ll discuss the background of each course, too.

Click here for tickets ($150 each) and more information.

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Humans are not the only ones who can enjoy a “Westport … Naturally” sunset!

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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And finally … today is the 53rd anniversary of Altamont.

On this day in 1969, a free Rolling Stones concert turned violent. 18-year-old Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by Hells Angels security guards. There were 3 other deaths; scores of injuries; many stolen vehicles, and lots of property damage.

Less than 4 months after Woodstock, Rolling Stone magazine called it “rock and roll’s all-time worst day.”

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(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

 

 

Give The Gift Of Giving

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And to give.

This year — which despite economic headwinds, was a good one for many Westporters — as we buy presents for loved ones, friends, and people whose good graces we need to keep, we should also think about helping others.

Give what you can.

(Of course, helping them can also ease our own tax burdens a few months from now.)

But who to give to?

Far be it for “06880” to say. So here is a list — off the top of my head — of some worthy local organizations. Each one has a clickable link 🙂

I know I’ve missed some. Rather than bite my head off (very un-Christmas-y), please mention them in the “Comments” section. I’ll add them to this list.

And please: Keep your suggestions local (southern Fairfield County). There are way too many very worthy national and international groups to include. Thank you!

Animals

Christine’s Critters: Rehabilitation of big birds
Connecticut Humane Society
: Westport branch
Save Our Strays: Animal rescue
PAWS: No-kill animal shelter
Rising Starr Horse Rescue: Gives at-risk horses a second chance at life
TAILS: Spaying and neutering
Westport Animal Shelter Advocates: Care, shelter and adoption of homeless dogs
Wildlife in Crisis: Preservation and emergency help

Arts and history

Artists Collective of Westport: Creativity, education, shows, forums and more
Beechwood Arts and Innovation: Exhibits, salons, talks, food — wow!
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County: Supporting cultural organizations, artists and creative businesses
Levitt Pavilion: More than 50 nights of free entertainment
MoCA Westport
: Exhibitions, concerts, education and more
Music Theatre of Connecticut: Musical theater education for youngsters ages 4 through high school
Remarkable Theater:
Providing entertainment and employment for people with disabilities
Westport Country Playhouse: 92-year-old cultural institution
Westport Museum for History & Culture: Exhibits and education
Westport Public Art Collections: Bringing art to schools and public spaces

Community aid

Al’s Angels: Help for children and families battling diseases and hardships
Bridgeport Rescue Mission: Fighting poverty, offering help
Center for Family Justice: Provides services to fight domestic, child and sexual abuse
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants: Service and advocacy for immigrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking and torture
Integrated Immigrant & Refugee Services: Resettlement agency
Lifebridge Community Services: Bridgeport youth development behavioral health and family resources organization
Norwalk Hour
: Aid to families in need
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County:
Access to food, shelter, transportation and childcare
VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399: Helping veterans, servicemembers and their families
Westport Department of Human Services “We Care”
:
Many options, including financial help with school supplies and heating costs
Westport PAL: They do it all: college scholarships, youth sports programs, fireworks, ice rink, etc., etc., etc.
Westport Weston Family YMCA: Help in many ways

Community-building

06880: This blog — now a non-profit — sponsors community-wide events. Projects include the Holiday Stroll, an educational seminar at the library, and a soon-to-be announced Westport/Marigny/Ukraine school project. “06880” also publishes this daily blog, to help create community.

Disabilities

Catch a Lift: Westport supports veterans through fitness programs
Circle of Friends: Teens work with children with disabilities
CLASP
: Group homes and opportunities
Club 203: Provides fun, engaging activities for adults with disabilities
MyTEAM Triumph:  Road race support for children, adults and veterans
STAR Lighting the Way: Support for all ages
Sweet P Bakery: Provides jobs for adults with learning disabilities; supplies The Porch at Christie’s with delicious baked goods

Education and youth

A Better Chance of Westport: Education and support for outstanding minority boys
Achievement First: Schools provide Bridgeport families of color with a high- quality education at no cost
Adam J. Lewis Academy: High-quality experience for Bridgeport youngsters
Carver Foundation: K-12 pre- and after-school programs in Norwalk
Child Advocates of SW Connecticut: Providing advocates for abused children
Child & Family Guidance Center: Counseling and support for youth and families
Kids in Crisis: 24-hour support, including emergency housing and crisis counseling
Kidz Give Back: Children helping children
Neighborhood Studios: Arts education for Bridgeport youngsters
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities: Helping fulfill potential; support for parents too
Staples Tuition Grants: Need-based scholarships for Staples High School students and alumni
The Susan Fund: Scholarships for young people affected by cancer

Environment

Aspetuck Land Trust: Preserving open space; maintaining 45 preserves
Connecticut Audubon Society: Protecting birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through conservation, education and advocacy
Earthplace:
Education, wildlife exhibits, and a 62-acre sanctuary
Friends of Sherwood Island: Preserving, maintaining and enhancing our state park
Future Frogmen: Teaching students to protect the oceans
Norwalk River Valley Trail: Maintaining 30 miles of open space 
Save the Sound
: Protecting Long Island Sound
Sustainable Westport: Helping our town become Net Zero by 2050
Wakeman Town Farm: Sustainability center, with plenty of programs
Westport Farmers’ Market: Food, education, programs and more

Food and shelter

Filling in the Blanks: Providing weekend meals for children in need
Food Rescue:
Helping volunteers pick up and deliver excess food
Homes with Hope: Supportive housing, food pantry, food distribution and more
Open Doors Shelter: Aiding Norwalkers in need
Person-to-Person: Food, rent help, clothing and more

Grant-giving and foundations

100 Women Who  Care of Fairfield County: Raising funds to give them away!
Fairfield County Foundation: Philanthropy to strengthen communities
Near and Far Aid:
Fighting poverty in Fairfield County
Newman’s Own
: Okay, they’re global — but they’re headquartered in Westport!
Westport Rotary: Noontime chapter meeting of Rotary International
Westport Sunrise Rotary: 7:30 a.m. chapter meeting of Rotary International
Westport Woman’s Club: Raising funds for charitable, educational, cultural and public health services
Westport Young Woman’s League: Building community through volunteerism and social activities

Health and Safety

Breast Cancer Emergency Aid Foundation: Funds for non-medical expenses
Domestic Violence Crisis Center:
Help for victims and families
Fairfield County House: End-of -life facility, providing hospice and palliative care in a home-like setting 
Mission
: Helping survivors create lives after cancer
Pink Aid: Financial aid and services to woman and families facing breast cancer
Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service
: Providing staffing, supplies and apparatus to keep the town safe

LGBTQ+

Triangle Community Center: Providing programs and resources for the LGBTQ+ community
Westport Pride: Our town’s own LGBTQ+ organization — sponsors of the June festival, and much more


Literacy

Mercy Learning Center: Life skills training for low-income women
Read to Grow: Promoting children’s literacy from birth, supporting parents as babies’ first teachers
Westport Book Sales: Providing employment for people with disabilities — and offering books, while providing funds for the Westport Library
Westport Library: They do it all!

Mental health and addiction 

Laurel House: Mental health and recovery resources
Positive Directions: Treatment and prevention for addictive behaviors

Seniors

Jewish Senior Services: Skilled nursing and other care
Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities: Support for the Senior Center (below)
Westport Center for Senior Activities
: Senior Center provides programs, meals and more

Women and girls

AWARE: “Assisting Women through Action, Resources and Education”
Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County: Empowering women by providing professional clothes and other support
LiveGirl: Leadership development and mentoring for females, grades 5 through college
Malta House: Shelter and programs for young pregnant women and their babies

Roundup: James Montgomery, Teens’ Songwriting Workshop, Shrimp Farming …

The “Blue Sunday” concert series at the Westport Library will end with a bang.

World famous blues rocker James Montgomery joins Mark Naftalin’s all-star lineup next week (December 11, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.).

The house band includes Blues Hall of Fame guitarist/singer/songwriter Paul Gabriel, lowdown bassman Paul Opalach, swingin’ drummer Nick Longo and the host: Westport’s own Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Mark Naftalin on keyboards.

The show is (amazingly) free, but registration is highly recommended. Last month’s show was completely sold out. Click here to register.

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Speaking of music at the Library:

Verso Studios has partnered with the Song Arts Academy, with an 8-week songwriting program for 15 middle and high school students.

The program runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, beginning January 30.

It’s free (!), thanks to the support of Fred Reynolds and family. (A refundable $25 registration fee reserves a spot.) .

The workshop offers young songwriters a chance to record songs written in the workshop at Verso Studios.

The program is led by Billy Seidman, a Westport native and veteran New York songwriter, guitarist and producer. He’s worked with Jimi Hendrix, and top pop producers like Jimmy “The Senator” Douglass, (Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams) and Steve Jordan (John Mayer, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton).

Each week, students will learn new craft and perspective tools, then write an original song using them.

Click here to register, and for more information.

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John Brawley grew up on Saugatuck Shores. He became a marine biologist, living (and fishing) on Cape Cod for many years.

He now owns Sweet Sound — Vermont’s first shrimp aquaculture outfit. He harvests 100 pounds of Pacific white-leg shrimp each week from indoor, aboveground recirculating saltwater pools.

Brawley was featured in Friday’s Washington Post piece on how the Green Mountain State has pivoted from dairy farms to other types of agriculture. Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Scott Smith)

John Brawley, at Sweet Sound Aquaculture.

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Yesterday’s rain kept many Westporters inside.

But it did not deter the weekly Compo Beach runners. Neither it, nor the wind whipping off the water, deterred them from their jaunt down Soundview Avenue.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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The New Canaan Museum & Historical Society is spotlighting the Silvermine Art Colony.

Several of those artists lived in Westport between 1908 and 1922: Karl Anderson, George Hand Wright, George Wright Picknell, Ernest Funt and Edmund Marion Ashe. They met frequently, and critiqued each other’s work.

The 2 exhibits feature over 120 pieces of Silvermine artists’ work, including several of those Westporters. One of the standout pieces is Frank Townsend Hutchen’s “Compo Beach Sunset,” from  around 1925.

Click here for more information.

Frank Townsend Hutchen’s “Compo Beach Sunset.” The Saugatuck train towers are visible in the background.

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“Westport … Naturally” can never resist a cute dog photo.

This one sure qualifies.

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … James Montgomery (see story above) is a blues legend. If you haven’t heard of him, check out this 41-year-old clip:

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(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

 

Roundup: Malone Refuse Gets Scammed; Turkey Trot T-Shirt Goes Viral …

Kristen Stroud posted this important — but depressing — information on social media:

“My family owns Malone’s Refuse Service. A customer brought to our attention that someone is fraudulently soliciting holiday tips.

“The person placed these cards (photo below) in mailboxes, hoping the customer will then mail them a holiday gift. This person is not employed by Malone’s Refuse Service. We will be reporting it to the police.

“Between this scam and all of the recent issues with check washing and mail being stolen, if you would like to gift your actual refuse collector, you can email me at malonesrefuse@gmail.com and we will figure out the safest way to do so.”

Calling Sherlock Holmes!

Or really, any 1st grader who can read.

With the address provided, it should not take long to crack this case wide open.

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Every organization in Westport (and beyond) asks Miggs Burroughs for favors.

He always obliges.

For over 30 years, the talented and generous artist/graphic designer (and longtime runner) has designed t-shirts for the Pequot Running Club’s annual “Turkey Trot.” Proceeds go to the club, and charity.

They’re great souvenirs. Then they end up in the bottom of runners’ drawers, replaced by their next race t-shirt.

This year Miggs commemorated 45 years of Turkey Trotting. He chose historic national and world events from those past years, and included them in the design.

Uh oh.

A Tik Tok user named “Crawlie” — who did not run in the race, and apparently had way too much time on her hands — did not like Miggs’ choices. She posted her thoughts.

@crawlie

#greenscreen my outfit is giving miscallaneous star wars girlie but i cant do anything about it now #thanksgiving #fyp #kellyclarkson

♬ original sound – crawlie

For reasons known only to Tik Tok users, Crawlie’s post has received over 688,000 views. It’s generated more than 2,800 comments.

Most people did not share her outrage.

In fact, requests to buy t-shirts have poured in from across the country.

Take that, Crawlie!

PS: Another Tik Toker attempted a Billy Joel/”We Didn’t Start the Fire”-style video. It’s pretty weak. Still, it gives you an idea of the “controversy” surrounding the shirt.

@lucybiggers

Our towns Turkey trot shirt decided to make a “run through history list” and this is what they came up with…

♬ We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel

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Staples High School’s elite Orphenians sang …

… and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker made brief remarks (including a shout out to the Public Works Department, for decorations). She then asked kids in the crowd to join her, counting down “3 … 2 … 1!” …

… and wham! Last night, Westport’s Christmas (aka Holiday) tree was lit, in front of Town Hall by Myrtle Avenue.

(Photos/Dan Woog)

Missed it? No problem!

There’s another tree lighting tonight (Friday, 4:30 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). Stick around for carols and treats, too.

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Speaking of Christmas songs: The Saugatuck Caroling Crawl returns a week from tomorrow (Saturday, December 10).

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event was last held in pre-COVID 2019.

This year once again, 6 Staples Orphenians will sing holiday songs, moving from one restaurant to the next. They’ll hit 14 in all.

Carolers begin their rounds at the Boathouse at 6:30 p.m. They’ll head to Parker Mansion, Kawa Ni, The Whelk, Tutti’s and the Black Duck, before making their way to Railroad Place to sing at Tarantino, Harvest, Romanacci and Allium.

They finish by 8:30 p.m., after entertaining diners at Match Lobster Burger, Rizzuto’s, Viva Zapata and Dunville’s.

Participating Orphs include Sophia Betit, Madelyn Spera, James Dobin-Smith, Alyssa Lee, Deneil Betfarhad and Ethan Tober will be performing.

Reservations are recommended.

 

A scene from the 2018 Caroling Crawl.

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The Westport Farmers’ Market adds a special “Holiday Artists’ Market” a week from tomorrow (Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane). The market features a wide range of handcrafted gift ideas, from 25 local artists.

Carolers will entertain. Bubble & Brew will provide cold and hot beverages, plus sweet treats.  Chef Dan Kardos will bring his Oak & Oar food truck too. “Mark(et)” the date right now.

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Yesterday’s “Roundup” featured a Jeep smushing a traffic pylon on Main Street.

Today we feature a different scene, from almost the exact same spot:

After zipping past several prominent “One Way/Do Not Enter” signs, the driver continued the wrong way, refusing to back up or turn around — even when told to. (Had she looked around, she might have noticed every other car pointed in the other direction.)

The driver never stopped (or acknowledged reality). She just kept going, all the way to the Post Road.

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‘Tis the holiday season. So Westport Country Playhouse ends its 2022 Script in Hand series on December 12 with …

… “Bad Jews.”

Spoiler alert: It’s a comedy.

The night after their grandfather’s funeral, 3 cousins engage in a verbal (and sometimes physical) battle. There’s Daphna Feygenbaum, a “Real Jew” who is volatile, self-assured and unbending; her equally stubborn cousin Liam, a secular and entitled young man with a shiksa girlfriend Melody in tow, and Liam’s brother Jonah, who tries to stay out of the fray.

There’s live music at 6 p.m. in the lobby before the show. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Baby, it’s cold outside. But Misty shows off her fashionable winter coat, in today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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And finally … Lucy Biggers tried to mock the Turkey Trot t-shirt, by channeling her inner Billy Joel (story above).

She failed miserably. Here’s how it’s done:

(You won’t get a souvenir t-shirt for supporting “06880” — just our eternal thanks. Hopefully, that’s enough. Please click here to donate.)

 

A Tribute To Cathy Talmadge

Countless Westporters know and love Cathy Talmadge.

Those who don’t, should. Every resident’s life has been touched, and impacted, by hers.

Cathy’s longtime friend Amy Ancel calls her “a passionate, tireless volunteer and leader with Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace and Friends of Sherwood Island.”

Cathy is also a member of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting. Over the past 15 years she has served on the RTM’s Public Works and Environment Committees.

She works quietly yet doggedly to help make Westport a better place to live.

Cathy Talmadge.

Cathy is now seriously ill.

Her friends at Wakeman Town Farm want her to know what an inspiration she has been to them, and so many others. Cathy’s friend and colleague Christy Colasurdo writes: 

When I met you more than  15 years ago, I was in awe. You were a wonderful cook, gardener, traveler, swimmer, environmentalist, and served on at least 2 town boards.

And that’s just skimming the surface.

You clearly relished your role as a conduit between the players in town and the organizations you served. You knew everyone who was anyone, and they obviously knew and respected you.

But the thing that impressed me the most was how you were always the first to quietly jump in to lend a hand, whether it was wrangling permits from the liquor control board, rolling up your sleeves to sew masks during COVID or dropping off used file folders to cut down on paper waste.

When I think of you, I picture you in your sunny kitchen with a soup bubbling on the stove and a golden retriever and Siamese cat at your feet, switching out your seasonal planters, or working away at your sewing table. You befriended and surrounded yourself with local environmental “greats” like Sal Gilbertie and Norm Bloom, and you were viewed as a civic leader on par with these giants for your commitment to Earthplace, Sherwood Island, the RTM, Wakeman Town Farm and other local organizations fighting for a more sustainable environment.

Cathy Talmadge, at Wakeman Town Farm.

At the Farm you were one of the pioneers, putting yourself in the mix to ensure a successful initial renovation of the aging Wakeman residence to provide a cozy and warm welcome to the first caretaking family.

After this you took on the dual roles of town liaison and farm treasurer, helping create accounting systems, guiding budget decisions, managing the Farm’s first audit and so much more.

To many of us at the Farm you were a valued team player and, more than this: family.

I was deeply affected by your fight through serious illnesses, leading to your kidney transplant last year.

Thank you for your friendship, and for being such a wonderful person. Please know that you have always been an inspiration to me and many others. and that we are with you now.

Roundup: Tree Lightings, World Cup, Staples Football …

‘Tis the season to be … tree-lighting.

Twin ceremonies take place this week.

The “official” town event is Thursday (December 1, 5 p.m., Town Hall). The evergreen by Myrtle Avenue will glow, and Staples High School’s Orphenians will sing.

The next night (Friday, December 2, 4:30 p.m.), it’s Wakeman Town Farm’s turn. This one features treats from The Porch, hot chocolate from The Granola Bar, a bonfire and local musicians.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker does the honors at both. She’ll be joined at WTF by Wakeman family member Bill Constantino.

The Christmas tree at Town Hall, following a lighting ceremony.

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The huge Trefz Forum screen at the Westport Library is not just for author talks and music concerts.

Today (Tuesday) at 2 p.m., they’ll show the equally huge US-Iran World Cup first round match.

How huge? If we win, we advance to the round of 16. If we tie or lose, we’re out.

You don’t need to be a soccer fan to enjoy this one. Everyone is welcome.

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Are you a fan of the other football, but didn’t get a chance to see the Staples High School football team’s dramatic 39-38 win over archrival Greenwich on Thanksgiving Day?

Click below, for a very cool highlight video. It was produced and edited by senior Daniel Burgin, with video shot by junior Charlie Scott.

The win vaulted the Wreckers into tonight’s state “LL” quarterfinal playoff game against Fairfield Prep (6:30 p.m., Staples’ Paul Lane Field). It’s the blue-and-whites’ first post-season appearance in 7 years.

Can’t make that one either? Click here for the livestream.

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“Fine jewelry” and “rescue animals” may never have appeared in the same sentence.

Thanks to JL Rocks, they do now.

The high-end Post Road East retailer partnered with designer Peggy Reiner, for a new collection of whimsical animal-inspired pieces. Proceeds benefit PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) in Norwalk and 4LittlePaws rescue in Southport.

“It’s a great gift that gives back to pets in need,” says JL Rocks founder/owner Jamie Camche. “Animals have given us so much. We want to give back to them.”

The collection features 3 diamond-studded designs: petite 14K gold pawprint earrings, 14K gold chains with diamond pave dog bone, and paw charms. It’s  available at JL Rocks’ Westport and Greenwich stores, and online.

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Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?” debuted on Netflix this month. The docuseries is about the Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. court case — you know, the one where the college kid thought he found a loophole in a Pepsi promotion, and sued them to win a fighter plane. Reviews were good.

The “06880” connection: 2007 Staples High School graduate Nick Boak is an executive producer.

Spoiler alert: The guy never got his jet. (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

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Face painter alert!

We need a face painter for this weekend’s Holiday Stroll (Saturday, December 3, 5 to 7 p.m., Main Street and environs).

If you (or your daughter or son) are available to help with this great kids’ activity, please email 06880blog@gmail.com.

For more details on the Holiday Stroll — co-sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association — including the nearly 40 participating retailers and restaurants — click here.

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The weekend weather report is good. But Bedford Middle School will be “Frozen.”

On December 2, 3 and 4, Bedford Acting Group takes the stage in “Frozen Jr.”

The 7th and 8th grade actors were toddlers when the movie hit theaters in 2013 (!),  Yet they know its characters and songs well. At last, they can perform it.

The curtain rises Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (3 and 7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). Click here for the few remaining tickets.

The Bedford Acting Group cast and crew of “Frozen Jr.”

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What has the Greens Farms Garden Club been up to?

Every year they design and maintain the Atrium Garden at Earthplace in Westport, and the Victorian Cottage on Fairfield’s Town Green.

They provide horticultural therapy events at STAR in Norwalk, and make flower arrangements for the Pequot Library Art Show.

The Greens Farms Garden Club also manages 3 “Growing for Good” gardens:  Prospect Garden and Wakeman Town Farm in Westport, and St. Timothy’s Church Garden in Fairfield.

They were planted and cared for throughout spring, summer and fall, with over 180 buckets of fresh organic produce harvested and donated to help with food insecurity at Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center in Bridgeport.

A highlight of the year came at the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut 93rd annual awards luncheon. Wynn Herrmann — a 30-year veteran — was recognized for Civic Development. Dina Schmidt and Jude earned Certificates of Merit for the club’s monthly newsletters and website, respectively.

For more information about the Greens Farms Garden Club, including events and membership, click here.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (seated, from left): Chris Supernaw, Wynn Herrmann, Judy Reynolds, Ann Watkins. Standing: Kate Carroll, president Kathy Mitchell, Carol Shear, Jude Smith, vice president Maybette Waldron.

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Fewer than 5% of rainbows occur in the morning (according to Google). And the ones that do are most often seen in summer (ditto).

But yesterday — driving to work on the Merritt Parkway — this is what Larry Bartimer saw:

(Photo/Larry Bartimer)

We could probably blame the same culprit as everything else. (No, not Joe Biden — climate change.)

Nah. Just chill, and enjoy this very rare late November scene.

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Melissa Newman headlines a cool evening of hot jazz this Thursday, at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

Westport’s own vocal star is joined for Jazz at the Post by guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Bobby Leonard,

There are 2 shows: 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Melissa Newman

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“A Charlie Brown Christmas” — Vince Guaraldi’s timeless, feel-good music — gets the jazz treatment on Saturday (December 3).

The Heather Pierson Trio comes to the Westport Unitarian Church’s Voices Café at 4 p.m., for an in-person and livestreamed holiday concert.

Show-goers can bring snacks and beverages. Groups of 4 or more can reserve tables. For more information and tickets, click here.

Voices Café and its artists are committed to social justice. A portion of the proceeds benefit the battle against food insecurity, through Mercy Learning Center.

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It’s late November. But the leaves on a few trees are still hanging on.

Fred Cantor photographed one of them at Old Mill Beach. Its a vivid reminder of the “Westport … Naturally” beauty that surrounds us everywhere we look.

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … in honor of today’s crucial World Cup clash between the US and Iran (story above), here is the greatest pump-up soccer song ever. Crank the volume up to Spinal Tap 11, and enjoy!

(Wave that flag for “06880”! Please click here to  support our work.)

Leaf It Out Of Waterways

With leaf and brush removal season in full swing, it’s tempting to dump them anywhere close, and out of sight.

Tempting — but if the closest place is a wetland or watercourse, also illegal.

Conservation Department director Colin Kelly says, “Laws that protect our wetlands and waterways are there to protect the town’s natural resources, as well as private property.

“Wetlands act as natural drainage basins for the collection of excess groundwater in the spring and runoff during storm events. Wetlands keep floodwaters within streams and their floodplains.”

Leaves should not be dumped in waterways. They should not block drains, either.. (Photo/Tammy Barry)

Westport residents have several options for leaf disposal.

One is to compost leaves in the back yard within a fenced area or a composting receptacle, at least 20 feet away from any wetland or watercourse.

Backyard composting is a convenient alternative. It also produces valuable soil for container or garden planting the following year. Click here , or click here or  hclick here  to learn more about composting.

Another option — for Westport residents with a valid sticker — is to deliver leaves to the yard waste site (180 Bayberry Lane, behind the Aspetuck Health District).

The yard waste site is open Monday through Saturday (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Extended Saturday hours are in effect through December 10. NOTE: Plastic bags ae prohibited.

Alternatively, the Department of Public Works began curbside leaf collection this month. All leaves must be placed in biodegradable paper bags safely near the curb of a town street by December 5 to guarantee pick-up.

Residents living on private streets must place their leaves behind the curb of an intersecting town road. Again: no plastic bags!

For more information about leaf removal or the yard waste site, call the Department of Public Works: 203-341-1120.

COVID, Flu, RSV: Looking Ahead To Winter

Right now, Bridgeport Hospital is caring for 30 COVID patients.

That’s down drastically from the height of the pandemic, when they filled 300 beds.

Most of us no longer wear masks. We’ve stopped social distancing; we gather once again in large groups, and greet relatives and friends with hugs and kisses.

But we would be foolish to let our guards down too much and too fast, says Zane Saul.

He should know. The 32-year resident of Westport and Weston is Bridgeport Hospital’s chief of infectious diseases.

Dr. Zane Saul

He was on the front lines, when the coronavirus roared across the globe. He remembers those early days of terror, confusion, and the all-hands-on-deck, throw-whatever-we’ve-got-at-it approach that was all he and his colleagues could do for nearly a year, until vaccines were developed, produced and shipped.

Now, he says, most people in this area have been vaccinated. That, along with monoclonal antibodies, means that although people still contract COVID, they’re not as sick as before.

They’re not intubated as often. They’re not dying as much.

Dr. Saul says a very obese, unvaccinated woman was admitted this fall to Bridgeport Hospital. She spent several weeks on a respirator.

But she made it. Two years ago, she would not have.

Now, the weather is turning cold. People spend more time indoors. We’re excited for the first big holiday gatherings in 3 years.

The number of COVID cases will rise again, Dr. Saul says.

It’s not back. It never left.

So will diagnoses of flu and respiratory syncytial virus — RSV, which is especially dangerous to infants and young children. Bridgeport Hospital’s pediatric wing is already full of young RSV patients, Dr. Saul says.

The reason for the triple rise is simple. After 2 years of masks — which limited the spread of not only COVID, but other diseases — we are once again breathing on and close to each other.

What can we do?

“Get a flu shot!” Dr. Saul urges. “It’s effective. The match to this year’s strain is very good.

“If you’re sick, stay home. COVID quarantine is only 5 days now. Basic handwashing is important too.”

Dr. Zane Saul says …

And of course: Get your vaccines and booster shots.

Dr. Saul knows that “COVID fatigue” is real. He understands that people are tired of hearing they should get yet another booster vaccine.

But they should.

“I can’t blame them for how they feel,” Dr. Saul says. “Still, COVID isn’t gone. The latest variant lasts longer. It’s not a walk in the park.

“But with vaccines and boosters, you won’t get as sick. You won’t get hospitalized. You won’t die.”

Dr. Saul began training in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. For years, patients died. Then in 1995, “cocktail” medications became available. HIV is now a manageable disease.

He thought AIDS was the worst he’d ever see. Three decades later, he faced the “exhausting and terrifying” COVID pandemic.

Though everyone is eager to get back to their pre-2020 lives, the threat remains.

So, Dr. Saul says: Be smart. Take advice seriously.

And “listen to science. Science is good. It’s gotten us to where we are now.”

Which — even in Bridgeport Hospital — is a pretty good place.

(“06880” wants to keep you healthy. To keep this blog healthy, please donate by clicking here.)

Bridgeport Hospital

[OPINION] Long Lots Must Be A Sustainable School

The process for renovating Long Lots Elementary School, or replacing it, has begun.

This could be the first new school in Westport since Staples High (completed in 2005) and Bedford Middle (several years earlier). Coleytown Middle School reopened last year, after a long renovation project.

Sustainable Westport — an advisory group that helps town officials set environmental policy, and educates residents and businesses on  gree issues — has some ideas on the future of Long Lots.

Their website says:

Facing capacity and infrastructure issues, Long Lots Elementary School is currently being considered for renovation, rebuilding, or some combination of both. This fall, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) appointed a building committee to determine if a new build or renovation is the best course of action, and develop plans and specifications for the new space.

Long Lots Elementary School will be renovated or rebuilt. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Whether Long Lots Elementary is renovated or rebuilt, the building represents an important opportunity to support and advance the town’s resolution to become Net Zero by 2050. But why should Westport consider building a “sustainable school”?

Sustainable schools deliver major health, educational, financial, and environmental benefits to students, teachers and communities. Sustainable schools more efficient, leading to lower operating costs. They also provide learning spaces that significantly improve the wellness and productivity of those in and around the building.

Better ventilation and air quality: A hallmark of sustainable schools is improved ventilation and air quality. Better ventilation will decrease the spread of illness and diminish the effects of asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems. Put simply, cleaner air will result in healthier spaces with fewer absences for students and educators. With proper ventilation, air quality improves, which results in higher student productivity. High amounts of COz slows cognitive functioning, lowering both memory and concentration levels.

Long Lots Elementary School’s entrance is surrounded by trees.

Increased access to daylight: Sustainable schools are designed in a way that provides access to natural sunlight in as many spaces as possible, reducing the need for artificial light. Allowing sunlight to permeate deep into interior spaces provides numerous health benefits, including improved emotional well-being and sleep. In addition to mental and physical benefits, studies have also shown that daylight increases students’ test scores: students in classrooms with windows perform 20% faster on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests than students in windowless classrooms. Not to mention, increased daylight also reduces the reliance on artificial lighting, which decreases overall energy costs.

Lower operating costs: America’s K-12 schools currently spend $12.5 billion per year on energy costs. In Westport, the district budgeted over $3.2 million dollars for electricity, natural gas, and heating oil this school year. Pursuing net zero construction not only reduces building emissions and improves climate resilience, it also saves districts money that can then be used to re-invest in additional infrastructure updates. Compared to traditional school buildings, sustainable schools cost less than 2% more to build but use 33% less energy and 32% less water. The nation’s first net zero school opened in 2010. In its first 8 years of operation, the school saved $11.5 million.

Educational Opportunity: Sustainable schools provide a unique opportunity for students and the larger community to develop a deep connection and understanding of environmentalism and sustainability. Exposure to and education about the benefits of net zero buildings will help change mindsets leading to increased awareness and public support. Research shows that one year of climate change education can have a meaningful impact on a lifetime of emissions.

Environmental Impact: With less reliance on fossil fuels (high-performance) or no reliance on fossil fuels (net zero), sustainable schools release less pollution and greenhouse gases while also using less energy and water. These schools are carefully designed to utilize renewable energy sources and passive systems like daylighting and natural ventilation to reduce overall energy load. As a result, sustainable schools leave a microscopic carbon footprint, while also contributing to the health and well-being of their communities.

With the rebuild or renovation of Long Lots Elementary School on the horizon, we hope to champion the development of Westport’s own net zero school for the health of our community and to advance the town’s resolution to become net zero by 2050.

(To help sustain “06880,” please click here.)