Category Archives: Environment

Roundup: Charlie Karp, Rainbow Crosswalk, Historic Home …

The New England Music Hall of Fame has a new member: Charlie Karp.

The Staples High School Class of 1971 member — who left school to play with Buddy Miles, then worked with Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards, wrote songs for Joan Jett and Joe Perry, before returning home to earn a fanatic following with bands like Dirty Angels, White Chocolate, Slo Leak and the Namedroppers, while simultaneously earning Emmys as a producer of music for sports networks, documentaries and feature films, and becoming a guitar teaching mentor to generations of aspiring young stars — was inducted posthumously.

Karp died in 2019, a few weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

The ceremony was led, fittingly, by Brian Keane. A Staples classmate (and friend since Coleytown Junior High) — and himself a Grammy-winning artist, songwriter and producer — he and Karp often collaborated on musical projects. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Brian Kean (left) and Charlie Karp. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


Westport’s rainbow crosswalk was installed yesterday, by the Department of Public Works.

As the photo below shows, this one will last quite a while. It replaces the temporary one laid down in June on Jesup Road at Taylor Place, to celebrate Pride Month.

This crosswalk — funded by private donations — will be dedicated at 1 p.m. October 11: National Coming Out Day.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


Nearly 80 members and guests of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston enjoyed a tour of an architectural landmark on Sunday.

Fellow Y’s Man Win Allen opened his historic home on Burritt’s Landing North.

He’s notable too. Allen founded the first Black-owned broker dealer firm on Wall Street. His book “I Pried Open Wall Street in 1962” chronicles his journey.

He and his late wife Ruby bought their home in 1975. Built in 1957, it was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s protégé Roy Binkley. His Wikipedia entry mentions the Allen House in Westport — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — as one of his masterpieces.

Allen told the Y’s men that Marilyn Monroe spent months in the house as a guest of director Lee Strasberg, when he conducted workshops for prominent actors there.

Win Allen’s landmark home ..,

… and Allen (center) with his guests. (Photos/Dave Matlow)


The Westport Farmers’ Market is a Thursday tradition for shoppers of all ages.

Including the youngest.

Each week, the WFM’s “Get Growing” program includes a craft or activity for kids and toddlers. It introduces them early to the importance of shopping locally and sustainably.

Program leader Mae Farrell loves interacting with kids and their families, while providing a fun place to visit.

As the program grows, so has its need for craft items. On October 12 and 19, WFM hosts a craft material drive. They’re looking for cheese cloth, paper, pom pons, markers, crayons, shells, toilet paper rolls, mini wooden ornament slabs, cookie cutters, felt, dried beans and lentils, ribbon, clay, washable paints, paper straws and white paper plates.

The Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Little kids love the Farmers’ Market. (Photo/Margaret Kraus)


Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church’s new “Music & Arts” year kicks off this Saturday (October 7), with an afternoon of all things Celtic.

Attendees will enjoy Irish dancing, learn to play a bodhran, and discover other Celtic activities for all ages. All activities are free, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; everyone is invited.

At 4:30, a concert in Branson Hall features Ringrose and Freeman, accompanied by Loretta Murphy on accordion and Mary Gardner on bodhran. Food, drink and s’mores follow at the fire pit.

Tickets for the concert are $35 for adults; children are free. Click here to purchase.


Speaking of music: One of Jazz at the Post’s most popular performers — Westport’s own Melissa Newman — returns this Thursday (October 5; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner begins at 7; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399; $15 cover; reservations:

The Westporter will be joined by guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Bobby Leonard.


Another iconic Westporter — internationally best-selling author Jane Green — takes the Sacred Heart University Theatre stage this winter.

She’ll be Chris Sarandon’s guest on his podcast, “Cooking by Heart.” The “worlds of literature and gastronomy (will) converge in a symphony of flavors, anecdotes, and inspiration” as she and Sarandon talk about childhood memories, share recipes, and chat about their culinary creations.

Click here for tickets.

Jane Green (Photo/Ian Warburg)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows mushrooms.

Many mushrooms.

Scott Smith writes: “I was in the yard this weekend after Friday’s deluge and took these photos. Fungi were on the logs that enclose my compost heap.

“What strikes me about the mushroom colonies is how similar in structure they are to mineral formations and coral reefs, though I bet Mother Nature already knew that. The ephemeral bulbs sprout up in the yard this time of year. Life blossoms even as the decay and decomposition of fall sets in.”

(Photo/Scott Smith)


And finally … if you never heard Charlie Karp (story above), click the videos below.

And if you are a Charlie Karp fan, here are a few memories to enjoy.

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Roundup: Compo Lanternflies, Compo Lockers, LGBTQ+ 101 …

Dave Briggs headed to Compo Beach yesterday. He expected to enjoy the first dogs-allowed day of the season.

It was ruined by creatures of a different kind. There were spotted lanternflies everywhere — “all over everybody” — Dave reports.

Leigh Gage adds: “I did my part in eradicating about 100 of this invasive species at Compo. There’s a tree of heaven out on the spit of land past the kayaks, and they’re all over it.

“Perhaps some others can come squash these bugs too. I felt a little funny/ murderous killing so many — but my understanding is it’s my environmental duty.”

Spotted lanternflies on the Compo Beach cannons … (Photo/Dave Briggs)

… and nearby. (Photo/Dana Kuyper)

Bruce McFadden adds:

“Although I know lantern flies are not new to Westport, my wife and I and many others were surprised to find them everywhere on Sunday.

“During our paddle they were all over the water surface and on sea grasses just out of the E.R Strait Marina into Gray’s Creek.

“They were on our picnic table at lunch, and all over our car and tires as we departed for Compo. All sidewalks at Compo were spotted by the less fortunate members of the species.

“The Lanternfly Stomp was clearly big at the beach today, and probably all over town!”

Spotted lanternfly on the water. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)


And another “ugh” report from Compo:

On September 26, a reader got this email from the Parks & Recreation Department:

A reminder…Our policy states that all bathhouse assignees are to clean out their lockers no later than September 30th.

You may use Sunday, October 1st to make sure that your bathhouse has been cleaned out and your lock has been removed. Any locks remaining as of Monday, October 2nd, will be cut off and the contents will be removed and discarded.

Thanking you in advance for your attention in this matter. Have a great day!

The bold items were there in the original message.

Yesterday — October 1 — he went to the beach to remove his lock.

It was already gone.

“They cut off locks and started removing everyone’s things today,” the reader says.

“Seems like a huge mistake. It’s going to cost people lots of money in ruined locks and trashed property.”

Another teed-off beachgoer posted on social media:

Our lock was cut as of 12 p.m. We found most of our stuff in a pile by the bathrooms, but there was a tractor carting piles of stuff away. There was a lot of nice stuff being removed. I believe our email said this would happen tomorrow, not today.

Compo lockers cleaned out, with contents ready for removal. (Photo/Jason Stiber)

Jason Stiber was more blunt. He told “06880”: “I have never understood logic of having no grace period. This year, even worse, they removed stuff one day early to their email.

“We’re talking thousands of dollars lost collectively, and such a waste of good, expensive beach furniture, sand toys, umbrellas, boogie boards and beach wagons.”


But there’s good news from Compo Beach. Jo Shields Sherman reports:

“I imagine you probably got quite a few doggy pictures from yesterday, the first day dogs were allowed back on the beach.

“But here’s a nighttime one. Buggy, my service dog, has battled lymphoma for a little over a year now. Most days she feels like a puppy, and acts like one too.

“She actually started swimming this summer. She loves the beach. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)


October 11 is National Coming Out Day.

But the dedication of the rainbow crosswalk is not the only LGBTQ+ event on the calendar.

Westport Pride, the Westport Library and Triangle Community Center are offering a 2-part community education series. The aim is to address an abundance of misinformation about the queer community.

The October 11 event — “LGBTQ+ 101” — covers basic vocabulary concepts and history.

The November 9 session applies information from the first training to real-world examples. Participants will brainstorm ways to be inclusive and affirming, and how to address bias.

Both are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Registration is required; click here.


“Bad Influencer” — the new immersive fiction podcast whos stars include Deuxmoi, Kristen Doute, Perez Hilton and Christy Carlson Romano debuts tomorrow (October 3).

The 9-episode romantic comedy is told through the eyes of a 20-something wannabe living in New York. She makes a wish and wakes up a famous
influencer, but finds that the glitzy, glamourous world is not always what it seems.

Bad Influencer” was written by Staples High School Class of 2005 graduate Gabi Conti. She’s the author of “Twenty Guys You Date in Your Twenties.”

It was co-created by fellow Westporter and international best-selling author Jane Green.

To listen on all major streaming platforms, click here.

Gabi Conti


How much can I afford to pay at Saugatuck Sweets?

The ice cream-and-more shop, with outlets in Westport and Fairfield, is offering free classes on a wide range of financial literacy topics.

It’s a partnership with Merrill Lynch Fairfield and Junior Achievement. Sessions are scheduled for high school and middle school students.

The next one is this Saturday (October 7, noon to 1:30 p.m., 28 Reef Road). Parents are welcome to accompany their kids.

For more information or to RSVP, email

Finance workshop at Saugatuck Sweets in Fairfield.


The bad weather has moved on. But here’s one last “Westport … Naturally” look at Meghan Norris’ back yard the other day.

With a guest.

(Photo/Meghan Norris)


And finally … in honor of the Compo Beach lockers …

(There’s always lots of Compo news in town — and plenty more. “06880” is your source for whatever is happening. But we need your support. Please click here to contribute. Thank you!)





Photo Challenge #457

Whenever someone asks about “hidden Westport gems” — and for some reason, they do — my go-to answer is: Sherwood Mill Pond and Compo Cove.

While perhaps not “hidden” — millions of people see the Pond from I-95 and the train — the pedestrian pathway out there sort of is.

You have to park at Old Mill, and walk there. Or ride your bike and then jump off the bridge, as thousands of kids have done for a century.

Along the way, there are 2 tidal gates. They’re the kind of high-tech successors to previous gates. They perform important environmental functions, helping the Mill Pond stay healthy and clean.

Millions of oysters, and countless crabs, harvested from the water attests to their efficiency.

Plenty of readers love that path, and quickly recognized the tidal gates — last week’s Photo Challenge. (Click here to see.)

Congratulations to Brooks Sumberg, Andrew Colabella, Diane Silfen, Molly Alger, Matt Murray, Jalna Jaeger, Beth Berkowitz, Michelle Scher Saunders and Suki Nolte.

Here’s another water-themed Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

 (Photo/Amy Schneider)

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Roundup: Lights Out, Rainbow Crosswalk, Book Shop Pumpkin Fest …

Sarah Gross reminds us that now through November 15 is “Lights Out Connecticut.”

A bill signed by Governor Lamont requires all state-owned buildings to dim or turn off non-essential outdoor lights.

All residents are asked to dim or turn off outdoor and indoor lights too.

The goal is to protect migratory birds, who are put at risk from light pollution. Click here for more information.

Nearly 30% of birds in the US and Canada have vanished since 1970. Click here to learn more.


Connecticut warbler (Photo/Ryan Sanderson for Macaulay Library)


The rainbow crosswalk at Jesup Road and Taylor Place — installed temporarily in June, for Pride Month — is showing signs of wear.

So on Monday, October 2 — the start of LGBTQ History Month — a new, permanent rainbow crosswalk will take its place.

And the official dedication is at 1 p.m. on October 11: National Coming Out Day.

The project — developed by Westport Pride, paid for by private donations, and supported by the Board of Selectwomen and Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich — promotes diversity, inclusion and acceptance in the community.

Nearly 40 individuals, families and businesses from all walks of life contributed funds.

The design and colors– created by Westport Pride founder Brian McGunagle — symbolize “the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community,” he says.

“It adds a vibrant touch to our town’s streetscape, but also serves as a powerful symbol of acceptance, unity, and love. We believe it will be a source of pride and inspiration for all Westport residents.”

Dr. Nikki Gorman — who helped sponsor the original temporary rainbow crosswalk, as well as the new permanent one — also took part in the first installation in June.


The Westport Book Shop is just a few yards from the crosswalk.

This Saturday (October 7, 10:30 a.m. to noon), they partner with Earthplace and the Westport Tree Board for their 3rd annual Family Fun + Halloween Pumpkin Painting Project.

It’s a morning of crafts, guest animals from Earthplace, and giveaways from the Tree Board.  Michael Zenetti will read from his book “The Sloth and His Friends.” Halloween costumes are optional, but encouraged.

RSVP to the Book Shop: 203-349-5141.


EcoFest — Westport’s sustainable holiday celebration — is set for November 11, at Staples High School.

The sponsors — the school’s Zero Waste Committee — invites all organizations, businesses, artists, crafters and sustainable groups to participate.

A wide variety of exhibitors are welcome. Click here to register. The deadline is October 31.


MyTeamTriumph — whose volunteers help youth, adults and veterans with disabilities to participate in triathlons and road races — is a great non-profit.

Their fundraiser will be a great one too.

“Stories of Triumph & Inclusion” (November 2,6:15 p.m., Westport Library), will feature Chris Nikic, the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman. He also won the Jimmy V ESPY Award for Perserverance.

The evening includes inspiration from other athletes with disabilities, raffles, drinks, and catering by Marcia Selden.

Click here for tickets and more information, including sponsorships.

My Team Triumph, at the Westport Triathlon.


MoCA Westport’s MoCA Westport’s annual benefit — held last night — was called The Surrealist Soiree.

It featured imaginative décor, avant-garde performers. a DJ, delicious food from Marcia Selden, Spencer Heyfron‘s surreal photo sessions, never-before-seen works by Purvis Young — and this:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


Rain and high tides combined to close Burying Hill Beach yesterday.

Ed Simek got this far — and no further — as he snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Ed Simek)


And finally … in honor of migrating birds (story above), this seems appropriate in a couple of ways:

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Sustainable Westport: Town Needs “Holistic Transportation Plan”

Sustainable Westport inspires, supports and connects residents, organizations and the town on our goal to becoming a Net Zero community by 2050.

The non-profit advises the first selectman, Westport Public Schools, commissions and departments on determining and setting environmental policies and decisions, to transform Westport into a more sustainable community.

Co-directors Gately Ross & Johanna Martell say:

As commuters head back to work after summer vacations and school drop-offs and pick-ups resume, it’s hard not to notice the recent uptick in traffic throughout Westport.

The major roads in town are a mess of congestion most of the day. Traffic is not only frustrating and inconvenient, but also terribly unhealthy for us and our local environment.

Just another day downtown.

Did you know that the promotion of clean and convenient choices for transportation is one of the 5 pillars that Sustainable Westport identified as critical for the town of Westport to address to reach its goal of becoming a Net Zero community by 2050, or sooner?

Sustainable Westport works to educate the community about the harmful health and environmental effects of idling, promote the adoption of emission-free EV cars and buses, and advocate for the use of public transportation and rideshare options like Wheels2U.

Our transportation efforts pair nicely with Bike Westport, a new grassroots organization dedicated to making our town more bike and pedestrian-friendly.

The benefits of biking and walking extend far beyond the environment; our health, both physical and mental, age-appropriate independence, and increased community are also benefits that the residents of Westport wholeheartedly endorse.

Imke Lohs, Adam Ganser and Markus Marty of Bike Westport. 

As counsel to the municipal government, Sustainable Westport recently wrote a memo of support regarding an additional increase to railroad parking fees as an opportunity to begin the conversation about developing a holistic transportation plan that supports our collective goals.

The town administration, Representative Town Meeting and Board of Education need to develop a more comprehensive transportation plan that includes a highly connected, zero pollution, zero carbon transport system, including commuter shuttles and ridesharing, as well as biking, footpaths, and pedestrian walkways.

Although our town has set a formal resolution to reach Net Zero by 2050, we lack an actionable, comprehensive plan to get there. As we look around at the increasing traffic and inability to get from Point A to Point B in Westport in a timely manner, let’s demand that our leaders seek out collaborative and innovative solutions to move us forward. 

 We will continue to keep you posted on our collective progress.


Roundup: Slice Is On, Dogs Are Out, Bitcoin Is Back …

Forget yesterday’s weather. And this morning’s.

Today’s Slice of Saugatuck is on! The weather prediction is for clearing this afternoon:

Come out from indoors! Enjoy the rest of the day in Saugatuck. There’s food, fun, kids’ activities, and 7 bands.

It’s starts at 2 p.m., and runs until 5. Click here for more information.


Members of Staples’ Service League of Boys (SLOBs) braved the rain to help set up for the Slice of Saugatuck.


Tomorrow is October 1. Which means that from Sunday through March 31:

  • Dogs are prohibited from the Compo Beach Pavilion, playground and walkways.
  • All dogs must be leashed in all areas, except the designated off-leash area south of the Pavilion, including South Beach.
  • You are required by law to pick up your dog’s feces.

Violators will be fined $77.

In addition, Westport Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava notes that animals are prohibited from all athletic fields and playgrounds at all times.

As of October 1, dogs are allowed back on Compo Beach. It’s okay, Yogi – you can go in! (Photo/Cathy Malkin)


Tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine includes a long story on Josh Koskoff. The 3rd-generation lawyer — and longtime Westporter — is profiled for his lawsuits against companies that make assault rifles.

Author Michael Steinberger notes that he grew up a year behind Koskoff here, though they cannot recall ever talking.

Click here for the full, fascinating piece.

Josh Koskoff


In May, the Westport Police Detective Bureau initiated an investigation after a victim reported they had fallen for an elaborate financial scam.

In January, the victim was convinced to move money from a retirement account into a “Kraken” cryptocurrency account. Between January and March, over $3 million worth of Bitcoin was withdrawn and transferred to cryptocurrency wallets the victim did not control.

Working with the State Police Organized Crime Task Force, Westport detectives tracked the transactions and froze all accounts associated with the scam.

The investigation led to individuals in Pakistan. Although arrests are highly unlikely, Westport detectives recovered $3.2 million, which was returned to the victim.


Last weekend, Peter Swift wrote an “06880 Opinion” piece about the wetlands, watershed and retention pond near Muddy Brook, by Long Lots Elementary School.

This was the scene yesterday in back of the school, by Bauer Place Extension. The retention pond overflowed, in the heavy rain.

(Photo/Peter Swift)


The other day, the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston hosted legendary University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma.

On Monday (October 2), their guest will discuss a different kind of “court.”

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong comes to the Westport Library at 7 p.m.

His talk is called

“From Bierbaum to the Sacklers: How Connecticut Attorney General William Tong Looks Out for Connecticut Citizens.” Just this week, Connecticut joined federal regulators and 16 other states in suing Amazon over allegations that the e-commerce giant took advantage of its market dominance to inflate prices, overcharge sellers and suppress competition.

Tong will talk about the collapse of Joseph Bierbaum’s for-profit colleges, Stone Academy and Paier School of Art, as well as the cooperative, multi-state effort to hold the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma accountable for their actions.

The event is open to the public.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.


The next Friday the 13th comes just weeks before Halloween. The best way to celebrate? With Fireside Mystery Theatre at the Westport Library.

At 6:30 p.m., the award-winning audio theater production company premiers “Nightfall on the Nutmeg State.” The 4 pieces were written especially for the Library.

The troupe’s actors will read live on stage, in full costume, each in front of a mic with script in hand.

The live performance will be recorded and later featured on Fireside Mystery Theatre’s podcast feed, which has reached millions of listeners around the world. It bridges the gap between the Golden Age of Radio and the podcast era.

Tickets are $20. The event is a warmup to StoryFest, the annual literary festival. It runs October 20-22, featuring Neil Gaiman, Angie Kim, Gabino Iglesias, Caroline Kepnes, Eric LaRocca, Josh Malerman and many more.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


The other day, Carolyn Wilkinson noticed something was wrong.

The iconic sign — “Bridge Square, Saugatuck, Conn.”  is gone.

It hung there for over 50 years, Carolyn said.

Hey, it was nice while it lasted.

(Photo/Izzy Sareen for Inklings)


Each year around this time, Green’s Farms Church members fan out in Westport, Norwalk and Bridgeport, to work on Service Day projects with partners.

Last Sunday they did landscaping, kitchen clean-up, carpentry, community closet organization, and many other tasks, alongside Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center, Open Doors Shelter, Pivot Ministries, Recovery Community Development and Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

As the photo below shows, there were plenty of them. And they spanned all ages.

Green’s Farms Church Service Day volunteers.


Mark Shanahan does not take over as Westport Country Playhouse artistic director until next year.

But he’s written, and will direct, “A Sherlock Carol,” Set for December 19-23, it brings characters from Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle together in a story of intrigue and suspense (plus holiday cheer).

Click here for tickets, and more information.


The Longshore Ladies 9 Holers held their annual charity event Thursday, in support of the Westport Woman’s Club food closet.

They collected a trunk full of food items — and collected $1,200 in donations.

That’s quite a day. Hardly “par for the course.”

Longshore ladies golf food for the pantry.


Boygenius — a hot band on a nationwide tour — played at New Haven’s Westville Music Bowl on Thursday.

The opening act was Palehound. Guitarist/vocalist El Kempner graduated from Staples High School in 2010.

Palehound at Westville Music Bowl. (Photo and hat tip/Larry Perlstein)


Larry Kastriner died September 14. He was 92, and lived in Westport for 52 years.

He was born in what was Czechoslovakia to Hungarian parents. He emigrated with them in 1940 to Bridgeport, where where he excelled in academics and competed for the high school swim team.

Larry received a full scholarship to Columbia University. He majored in chemical engineering and was a varsity swimmer. He then earned a master’s degree, and pivoted to patent law.

Newly married to Mary Tydor, Larry attended George Washington University Law School evenings while working full time at the US Patent and Trademark Office. He also clerked at the Court of Customs & Patent Appeals.

Following the birth of their daughter, Marianne, he and Mary moved to Yonkers. He began his career at Union Carbide as a patent attorney.  A second daughter, Susan was born. The family moved to Westport in 1965, where they had their third daughter, Cathryn.

Larry enjoyed a long and successful career with Union Carbide (later Praxair) as chief patent counsel.

The family was very involved in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Westport. He served on the Board of Tax Review and was a dedicated member of the YMCA, where he swam and played volleyball. He was a regular attendee at Y’s Men events.

He and Mary spent many evenings walking on the beach or watching the sunset, socializing with friends, and swimming, sailing and playing tennis at Longshore.

While working full time, Larry also taught patent law at the Pace University Law School, as an adjunct professor.  In retirement Larry enjoyed gardening, sculpting, and spending winters at the condo that he and Mary owned in Longboat Key, FL.

Larry and Mary moved to Rockville, Maryland in 2017, to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Larry is survived by his wife of nearly 66 years, Mary; daughters Marianne (Dean) Schwanke, Susan (Andrew) Lawrence, and Cathy Kastriner, and grandchildren Billy and Matthew Schwanke, Anna Lawrence, and Sophie and Kel Kastriner.

A celebration of life will be held October 14 in Rockville. Larry’s ashes will be interred at the Unitarian Church in Westport in connection with a service in the spring. In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to contribute to Larry’s memory may donate to the organization of their choice, or plant a tree in his memory.

Larry Kastriner


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows the force of nature.

It’s Deadman Brook, yesterday:

(Photo/Sal Liccione)


And finally … today is the birthday of Frankie Lymon.

The soprano lead singer of the Teenagers was born in Washington Heights in 1942. He died 25 years later, of a heroin overdose.

In between, he made this masterpiece:

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Bald Eagle Death A “Canary In The Coal Mine”

Julie Loparo is an animal rights advocate. She often shares uplifting stories of work by Westport Animal Shelter Advocates and Wildlife in Crisis. 

Not today, unfortunately. She sends along this Wildlife in Crisis report:

A few weeks ago, on a lawn adjacent to the Saugatuck River, a very ill and lethargic adult female bald eagle was found by Westport Animal Control officer Peter Reid.

He immediately transported it to Wildlife in Crisis. Despite a great effort to save the magnificent bird, it died.

Wanting to know the source of the illness, Wildlife in Crisis sought a necropsy.  It revealed that the eagle died from rodenticide. Its liver contained compounds used in mouse and rat poison.

It is upsetting to think that if nature had been left alone to deal with mice or rats, this eagle would still soar.

Peter Reid, with bald eagle.

Dara Reid, Wildlife in Crisis director, called this “a perfect specimen, unnecessarily poisoned through ignorance and apathy.

“But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  The deluge of pesticides being sprayed throughout Westport should concern every resident, especially those with children.

“All summer at Wildlife in Crisis, we received calls about songbirds dead en masse under recently sprayed trees. This is the proverbial canary in the coal mine scenario.  Poisons are never the answer; they only create more problems. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.”

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Pic Of The Day #2355

Today’s weather was not as wild as New York’s. 

Still, it was pretty bad. And very wet. 

This was the scene where Stony Brook Creek rushes out of Nash’s Pond, on its way to the Saugatuck River.

Despite a high tide (and near full moon) earlier, it did not overflow its banks. It’s a well looked-after dam and waterway, reports Dan Nash.

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Parks & Rec Provides Field Use & Property Report

Last week, Parks & Recreation Department director Jennifer Fava sent a long-awaited “Property Review and Usage” report to the Long Lots School Building Committee.

It provides a list of properties managed and maintained by her department, along with potentially usable acreage, usage information and more.

The report notes that Parks & Rec assigns blocks of time for use of the fields to various groups, which then manage their assigned times. Last year, more than 11,000 participants used the fields.

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department allocates field usage to various groups. They then schedule their own games and practices. (Photo/Steve Perkins)

In the fall, Parks & Rec fields are used by Westport Baseball & Softball; PAL football, cheer, boys and girls lacrosse and track, Westport Soccer Association, and Parks & Rec.

In the spring, all those groups plus PAL rugby — except cheer — use the fields.

In summer, Parks & Rec fields are used by Baseball & Softball, PAL football and track, Continuing Education and Parks & Rec.

The report noted increased demands on the fields, as more sports added seasons beyond traditional ones; increased participation numbers; the addition of high school girls rugby, and added numbers for adult baseball, soccer and lacrosse.

The report also anticipates an increase in school enrollment, with the potential for increased demands for youths sports.

The report noted that the Long Lots baseball field is used on fall weekends by Westport Baseball & Softball, and during the spring by Parks & Rec and Staples (weekdays), and Westport Baseball & Softball (weekends).

The loss of one of the town’s 4 90-foot baseball diamonds would have “a significant impact” on baseball and other sports, the report said, citing a domino effect if the Doubleday (Kings Highway Elementary School) field had to be used (as it is also used for football and lacrosse).

PJ Romano and Doubleday Fields are used for multiple sports. Moving one sport can impact others.

Regarding the Community Gardens, the report said that Parks & Rec’s primary role is to “check the list of members provided by the Community Gardens against the sex offender registry which is necessary as it is located on school property. Once cleared, we provide a photo ID for any of those members upon request. The photo is necessary to access the gardens during school hours. Not all members request an ID.”

The report also said that Parks & Rec provides a link to the Gardens on their webpage, and “must be notified of any upcoming work at the Long Lots Preserve for authorization to proceed. We have provided limited assistance with one off issues in the past.”

The report offered 2 possibilities for potential new fields — Lillian Wadsowrth Arobretum and Winslow Park, but noted challenges including rezoning, topography and wetlands.

The report concluded with potential locations for the Community Gardens.

Baron’s South would have to be rezoned. The Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum would require rezoning, removal of forested areas, and the addition of utilities and parking.

Riverside Park and Winslow Park would also need to be rezoned, with more parking added.

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Community Gardens Win National Award

While controversy grows in Westport over the future of the Community Gardens, dozens of gardeners are crowing.

They’ve just won a national award.

The American Community Gardening Association — a nonprofit with 252 members including parks, school gardens and urban farms — has named Westport the “Sustainability” winner. The honor “recognizes a community garden group leading environmental stewardship efforts in the care of their garden and the environment.”

The Westport Community Gardens won, director Lou Weinberg says, because “we are an organic garden, we compost all our waste, we have wildflower beds and milkweed beds, we are a monarch butterfly waystation, we are part of the Pollinator Pathway and Green Corridor, we donate fresh food, we support our local garden club, we support Eagle Scout projects, we build community, and we have created an ecologically rich habitat in a preserve surrounding the garden that is home to wildlife including resident and migratory birds and thousands of pollinators.”

Weinberg gave credit to “the town of Westport, Parks & Recreation Department, Public Works Department, dozens of local, state and national organizations, and hundreds of town residents who have spent over 100,000 volunteer hours building the Westport Community Gardens and the Long Lots Preserve.”

The award will be presented tomorrow, in Houston.

A few dozen of the Westport Community Gardens. There are 120 plots on the site.