Westporters continue to help Horace Lewis, Staples High School’s head custodian who suffered a major stroke just 5 months after retiring last summer.
The latest update from his family:
“He is making small gains with his therapies. He can hear us, and makes sounds verbally in response. It takes a lot of energy for him to do. We continue to pray for God’s will to be done for Horace’s healing.
“We ask for your support to help with his long-term rehabilitation journey. To find a safe place of comprehensive rehabilitation for brain injury as close to home would be what he would have liked. His family, friends and all involved are so thankful for your help.”
Two requests, from an organizer of a December holiday event: “Do you know someone who could be a Santa Claus? And anyone with a boat still in the water who could decorate it with holiday lights, to be admired by the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge?”
If you can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Looking for a Santa — and a boat. Two separate items, despite this photo.
With all eyes on the Staples High School boys soccer team, as it roars into the post-season with a 9-1-4 record, here’s a reminder of some players who grew up here before taking their talents elsewhere.
The Hopkins private school varsity team is captained by Max Gordon. They’re having a great season, having beaten longtime powerhouses Avon Old Farms and Kent.
Max is joined by fellow Westport Soccer Association graduates Liam Spellacy and Albert Yang. Good luck as they begin the Fairchester league playoffs next month — seeded first.
Today’s arresting New York Times Magazine cover photograph is by Pulitzer Prize winning (and 1988 Staples High School graduate Tyler Hicks.
The Contributors’ page explains that the photography for the story — on sharks and Cape Cod — was shot over the course of 3 months. Luckily, it says, both Hicks and the author “are men of the ocean and have plenty of boating experience. They were still at the mercy of nature, with the weather and an unpredictable predator to cover. But they also had technology to deal with. Drone batteries run out very quickly.” (Hat tip: John Karrel)
Rowene Weems attended yesterday’s OAKtober/Halloween celebration on Jesup Green. She reports: “Lots of costumes, young and old. Earthplace brought a snake and a bat. There were 50 pumpkins to decorate. We got an oak tree too!”
The event was sponsored by Westport Book Shop, Earthplace and the Westport Tree Board.
It’s bad enough when traffic for the Starbucks drive-thru backs up on the Post Road, coming from the west (downtown).
But yesterday, this very entitled driver coming from the other direction decided his (or her) Trenti iced coffee, 12 pumps [sugar-free] vanilla, 12 pumps [sugar-free] hazelnut, 12 pumps [sugar-free] caramel, 5 pumps skinny mocha, a splash of soy, coffee to the star on the siren’s head, ice, double-blended drink could not wait.
Hey … why park and go inside, when I can block one lane of traffic on Westport’s main thoroughfare, right? I’m thirsty!
It’s one of the first things you see entering Westport — getting off Merritt Parkway Exit 42, anyway.
It’s bad enough that the island at the Weston Road/Easton Road/Main Street intersection sends traffic in several confusing directions.
But ever since the demise of Daybreak Nursery it’s been a weed-filled, sign-covered mess.
Longtime Westporter Larry Perlstein decides to do something. Connecticut’s Department of Transportation allows islands to be adopted by companies for upkeep (many in Westport already are). He contacted DOT, to start the process.
Perlstein says it took 6 months of nagging — along with a poke by State Representative Jonathan Steinberg — to get action.
Finally, Northeast Horticultural is giving time (and plants) to maintain the island. They’ve done a first pass at cleanup and planting. They’ll do more this spring.
Weston Road/Easton Road traffic island looks a wee bit better. (Photo/Larry Perlstein)
Perlstein says, “This island is a gateway to Westport. Tons of traffic passes by. I remember what it looked like when it was well maintained, and I was embarrassed for the town it deteriorated so badly.”
Now, if we could only do something about signs for politicians, tag sales and sports sign-ups …
Once upon a time, trick-or-treaters (yes, there was a “trick” part besides the “treat”) soaped up windows.
Now they paint them.
The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s annual Halloween Window Painting Contest takes place this Saturday (October 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
A record number of kids (105) will paint 65 different windows, all around town. They’re vying to win in 3 categories (Scariest, Most Original, and Best Halloween Themed) in 3 divisions (Elementary, Middle and High School). Victors earn rewards, and $25 gift cards from Cold Fusion.
Windows of retailers, offices, the Library and Senior Center answered the call, ensuring that every child who signed up has a window to paint. They’ll work on their own or in teams.
Windows will remain painted through Halloween, so residents can enjoy the artistry. For more information, click here.
Also downtown: The Westport Downtown Association hopes Westporters can help them make this holiday season special. They’re installing a dozen colorful tees throughout the area. Each will be decorated by professional designers, and will be themed to a different local non-profit. The aim is to support their missions during the season of giving.
The WDA seeks donations to help cover the cost of the trees, lights and decorations. Click here for the GoFundMe page, to help reach the $10,000 goal.
Speaking still of movies: After a great opening night, the Westport Library’s Short Cuts Film Festival continues Thursday, November 4 (7 p.m.), with 5 short films curated from the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. The lineup includes narrative and animated films.
Six Nights follows a restaurant dishwasher facing a dilemma; in The Angler, things are not always what they seem; a baby owl struggles in the animated Try to Fly; challenges face a Syrian immigrant in No Longer Suitable for Use; and 3 young children seek a boyfriend for their bus driver in Cupids.
Cupid director and humanitarian aid worker Zoey Martinson will be an in-person guest in the Forum for a discussion after the screenings. At-home viewers can access the talkback via Zoom, and ask questions as well.
An all-documentary program follows on November 18.
All films will be screened on the Forum’s large, hi-def screen.
“Bicycling with Butterflies” (November 1, 6:30 p.m., Zoom). On behalf of Westport’s Pollinator Pathway, and in honor of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos — the day the monarchs traditionally return to their winter sanctuary in Michoacán — Sara Dykman talks about her solo experience biking the 10,000-mile Monarch Butterfly Migration . Click here for more information.
“Don’t Blow It! A Panel Discussion About Leaf Blowers” (November 8, 7 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). Clear the air about the impact of gas leaf blowers on our bodies and the environment – including the gas leaf blower ordinance being presented to the RTM Click here for more information.
“Holiday Wreath Making” (November 15, 6:30 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). Chyrse Terill and Ellen Goldman will show how to create wonderful Thanksgiving wreaths, with materials collected from WTF. At the end of the class, take home your work. Click here for more information.
Monarch butterfly in Westport. (Photo/Tammy Barry)
After reading this, you may be sorry you now have.
The small (3 inch) brownish crustacean with hairy, white-tipped claws — it looks like a mitten – is not native to Connecticut. But it’s here.
According to Dick Harris — a marine scientist who conducts environmental assessments for Copps Island Oysters — mitten crabs burrow into mud. Those habits threaten stream bank stability, promoting erosion and habitat loss. They can even undermine structures built nearby.
Last year, mitten crabs were found in the Housatonic and Mianus Rivers. On Wednesday, one was caught right here, in Muddy Deadman Brook.
They are the only crabs in North America that spend time in fresh water. Salt water predators include sea bass and black crabs. In fresh water, their only danger comes from raccoons.
Harris wants Westporters to know how dangerous this invasive species can be. If you catch one, freeze it or preserve it in alcohol. Note the date and location of the capture, and call Harris: 203-246-6696.
In the winter of 2020. Jeff Manchester emailed “06880.” He was concerned about the “incredibly dumb placement” of a utility pole at the southwest corner of the Post Road West/Riverside Avenue intersection. He sent this photo:
Jeff warned: “It will surely result in a wedged tractor trailer at the intersection (trying to get back to I-95), or worse yet a fatality into the pole.”
There’s been no fatality yet. But yesterday, Jeff saw a bad accident right there. The pole leaned precariously against the building, as police and utility workers were figuring out what to do.
Moving forward, it’s a state road. The decision — to move the pole, or do something to the road — is in the Department of Transportation’s hands.
On Saturday afternoon, 5 paintings were unveiled in the walkway to Bedford Square off Main Street. “Westport Illustrated” portrays the history — and future — of Westport.
The mural project is a collaboration between the Westport Arts Advisory Committee, David Adam Realty and Charter Realty & Development, with support from the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center.
From right to left: Eric Chiang, “A Vibrant New Community Unfurls”; Iyaba Ibo Mandigo, “The Ground Beneath Their Feet”; Hernan Garcia, “The Tides of Change”‘ Jana Ireijo,. “Keeping Memories Alive”; Rebecca Ross (Westport) “Westport of the Future: Circa 2070.”
Alert “06880” readers know that Jeera Thai is one of my favorite restaurants. The fresh ingredients, wonderful spices and special flavors — all lovingly prepared — make every meal a treat.
Now my go-to spot is open 7 days a week.
They’ve announced 3 new weekly specials, too:
• Prawn phat phong karee กุ้งผัดผงกระหรี่
• Basil fried rice ข้าวผัดกระเพาะกุ้ง
• Panang curry with chicken แพนงไก่
Jeera Thai — across from Design Within Reach, next to Finalmente — is easy to overlook. But you shouldn’t!
Jeera Thai, nestled in a small space off the Post Road.
A “Roundup” item last week about the Westport Astronomical Society‘s observance of Observe the Moon Night impelled Paul Delano to head to the observatory on Bayberry Lane.
He reports: “Everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. Quite a few people were checking out the view. It was a beautiful sky and great to use the telescopes to see the planets. It’s at the highest point in Westport, so it has a great view of the sky. That night the moon, Jupiter and Saturn were the brightest.
“I got a new camera and telephoto lens recently that I wanted to try out. They let me set up my tripod and camera. I was surprised I could see so much more than the naked eye.”
Paul sent along a couple of photos:
Westport Astronomical Observatory, and the moon. (Photo/Paul Delano)
A first-ever International Market & Festival is set this Saturday (October 23, noon to 5 p.m.) at Lachat Town Farm in Weston.
It features include vendors representing various countries, cultural music and dance, and markets with food from countries like Italy, France, Kenya, Pakistan, Brazil, Peru, India, Japan, Romania and Mexico. Children will receive a “passport” they can fill up as they visit each exhibit.
Tickets are $20 per family. Click here for more information.
Westport celebrates jUNe Day. This Saturday, Weston hosts its own International & Festival. (Photo/Jeff Simon)
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is all about dogwood berries. Scott Smith writes:
“We all get festive celebrating the blossoming of our lovely native dogwood trees early each spring. But Cornus florida deserves a special shoutout this fall.
“The profusion of red berries is the most vibrant I can recall. Whether it’s the summer that just won’t quit or the autumn that can’t get started, I don’t know, but I’m enjoying it.
“So too are the many birds that flock to this windfall of nutrient-rich berries. Robins in particular squabble over the berry-laden dogwood in my yard, even though there’s more than enough to go around. Let’s hope the birds spread the seeds of these treats far and wide.”
And finally … Peter Tosh was born today in 1944. From 1963 to 1976 he, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer were the heart of the reggae band the Wailers. He then became a successful solo artist. He was killed in 1987 during a home invasion, at age 42.
Yesterday’s Roundup highlighted Todd Suchotliff. A newcomer to town, he’ll be running during next Sunday’s New York Marathon — through Westport. It’s a fundraiser for his mother, who died of leukemia 9 years ago tomorrow.
He created a Google Sheet — with mile markers and approximate times — for people to sign up to run or cheer for each mile along the route. He will start at 9 a.m., and plans to run an 8:42 mile pace.
For more information, email email@example.com. To donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, click here.
And finally … happy 74th birthday to Laura Nyro. The singer/songwriter made many great recordings. But she’s best known for the many artists that had great success covering her tunes.
JC Martin adds: “Laura lived in Danbury for many years, and recorded some of her last material in a studio she built on her property. It was one of the first studios to have a separate floor for the drummer, detached from the rest of the band. For ‘Mother’s Spiritual’ she brought in Todd Rundgren to help produce some of those songs, along with her friend and Danbury neighbor Felix Cavaliere.
“She died of ovarian cancer in Danbury in 1997, at 49. Her ashes were scattered beneath a maple tree on the grounds of her house.”
What is the history of the canal that runs under the Kings Highway Bridge, and empties into the Saugatuck River. Where does it begin? What is its purpose? (Nancy Beard)
A very interesting question — and one I’ve never thought of.
It begins near Richmondville Avenue, not far upstream. It’s listed on maps as a branch of the Saugatuck River. It appears in its present form on an 1878 map of Westport, so perhaps it is natural.
Jeanne Reed grew up on Short Street, off Richmondville. She says they called it a “brook,” not a canal.
Wendy Crowther adds more. She writes:
“A few years ago, Morley Boyd and I did historical research on the mills that once existed along the Saugatuck River north of the Post Road.
“The most well known is Lees Manufacturing Company, located off Richmondville Avenue. Portions of this mill stand today (and are being converted into housing).
“Another mill, Phoenix Manufacturing, no longer exists. It was located on the land where the water company sits today, on Canal Street.
“Both mills used water power from the Saugatuck to manufacture their goods. To do this, they dug canals off the Saugatuck to siphon water from the river and direct it toward their turbine blades. The canal that leads to the turbine is called the head race. The canal that leads water away from the turbine to return it to the river is called the tail race. Small signs of these original races still exist today (if you know where to look).
“During our research, Morley and I heard stories that the canal/tail race would often turn the colors of the rainbow during the day, when Lees Mfg. was dying their threads and yarns. According to a historic site plan of Lees mill, its dye house was located immediately beside the tail race. We theorize that the race was pressed into service as a convenient way to dispose of wastewater from the company’s dye operation.
“When the water company was established downriver from Lees Mfg. in the early 1900s, dyes were not a good thing to flow into the water supply from upriver. Morley and I speculate that Lees’ original tail race was redirected and lengthened to parallel the Saugatuck River all the way down to the area just behind Coffee An’, where it was joined with Willow Brook. From there, the combined waters from the canal/tail race and Willow Brook emptied into the Saugatuck, downriver from the water company. This way, the dye bypassed the water company’s section of the Saugatuck.
“This is the canal that remains today. We believe that it served as a very long tail race for Lee’s Mfg. Co.
“We suspect Canal Street got its name not only from this canal, but also due to the two supply/tail races (canals) used by the Phoenix Mill (where the water company stands today).”
“This was just a theory. We paused our research then to focus on other projects.”
Traffic nears the Kings Highway North Bridge, near Canal Street — and the “canal.” (Photo courtesy of Google Street View)
Nicki and I were walking in Winslow Park. Deep in a woodsy area we came upon what appeared to be an outdoor forest church, complete with pews and a dismantled podium (see below). What’s that about? (David Pogue)
According to Bob Mitchell, this is the Woodland Chapel of nearby Saugatuck Congregational Church. It was constructed by Tobey Patton (son of the church’s minister, Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton) as his Eagle Scout project.
Interestingly, that part of Winslow Park is not town property. It’s owned by the church.
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