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Category Archives: Environment
Not every “06880” reader lives in Westport. Sarathi Roy notes: “New York or New Jersey residents can book COVID vaccine appointments in their home state or in Connecticut.”
Here is New York state information:
- Visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
- The state clinics note which vaccine is being offered at each location.
- Appointment availability is updated throughout the day. New clinic sites and appointments are added regularly.
A few days ago, “06880” posted a comprehensive list of Connecticut vaccine options, thanks to Sarathi’s HR department. Click here for information on CVS, Walgreens, Yale New Haven Health, Stamford Health and VAMS sign-ups.
In addition to that list, Sarathi adds:
- Check your town’s website for information and clinics available only to residents. You may be able to register in advance or receive a call for available appointments or excess doses.
- Connecticut’s Vaccine Assist Line (877-918-2224) operates 7 days a week, from 8am-8pm. Agents can schedule appointments at state-run clinics. If you call early and are given the chance to leave a message, you should. They accept a certain number of messages each day, then call those people back throughout the day to assist in booking appointments. Once the maximum number of calls for the day has been reached the message option is turned off.
- You can now search additional locations, including supermarkets and local pharmacies. A great tool to see who is administering the vaccine in your area is Vaccinefinder.org. Search a zip code, make note of the providers nearby, then search for booking websites.
- Here are a few of the more common ones:
Did you miss last night’s webinar on the many housing bills making their way through the state’s General Assembly, and their possible impact on Westport?
Planning and Zoning chair Danielle Dobin gave a comprehensive overview. Our 4 local legislators — Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang, and Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Stephanie Thomas — tackled the pros and cons. Viewers asked questions. It was a wide-ranging, engaging 80 minutes. (And I would say that even if I had not served as moderator.)
It’s now available to watch — or re-watch — at your leisure. Click here for the link.
One of the few positive parts of the pandemic: Many more Westporters have had time to walk.
Because we practice social distancing, we’re not always on the sidewalk. And — as Tammy Barry’s photo of Hillspoint Road at Schlaet’s Point shows — the result is some barren patches where grass once grew.
I’m sure saltwater flooding had something to do with t too.
Here’s hoping the town can find some resources to bring this beautiful stretch of waterfront back to what it once was.
CNN anchor (and Westport resident) Alisyn Camerota’s last day on “New Day” is today. The show was filled with many nice tributes. Yesterday, co-host John Berman started things off (click here to see).
Alisyn is not going very far — just a few hours later. She’ll anchor CNN’s weekday coverage with Victor Blackwell.
Congratulations, Alisyn, on your new gig — and the chance to sleep in a little longer. (Hat tip: Seth Schachter)
Today’s osprey report comes courtesy of Chris Swan.
He wants Westporters to know that there are 3 platforms near Sherwood Island State Park.
One is in the saltmarsh behind the Nature Center, midway to the last house off Beachside Common.
The second is in the saltmarsh on the eastern shore of Sherwood Mill Pond, several hundred feet above the Compo Cove homes. It’s visible from the path on Sherwood Island’s western edge, above the fire gate to Compo Cove.
Both platforms are occupied by returning osprey pairs.
A 3rd location can be seen from the saltmarsh shore of the northeastern corner of the Mill Pond, looking west. This was erected last fall. No osprey pair has yet staked their claim.
A 4th platform is at the entrance to Burying Hill Beach, in the marsh across New Creek. Chris has watched it for 10 years, but has never seen it occupied.
He thinks it’s too low. He believes old utility poles make the best platforms — citing the ones at Fresh Market, Longshore’s E,R. Strait Marina, and Gray’s Creek.
Chris should know: He spent his professional career with Eversource.
Congressman Jim Himes holds a Facebook Live session today (Wednesday, April 7) at 3 p.m. He’ll discuss how constituents can benefit from the American Rescue Plan. Click here to watch live. To watch later, click here.
And finally … on this day in 1940, Booker T. Washington became the first African-American depicted on a US postage stamp.
In November 1944, Booker T. Jones Jr. was born in Memphis. He was named after his father, Booker T. Jones Sr., a high school science teacher — who himself was named in honor of Booker T. Washington, the educator.
After last fall’s 2nd annual “Paint the Town Yellow” campaign, organizers were pleased.
All over Westporter, groups and individual gardeners had planted daffodils.
Now — as the bulbs sprout — they are really happy.
So are the rest of us — even those who don’t realize where so many beautiful flowers came from.
Prospect Road — with 7,000 daffodils — is particularly gorgeous. Melissa and John Ceriale invite anyone to clip a bouquet in front of #11, 13, 21 and 25, to give to someone who has been bullied — or stopped a bully. (Please take them from the road only — not the garden beyond the stone wall!)
Also last fall, the National Charity League placed daffodils around the trees at the entrance to Staples High School.
Nearby, parents and children planted them in front of then Bedford Middle School entry drive too.
The Westport Garden Club put daffodils around the Westport Library. “Paint the Town Yellow” organizer Debra Kandrak did the same in front of the pine trees along the William F. Cribari Bridge.
Other residents planted in front of their homes and around their neighborhood.
“Everywhere I drive, I see a burst of yellow. It makes me smile!” Debra says.
She wonders if one day Westport could have a Daffodil Festival.
Why not? It would sure make other towns green with envy.
Several “06880” readers have asked: Will the Longshore pool open this summer?
Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava says: “We anticipate opening. We are awaiting further guidance from the state. We are currently working on procedures based on requirements.”
Speaking of Longshore: Jackie Perrotta spotted this hardy tree — growing through a rock — near the golf course:
“We gave it a tug to see if it’s real. It is quite sturdy,” she reports.
It’s spring, which means you’ve been thinking about raising chickens.
Or maybe you already have a flock, but want to learn more about organic nutrition or chicken swings.
Cluck — I mean, click — on a link next Monday (April 12, 7 p.m.).
Bruce Benedict (Benedict’s Home and Garden) and Mackenzie Chauncey (Kent Nutrition Group) will tell you (virtually) everything you want to know about starting and raising your own backyard flock.
Bruce will walk you through the best coops, breeds and feeders to keep your birds happy and healthy. Mackenzie will guide you through feeding, from baby chicks to laying hens, and all their nutritional needs along the way. You’ll also see how see how WTF is raising their own chicks.
Click here to register. NOTE: Like raising chickens, this is a family affair — suitable for all ages.
In June, 19 Staples High School students will graduate with High Honors. That’s the top 4% of the graduating class.
Principal Stafford Thomas says, “the most astonishing aspect of this accomplishment is that these students were involved in a number of extracurricular activities and various aspects of school life, which took a great deal of time, focus and concentration outside of the classroom as well. We were lucky to have had them for 4 years. We will no doubt be hearing about their next great achievements in the years to come.”
High Honors students are listed below, under the photos.
MoCA Westport’s opening reception for its new “Smash” exhibit was — come on, this is too easy — a smash.
Contemporary artist Marilyn Minter’s videos are exhibited together for the first time in a public institution.
The show includes her custom-designed AMC Pacer, featuring an interior, surround viewing of her work “Green Pink Caviar” — shown for the first time ever.
Click here for more information.
Speaking of art: George Billis Gallery on Main Street announces a new show: “Cityscapes.” More than 15 artists exhibit a variety of works.
Opening reception is this Friday (April 9, 4 to 7 p.m.). It runs through May 9.
And finally … on this day in 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo.” The rest is history.
Last year’s Easter Sunrise Service at Compo Beach was canceled by COVID.
This morning, it was once again on. The return was welcomed by Westporters — and the Easter Bunny.
Wakeman Town Farm’s partnership with Homefront Farmers continues to bear fruit.
If you buy a gift card through @payitfwrd.co to start or maintain a home garden, all proceeds go to WTF’s educational program that teaches youngsters how to grow their own food.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other holidays are around the corner. The gift of a home garden will definitely reap benefits. Click here for more information.
Speaking of nature: Here’s an osprey update from the indefatigable Carolyn Doan.
“Our lovely osprey couple has been making their nest near Fresh Mart a little more comfortable. They’ve resorted to using what looks like a knit hat or glove. The female has taken matters into her own talons, and is getting sticks herself.”
During the pandemic, families have spent more time than ever. For some, it’s a wonderful way to reconnect. For others, it’s caused tension.
Dr. Bob Selverstone — a much-admired Westport psychologist in private practice for over 40 years, former Staples High School educator and counselor, and noted TV and radio guest — recently taped a session for the Westport Library.
It’s called “Making Marriage Even Better.” He should know: Bob and his high school sweetheart, Harriett, have been married for nearly 60 years!
Click below to listen and learn.
Congratulations, Westport Water Rat 13/14 girls relay team. On Friday they broke the state record in the 200 freestyle relay. They blazed to a 1:36.73 finish. Well done, girls!
And finally … Happy Easter!
The title of Josh Nova’s 3-minute video is “My Unremarkable Life.” That’s what he calls the past 20 years. He’s just a regular Westport neighbor, working hard, married and raising 2 kids.
But the fact that he has lived for the past 20 years is remarkable. In 2001 — 24 years old, and just starting “real” life — Josh was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A brutal treatment regimen battered the disease into remission. But a few months later the cancer reoccurred in the base of his skull. The prognosis was grim.
Josh had a stem cell transplant. He spent the next 22 days at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Family and friends visited every day, lifting his spirits.
One — a budding filmmaker — had a camera. He and Josh filmed the constant flow of visitors, and the equally steady parade of doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, food service workers, and others who helped him recover.
The video cassettes ended up in a shoebox. Occasionally, Josh thought about them. But he was preoccupied with living, not almost dying.
He married a wonderful woman named Ria. They spent 8 years in Hong Kong, then moved to New York. In 2014 they bought a summer house in Westport, where Josh’s sister Jodi Nova-Robison lives.
When COVID struck last year, Josh, Ria and their kids — 10-year-old Ollie and 8-year-old Marley — moved here full time.
A few months ago, as the 20th anniversary of his 22-day hospital ordeal neared, Josh wanted to reconnect with the people who helped him survive, medically and emotionally.
Providentially, while going through his closet in January, he spotted the shoebox with those long-ago tapes.
He no longer had the technology to play them. He had them digitized. Then he waited a bit, steeling himself for the impact of watching them.
When he did, he felt “so uplifted and heartened,” he says. “It was amazing to see that moment in time, captured. We were all so young!”
Josh has been active on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society‘s regional board. They asked him to help this year’s fundraising campaign. Each year, 10 people vie to raise the most funds. The winner is Man or Woman of the Year.
Josh contacted Dave Schwartz — the friend who provided the camera back in 2001. Now an Emmy Award-winning producer in Minneapolis, he turned the 3 hours of tapes into a 3-minute video. (Click below to see.)
That’s now the focal point of Josh’s Man of the Year campaign. Thanks to friends, family and social media, he’s about half-way to his goal.
Now it’s time for the “06880” community to join in. Let’s make Josh the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Connecticut/Westchester Man of the Year!
As he raises funds (the goal for all 10 candidates is $1 million), he ties his 2001 experience to the 2020-21 pandemic.
“Beside the miraculous medical care I received, the human connections buoyed my spirits and guided me through my fight against cancer,” Josh says.
“This past year has reminded us all of the importance of those human connections. This has been such a dark time for everyone, but there is so much light in those videos. I wanted to highlight all those people.
“It takes a huge village — a community — to fight through adversity. Mine was cancer. This is COVID. Whatever it is, we all pull together.”
Twenty years ago, Josh says, he received a lot of love. Now we can help him pay that love forward.
(Click here to donate to Josh Nova’s Man & Woman of the Year fundraising campaign.)
Chip Stephens’ resignation last night from the Planning & Zoning Commission surprised many Westporters. The 3-term member — and native Westporter — has taken a new full-time job in Maine.
But his resignation was bracketed by 2 others. Al Gratrix resigned hours earlier, after 7 years as a full commissioner, and the past 4 as an alternate.
This afternoon, former chair and 13-year member Cathy Walsh submitted hers too.
All 3 are Republicans. Jon Olefson is the lone Republican remaining, on what should be a 7-member board. By statute, the remaining commissioners choose the trio’s replacement. All must be registered Republicans.
Today, Stephens offers these tributes to his fellow former P&Z members.
Al is the poster boy; the jack of all trades. He brought wisdom, understanding and service to the commission.
He knows the regulations and how they related to the applications at hand. He is well versed in all building technicalities, codes and everything else, and he gave his wisdom and guidance to all his fellow members.
Additionally, he co-chaired the Enforcement Sub-Committee that dealt with all types of offenses and issues that went against the rules that 95 percent of time are followed, but when broken must be addressed, fixed or handed to lawyers.
Al also held a volunteer position on the Tree Board for 3 years. He earned expertise as a Trumbull firefighter and policeman, a part-time builder, and through various degrees in biochemistry and environmental biology.
Al initiated the Westport Evergreen Land Initiative, which helped create the beautiful Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum adjacent to Earthplace.
Al and his vast knowledge of planning, zoning, conversation and landscaping will be sorely missed by the commission, the staff and most of all Westport. Please thank Al for his service. And if you see his wife Nancy Austin around town, thank her for her patience and support of his time spent for our town.
Cathy, meanwhile, was the non-partisan leader as chair, and even more so when not in her official role.
She is smart, savvy, and always had her say, win or lose (she did not lose very often).
She led the commission on town character, local land knowledge, landscaping and planning initiatives that faced almost every submission, study or issue that came up.
Cathy, along with Al, Jack Whittle and I, spearheaded the Save Baron’s South open space project. She created over 6 open space park designations, maintaining sparse valuable open land in Westport for all.
She got her smarts and strengths from her upbringing in Pennsylvania steel country, and her hard-driving success trading steel as a profession.
Her local smarts come from her relationships and many friends in Westport and statewide. Fairness and firmness is always Cathy’s modus operandi.
Although she is thorough and fair in her deliberations and decisions, you don’t want to mess or cross Cathy.
On her soft side, Cathy is a huge proponent of outdoor dining and dancing events.
Cathy co-chaired the landscape committee with Al Gratrix, sat on the Downtown Plan Committee, the Saugatuck Transit District Plan Committee, and dozens of other plans and committees. She always won the most votes when she ran.
Westport will be hard pressed to replace Cathy. Hopefully she will stick around and help newbies as they come aboard. After all, she still has her full-time steel business, and 2 daughters and their 6 kids.
You better thank Cathy when you see her around town!
Westport is getting ready for Easter weekend.
A Sunday sunrise service is set for 6 a.m. at Compo Beach, between the cannons and the pavilion. It’s co-hosted by 4 churches: Saugatuck, Greens Farms and Norfield Congregational, and United Methodist. All participants are asked to please wear masks!
Also on Sunday, Saugatuck Congregational will hold a “drive-in” worship in the parking lot, at 10 a.m. The service — featuring live music, drama and Easter reflection — will be broadcast to car radios. Sit in the comfort of your car, or bring a beach chair and “tailgate.” The service will also be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. Click here for details.
And tomorrow (Good Friday, 11:30 a.m., Branson Hall), Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will screen the choral piece “The Last 7 Words of the Unarmed.” It will be followed at noon by an intergenerational neighborhood walk. Following a liturgy of Stations of the Cross, it will focus on racial justice and reconciliation. Participants will make a small loop around downtown Westport, stopping at various locations to pray and reflect.
It’s April — and that means National Distracted Driving Month.
The Westport Police Department is joining with the Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office in a month-long “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign.
So put down your phone — this month, and every month. The first offense will cost you $150. Then it’s $300 the second time. And $500 for the third and subsequent violations.
But if it gets to that point, you shouldn’t be driving at all.
The daffodils all along Prospect Road are blooming beautifully.
And if you know someone who has been bullied — or helped prevent bullying — they’re yours for the taking.
Melissa Ceriale — the owner, with her husband John, of an 8-acre oasis midway down the street — invites anyone who knows people in the categories above to clip a bouquet, and give it to them.
NOTE: Please take them only from the roadway in front of #11, 13, 21 and 25 Prospect Road — and not from the gardens themselves!
In other nature news: Last night, a huge dead tree on the big hill at the south end of Winslow Park, not far from the North Compo parking lot, came crashing down — smack across the walking path.
Bob Cooper says: “I’ve had my eye on it for a couple years, but this was sooner than I expected. It appears the lower end was rotting inside.”
The Westport Youth Commission is one of our town’s great, under-the-radar groups.
Thirty members — 15 students, 15 adults, all appointed by the 1st selectman — meet monthly. They talk about teen needs, plan projects and programs, and (this is huge) provide high schoolers with a great experience in leadership.
Of course, every year members graduate. So the YAC is looking for students now in grades 8-11 (and adult members) to serve for the 2021-’22 school year. Freshmen join a special committee, before joining the board officially as sophomoes.
The appointment process includes an application, and at least one letter of recommendation. The deadline is May 14. Click here for the application. For more information, call 203-341-1155 or email email@example.com.
The Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge is the scene for just about everything. Political protests, Memorial Day parades, fishing — you name it, it’s happened there.
Though this scene Tuesday evening was probably a first:
Aquarion has announced its 2021 mandatory sprinkler irrigation schedule.
They say: “The schedule helps conserve water supplies by reducing overwatering of lawns and gardens through a maximum 2 days per week schedule. The purpose is to ensure that local water supplies remain sufficient for critical needs such as human consumption and fire protection.
“Lawns and gardens can thrive on reduced watering. By encouraging roots to grow deeper into the soil, they’re able to absorb more moisture and nutrients, even during dry spells. Customers may continue using drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand-held watering at any time.”
The schedule begins today, and is based on the last digit of your street address.
If your address ends in an even number, or you have no numbered address, you can water only on Sundays and Wednesdays, from 12:01 a.m. to 10 a.m., or 6 p.m. to midnight.
If your address ends in an odd, number, you can water only on Saturdays and Tuesdays, same times as above.
For more information, click here. NOTE: Some residents may qualify for a variance. For example, if you’ve installed new plantings or sod in the spring, you arw allowed to water more frequently to help get plants established.
MoCA Westport’s new exhibit, “Smash,” is dedicated exclusively to the videos of
It opens to the public tomorrow (Friday, April 2). Reservations are available through the website, On Free Fridays, reservations are not required, and admission is free. Click below for a sneak peek:
The Westport Library’s Verso Studios are certainly versatile.
Starting April 12 (7 p.m.), it’s the focus of a Video Production hybrid course. The instructor is the Library’s own Emmy Award winner, David Bibbey.
The first 4 sessions are virtual. The final 2 are in-person. Participants will learn how to use professional video and audio recording equipment, lighting, and live switching/recording/streaming equipment. Participants can also serve as live crew for video shoots.
The cost is $150. To register, click here.
With all the talk about vehicular traffic on a renovated or rebuilt William F. Cribari Bridge, no one has thought about what would happen if a super tanker got caught nearby.
Evan Stein has it figured out:
And finally … today is April 1.