Category Archives: Environment

Roundup: Main Street, Weather, Longshore, More


(Photo/Jo Shields)


It started out as a white Christmas. By the end of the day, rain and 50-degree weather had washed most of the snow away.

All that remains are brown, crusty mounds like the ones below, at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

The forecast is for temperatures in the high 40s today, 30s tomorrow and Wednesday, 40s and 50s the rest of the week and weekend.

Rain is predicted for New Year’s Eve. No big deal — you weren’t going out anyway, were you?

(Photo/Rowene Weems)


Was it a line for COVID testing — or the vaccine?

Perhaps PlayStation 5?

Nope, nope and nope.

This was the post-Christmas line outside Lululemon yesterday.

Jo Shields reports: “People waiting say it’s just social distancing, combined with shopping appointments and a limited number allowed in the store. Sounds like a really responsible company policy. Maybe even smart for sales.

“And although there were complaints about being cold, everyone was good natured and patient. And wearing masks.”


Barbara Levy entertained this good-looking — but hungry — visitor outside her Greens Farms home yesterday:

(Photo/Barbara Levy)


Pam Kesselman jokes: “Someone left a Big Bertha (large driver) in the 9th hole sand trap at Longshore. Please claim before it disappears.”

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)


And finally … we catch up with one more recently deceased musician.

Chad Stuart died last week of pneumonia. He was 79.

One-half of Chad & Jeremy — often confused with the longer-lived, more successful, equally cute British duo, one of whom also wore glasses — Chad & Jeremy made a brief career out of summer-themed songs.

And there’s this tidbit from Stuart’s New York Times obituary: describing Stuart’s solo career after the pair broke up: “At one point he opened for the hard-rock band Mountain in a bowling alley in Hartford, Conn.” Yesterday’s Roundup paid tribute to Mountain founder Leslie West, who died just 3 days after Chad Stuart.

Roundup: Farmers’ Market, More


The Westport Farmers’ Market continues its holiday drive for women veterans through Homes for the Brave, this Thursday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane). As always, click here to pre-order from the many great vendors.


And finally … Leslie West died last week of a heart attack. He was 75.

The leader and founder of Mountain — he named the trio after himself, because of his large size — may be best known for “Mississippi Queen,” the rock song with the most famous cowbell in music history.

Mountain’s drummer, Corky Laing, was well known in Westport. He was great friends with Gail and Terry Coen, and spent plenty of time at their Soundview Drive home.

Photo Challenge #313

“06880” readers really know their onions.

And their onion barges.

I was sure that last week’s Photo Challenge — an aerial view, though it wasn’t that apparent — would leave readers crying “foul.”

Instead — very quickly — 6 alert Westporters recognized it as the remains of the old onion barge, mired for decades in the mud on the east bank of the Saugatuck River, near the William F. Cribari Bridge by Bridge Street. (Click here to see.)

It’s visible only at certain low tides. But Seth Schachter, Scott Brodie, Bill Rizzuto (who, to be fair, owns a restaurant a few yards away), Pat Saviano, Beth Berkowitz and Martha Mogren (who grew up nearby, but has not lived here in years) all nailed it. Very, very impressive!

Now, as we metamorphize from the caterpillar that was 2020 to the butterfly we hope is 2021, here’s the final Photo Challenge of the year.

If you think you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Sure, It’s December. But Westport Loves A Good Osprey Story Any Time.

We don’t have a nickname.* But if we did Westport might be called “Ospreyland USA.”

Every spring we go ga-ga when the magnificent raptors return. In the past few years we’ve forced an electric utility, shopping center owner and large corporation to protect nests, move equipment — or else!

So even though our ospreys are wintering down south, we’ll highlight some important news.

The Aspetuck Land Trust owns 2 significant parcels in Sherwood Mill pond. It’s an exceptional habitat for osprey and many other bird species.

There’s long been a well-producing osprey platform on the Allen Salt Marsh Preserve there.

A couple of years ago, the Land Trust dreamed of adding another. Board member Heather Williams asked birder extraordinaire (and fellow Westporter) Tina Green for advice on a suitable spot.

Tina contacted Terry Shaw at Menunkatuck Audubon in Guilford. He donates his time building platforms around the state, and was eager to help. It would be his 99th installation in Connecticut.

Not long ago, on a calm and beautiful morning at high tide, the platform was rowed out in sections, then assembled.

Ready to row out to the site … (Photo/Nancy Moon)

Terry says it was a perfect day, a relatively easy job — and a perfect spot.

This was the 2nd osprey platform Terry built here this year. The other is behind the Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park.

Two years ago he added the replacement platform on the southern end of the pond.

… and the assembled platform. From left: Heather Williams, Terry Shaw, Ed Haesche, Tina Green. (Photo/Deanna Broderick)

Now all we need are the ospreys to come back. Fortunately, they love Westport.

Almost as much as we love them.

Well, we do, but “Land of Entitled Drivers” is not one we’re proud of.

(To learn more about Aspetuck Land Trust, click here. Hat tip: Nancy Moon.)

Roundup: F. Scott And Zelda, Christmas Scenes, More


New York Adventure Club is headed to the ‘burbs.

A special webinar on January 14 (5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.) brings viewers — from anywhere in the world — to Westport. The topic F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s summer here.

Robert Steven Williams — director of “Gatsby in Connecticut,” one of the New Yorker’s best films of 2020 — will talk about the author’s background; an overview of Westport in the 1920s (Prohibition was not always prohibitive), and the town’s influence on The Great Gatsby. He’ll share video clips too, and never-before-seen photos of Westport and New York from the ’20s.

Williams hosts a Q-and-A afterward too. Click here for tickets. (They include access to the full replay for one week.) (Hat tip: Debbie Hoult)


The sun broke through (very) briefly late yesterday afternoon. Here’s how one person spent Christmas:

(Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)


Also seen yesterday:

Mark Mathias reports that a hawk visited his backyard, and landed on the bird feeder.  “S(he) regularly fluffed his feathers and looked around, presumably waiting for his Christmas stocking … or a snack,” Mark says.

“Upon flying away, the smaller birds quickly came back to our bird feeder. We saw the hawk again later in the afternoon, when the other birds understandably made themselves scarce. Made a pretty interesting sight.”

(Photo/Mark Mathias)


And K.T. Oslin — a “pioneering country singer-songwriter whose biggest hits gave voice to the desires and trials of female baby boomers on the cusp of middle age” — died Monday. She was 78. Causes of death were Parkinson’s and COVID.

Her biggest hits included “’80s Ladies” — called “an anthem for a generation of women” by the New York Times — and “Do Ya,” a “poignant meditation … on the ebb and flow of midlife vulnerability and desire.”

Give The Gift Of Giving

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And to give.

Separately, but with the same idea, alert — and generous — “06880” readers Karen Abramson and Polly Newman gave me the gift of a perfect story idea.

As we buy presents for loved ones, friends, and people whose good graces we need to keep, we also want to help others.

Give what you can.

It does not hurt that helping them can also ease our tax burden 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. Then I’ll add them to this list.

And please: Keep it 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
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
Remarkable Theater: Providing entertainment and employment for people with disabilities
Westport Country Playhouse: 90-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
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants: Service and advocacy for immigrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking and torture
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
Westport Department of Human Services “We Care”
:
Many options!
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

Disabilities

Catch a Lift: Westport strongly supports veterans through fitness programs
CLASP
: Group homes and opportunities
MyTEAM Triumph:  Road race support for children, adults and veterans
STAR Lighting the Way: Support for all ages

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
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
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
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
Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County: Building houses and creating affordable home ownership
Homes with Hope
: Supportive housing, food pantry, food distribution and more
Open Door  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
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


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
Westport Center for Senior Activities
: Senior Center provides programs, meals and more

Women

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

 

Sophie Guiduli Helps Save The Sound

Sophie Guiduli is a junior at Staples High School. She’s a self-taught portrait artist. She is also a staunch advocate for Save the Sound, the non-profit that protects our waters and environment.

Jay Tsai grew up on Long Island Sound …

Sophie is melding both passions in a fundraiser she created herself. She’s drawing portraits of residents who recognize the value of the Sound, and want to support conservation efforts.

She set up a Facebook page to create aware of both Save the Sound, and her fundraiser. On it she says:

Growing up in Westport and as someone who loves the outdoors, the Sound is a place of beauty and tranquility. During this pandemic, the Sound has become a safe place where so many people in my community gather (socially distanced) and remember the beauty of nature and that life will at some point return to normal.

Sophie hopes that in addition to sending photos to Sophie (email sguidulifundraiser@gmail.com) that she can draw from — of themselves, friends or loved ones — advocates will add personal statements about their relationship to the Sound. She’ll post those on her page, along with the portraits. The result will be a virtual community, centered on the importance of Long Island Sound.

Donations can be sent to her GoFundMe page. She’s already raised over $1,200.

… as did his twin sister Anaya Tsai. (Portraits by Sophie Guiduli)

But Sophie is not stopping there. She hopes to find a local landlord who will display the portraits in the window of a store (or vacant space). That’s one more way of spreading the word about the Sound.

“In this time of social distancing, we all feel the loss of community,” Sophie says.

“I hope in my small way to bring people together so we can be thankful for the beauty of nature the Sound brings to us, and find ways to support efforts to restore the health of our waters.”

Pic Of The Day #1343

Sure, it’s the last Sunday before Christmas. But shopping can wait — there’s sledding at Winslow Park! (Photo/Barbara Jay)

Pics Of The Day #1342

Christmas at Terrain:

(Photos/Stephanie Mastioccolo)

Roundup: Christmas Trees, Deer And More


There’s been a run on live Christmas trees this year. Something about making up for this tough year with something that looks (and smells) beautiful.

If you’ve procrastinated: no worries. Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center still has plenty in stock.

At least, they did this morning …

(Photo/John Karrel)


Once you get your Christmas tree, you’ve got to decorate it. Then you can enjoy it.

And then — a few weeks from now — you’ve got to get rid of it. Who you gonna call?

Boy Scout Troop 39!

For years, they’ve been hauling away Westporters’ trees. They’ll do it again this year — with COVID precautions, of course.

First, register online (click here). On January 9 (6:30 a.m.!), haul your tree to your mailbox. Tape an envelope with cash or a check made out to “Boy Scout Troop 39 Westport.” The suggested donation is $20, but of course you can give more.

They can’t accept wreaths or garlands. Other than that: take it away, boys!


Rick Hochman was working from home yesterday, near Long Lots. He looked up from his laptop and saw this lovely doe, looking like she wanted to come in for a cup of tea.

Or perhaps she was waiting for her cousin Rudolph.

(Photo/Rick Hochman)


Jordan Kessler is just 29 years old. But the 2009 Staples High School graduate is in his 7th year with J.P. Morgan’s sports finance group. He manages $5 billion in loans.

On Tuesday he received a great Sports Business Journal honor: a “New Voices Under 30” award.

Remarkably, he was not the only former Wrecker in the elite group of 30. Jesse Heussner — a 2011 Staples alum, now director of basketball operations and analytics at Creative Artists Agency — joined Jordan as a “New Voices Under 30” honoree.

Jordan graduated from Vanderbilt University, with a major in financial management and entrepreneurship, and minor in Spanish. Jesse majored in government at Dartmouth College, from which he graduated cum laude.

Jordan Kessler (Photo/Kenta Shirafuji)


And finally … this is Phil Ochs’ birthday.

The folksinger — compared, often unfairly, to Bob Dylan — has been somewhat forgotten today. His songs — often about important political and social issues — were pointed, thought-provoking, and had a profound influence on me growing up. (I still think “Power and the Glory” should be our national anthem.)

He also had an interesting connection to Westport. On March 31, 1968, while performing a benefit concert here, someone handed him breaking news, which he relayed to an appreciative crowd: Lyndon Johnson had just announced he would not run for a 2nd term as president.

Phil Ochs died by suicide in 1976. He was 35 years old. Today, he would have been 80.