Category Archives: Environment

Pic Of The Day #2102

Barnacle buoy at Compo Beach (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Roundup: Intensity, Longevity …

The ad said: “INTENSITY — everything must go!” 

Westporters worried that the tennis/squash/fitness/dance center just over the Norwalk line would close. 

Racquet sports are still there. But the health and fitness component is changing.

Clair Mason, owner of Elliptica, and co-owner of Intensity — says that the health and fitness industry has changed. COVID, and the rise of paddle and pickleball, provided an opportunity to remodel both businesses.

Elliptica developed a virtual offering, with a class and partnership with a machine manufacturer. 

And all Intensity fitness classes are now under the Elliptica brand at a new (and nearby) location: 345 Post Road West, Westport. They include barre, Herman Walker Body Design System, dance fitness, bodypump, Pilates, bootcamps and more. For more information on Elliptica, click here

On January 1, Intensity became a racquets-only club. There are 6 indoor tennis courts, 4 squash courts, 4 pickleball courts and 2 new paddle courts. A warming hut opens soon. For more information on Intensity racquets, click here

Clair Mason owns both Elliptica and Intensity.

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Speaking of fitness: For Peloton, COVID was just what the doctor ordered.

The stationary bike company’s sales surged during the pandemic. With gyms closed, home workouts — which Peloton delivered, via its equipment and streaming platforms — were the only game in town (or anywhere else).

Since 2018, Peloton had a retail presence here. The Main Street store — one of the few of its 80-plus outlets not in a mall — closed temporarily, along with nearly every other retailer.

It reopened (though supply chain issues made it difficult to meet the enormous demand for bikes and treadmills).

This coming Sunday, it will close for good. The decision is part of an “aggressive” reduction in retail stores (and, last summer, the elimination of roughly 780 employees.

Peloton’s fortunes crashed as quickly as they rose. As COVID eased, people returned to the gym.

The Main Street tenant before Peloton sold Sperry boat shoes. There is no word on what kind of business — sports and leisure-related, or not — will replace it.

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Speaking still of fitness: Longevity Westport — the center offering non-invasive, quick and very sophisticated testing of muscle mass, bone density, metabolism, cardiovascular health, oxygen consumption and more — opened on Post Road East in 2021.

But — true to their name — they may be the business with the longest time before hosting an official ribbon-cutting.

It’s set for this Saturday (January 21, 1835 Post Road East). First Selectwoman Jen Tooker does the honors at 1 p.m.

She’ll be followed by 3 speakers: Ralph Esposito, a naturopathic physician and head of nutrition at Athletic Greens; Atlas Nutrition chiropractic physician Dr. Beth Atlas, and Sherpa Westport’s Jean Paul Desrosiers.

All will offer specials for customers. In addition, Longevity will provide 50% off a second test, with the purchase of a full price test (and 20% off a bundle package).

There’s food too. Healthy, of course.

Inside Longevity. The DEXA scan machine is at left.

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Hard to believe, but Westport Book Shop is 2 years old.

The used book store (and much more) honors the milestone with several community events.

A Volunteer Appreciation Celebration is set for January 28 (10:30 a.m. to noon), at the Westport Library across Jesup Green from the shop.

A “Show Your Love” competition offers a $50 Westport Book Shop gift card. Just film a short video showing why you love the Book Shop, then post it on social media.

Every entrant receives a free vinyl record, CD or book of their choice from the current inventory ($6 or less). The deadline is 6 p.m. January 27. Click here for details, and the entry form.

Meanwhile, story time for kids at the Book Shop runs on Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29. Call for details: 203-952-0070.

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Westport favorite Melissa Newman — one of our own — headlines this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, January 19; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner from 7 p.m.; $15 cover; reservations strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com).

Joining Melissa: guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Arti Dixson.

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PFAS chemicals in the Weston water supply?

On this week’s “What’s Next in Weston?” podcast, 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor describes how her town has addressed the issue, with remediation and clean water for every family.

The bi-weekly series is produced by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston. Click below to listen:

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Aspetuck Land Trust’s first “Lunch and Learn” webinar of 2023 is called “Landscapes for Better Living.”

On January 27 (noon to 1 p.m.), Jay Archer of Green Jay Landscape Design will discuss how ecological landscape design, organic horticulture and land stewardship can improve human health (and save the planet).

In addition to designing, building, managing and maintaining beautiful, natural ecosystems and plantscapes, Archer has taught, lectured and consulted with organizations from NYBG and The Institute for Ecosystem Studies to the Native Plant Center, Nature Conservancy and Audubon International.

For more information and to register, click here.

One of Jay Archer’s ecological landscapes.

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Many “Westport … Naturally” photos are gorgeous.

This one isn’t.

A reader who lives nearby writes: “I saw these giant birds in the dumpsters behind Gaetano’s.

“The dumpsters are open, and so is the door on one side. There were others in a tree, walking nearby, and sitting on the roof of a house, all waiting their turn. Apparently they are black buzzards.

“I called Gaetano’s. The woman who answered said, ‘yeah, it’s been like that all week.’ I said, ‘just close the dumpsters.’ She thanked me.”

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And finally … today is the birthday of Muhammad Ali. “The Greatest” boxer — and an important political activist was born in 1942. He died in 2016, age 74.

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(If all the stories above about fitness leave you exhausted … take a break! As you rest, please click here to support “06880.” Thank you!)

Roundup: MLK & Tracy Sugarman, Lyman Rocks, Cathy Talmadge’s Trees …

More on Martin Luther King. Day:

Linda Sugarman writes: “When Dr. King visited Temple Israel in 1964, he met illustrator Tracy Sugarman. Tracy — my father-in-law — decided to go to Mississippi,  to belp register voters.

“The result of that experience was  ‘Stranger at the Gates,’ published in 1966. Over the years after the Mississippi Freedom Summer, Tracy, his wife June, and their friends Bill and Ellie Buckley created an educational film production company called  Rediscovery Films.

“They produced many films about the people involved in that summer, and about the continuing struggle throughout the South for recognition and support of the quest for civil rights and attaining the vote.

“The Westport Library has copies of all of their films, and of the book written by Tracy during that critical time.”

That book is displayed on Martin Luther King’s desk in this photo:

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Cathy Talmadge made her mark on many local organizations.

One of them — Friends of Sherwood Island — has found a way to honor the longtime board member.

One of her contributions was helping create the Three Sisters Garden in 2010. Now Cathy’s countless admirers can donate a tree, in her memory.

Click here; then choose the “100 Trees” box, and note “in memory of Cathy Talmadge”).

A reminder: Cathy’s friends will gather January 27 at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church in Fairfield (1 p.m.), for her memorial service.

Cathy Talmadge

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There’s always something special at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

Next month, it’s extra special.

On the first 2 Thursdays — February 2 and 9 (Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) — you can drop off gently used winter coats, mittens, hats and gloves, plus medical supplies. All are desperately needed in Ukraine.

Cash contributions to help with shipping costs are always needed.

Questions? Want to help? Email Mark Yurkiw: mark.think3d@gmail.com.

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Speaking of Ukraine: In the first days of the pandemic, Jen Greely and Lindsay Weiner had an idea.

They encouraged everyone in town to pain rocks with colorful, encouraging messages — then leave them for others to find.

Their project — Westport Rocks —  spread joy, at a time when it was in very short supply.

They’re still rocking Westport.

Lindsay’s latest rock honors our new sister city: Lyman, Ukraine.

We’ve moved from one global disaster to another. One rock won’t change anything.

But it will serve as a constant reminder that people care.

And that counts for plenty.

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The air temperature on Saturday was 37. The water was 41 degrees.

These women didn’t care.

In fact, they enjoyed their Compo Beach dip.

Without a wet suit in sight.

(Photo/Joel Cipes)

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We’ve all done it: backed into a parking space, realized we didn’t get it quite right, and taken an extra 12 seconds to realign ourselves.

This driver in the Stop & Shop lot couldn’t be bothered.

(Photo/James Morgan)

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No, it’s not a big deal. Unless you were one of those who had to squeeze past the already-narrow lane that people also walk through to get to the store.

Or unless everyone else decided to park the same way.

 

If there’s few people around to see a Compo Beach “Westport … Naturally” sunset, does that make it any less glorious?

Nope!

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)

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And finally … it’s astonishing and grievous to think what our nation has lost, to madmen’s bullets.

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Pic Of The Day #2098

Grace Salmon Park (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Lynn Miller’s Downtown

Downtown Westport is compact: Main Street and the Post Road, plus the Saugatuck River.

But there’s a lot to see. And there’s no one who captures it better than Lynn Untermeyer Miller.

The Westport native and 1971 Staples High School graduate sees it all: the natural beauty. The shops and shoppers. And the hidden sights the rest of us walk right past.

Here’s what Lynn sees:

Imperial Avenue footbridge

Riverwalk, east side of the Levitt Pavilion

Riverwalk, behind the Levitt

West bank of the Saugatuck River

Riverwalk lights, near the Library

Westport Library

Arezzo restaurant and National Hall

Pedestrian walkway and Gorham Island, off Parker Harding Plaza

Village Square

View from Anthropologie

Alley between Post Road and Church Lane

WEST boutique

Taylor Place

Cold Fusion

Brandy Melville

A relic from the Y’s downtown days. (All photos/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Roundup: Staples AD, Coffee Mugs, De TAPAS …

Staples High School will soon have a new athletic director.

Vincent J. “VJ” Sarullo succeeds Marty Lisevick on February 1. 

Sarullo has spent the past 17 years as athletic director at Jonathan Law High School in Milford. Before that he was AD at Sheehan High-Wallingford and Notre Dame of Fairfield.

Sarullo currently serves as president of the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors.

Lisevick retires on January 31, after more than 2 decades in the post. The other finalist for the position, Colin Devine, spent 15 years as Staples’ boys basketball coach.

VJ Sarullo, iin 2014.

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With 3 Starbuckses, 3 Dunkin’ Donuts, and many more places to buy coffee, Westporters use plenty of cups.

We don’t have to.

Sustainable Westport has just launched “Refill Not Landfill.”

The program encourages residents to use reusable cups and mugs at participating coffee shops to reduce waste, combat climate change, and help support small businesses.

Most paper cups used for hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate are coated with plastic to prevent leaks, so they can’t be recycled. Plastic cups used for iced coffee, tea and other drinks, often end up in the trash. It is estimated that only 5% of plastic is ever recycled.

By committing to bring their own reusable mug or cup to participating locations, residents can help reduce waste — and be entered to win monthly prizes.

Beginning this Sunday (January 15), bring a clean, reusable cup or mug to a participating location. (NOTE: They do not wash cups or mugs.)

Order a drink that’s eligible to be filled (some, like smoothies, are not).

At checkout, scan a QR code. Submit your name and email address for each drink you purchased using a reusable cup, to receive credit for your visit.

To be eligible for the monthly raffle, you must participate at least 5 times within a month.

Each month through July 15, Sustainable Westport will draw one winner, for a prize from a local business.

Participating locations include:

To add your business, email emilyabate@gmail.com.

Don’t have a mug?Purchase a Sustainable Westport “Refill Not Landfill” travel mug Thursdays at the Westport Farmers’ Market, or the Earthplace gift shop.

For more information, click here. Questions? Email admin@sustainablewestport.org.

A familiar sight in Westport. But it doesn’t have to be.

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Speaking of restaurants:

DeTAPAS celebrates its 1-year anniversary this weekend with a complimentary glass of Cava.

Carlos Pia’s Spanish gastrobar has become one of Westport’s hottest spots. A native of Barcelona, he’s brought the flavors of his native country here — and the culture and the colors too.

Pia’s Flamenco Nights, Jamon Jamoon Iberico and wine tasting, and other events have added to DeTAPAS’ allure.

Carlos Pia in his vibrantly decorated De Tapas.

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Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — held its January event at the Westport Weston Family YMCA on Saturday.

A huge turnout of enjoyed basketball, line dancing, stretching and yoga, crafts (hosted by MoCA Westport), a photo booth and snacks. Among the volunteers: Staples High School’s Service League of Boys (SLOBs).

The next event will is at the Westport Playhouse (February 2). It’s a Valentine’s dance — details soon.

Fun at Club 203.

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Stressed-out parents, take note: S4 Study Skills is hosting a free webinar.

In “Why Course Selection is Important to the College Application Process” (January 17, 7 p.m.), college admissions counselor and Westport resident Amy Chatterjee explains what course selection reveals about motivation and focus, and how it impacts college admissions. Click here to register.

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Jazz vespers comes to the United Methodist Church of Westport & Weston.

The service combines liturgical traditions with the soulful sounds of the John Collinge Quartet.

The worship — for all ages and denominations (and a great introduction to jazz for young audiences) is Sunday, January 22 (4 p.m., United Methodist Church sanctuary).

The United Methodist Church on Weston Road.

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There weren’t many people the other day, at Compo Beach.

But the sun is there, regardless. Naturally.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image was captured by Bob Mitchell.

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)

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And finally … Jeff Beck died yesterday of bacterial meningitis, in England. He was 78.

Though never as flashy or well-known as Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page, he was a member of the Yardbirds and other very important blues-based groups.

Westport has a couple of ties to the legendary guitarist. When the Yardbirds played at Staples High School in 1966, he was part of the band.

A young photographer in New York heard they would be in Westport. She came here, and photographed Beck and a very young Jimmy Page tuning up backstage, in the choral room.

The photographer’s name? Linda Eastman.

Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, in the Staples High School choral room. (Photo/Linda Eastman)

And the offices of Connoisseur Media in Westport — owner of some of the most successful radio stations in the area — contain plenty of music memorabilia.

One of the most prized possessions hangs on the wall by CEO Jeff Warshaw’s desk. It’s a guitar, signed by Beck.

On the wall in Jeff Warshaw’s office: a guitar signed by Jeff Beck. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Click here for a full obituary.

 

Roundup: Trash Clean-up, Energy Costs, Pollinators …

Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup gave an incorrect date for the next trash clean-up, at the Sherwood Island Connector I-95 Exit 18 commuter parking lot.

It’s this Sunday — not Saturday — at 11 a.m.

Bring trash bags and work gloves. There’s plenty to do!

Westporters picked up tons of trash last weekend at the Greens Farms train station. This Sunday at 11 a.m.: the commuter parking lot on the Sherwood Island connector.

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The Westport Transit District and Steam again team up to offer free coffee to people who take Wheels2U to the Saugatuck train station. The offer is good this Friday (January 13) and next Tuesday, (January 17).

Just ride Wheels2U to the station between 6 and 10:30 a.m., and show proof of the ride at the Steam counter.

For more information on Wheels2U — the home-to-the-station ride service — click here.

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David Pogue got a note from his neighborhood association treasurer. It said:

As many of you know, the cost of electricity spiked at the beginning of this year. If you look at your utility bill, it will be divided into two sections: (1) supplier costs and (2) delivery costs.

Supplier costs are the cost to generate the electricity, which has been ~12 cents per kWh. Starting in January, this rate doubled for Eversource —to 24 cents per kWh. Since supply is about half your bill, and this has doubled, your bill went up about 50% in total starting January 1.

You have the option in CT to choose a third-party supplier, which often come at hefty discounts to Eversource.

(For more details, click here.)

David adds: “He pointed out that customers can compare rates at EnergizeCT.com. At the moment, Town Square Energy’s rates are about 38% less expensive. I switched today!”

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You can go home again.

Will Haskell recently “retired” at age 26, after 2 terms as state senator. (He won’t play shuffleboard — he’s at NYU Law School.)

But the other day he headed to his alma mater — Greens Farms Elementary School — to talk to 3rd grade students about local and state government.

Students asked plenty of questions. Perhaps he inspired one of them to follow in his footsteps.

If so, then in just 20 years he or she will return to GFS, as an already former state legislator — on to a new adventure.

Will Haskell inspires 3rd graders.

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A return of another sort: Kyle Martino, to the airwaves.

The Staples High School Class of 1999 graduate — and former Staples soccer star, who was named Gatorade High School Player of the Year — has just been named to the TNT and HBO Max broadcast team for US men’s and women’s national team matches.

Martino spent 8 years as a Premier League analyst with NBC Sports. He is also a soccer entrepreneur. He founded the Goalpher system for turning basketball courts into small soccer fields, and also developed the OverUnder Initiative, to bring soccer to under-resourced communities.

Martino was MLS Rookie of the Year with the Columbus Crew in 2002. He also played with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and has 8 caps with the US men’s national team.

His announcing partner on TNT and HBO Max is former women’s national team star Julie Foudy.

Kyle Martino

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There were 3 custodial arrests last week, by Westport Police.

One person was arrested for shoplifting, conspiracy to commit a crime, and failure to appear.

Another person was arrested for shoplifting.

The shoplifting incidents occurred at Whole Foods (over $300 worth of items), Walgreens (over $1250) and Stop & Shop (over $1350).

A third person was arrested for reckless driving, failure to carry a license, and failure to drive in the proper lane. That happened when a jogger said he was struck by a vehicle turning left from Greens Farms Road onto Hillspoint Road. The driver allegedly left the scene. A witness then told police that the suspected offender was inside Cumberland Farms, making statements about “hitting a jogger.” 

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 9
  • Failure to obey control signal: 2
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 1
  • Driving with out of state plates: 1
  • Violation of traffic commission regulation: 1
  • Breach of peace: 1
  • Assault 3rd degree, risk of injury to a minor: 1

When you move to Connecticut, you must register your car here.

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It’s mid-winter. Time to get a jump on spring – and attract pollinators to your garden this summer.

University of Connecticut advanced master gardener Alice Ely leads a Wakeman Town Farm “Winter Sowing Demonstration” on January 23 (7 p.m.).

Attendees will learn how to make mini-greenhouses (in bottles) to start seedlings. Left outside until spring, they’ll turn into milkweed plants that attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

Click here for more information, and registration.

Milkweed seedlings

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There may not be many boats at Ned Dimes Marina.

But — as Patricia Auber’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows — there is plenty of action there anyway.

(Photo/Patricia Auber)

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And finally … on this date in 1964, the Surgeon General of the US published a landmark report. It said: “Smoking may be hazardous to your health.”

 

Aaaah-Choo! All The Info On RSV, Flu And COVID

How are you feeling?

If you’re like many Westporters: not great.

A “tripledemic” — COVID, RSV and flu — has slammed our town, and many others.

The other day, Concierge Physicians of Westport sent this information (from the Centers for Disease Control) to patients. 

Chuck Greenlee thought the rest of us non-concierge patients should see it too. CPW graciously agreed. Here you go:

What is RSV?

Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in 1-2 weeks, but RSV can be serious, especially in infants and older adults.

It can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, when you have direct contact with a person who has the virus, such as kissing a baby, or when you touch a surface with the virus on it and then touch your face before washing your hands. People with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days, and can become contagious 2 to 3 days before having symptoms.

Diagnosis: The most common is the rapid diagnostic test. This test looks for RSV RNA in nasal secretions. The results are usually available in 1 hour.

Treatment: Supportive. There are no specific antivirals

Prevention: There are no vaccines against RSV

What is Influenza?

Influenza (“flu”) is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can even lead to death, even in healthy children and adults. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, sore throat, runny nose, body and muscle aches, cough, and less commonly nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

It spreads similarly to RSV.

Diagnosis: Rapid diagnostic tests are becoming the gold standard. Performed by swabbing nasopharyngeal or throat secretions results are available in 15-30 minutes.

Treatment: Specific antiviral flu drugs can decrease the risk of serious complications, hospitalization and death and also shorten the duration of symptoms. Antivirals work best when given within 48 hours of when symptoms appear.

Prevention: The best way to prevent flu is to receive a vaccination every year. The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated annually. The best time to get vaccinated is in the fall, before influenza viruses begin spreading in your community. However, vaccination throughout the flu season is still beneficial.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a viral disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus discovered in 2019. Some people who are infected may not have symptoms. For people who have symptoms, illness can range from mild to severe. Adults 65 years and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.

The virus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Diagnosis: Three main types of tests confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis:

NAATs (such as PCR based tests) are most often performed in a laboratory or clinic setting. They are typically the most reliable tests for people with or without symptoms.

Antigen tests produce results in 15-30 minutes. They are less reliable than NAATs, especially for people who do not have symptoms. To best detect infection, a negative antigen test should be repeated at least 48 hours apart.

Self (or “at-home” tests) are usually antigen tests that can be taken anywhere without having to go to a testing site. Follow FDA and manufacturer’s instructions, including the number of times you may need to test.

Treatment: Depends on the severity of infection and is constantly evolving. There are antiviral drugs for COVID-19.

Prevention: People ages 5 years and older should complete the COVID-19 primary series vaccines and boosters (including mix and match shots) to prevent getting and spreading the illness.

How can I stay healthy?

Avoid contact with people who are sick. If you need to be around a sick individual, wear a well fitting mask (N95 or surgical) and make sure to cover your mouth and nose.

Stay home if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, not your hands.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand rub that contains 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

VACCINATE yourself against influenza and COVID.

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Remembering Cathy Talmadge

Catherine Cassel Talmadge — a longtime Westporter, prominent volunteer in numerous organizations, and beloved wife, mother, sister and friend — died December 30. She was 71 years old.

Cathy’s long and public battle with sarcoidosis and kidney disease was followed by a rapid and private fight with esophageal cancer.

Born on December 9, 1951, Cathy spent her first few years in Oakland, California and Rochester, Minnesota before the family moved back to her parents’ hometown of Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from Fairview High School there.

In 1975 Cathy received a BA in dance performance, with  a minor in philosophy, from Denison University. Cathy practiced modern dance and moved to Breckenridge, Colorado where she met her husband, Tom Talmadge, in 1977.

Cathy and Tom Talmadge

Their early years were carefree, on the slopes and spent with friends in local venues.

In 1979 Cathy returned to school to obtain an MBA at University of Denver, with hopes of opening a dance studio. Though that dream never came to fruition, she discovered a talent for business and communications at a time when it was not scommon for women to have MBAs.

She was soon swept into business operations, including a successful career at Time Warner Cable from 1982 to 2001. Cathy rose to become vice president of finance. She was a pioneer for women in the workforce, with many following in her footsteps.

This role brought Cathy, Tom and their infant daughter Carolyn to Westport in 1989. She lived there for the rest of her life.

(From right): Cathy, Tom and Carolyn Talmadge.

After Time Warner Cable she continued as a consultant with telecommunications companies, including Lemur and Juniper Networks.

Cathy’s active participation in the Westport community for over 3 decades began as a mother with school organizations, and at the Fairfield County Hunt Club.

In recent decades Cathy worked energetically and happily to make Westport a better place to live. For over 14 years she was an elected member of the Representative Town Meeting, serving on its Finance, Public Works and Environment Committees.

Cathy Talmadge

She balanced this with leadership roles in local organizations that work to secure a more sustainable future. She was an early organizer for Wakeman Town Farm, and long-term treasurer as it developed into a viable enterprise.

While she served on the boards of WTF, Friends of Sherwood Island State Park and Earthplace, her daily boots-on-the-ground volunteering was equally appreciated.

In her spare time Cathy was an avid cook, gardener, swimmer, skier, reader, tennis player, hiker and world traveler; a lover of animals, all things beautiful, and all things nature.

Cathy Talmadge, among nature.

In addition to their house pets, Cathy and Tom raised chickens, and cared for a pride of feral cats, working with local trap and neuter organization TAILS to keep them healthy and humanely contained.

Cathy is survived by Tom, her husband of 40 years; her daughter Carolyn of Boston; sisters Polly Cassel of Northampton, Massachusetts, Beth Cassel of San Rafael, California and Martha Cassel of Cambridge, Massachusetts; nieces Stella and Eve Cassel and nephew Rudy Cassel, and many beloved friends.

A public memorial service will be held on January 27 at Greenfield Hill Church  in Fairfield (1 p.m., followed by a reception in the hall).

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those who are able instead make a donation to Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace or TAILS.

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Last month, “06880” published this tribute to Cathy, from her friend Christy Colasurdo. Her longtime friend and fellow Wakeman Town Farm volunteer wrote:

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

And that’s just skimming the surface.

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

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

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

Cathy Talmadge, at Wakeman Town Farm.

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

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

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

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

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

Unsung Heroes #269

As animal control officer, Peter Reid does plenty of heroic things. “06880” readers appreciate him — and in November 2021, he was our Unsung Hero of the Week.

Today, Peter pays it forward. He writes:

Last week, the Animal Control department received a call from a citizen reporting that a deer was stuck in her fence.

I went to the scene, but could not free the deer with the tools I had.

Deer stuck in fence. (Photo/Peter Reid)

I called the Westport Fire Department for assistance. Soon there were a lot of very competent firefighters on the scene, with the know-how to do the job.

The deer was freed. Although she was initially weak and shocked, and had suffered abrasions on both sides of her torso, I was able to guide her out a gate. She left the scene under her own power, and was last seen running into the relative safety of a stretch of woods.

I want to nominate the Fire Department as Unsung Heroes. They have helped me rescue animals before. Quite often we are so focused on the task we don’t take photos, but this time I did.

Firefighters at work. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

Thanks, Peter. Like you, the Westport Fire Department goes far beyond its job description — often without notice.

This time, their good deeds were seen. Now they can be appreciated by many.

Do you know an Unsung Hero? Please email nominations: 06880blog@gmail.com.

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