Category Archives: Library

Roundup #2: Help Has Arrived! Free WiFi — And AC! And Much More …

Contractor electric crews arrived today. White bucket trucks with Pennsylvania plates and the name “ABEL” on the doors, with half a dozen or so crews, are working on circuits in Greens Farms, which originate in the Sherwood substation. These supply power from Sherwood Island to the Fairfield border, up to Long Lots over to the lower part of Roseville and just past the Fire Department headquarters.

Around 1 p.m., power was restored on the Post Road toward Southport, as well part of Greens Farms Road.

As of 2:15 p.m., Westport was down to 84% without power (from a high of near 98%). Fingers crossed …

Work on Bulkley Avenue. (Photo/Eoghan Scully)


Want free WiFi? Air conditioning? Plenty of space?

It all comes with a membership to MoCA Westport. In fact, this could be the best deal in town, In addition to those Isaias-related perks, you get early access to tickets and event registration, preferred seating and invitations to members-only events, discounts for the Museum Shop, and much more.

In short, there’s no reason not to join. Click here for details; then click “Join & Support.”


Speaking of free WiFi: Everyone loves the Westport Library’s. But as they sit on Jesup Green, by the Riverwalk or in their cars in the parking lot, some Westporters wonder: Why isn’t the building open?

Because it has no power, besides a generator. The generator is enough to power that free WiFi, and keep a few lights on. There’s no air conditioning, and virtually no outlets that work.

For that reason, the Library will remain closed tomorrow. With COVID-19 restrictions, it’s uncertain how “open” it can be even when power is restored.

But that’s a minor issue. Right now, the generator-powered WiFi has keep much of Westport occupied — and sane — since Tuesday afternoon.

Crowds are much larger on Jesup Green than when this photo was taken. (Photo/Samuel Wang)


Among the places open, and doing quite well: Rye Ridge Deli. Almost like Europe!

(Photo/Larry Untermeyer)


Longtime “06880” reader Bart Shuldman is one of many Westporters using the Westport Library’s WiFi, and has a great idea: Someone should come around selling food and drinks. Area restaurants and teenage entrepreneurs: Go for it!

A small part of the large WiFi crowd. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)


Meanwhile, there is still a primary election on Tuesday (August 11). Pippa Bell Ader notes:

“The Town Clerk prefers people drop off their ballots in the ballot box, at Town Hall’s (at back, left entrance — see photo below), rather than mail them. Yet streets to Town Hall are closed (Avery Place and Myrtle Avenue).

“I parked my car on Main Street (legal parking on southbound side only) and walked across Veterans Green. I saw others driving down Myrtle the wrong way.”

Pippa notes that there is legal access to Town Hall in the back, through St. John Place.

(Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)


Andrea Cross has a great suggestion: using “06880” to crowdsource which roads are opening up.

Trees across major arteries on (for example) South Compo and Imperial Avenue are causing delays and turnarounds. If you see a recently opened road, click “Comments” below. Check back frequently!

How are things on Hales Road? (Photo/Patricia McMahon)


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library have postponed this Friday’s “Supper & Soul” with Mystic Bowie – Talking Dreads,  from Friday until this Sunday (August 9). The Saturday show is still on. There are new start times for both: 5:30 p.m.

Gates to the Imperial Avenue parking lot open at 4 p.m., for the socially distant tailgate.  

Concert attendees can order takeout from local restaurants and bring it to the show. No food are beverages will be sold at the event.

For more information, click here.

Mystic Bowie

Roundup: Still Waiting, Much More


There is hope! This was the scene at the Greens Farms railroad station staging area this morning. Fingers crossed …

(Photo/Robert Cornfield)


Meanwhile, work began on the badly damaged main transformer in Weston, on White Birch Lane.

(Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)


And once again, the Westport Library’s free WiFi had plenty of takers:

(Photo/Samuel Wang)


Brandon Malin — the very sharp teenager who contributes great drone photos and more to “06880” — checks in with NBC CT chief meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan’s list of Connecticut’s 5 worst storms (in terms of Eversource outages):

1: October snowstorm (803,000 outages)
2: Tropical storm Irene (671,000 outages)
3: Tropical storm Isaias (600,000+ outages)
4: Hurricane Gloria (506,000 outages)
5: Hurricane Sandy (497,000 outages).

Who knew that 2 tropical storms and a snowstorm could do more damage than a hurricane?

Saugatuck Avenue (Photo/Scott Singer)


David Meth calls this scene at the corner of Main Street and Cross Highway “a disaster waiting to happen.” I call it “morning in Westport.”


And no, it’s not just you. Optimum/Altice’s website was down this morning, with an internal server issue.

A customer service representative cheerfully suggested I check back “every hour or so. Or in 24 or 48 hours.”

Fortunately, it was back up later this morning. These days, little things mean a lot.


The CARES concert — featuring an all-star lineup of local talent — has been postponed. The new date is Sunday, August 16, at 7:30 p.m. Click here for details.

Max Herman, concert mastermind


And finally .., of course:

Pics Of The Day #1206

Jesup Green was the place to be today, post-Isaias …

… or the library steps …

… for internet access, hanging out, or even a ukulele concert (Photos/Miggs Burroughs)

Roundup #2

With so many traffic lights out around town, a reminder: Treat all intersections as 4-way stops. Then proceed by the normal rules (cars go in order) — slowly and carefully.

Where it works, it’s great. Traffic may even be smoother than normal. Where it doesn’t (cars flying past Myrtle and Imperial Avenue on the Post Road), it’s a disaster waiting to happen.


The Westport Library is closed tomorrow (Thursday). However, their WiFi reaches Jesup Green, and the Levitt Pavilion parking lot. Our library is more powerful than ever!

 


Unverified: Don Memo (the former Jesup Hall, next to Restoration Hardware) is open now, for eat-in or takeout, until 9 p.m. However, their phones are not working. Head there, and take your chances!

Unsung Hero #154

In late March — right after COVID-19 struck — there was a shortage of masks and personal protective gear for first responders.

The Westport Library collaborated with partner MakerSpaces in the region — Fairfield County Makers Guild in Norwalk; Make Haven in New Haven; Danbury Hacker Space — to develop face shields for medical workers in hospitals.

Westport’s effort was led by Mike Altis. He’s worked part-time in the MakerSpace since its inception 8 years ago.

Michael Altis

Each Maker Space printed separate pieces of the face shields. Mike was responsible for printing the headband pieces on the library’s 2 best 3D printers, along with other critical connective pieces.

So far, the team of MakerSpaces has distributed 310 face shields and masks. The primary beneficiary is medical personnel at Norwalk Hospital.

“Mike really is an unsung hero,” says Westport Library executive director Bill Harmer.

“He’s never once bragged about his role in this effort, or called attention to himself. He’s a role model for others. He is dependable, professional, and puts service above self. He makes things happen. I’m proud to have him on my staff.”

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email nominations: dwoog@optonline.net)

“06880” Opens Satellite Office

(Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)

Friday Flashback #203

The Westport Library is slowly reopening. The newly transformed building includes a spectacular children’s section, filled with books, games, and a killer view of the Saugatuck River.

Generations of Westporters still remember the original library, across the Post Road where the PopT’Art gallery, Freshii and Starbucks are now.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

The children’s library was on the second floor. It was probably large and well-stocked for its time. It had a very particular smell and sound.

Generations of boys and girls raced up the loudly clanging stairs for reading times, other programs, and to check out the latest kids’ books.

Not many photos were taken of those days, but Jean Whitehead posted this one on social media:

Do you have a favorite Westport Library memory, from the old building? Click “Comments” below.

Roundup: WTF; Reopening; Historic Homes; More


How you gonna keep ’em away from the farm?

Wakeman Farm Town announces a slew of interesting events.

A “Rockin’ Lawn Party” (Wednesday, August 5, 6 p.m.) includes live music and a customized picnic box by Terrain Cafe. Tickets ($80 for 2; ages 21+ only) include a donation to WTF. BYOB (blankets — or chairs — and beverages). Click here to order.

An outdoor movie — “The Pollinators” — is set for Friday, August 7 (gates open at 7:30 p.m., film at 8:30). The filmmakers will be on hand, and WTF hopes to sell honey from their hives. The ticket price of $15 includes fresh popcorn from Sport Hill Farm; wood-fired pizza is available to order. Click here to order.

Noted chef and caterer Alison Milwe Grace celebrates summer’s bounty with a 4-course farm feast on Tuesday, August 25. The $90 ticket includes a WTF donation. Click here to order.

To learn more about WTF — including an online workshop on CBD (Monday, August 3), click here.


Tomorrow’s ReOpen Westport Advisory Team meeting welcomes a special guest.

David Lehman — commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development — joins the discussion, and answers questions from the community.

The Thursday, July 30 virtual event begins at 11 a.m. The meeting will be live streamed on www.westportct.gov, and broadcast on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Residents may email questions prior to the meeting  (reopenteam@westportct.gov).

Lehman will provide an update on modified rules for business sectors, and the decision to delay Phase 3 of reopening.


Your house may be old. It can also be famous.

The Westport Historic District Commission  is seeking nominations for its annual Westport Preservation Awards. Properties should show:

  • Rehabilitation and Adaptive Re-use: making a property compatible for new use by preserving features that convey historic, cultural, or architectural values.
  • Restoration: returning a property to its form at a particular period of time.
  • Reconstruction: new construction depicting the original form, features and details of the non-surviving historic structure.
  • Special recognition of individuals or organizations that advance the cause of historic preservation.

A structure must be at least 50 years old, and fit at least one of these criteria:

  • designed by a significant architect
  • the property is associated with a significant event or person;
  • the structure is indicative of a significant architectural style or period.

Nominations can be made by private residents, not-for-profits, commercial firms, and government institutions and officials. Please include photos and a brief narrative describing why the property or person deserves an award. Nominations should be emailed to rwmailbox@aol.com, by August 14.

A 2018 Preservation Award winner, at 75 Kings Highway North.


Next up in the Westport Library’s Camp Explore program: science TV host Emily Calandrelli.

The “Bill Nye Saves the World” and “Xploration Outer Space” star will be online this Monday (August 3, 4 p.m.).

Calandrelli makes science-related topics easily understandable, for audiences ranging from from Google, Pixar, MIT and CERN to colleges and schools around the country. Her topics include science communication, space exploration and women in STEM.

Click here to register for the Camp Explore event.


And finally … one of the best in our parade of classic summer songs.

Roundup: Texting; Triking; More


Each week, the Westport Police Department writes tickets for driving while using cell phones.

It’s against the law. Distracted driving can cost you from $150 to $1,000.

To help you avoid those fines, the WPD has partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraiton’s “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” effort. Throughout August, the campaign will help enforcement efforts to catch distracted, texting drivers.

The WPD says: Pull off the road safely to text. Or let your passenger text. And don’t forget to activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature. Or just put your phone in your trunk, glove box or back seat!


The pandemic can’t keep David Bibbey down. Or in the studio.

The Westport Library media studio producer brought his Van Raam trike to down, and rode around. Guided by Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, he set out to discover how the town is reopening.

Click here for interviews with 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker, Westport Downtown Merchants Association head Randy Herbertson, artists Miggs and Trace Burroughs, and folks at Savannah Bee Company, Fleet Feet, Walrus Alley and New England Hemp Farm.

David Bibbey


And finally … Hurricane Hanna hit the southern Gulf Coast this weekend. The area was already reeling from the coronavirus. Here’s to all our friends in that big, wonderful state.

 

Roundup: Starbucks; State Regulations; Fine Arts Festival; Townee T-shirts; More


Westporters gathered at Starbucks’ downtown location this morning, to show support for a popular employee. He’s been the target of racial harassment and stalking by a customer,

After a firestorm on social media, Starbucks has finally banned the customer from its property.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce reports:

While the state has paused its Phase 3 reopening, officials have made updates to  industry-specific rules.

The updates provide more specific guidance, and new recommendations for a broad range of sectors. Highlights include new rules for Indoor Recreation; expanded guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Events.

Changes impacting  Offices, Personal Services, Hair Salons & Barbershops,  Retail, Libraries, etc. include:

    • Non-essential businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.
    • In the event an employee tests positive for COVID-19, it is recommended the business implement a 24-hour passive decontamination and follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

Changes impacting restaurants include:

      • Servers are no longer required to wear gloves.
      • Indoor performances are now allowed (with the exception of musical vocalists).

In addition, hotels are now permitted to provide non-essential services and amenities (valets, ice machines, etc.).


First, the downtown Fine Arts Festival was moved from always-hot July to much more pleasurable late May. Then the pandemic pushed it back to fall.

Now the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has reluctantly announced its cancellation. The next festival — with hundreds of artists, plus music, food, kids’ activities and more — is set for Memorial Day weekend of 2021 (May 29 – 30.

But you can still enjoy this year’s show. Click here for links to over 175 juried fine artists who would have attended, and will be welcomed back next year.

A scene from last year’s Fine Arts Festival.


Back in 2017, “06880” ran a story on Townee. The new company produced authentic, Westport-inspired t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more.

This summer they’ve added hand-created tie-dye clothing. “It’s the perfect way to show town spirit and positivity,” say Nick Prior and Theo Vergakis. They’re rising juniors at Staples High School — and they’ll deliver your goods personally.

They also offer tie-dye workshops at small home camps in town. Kids pick their styles, then learn how to tie-dye. The cost is just $20.

For more information, click here or email nickprior04@gmail.com

Theo Vergakis, Nick Prior and Townee tie-dyed tees.


Last night, Westport Public Schools officials presented 3 options for reopening to the Board of Education.

Today at 5 p.m., Westport Magazine’s Dave Briggs interviews Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas, on Instagram Live. The former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor will ask about that topic, and other important issues.

Search for @westportmagazine on Instagram to hear the interview. Questions can be submitted live (@westportmagazine), or beforehand (@davebriggstv).


The other day, “06880” gave a shout-out to 2020 Connecticut Entrepreneur Award winners Sarah Deren of Experience Camps, Remarkable STEAM and Mark Mathias.

There’s another local honoree (with an asterisk).

FinTron invest placed first in the Venture (Pre-Revenue) category. Their office is on Franklin Street. But they moved from Fairfield in the beginning of March, so that town gets credit for them in the list of winners.

No problem. From here on, FinTron is ours.


Partly cloudy skies are predicted for this weekend. Temperatures will be in the 80s — well below last weekend’s sizzling weather.

No matter what the weather, Westport’s Parks & Recreation staff is ready to welcome beachgoers. They manage the crowds with efficiency and energy.

And smiles — even if you can’t see them, behind their masks!


The Westport Library Book Sale is not accepting any more donations this week. The donation shed is full. Next chance: next Thursday.


And finally … what better way to celebrate the end of another week than with this great put-on-a-smile-on-your-face song? One more reason to love Scotland!