Category Archives: Local business

Strolling Along

It’s the magic of the holiday season.

Moments before the 2nd annual Holiday Stroll yesterday, the weather cleared.

Hundreds of Westporters of all ages — including tons of kids — headed downtown.

A small part of the large crowd. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

They met Santa, dropped off letters to him, and gave gifts for the PAL toy drive. They had their faces painted, and got animal balloons.

11-year-old Owen Hill (blue jacket) provided animal balloons for dozens of even younger kids. (Photo/Dan Woog)

They were serenated by Staples High School’s Orphenians, and Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues. They wandered all around downtown too, joining in carols led by professional singer Nick Calabrese (plus 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker).

Nick Calabrese leads carolers. No, the teenagers are not checking their notifications. They’re reading the lyrics to holiday songs. (Photo/Dan Woog)

They nibbled free food and drank hot chocolate at a dozen restaurants, and snagged giveaways and discounts at a few dozen shops.

Garlic knots at Joe’s Pizza! (Photo/Dan Woog)

It was a magical evening. Thanks to the Westport Downtown Association, which partnered with “06880” for the event.

And to the weather gods, who delivered big time when we needed it most.

Staples Orphenians, directed by Luke Rosenberg, offered wonderful music … (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

… and the crowd grew larger with every song. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Both 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and a young constituent were decked out in blinking lights. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Aarti Khosla offered hot chocolate at her Le Rouge chocolatier. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Nomade handed out candied almonds in bamboo cones — and chocolate chip cookies. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The main tent was outside Cold Fusion. There were plenty of treats inside too. (Photo/Dan Woog)

More hot chocolate, at Manna Toast. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Savvy + Grace put out holiday treats. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

WEST owner Kitt Shapiro drew crowds with a $150 gift card raffle. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Some kids mailed letters to Santa in the Savvy + Grace mailbox … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and some parents handed them directly to “Santa.” (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Santa greeted youngsters, who were excited … (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

… and serious … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and who photo-bombed him. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Santa was also popular with Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues, after they sang. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Westport PAL collected gifts for kids in need. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Staples freshman Ava Carter and friend Nelly Kaminski painted dozens of young faces. (Photo/Jen Cirino)

The 2nd annual Holiday Stroll was sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association. We’re already getting ready for next year’s! (Photo/Dan Woog)

(If you enjoyed last night’s Holiday Stroll, please support “06880.” Click here — and thank you!)

 

Longevity Westport: Scanning Your Fitness Needs

I’ll live to be 101.

That’s not idle speculation. It’s the informed prediction of Longevity Westport.

You may not have heard of the place. It’s in the former Shoreline Pharmacy space, near Shake Shack and Fjord Fisheries, across from Home Goods near the Southport line.

Since opening last year, they haven’t done much promotion. They never had a ribbon-cutting.

Longevity, on the Post Road in Westport.

But people find them. And because they offer something no one else does — for many miles around — they draw clients from as far as New York.

It’s not easy to explain what Longevity does. It is, however, easy to get caught in their technical fitness training weeds.

But let me try.

Longevity offers 3 types of testing. Non-invasive, quick — but highly sophisticated — they measure things like muscle mass, bone density, metabolism, cardiovascular health, oxygen consumption and more.

On a screen and with color printouts, you can see (with Longevity’s expert help) things like skeletal strength, and where and how your muscle and fat is distributed inside your body.

For example, I have less fat and more muscle on my left side than my right, even though I’m right-handed. I’m guessing that’s because of how I breathe during my daily, hour-long swims. (That regimen may be part of why Longevity determines I’ll live past the century mark.)

Not to brag or anything, but I got an A+ on my test. Look at all that green!

Detailed knowledge like that helps you (or your personal trainer) plan workouts. No more guesswork (“Looks like you could do a bit more with your abs”).

It may also help with financial planning. If I’m going to live to be 101, I can’t spend too much on gifts this holiday season, right?

One of the 3 tests — DEXA — is the reason Simon Bland decided to open Longevity. A Greenwich CrossFit athlete, he wanted some baseline measurements. The nearest DEXA testing was an hour away.

Fairfield County is filled with fitness enthusiasts. Whether they’re triathletes or folks fitting in an hour workout before or after work; older men and women wanting to live healthily (and to 101), or teenagers dreaming of scholarships for soccer, football, baseball or softball, he realized they could benefit from knowing as much as possible about their muscle, fat and bones.

A body mass index test tells very little. A DEXA scan — with over 400 points of measurement — is much more helpful.

Inside Longevity. The DEXA scan machine is at left.

It doesn’t hurt that DEXA can also provide early warning detection for coronary artery disease, and risks of diabetes, osteoporosis and hormone imbalance.

It sounds expensive. It isn’t. Longevity charges $149 for one test, $275 for two, $399 for three.

The other tests are VO2 max and Resting Metabolic Rate. Those can be used to determine exact caloric burn, maximum oxygen usage, and target heart rate. For more details — diving deep in the weeds — ask Longevity.

Much of the science went over my head. But I was impressed with the printouts, and the depth of the analysis.

So was Ryan Smith. The ESPN anchor was leaving as I arrived. He’d just been tested.

An avid runner, he — like the owner Bland, a couple of years earlier — had been looking for a convenient place for a DEXA scan.

Yet even though Longevity has been open for nearly 2 years, and is just a mile or so from Smith’s home, until recently he had no idea it was here.

Welcome to Westport, Longevity. Long may you thrive.

I will celebrate my 101st birthday there.

(For more information on Longevity Westport, click here.)

(I will live to be 101. But to ensure “06880”‘s continued health, please consider a contribution. Click here to support. Thank you!)

Roundup: Power Lines, Steve Lillywhite, OMG …

Yesterday’s rains gave way to last night’s winds.

Several trees came down, all over town. Jo Shields reports says that one, on North Avenue south of Charcoal Hill, took down power lines.

A Fire Department truck waited an hour and a half for Eversource crews to arrive. (She was told they were working on Newtown Turnpike lines.)

Power lines down on North Avenue. (Photo/Jo Shields)

Traffic was diverted, but turning around was not easy on the northern curve. It was especially tough for an 18-wheeler hauling vintage cars. It had to back down North Avenue for a third of a mile. Meanwhile, cars tried to get around it — despite the closed road ahead.

Jo directed traffic by Coleytown Elementary School, helping the truck make it down the road.

An 18-wheeler backed carefully down North Avenue, until it reached Easton Road (shown here). (Photo/Jo Shields)

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Keith Richards may not wander over from Weston.

But the Westport Library’s 2023 VersoFest will have a strong Rolling Stones presence. Record producer Steve Lillywhite — whose credits include not only “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band ever,” but also U2, the Dave Matthew Band, Phish, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, the Psychedelic Furs, XTC, Morrissey, the Pogues, Guster, the Killers and more — has just been signed as a headliner.

Last spring’s inaugural VersoFest was a smash. The 2nd annual music and media conference and festival will draw even more media creators, artists and fans to the Trefz Forum, and meeting rooms throughout the Library.

Lillywhite’s April 1 appearance will include a conversation with Chris Frantz, the Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club drummer, and a Sturges Highway resident.

Lillywhite began as a staff producer with Island Records. With great success in pioneering recording ethos and technique (and popular sales), Lillywhite was made a Commander of the Order of The British Empire for his contributions to music in 2012.

VersoFest is set for March 30-April 2. Many more artists and contributors will be announced soon.

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The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the November 24-30 period.

Four people were detained in custody. One was charged with possession of child pornography; one with failure to appear; one with both operating a motor vehicle under suspension and failure to keep plates readable, and a fourth with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, operating a motor vehicle under suspension, operating an unregistered vehicle, and improper stopping or turning.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 8
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 6
  • Misuse of plates: 4
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 3
  • Stop sign violation: 3
  • Insurance fails to meet minimum requirements: 2
  • Speeding: 1
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic control signal: 1
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation 1
  • Driving with an out-of-state license after 30 days: 1.

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Historical plaques from the Westport Museum for History & Culture honor the heritage of over 470 local  homes.

The latest is for the longest known continuously operating store.

Old Mill Grocery & Deli has served the neighborhood (and beyond) since 1919, when it was built by Harry F. Sherwood. He hired Sylvester and Florence Young to operate it; in 1927, they bought from him.

In 1929, the Youngs sold ½ interest in the store to Kenneth Montgomery. Both families operated the market until 1937, when the Youngs sold their half interest to Mabel Montgomery.

She died in 1960; he son Kenneth ran the store until his death in 1985. The next year, it was transferred to Old Mill Associates. Several owners followed, and the name changed to Elvira’s and then Joey’s by the Shore. The current owner — as of last year — is Soundview Empowerment Alliance (SEA) Inc.

Bob Weingarten (far right), house historian and plaque coordinator at the Westport Museum for History & Culture, presents the sign to founding members of the non-profit that rescued and preserved the community market. From left: Chris Tait, Tom Febbraio, Jim Hood, Emil Zobl, Ian Warburg. In front: Koda.

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One spot opens; another closes.

Word on the (Post Road) street is that the last day for Panera is December 6.

The sandwich/soup/salad space near Southport has been rumored to be closed permanently before — during the pandemic. But it recently was remodeled.

The Panera at the other end of town — by the Norwalk line — closed in December 2016.

The Panera Bread near the Southport line.

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Sure, it’s just the first day of December. But we’ll be hard pressed to find decorations any day the rest of this month that top these, at 134 Birch Hill Road in Weston:

(Photo/Richard Ellis)

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Westport will be well represented at “Layers Revealed” — the new exhibit at Norwalk Art Space.

Photographer Jerri Graham and artist Melissa Newman are in the show, which explores “all of life’s intricacies and complexities.”

“Slowly, the layers of our lives are revealed and once they are, we fully come through,” Graham says. Through “each frame of the camera,” she aims to highlight “a fraction of a second of a life that will be lived for a time unknown. Within these fractionated layers, we find our lives and ourselves.”

“Layers Revealed” encourages viewers to explore the many cycles and layers of humanity, nature, beauty, creation and decay.

At the opening reception December 15 (6 to 8 p.m, 455 West Avenue, Norwalk), Graham will take portrait photos at a pop-up space.

She’ll also host 3 portrait photo sessions (December 18, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.; January 8 (10 a.m. to noon) and January 15 (noon to 2:30 p.m.). Book sessions at 203-252-2840; donations are accepted. Students ages 13 to 18 who are interested in helping Graham (and learning about lighting, composition and more) can apply here.

On January 15 (3 p.m.), Graham will give a talk. On January 28 (11 a.m.), Newman — who is also a vocalist — will join guitarist Tony
Lombardozzi for a jazz brunch performance at The Norwalk Art Space.

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Also nearby: The Mark Twain Library Art Show celebrates its 50th — that is, golden — anniversary with an event about gold.

“Gleam, Gossip & Gold: Love and Loss in American Art” is the title of the December 8 (7:30 p.m., in-person and Zoom) presentation. Westport art Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank will discuss the “untold dramas behind American art objects that were crafted in the precious metal.”

Frank is the former chief curator at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, and senior associate curator of American paintings and sculpture at the Yale University Art Gallery. Her Ph.D. in the history of art is from Yale.

Click here to register, and for more information.

Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank

Another Westport connection with the Mark Twain Art Show (December 3-11): Artist (and former teacher) Werner Liepolt has had a piece (“Dune Restoration #4) juried in.

It was originally shown in the “06880” online art gallery.

Untitled (Werner Liepolt)

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Meanwhile, seen last night on Main Street:

It’s unclear if the driver 1) never knew what he (or she) had done, and/or 2) didn’t care.

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Yesterday’s storm has moved on. Sunrises like the one Chuck Davis saw last week — today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — are back.

(Photo/Chuck Davis)

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And finally … Christine McVie — Fleeetwood Mac’s noted singer/songwriter/  keyboardist — died yesterday. She was 79, and had been in ill health. Click here for a full obituary.

(Say you love “06880” with a donation! Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Saturday’s Stroll To Bring Carols, Giveaways (And Deals) Downtown

Just 2 shopping days remain before the 2nd annual Holiday Stroll.

Which is fine. The Stroll — on Saturday, December 3 (5 to 7 p.m.) — is where you can take care of all your holiday shopping.

Plus: Where your kids can meet Santa, enjoy face painting and get balloon animals.

All with live caroling (you can join the singers!), and lots of free food nibbles and hot chocolate (some happy hour drink prices too).

The Holiday Stroll — co-sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association — covers a wide swath. The main tent will be on Main Street (in front of Cold Fusion).

Over 40 stores and restaurants have joined in, from Sconset Square to the Post Road, Church Lane and across the bridge to the west bank of the river too.

Highlights include Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues (5 p.m.), and the Staples High School Orphenians at 6:30.

Staples’ Orphenians return to the Holiday Stroll. New this year: Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues, and professional singers leading carolers (starting at Sconset Square at 5).

There’s more! Professional singers (and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker) will start at 5 p.m., at Casa Me (the new Sconset Square restaurant). Everyone is invited to tag along (and sing), as the group makes it way up the Post Road and onto Main Street.

All week long, retailers and dining spots have added their names to the Stroll Here’s the latest list of participants, and what they offer:

    • Artistex Salon & Spa: Oribe gift box $125 — choose any 3 Oribe products, plus free service card
    • Awesome Toys & Gifts: $10 gift card to first 100 kids
    • Bartaco: Hot chocolate on their patio
    • Basso: 15% discount to all diners mentioning the Stroll
    • Black Bear Wines & Spirits: 15% off all wines
    • Blossom + Stem: Complimentary mini-bouquets, and a chance to win a fresh holiday prize
    • Bobbles & Lace: Glass of wine & Bobbles Bucks ($$$ off your purchase)
    • Bridgewater Chocolates: Complimentary chocolate tastings and hot chocolate
    • Brooks Brothers: The entire store is 30% off all weekend
    • Capuli: Giving out churros
  • Capuli’s churros are some of the many restaurant treats. Nearby Post Road neighbors like Jeera Thai and WEST are also joining the Stroll.

    • Chocolatieree: toasted peppermint s’mores
    • Cold Fusion Gelato: Handing out wrapped chocolates
    • Don Memo: Giving out festive adult and children’s beverages
    • Fred: Complimentary holiday treats
    • Jeera Thai: 20% off on takeout meals
    • Joe’s Pizza: Garlic knots
    • Kerri Rosenthal: 15% off read-to-wear and accessories
    • La Fenice: Buy 1 regular coffee, get 1 free
    • Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates: Free hot chocolate
    • Lift Wellness Group: Discount on bundled psychotherapy and nutrition services; gift cards with 10% discount
    • Lux Bond & Green: Refreshments and surprises
    • Manna Toast: Hot chocolate
    • Megan’s Martha’s Vineyard Boutique: 20% off, and a giveaway bundleMoxie Salon & Beauty  Bar: Spin The Wheel to Win! 20% off hair extensions; $20 off voucher; $25, $50, $75, $100, $200 gift certificates; complimentary spray tan or blowout; $50 off Balayyage or Ombre; complimentary makeup application, girls hair tinsel and/or braids
    • Nomade: Candied almonds in bamboo cone, and cookies
    • Noya Jewelry: Hot holiday drinks
    • Rye Ridge Deli: Free hot chocolate, tea, coffee
    • Savvy + Grace: Holiday treat, and mailbox for kids to drop off letters to Santa (Parents: include a stamped, addressed envelope, and Santa will write back!)
  • Kids can drop off letters to Santa at Savvy + Grace. With a stamped, addressed envelope, he’ll write back. Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

    • Scout & Molly’s: 20% off purchase, light snacks
    • Sorelle Gallery: Gift boxes with discounts from 5 to 15% for any Holiday Collection item; light festive refreshments (prosecco, candy canes, sparkling water, etc.)
    • Sundance: 30% off apparel with a $150 purchase
    • The Cashmere Sale of Westport: Holiday candy
    • The Tailored Home & Studio Café: Complimentary Santa’s cookies and hot chocolate; 50% off sale on all pillows
    • The Toy Post: A small toy for each child
    • Tiffany: Complimentary standard engraving on new purchases
    • ‘Upnorth: 20% off, and a giveaway
    • Vuori: 20% off purchases
    • WEST: Raffle for $150 gift card (no purchase necessary); winner drawn at 7:30 p.m.
    • Walrus Alley: Happy hour prices for food and drinks
    • Westport Book Shop: Free book, and a coupon for a future visit
    • Winfield Street Street Coffee: Hot cocoa and cruffins (pecan cinnamon rolls with a croissant dough)
    • Yoga45: Participation in a yoga event.

The event is all about giving back, too. A box will be set up for donations for the Westport PAL holiday toy drive. Everyone is invited to bring an unwrapped, new gift (or two!).

See you Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.,  at the Stroll! (For more information, click here.)

 

Roundup: Popup Bagels, Spirited & Small Town Movies, Staples Football …

Popup Bagels — the Westport-based company that has taken the tri-state area by storm (including several out-of-the-suburbs-and-into-the-city awards at Brooklyn BagelFest) — has some eye-popping news.

They just closed on a second round of (poppy) seed funding. Founder and CEO Adam Goldberg calls it “a few million dollars — more than a couple.” That’s on top of about $250,000 last year.

The most recent funding was led by film producer John Davis. Other investors include actors Patrick Schwarzenegger and Paul Rudd; swimmer Michael Phelps, and NFL players JJ and TJ Watt, and Michael Strahan.

The company will now hire a team to examine expansion ideas, including more locations in the New York area (and possibly adding Los Angeles). They’ll also add production capability.

Click here for the full story, from Restaurant Business.

Adam Goldberg, with his Brooklyn BagelFest awards.

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Spirited” — the Christmas-themed musical comedy retelling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” — has opened to great reviews. It’s in theaters, and streaming on Apple TV.

The music-writing team includes 2003 Staples High School graduate Justin Paul, and his songwriting partner Benj Pasek (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”).

Justin — also credited as an executive producer — said he had “a blast” working on the score during the pandemic, on Zoom.

In this quick, intriguing interview below, he provides a bit of the back story:

(Hat tip: Julie Whamond)

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Speaking of cinema: “Small Town Movie” is making its way to distribution.

And that “small town” is Westport.

Jarret Liotta — a Staples High School graduate, now a journalist and writer — filmed the dark satire that tries to make sense (“or non-sense”) of racism, gun violence and modern cancel culture in an “average, upper middle class, affluent Connecticut town.”

The timely script will make audiences laugh. “Or furious, depending on their mood that day,” Jarret says.

His goal is to “poke fun at everyone equally, regardless of their social or political views. Hopefully it provides a minor epiphany for everyone — about themselves and the comical world in which we live.

“If Westporters enjoyed my smarmy columns and editorial writing in the past, they’ll probably adore this flick,” Jarret — former editor of Westport Journal — adds.

“If they hated them, this will help them hate me even more.”

The film includes original music by Staples grads Tom Shaner and Margot Liotta.

Jarret plans a screening in Westport after the holidays. Then, he hopes, it will start getting attention from film festivals.

For more information, click here.

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The Staples football team’s quest for a state tournament semifinal berth fell a few agonizing inches short last night.

The Wreckers — seeded 4th in the “LL” (extra large schools) division — dropped a 23-22 heartbreaker to #5 Fairfield Prep, at Paul Lane Field.

The game came down to the final seconds. With no timeouts left, Staples junior quarterback Caleb Smith brought his team 77 yards in the final 2:22. A pass into the end zone was broken up with 3 seconds to go. A final 29-yard field goal attempt was just wide.

Congratulations to coach Adam Behrends and his squad for an excellent 9-2 season. This was the Wreckers’ first playoff game in 7 years.

Quarterback Caleb Smith. (Photo/John Nash courtesy of The Ruden Report)

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WestportMoms’ Holiday Shopping Event always draws a huge crowd to the Westport Country Playhouse. Vendors offer nearly everything shoppers need to complete their gift list.

This year, it’s moving inside, to the Playhouse barn. (Some tables will be outside too). It’s set for this Friday (December 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Warm drinks will be provided. Those WestportMoms think of everything.

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Westporters raveled to Guatemala this month to help expand a local English academy, and also create healthy cooking stoves for local families.

Led by Howard Greene, chair of the non-profit Friends of BEA, the group spent a week building 2 middle school classrooms, painting the exterior, erecting a fence, and working in homes to build energy-efficient and properly ventilated cooking stoves. They also met students, and observed classes.

Among the volunteers: Howard and Joyce Greene, Jeff and Nancy Plotkin, Dan and Ivy Guetta, Robert and Heidi Flicker, Tony and Amy Riggio, Steve and julie Lewine, and Mark Mathias.

The Guatemala group.

Balanya English Academy provides high quality, English-based education, and supportive services to students, their families and the local community.  The goal is to prepare graduates to work in an increasingly globalized world.

For more information, click here or email hgreene@balanyaenglishacademy.org. Check out the drone video below too, shot by Mark Mathias:

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Longtime Westport resident Dr. Paul Schulman died peacefully in his sleep last month, doing what he and his late wife Susan loved: traveling overseas. He was 89 years old.

He was the highly respected chief of hematology and oncology at Norwalk Hospital. He also served at both Yale New Haven Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.

Paul was born in New York, graduated from Columbia College and SUNY Medical School, and served in the US Air Force.

After he and Susan married in 1965 they moved to Westport, and purchased a home on Twin Oaks Lane in 1968 in anticipation of a family. They raised Heidi and Bruce, both of whom graduated from Staples High School.

Paul coached Little League baseball and softball. He played tennis with friends, enjoyed Westport Pizzeria, and dropped in at Harvey’s Liquor Locker and Klein’s (to purchase action thrillers). Paul and Susan spent many weekend nights dining at Mario’s.

He and Susan shared a passion for art and antiques, especially clocks, which he collected and wound every Sunday. Their collections were fueled by their intrepid travel. Paul and Susan were among early visitors to Antarctica, Burma (now Myanmar), China, and New Guinea, among many other destinations.

After spending nearly 40 years in Westport, Paul and Susan retired to South Carolina and Marbella, Spain. After Susan died in 2016 Paul moved into Fox Hill Residences in Bethesda, Maryland, near where his son lives with his family.

Paul was an active member of the Fox Hill community, participating in the quarterly “radio show,” passing evenings at his end stool at the bar, and watching his grandsons in sports and school activities. He became dear friends with the late Rhoda Herman. Together they enjoyed weekends at her country home in Leesburg, Virginia.

Paul is survived by his children Bruce (Frazier) and Heidi Greenwald (Brad), and 5 grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a memorial page at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

A service to celebrate his life will be held in Bethesda in January. Email Bruce (bschulman@hotmail.com) for details.

Dr. Paul Schulman

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Whether you’re a buck — or you’re paying big bucks for a sticker — it can be tough finding a spot at the Greens Farms train station.

David Hyman spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene yesterday afternoon.

(Photo/David Hyman)

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And finally … Louise Tobin died Saturday in Texas. She was 104.

In 1939, the vocalist with Benny Goodman’s orchestra was ready for national fame. But her husband — bandleader/trumpeter Harry James — had her put her career on hold, to further his own career.

They divorced 4 years later. She raised 2 sons, and was forgotten. But her career was jump started years later in New Orleans, when Al Hirt recognized her and invited her on stage.

Click here for her full, fascinating obituary.

(Louise Tobin may have been forgotten. Please don’t forget “06880.” Just click here, to help support your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: Tree Lightings, World Cup, Staples Football …

‘Tis the season to be … tree-lighting.

Twin ceremonies take place this week.

The “official” town event is Thursday (December 1, 5 p.m., Town Hall). The evergreen by Myrtle Avenue will glow, and Staples High School’s Orphenians will sing.

The next night (Friday, December 2, 4:30 p.m.), it’s Wakeman Town Farm’s turn. This one features treats from The Porch, hot chocolate from The Granola Bar, a bonfire and local musicians.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker does the honors at both. She’ll be joined at WTF by Wakeman family member Bill Constantino.

The Christmas tree at Town Hall, following a lighting ceremony.

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The huge Trefz Forum screen at the Westport Library is not just for author talks and music concerts.

Today (Tuesday) at 2 p.m., they’ll show the equally huge US-Iran World Cup first round match.

How huge? If we win, we advance to the round of 16. If we tie or lose, we’re out.

You don’t need to be a soccer fan to enjoy this one. Everyone is welcome.

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Are you a fan of the other football, but didn’t get a chance to see the Staples High School football team’s dramatic 39-38 win over archrival Greenwich on Thanksgiving Day?

Click below, for a very cool highlight video. It was produced and edited by senior Daniel Burgin, with video shot by junior Charlie Scott.

The win vaulted the Wreckers into tonight’s state “LL” quarterfinal playoff game against Fairfield Prep (6:30 p.m., Staples’ Paul Lane Field). It’s the blue-and-whites’ first post-season appearance in 7 years.

Can’t make that one either? Click here for the livestream.

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“Fine jewelry” and “rescue animals” may never have appeared in the same sentence.

Thanks to JL Rocks, they do now.

The high-end Post Road East retailer partnered with designer Peggy Reiner, for a new collection of whimsical animal-inspired pieces. Proceeds benefit PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) in Norwalk and 4LittlePaws rescue in Southport.

“It’s a great gift that gives back to pets in need,” says JL Rocks founder/owner Jamie Camche. “Animals have given us so much. We want to give back to them.”

The collection features 3 diamond-studded designs: petite 14K gold pawprint earrings, 14K gold chains with diamond pave dog bone, and paw charms. It’s  available at JL Rocks’ Westport and Greenwich stores, and online.

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Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?” debuted on Netflix this month. The docuseries is about the Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. court case — you know, the one where the college kid thought he found a loophole in a Pepsi promotion, and sued them to win a fighter plane. Reviews were good.

The “06880” connection: 2007 Staples High School graduate Nick Boak is an executive producer.

Spoiler alert: The guy never got his jet. (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

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Face painter alert!

We need a face painter for this weekend’s Holiday Stroll (Saturday, December 3, 5 to 7 p.m., Main Street and environs).

If you (or your daughter or son) are available to help with this great kids’ activity, please email 06880blog@gmail.com.

For more details on the Holiday Stroll — co-sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association — including the nearly 40 participating retailers and restaurants — click here.

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The weekend weather report is good. But Bedford Middle School will be “Frozen.”

On December 2, 3 and 4, Bedford Acting Group takes the stage in “Frozen Jr.”

The 7th and 8th grade actors were toddlers when the movie hit theaters in 2013 (!),  Yet they know its characters and songs well. At last, they can perform it.

The curtain rises Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (3 and 7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). Click here for the few remaining tickets.

The Bedford Acting Group cast and crew of “Frozen Jr.”

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What has the Greens Farms Garden Club been up to?

Every year they design and maintain the Atrium Garden at Earthplace in Westport, and the Victorian Cottage on Fairfield’s Town Green.

They provide horticultural therapy events at STAR in Norwalk, and make flower arrangements for the Pequot Library Art Show.

The Greens Farms Garden Club also manages 3 “Growing for Good” gardens:  Prospect Garden and Wakeman Town Farm in Westport, and St. Timothy’s Church Garden in Fairfield.

They were planted and cared for throughout spring, summer and fall, with over 180 buckets of fresh organic produce harvested and donated to help with food insecurity at Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center in Bridgeport.

A highlight of the year came at the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut 93rd annual awards luncheon. Wynn Herrmann — a 30-year veteran — was recognized for Civic Development. Dina Schmidt and Jude earned Certificates of Merit for the club’s monthly newsletters and website, respectively.

For more information about the Greens Farms Garden Club, including events and membership, click here.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (seated, from left): Chris Supernaw, Wynn Herrmann, Judy Reynolds, Ann Watkins. Standing: Kate Carroll, president Kathy Mitchell, Carol Shear, Jude Smith, vice president Maybette Waldron.

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Fewer than 5% of rainbows occur in the morning (according to Google). And the ones that do are most often seen in summer (ditto).

But yesterday — driving to work on the Merritt Parkway — this is what Larry Bartimer saw:

(Photo/Larry Bartimer)

We could probably blame the same culprit as everything else. (No, not Joe Biden — climate change.)

Nah. Just chill, and enjoy this very rare late November scene.

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Melissa Newman headlines a cool evening of hot jazz this Thursday, at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

Westport’s own vocal star is joined for Jazz at the Post by guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Bobby Leonard,

There are 2 shows: 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Melissa Newman

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“A Charlie Brown Christmas” — Vince Guaraldi’s timeless, feel-good music — gets the jazz treatment on Saturday (December 3).

The Heather Pierson Trio comes to the Westport Unitarian Church’s Voices Café at 4 p.m., for an in-person and livestreamed holiday concert.

Show-goers can bring snacks and beverages. Groups of 4 or more can reserve tables. For more information and tickets, click here.

Voices Café and its artists are committed to social justice. A portion of the proceeds benefit the battle against food insecurity, through Mercy Learning Center.

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It’s late November. But the leaves on a few trees are still hanging on.

Fred Cantor photographed one of them at Old Mill Beach. Its a vivid reminder of the “Westport … Naturally” beauty that surrounds us everywhere we look.

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … in honor of today’s crucial World Cup clash between the US and Iran (story above), here is the greatest pump-up soccer song ever. Crank the volume up to Spinal Tap 11, and enjoy!

(Wave that flag for “06880”! Please click here to  support our work.)

Roundup: Positano, Crossword Contest, Hidden Gem …

A reader writes:

The recent “06880” story about 233 Hillspoint Road [the former Positano restaurant, now being rebuilt as a private home] led me down the Google rabbit hole, to a wonderful surprise.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I had a Positano reunion at the former Chef Joseph’s son and daughter’s recently opened West Village restaurant, Ferdi.

The hospitality and food is instantly, wonderfully, familiar, while also sparkling with the imprint of the next generation of Chef Fernando and Manager Aida.

My sister and her husband were with us, visiting from Ohio. They married on the beach outside Positano 21 years ago, and had their wedding party at the restaurant. (Its first, I think.)

My adult children, who also were at this dinner with my husband and me, grew up talking to young Fernando and Aida during our countless meals at Positano.

The evening was meaningful for all of us — and we have “06880” to thank for getting the ball rolling.

Positano lives on — as Ferdi, in New York.

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What are you doing at 9 a.m. this Thursday (December 1)?

If you’re a fan of both Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert and the Westport Library’s Crossword Puzzle Contest, you’ll have to prioritize.

Tickets for both popular events go on sale — at the exact same moment. And they go quickly for both.

Click here for the December 16-17 holiday production.

Click here for the February 4 word games event.

And good luck to all!

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Aaron and Brett Fortunoff are Bedford Middle School students, with big hearts and great goals. They write:

“In the spirit of giving and being thankful, we can’t forget about those who are less fortunate and fail to receive a proper daily breakfast — the most important meal of the day.

“So we teamed up with a non-profit called Cereal4All that helps provide cereals to local food pantries. We hope ‘06880’ readers can help us with this important cause.

“For local readers, we will be by both entrances of Stop & Shop this weekend (December 3 and 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). We will then deliver the collected cereal to food pantries in Fairfield County.

“There will also be a collection box at Temple Israel in Westport, from December 2 to 16.

“For readers are not local, we created an Amazon wish list you can donate to.  Also, you can Venmo our mother, Laurie. She will buy cereal with the money raised: @lauriefortunoff. You can also click here and donate directly to the charity. The donation is tax deductible.

Aaron and Brett Fortunoff

 

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The Hidden Gem — the combination hair salon/crystal shop on Maple Avenue South, just south of the Exxon station — has closed.

A “for sale” sign sits on the property, the former site of Juljen, Bill’s and Mario & Mike’s.

The asking price is $2 million. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

6 Maple Avenue South, with a previous tenant.

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The stars are aligned. This is your chance to order a 2023 Westport Astronomical Society calendar.

It’s filled with daily astronomical data from Phil Harrington, and illustrated with astro-photography from talented WAS members.

The calendar is $15 for members, $20 for non-members ($5 shipping for 1-2; $10 for 3-5). It’s available at any upcoming event (click here for the calendar), or by email (alex@was-ct.org; include quantity and shipping address; you’ll be invoiced via PayPal).

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No matter what the season, there’s beauty at Compo Beach.

Today’s timeless “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Lauri Weiser.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … Keith Levene — a founding member of both the Clash and Public Image Ltd. — died earlier this month in England. He was 65, and suffered from liver cancer. Click here for a full obituary.

(Don’t be a punk. Please support “06880.” Click here to help. Thank you!)

Resnicks Spin For Cancer Research

Like many others, COVID drove Zach and Jen Resnick from New York City to Westport.

Like many others too they fell in love with the town, and looked for ways to get involved.

Their way: combining a long-time passion with their new community.

More than a decade ago, a New York neighbor ran a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center research lab. He told them about Cycle for Survival, a fundraiser for rare cancer research.

Brain, pancreatic, ovarian, stomach, all pediatric cancers and many others make up more than 50% of cancer cases. But because they are classified as “rare,” they receive only a small share of federal funds

Since 2007, Cycle for Survival has raised over $312 million for Sloan Kettering. People like the Resnicks are invaluable.

They started in 2012 on their neighbor’s team. They soon formed their own. To date, their team has raised a whopping $587,000.

Cycle events are “fun and upbeat, and leave you excited for the next one,” Zach  says. “They’re like a dance party, only on a spin bike.”

Jen and Zach Resnick.

Many new Westport friends donated to the Resnicks’ 2021 spring ride, in New York. To make the event more accessible (and fun), the couple decided to bring Cycle for Survival here.

The Equinox fitness chain co-sponsors the Cycles. Earlier this month, the Resnicks hosted an event at the Southport location.

It included an hour-long spin, and speeches from doctors and patient families.

Forty Westport neighbors and friends took part. They’ve already raised $37,000. More pledges come in every day. (To add yours, click here.)

Participants at the Equinox Spin for Survival.

“We were blown away by the participation and excitement,” Zach says. “We can’t wait to grow the effort in Westport.”

The goal is for each spinner to bring a friend or two. Here’s betting the local  spins will blow the Resnicks’ $587,000 New York total out of the water.

And help doctors come even closer to curing all-too-rare cancers forever.

(To learn more about the Resnicks’ Cycle for Survival efforts — including the next spring event in New York — email zresnick@gmail.com or jenwresnick@gmail.com)

(“06880” keeps our community informed of events like this, and residents like the Resnicks. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: Staples Football, Alumni Soccer, Community Theater …

Congratulations to the Staples High School football team!

In a wild Thanksgiving game at Paul Lane Field with 7 lead changes — and an especially crazy final 1:30 — the Wreckers prevailed over Greenwich, 39-38.

Victory for the Wreckers! (Photo/Greershotz Photography)

Staples’ first victory over the Cardinals in 5 years — despite several nail-biters — was an important one.

The blue-and-whites — now 9-1 — secured a home game for the first round of the state class “LL” (extra large schools) playoff. They host Fairfield Prep on Tuesday. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.

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Also Thursday: Over 50 alumni and varsity players participated in Staples boys soccer annual Turkey Bowl.

The oldest participant was Dave Wilson, a former Wrecker captain and Dartmouth College captain from Staples’ Class of 1975. The youngest were current sophomores — a 50-year gap.

The event raises funds for the Albie Loeffler Scholarship.

Turkey Bowl participants. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

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This is the final weekend for the Westport Community Theater’s (and long-COVID-delayed 65th season) presentation of “Ghost-Writer.”

The 90-minute play ia directed by Alexander Kulcsar, and features Ann Kinner, Rob Pawlikowski, and Deborah Carlson.

Performances are tonight (Saturday, November 26, 8 p.m.) and tomorrow (Sunday, 2 p.m.), at Town Hall. Tickets are $25. For reservations, call 203-226-1983. For more information, click here.

 

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The Westport Book Shop’s second annual Winter Family Fest is set for next Saturday (December 3, 10:30 a.m. to noon).

Children will enjoy snowflake-themed crafts on Jesup Green, and holiday story readings inside the store.

The event is on, whether there are real snowflakes or not.

Fun for kids next weekend, inside and out.

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The sign near the Bayberry Lane Extension bridge project says it will be completed by November 30.

This was the scene yesterday:

(Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

They’ve got 4 days to meet their deadline.

And today and tomorrow are the weekend.

I’m just sayin’ …

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And finally … James Connaughton snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo near Center Street.

“Turkeys that got away?” he wonders, surveying yesterday’s scene. “Or late to dinner?”

(Photo/James Connaughton)

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And finally … the photo above reminded me of …

More Retailers, Restaurants Join Holiday Stroll

Every day, the Holiday Stroll adds more stores and restaurants.

From Main Street, Church Lane and the Post Road to the west bank across the river, downtown will rock with Santa Claus, carolers, kids activities, shopping and restaurant deals, and free cocoa and nibbles.

The December 3 event (5 to 7 p.m.) is co-sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association.

Among the recent additions: Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues will sing holiday songs at 5 p.m. Staples High School’s Orphenians follow at 6:30. Both will be at the tent in front of Cold Fusion.

The Staples Orphenians, at last year’s “06880” Holiday Stroll.

In addition, Nick Calabrese — a professional singer and music teacher — will lead anyone who wants to join on a carol sing through downtown.

A box will be set up for donations for the PAL holiday toy drive. Feel free to bring an unwrapped, new gift (or two!).

Meanwhile, here’s the latest list of Holiday Stroll participants:

  • Bartaco: Hot chocolate on their patio
  • Basso: TBA
  • Black Bear Wines & Spirits: 15% off all wines
  • Blossom + Stem: Complimentary mini-bouquets, and a chance to win a fresh holiday prize
  • Bobbles & Lace: Glass of wine & Bobbles Bucks ($$$ off your purchase)
  • Bridgewater Chocolates: Complimentary chocolate tastings and hot chocolate
  • Brooks Brothers: The entire store is 30% off all weekend
  • Capuli: Giving out churros
  • Cold Fusion Gelato: Handing out wrapped chocolates
  • Don Memo: Giving out festive adult and children’s beverages

Don Memo is one of many participating Holiday Stroll restaurants.(Photo/Katherine Bruan)

  • Fred: Complimentary holiday treats
  • Jeera Thai: 20% off on takeout meals
  • Joe’s Pizza: Garlic knots
  • Kerri Rosenthal: 15% off read-to-wear and accessories
  • La Fenice: Buy 1 regular coffee, get 1 free
  • Le Route Aartisan Chocolates: Free hot chocolate
  • Lift Wellness Group: Discount on bundled psychotherapy and nutrition services; gift cards with 10% discount
  • Lux Bond & Green: Refreshments and surprises
  • Manna Toast: Hot chocolate
  • Megan’s Martha’s Vineyard Boutique: 20% off, and a giveaway bundle
  • Moxie Salon & Beauty  Bar: Spin The Wheel to Win! 20% off hair extensions; $20 off voucher; $25, $50, $75, $100, $200 gift certificates; complimentary spray tan or blowout; $50 off Balayyage or Ombre; complimentary makeup application, girls hair tinsel and/or braids
  • Nomade: Candied almonds in bamboo cone, and cookies
  • Noya Jewelry: Hot holiday drinks

Across the river, Noya will particpate too.

  • Rye Ridge Deli: Free hot chocolate, tea, coffee
  • Savvy + Grace: Holiday treat, and mailbox for kids to drop off letters to Santa
  • Scout & Molly’s: 20% off purchase, light snacks
  • Sorelle Gallery: Gif boxes with discounts from 5 to 15% for any Holiday Collection item; light festive refreshments (prosecco, candy canes, sparkling water, etc.)
  • The Cashmere Sale of Westport: Holiday candy
  • The Tailored Home & Studio Café: Complimentary Santa’s cookies and hot chocolate; 50% off sale on all pillows
  • The Toy Post: A small toy for each child
  • Upnorth: 20% off, and a giveaway
  • West: Raffle for $150 gift card (no purchase necessary); winner drawn at 7:30 p.m.
  • Walrus Alley: Happy hour prices for food and drinks
  • Westport Book Shop: Free book, and a coupon for a future visit
  • Winfield Street Street Coffee: Hot cocoa and cruffins (pecan cinnamon rolls with a croissant dough)
  • Yoga45: Participation in a yoga event.