Category Archives: Local business

Salons, Barber Shop Openings Delayed; Tennis Courts Open Soon

You’ve waited a long time for that haircut or coloring.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

The opening of those nearly essential (to many) businesses was set for this Wednesday (May 20).

Today Governor Ned Lamont announced t– with Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island — that those businesses will be pushed back to “early June.”

Lamont noted that after extensive discussions with owners and employees of these businesses, more time is needed.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from many owners and employees, and at this time I think the best approach is that we hit pause on the reopening of hair salons and barbershops, take a step back, and allow some more time as preparations continue to be made,” the governor said.

In other reopening news, Westport plans to open the Longshore and Staples High School tennis courts on May 27.

Play will be limited to singles, and allowed on courts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 at Longshore, and 2, 4 and 6 at Staples.

Longshore tennis courts (Photo/Cliona Becker)

Additional restrictions will be in place, and posted here. The Longshore courts will require advanced reservations, with payment by credit card only; no walk-ups permitted.

Work is now being done on the Town Farm and Doubleday courts. When that’s completed, those courts will be open with similar restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Longshore pool opening is delayed until further notice. So is staffing of lifeguards at Compo and Burying Hill beaches, as the town awaits further guidance from the state.

Photo Challenge #281

Every Photo Challenge has a back story. I wish I knew the one behind last week’s.

Downtown, a block of Post Road stores between Myrtle Avenue and Anthropologie (the old YMCA) seems to cut off access to Church Lane, and with it the Spotted Horse restaurant and the shops and galleries of Bedford Square.

Unless, that is, you know the “secret” short cut. A narrow alley slices alongside Urban Outfitters, connecting the 2 streets.

What’s more, the passageway is enlivened by some cool art. Most Westporters don’t know it’s there. But Tom Ryan, Andrew Colabella, Michael Calise, Stacie Curran and Seth Braunstein all identified it through Molly Alger’s reminiscent-of-an-island-somewhere photo. (Click here to see.)

How did the alley get there? Was it planned, or an accident? Who created the art — and was it sponsored or guerrilla? If you know the back story to this hidden downtown gem, let us know!

ProTip: There’s another shortcut between the Post Road and Church Lane too, just east of the alley: the parking garage. You can’t drive through anymore, but you can still walk it.

This week’s Photo Challenge is not exactly a shortcut. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

COVID Roundup: Grocery Delivery; Justin Paul; Little Barn; NUTmeg Run; More


Weeks ago, in another world where kids and teenagers actually had to be driven somewhere, VanGo was gold.

The cleverly named app was an uber-Uber. It eased parents’ worries about sketchy drivers, because VanGo’s drivers were nannies, teachers, babysitters — and most of all, mothers.

In the COVID crisis, that market dried up. People still need to market, of course. But they can’t always get out. Or they don’t want to.

So VanGo pivoted. It’s now a grocery shopping and delivery service. Once again, those moms come in handy.

While many grocery service providers are staffed by a bunch of randoms, VanGo’s shoppers “shop like you would,” says founder Marta Jamrozik. And they guarantee next day delivery for orders placed before 3 p.m..

Shoppers text families if an item is out of stock. Drivers wear masks and gloves while shopping, and when dropping off groceries.

VanGo Grocery is available in Westport and across Fairfield County. To log on and order, click here.


Arts organizations everywhere have been hammered by the coronavirus. Plays, concerts, ballets — all are on hold, as theater companies, symphonies and other institutions struggle to survive.

A tiny silver lining has been the realization that the arts are helping us get through this time. Drama, shows, music — they help sustain and nurture us.

Justin Paul understands that. The Staples High School graduate and award-winning composer/lyricist (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”) articulates it wonderfully. And he does so in a great, insightful online interview with Music Theatre of Connecticut’s co-founder and executive artistic director Kevin Connors.

The 2 sat down yesterday (in their respective homes) for an MTC Live! webcast. You can watch it below.

I guess that’s one more slim silver lining: The pandemic has led to all sorts of intriguing online discussions like this. Click here for more on MTC.


Little Barn is back! They’ve reopened, and now provide contact-less take out 7 days a week (4 to 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays until 9). Order online through our website www.littlebarnct.com or 203-557-8501; then call again when you arrive.


Four decades ago, Westporter Peter Gambaccini ran from Thompson (in the northeast corner of the state) to Greenwich. A writer as well as a runner, he took less than a week to cover the 155 miles, then wrote about it for Connecticut magazine.

The 40th anniversary of the run is being celebrated with a NUTmeg Challenge. Running “nuts” of Connecticut — and anywhere else — can duplicate the former Staples High School track star’s run. There’s also the opportunity to raise money for local charities that desperately need help: Mercy Learning Center, Bridgeport Rescue Mission and the Connecticut Food Bank.

The virtual online challenge — because, of course, we’re still mindful of COVID-19, so you just run in your neighborhood, wherever in the world it is — takes places between Memorial Day (May 25) and Bastille Day (July 14).

There are 3 “routes”:

  • The Gambaccini Gambol (original route across the state; 155 miles, average a little over 3 miles a day)
  • The Shoreline Scamper (Greenwich to Stonington along the coast, 253 miles, a little under 5 miles a day)
  • The Border Boundaround (along the New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders, 328 miles, 6 1/2 miles a day).

T-shirts and medals will be mailed at the conclusion of the Challenge. (Everyone registering by June 1 is guaranteed a medal.) For more information and to register, click here. (Hat tip: MaryAnn Meyer)


Every day, it seems, someone sends me a photo of a rock. All across town, people are discovering them. They (the rocks) make them (the people) feel special.

Doris Ghitelman sums up the feeling well (and gathered them all in a nice collage):

“I’ve come across these rocks on my walks around the library, Compo and Grace Salmon Park. I’m not sure who’s leaving them. My guess is, different artists 😉

“Whoever it is or they are, I would like to thank them. Whenever I see one, I stop and smile. Sometimes they make me think. Some are in plain sight, others hidden.

“It reminds me that if we take the time to look, really look around us, we might just be rewarded with something good. This space in time is giving us the opportunity to do just that. Let’s enjoy it!”


When the Shubert Theatre planned Monday’s “Next Stop: New Haven at Home!” virtual celebration (Monday, May 18, 7:30 p.m.), it did not have to look far for one star.

Westport native and Staples High School grad Adam Kaplan will take center stage. He’s a Broadway veteran (“Newsies,” “A Bronx Tale”), was part of the New York Philharmonic’s “Show Boat,” and toured the US and Japan in “Kinky Boots.”

A $75 Next Stop: New Haven ticket includes a box of goodies (serving up to 2 people) from several of Shubert’s restaurant partners, and the 75-minute live program with musical entertainment, a cocktail-making class (supplies included), cheeseboard-making class, Broadway trivia, and a peek at the Shubert’s 2020-2021 Broadway Series,

The ticket supports the Shubert Theatre, its restaurant partners, and Frontline Foods New Haven, which feeds teams at Yale New Haven and the VA Hospitals.

Tickets are available through 5 p.m. today. For more information and to purchase, click here.

Adam Kaplan


And finally … one of my favorite movies of all time is “Stand By Me.” One of my favorite songs of all time is “Stand By Me.” These 3 minutes say it all:

Dr. Scott Gottlieb Advises Westport Reopening Team

The Reopen Westport Advisory Team kicked off its first meeting this morning with a presentation by someone who knows as much about COVID-19 as anyone in the country: former FDA commissioner (and neighbor) Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

A frequent guest on news shows throughout the pandemic, the Westport resident spoke for more than half an hour — first presenting his own thoughts, then answering questions.

Dr. Gottlieb said:

Reopening the country is taking place against a backdrop of “much more spread than we initially expected.” However, the tri-state areas as seen “sustained reductions.”

Live, from his Westport home office, it’s Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Cablevision Channel 79.

When local communities open, they’ll face both opportunities and challenges. It helps that the weather is getting better. Outdoor activities are better than indoor ones. That includes not just restaurant seating, but even businesses that can move activities into parking lots and “onto Main Street” (he used the term generically, rather than specifically our own).

Businesses will want to show customers and clients that they are doing robust testing.

There may be less of a spread of COVID-19 this summer, but there is risk of a new outbreak — maybe even another epidemic — in the fall. The good news is, there will be better screening, robust testing, and some forms of treatment — perhaps even an experimental vaccine — then.

In terms of children, “we don’t know if millions of kids have had this yet, or hundreds.” There are two schools of thought: youngsters are not getting sick, or they are but show no symptoms. More and better testing will lead to a better understanding of risks of, say, opening summer camps and summer school so that parents can return to work.

Regarding the May 20 date of Phase One for the state’s reopening, Dr. Gottlieb said that although nationally we’re not where we wanted to be in terms of numbers of infections, “regionally we are. Connecticut has seen sustained declines. We may be at a low level of sustained infections.

“There will always be risks and transmissions. There may be a bump in new cases as we reopen. But people will move outside. People will be cautious. They won’t move around as much.”

As Westport Stores Look To Reopen …

… a new one hopes to make a hit here:

Looking for a place to spend your coronavirus stimulus check? Westport Cigar & Vape is on the Post Road just east of Greens Farms Elementary School, tucked conveniently between Fortuna’s and Greens Farms Spirit Shop.

Marpe: “A Good Week In Westport”

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

This has been a good week in Westport. The rate of growth for confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to slow, and across the state the number of hospitalizations continues to fall.

The RTM passed the town and school budgets for fiscal year 2021, resulting in an overall increase of less than half of a percent. The town’s AAA rating from Moody’s has been reaffirmed. We are also pleased to announce that the town’s tax collections this fiscal year are on target and have not been significantly impacted by the virus. As a reminder, you have until May 22 to apply for a COVID-19 related tax deferment on your April installment payment.

The state is working toward reopening much of the private sector. Later today, we expect new guidance from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which will cover aspects of reopening salons, barbershops, restaurants, offices and other businesses.

Businesses like Joe’s Pizza, Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates, Ron’s Barber Shop and Westport Wellness Massage look forward to new “reopening” regulations.

Westport will largely follow the state’s reopening strategy, as communicated by Governor Lamont. We have launched the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team, which held its first public meeting on Wednesday. Liaisons were named for each local business segment, and are actively reaching out to business owners.

The team is pleased to have Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Westport resident and former FDA commissioner, share his perspectives on reopening at the Monday, May 11 meeting (11 a.m.). Westport’s state legislative delegation will also attend, to update the team on the state’s plan. You can watch this meeting via live streaming on our website, or Cablevision channel 79.

A week from today we will open the parking facilities at Compo Beach at 50% capacity, and the Longshore golf course will be open for play (with certain restrictions). This is an opportunity to get out of the house, enjoy the warmer weather, and perhaps get some physical activity. But remember the importance of maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet at all times, and you must bring or wear a mask if you anticipate difficulties achieving that.

Compo Beach, this week. (Photo/Yvonne Claveloux)

In the coming week we will announce the specific rules and regulations related to the beach opening. We encourage you to follow them, and remind you that everyone in town is relying on your compliance. Social distancing and wearing masks is imperative if we are to keep the beaches and golf course open.

Public health experts have determined that wearing a cloth face covering may prevent transmission by an infected person. The use of appropriate personal protective equipment in public places is of critical interest to all of us. If you are in a public place and cannot maintain a safe social distance of at least 6 feet, then you must cover your nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering. The best advice is to have a mask available at all times if you are outside of your home, and most certainly when you are at our beaches and parks. I keep mine around my neck when I step outside so it’s ready to go if necessary.

The town of Westport has procured 25,000 face masks, with the help of the Grace Farms Foundation in New Canaan. We plan to distribute them to the general public Tuesday morning.  Further details will follow on Monday.

Please continue to stay connected with the town as the COVID-19 response and reopening evolves. For updates, please check the town website or the ReOpening site.

I want to wish all of you a great Mother’s Day weekend. Don’t forget: You’re not stuck at home; you’re safe at home.

COVID-19 Roundup: Supper & Soul; Plants & Earthplace; Technology & Masks; More


“Supper & Soul” was a great, popular concept. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce organized dinner, a concert, and dessert/drinks. It was a moveable feast, great downtown entertainment, and tons of fun.

It was also something you could do in a pre-COVID world. But — undaunted — the Chamber and Westport Library have partnered to offer a new, socially distant (but still very cool) “Stay Home & Soul” program.

The first one is next Friday (May 15). There’s curbside pickup dinner from any of 15 local restaurants, and a livestream concert by folk/roots rock band David Wax Museum. The husband and wife duo earned raves for their Supper & Soul concert last year. The opening act is Staples graduate and multi-talented musician Drew Angus.

$35 a person gets you a 2-course dinner, and access to the show. Want the concert only? That’s just $11.

$1 of every ticket will be donated to the Homes With Hope food pantry.

Participating restaurants include Dunville’s, Jesup Hall, Kawa Ni, Match Burger Lobster, Pane e Bene, Pearl at Longshore, Rive Bistro, Romanacci Xpress, Tarantino, The Boathouse, The Whelk, Viva Zapata, Walrus Alley (formerly Rothbard Ale + Larder) and Wafu.

For more information and tickets, click here.


Today would have been the Westport Garden Club‘s annual Plant Sale.

It didn’t happen. But the 96-year-old organization is not letting any grass grow under their feet.

Today they launch Friday Flowers. Each Friday, members will share pots and bouquets of colorful flowers at locations around town.

The first “flower bombing” is at Saugatuck Congregational Church. That’s appropriate — for years, the downtown landmark has hosted the Plant Sale.

The goal of Friday Flowers is to encourage a love of gardening, while respecting the current limits on public interaction. Providing fresh flowers reflects the club’s mission to participate in civic beautification, and its dedication to the community.

Photos of each week’s display will be posted on Facebook and Instagram. Anyone can post their own photos too; just use the hashtag #FridayFlowers.


Speaking of nature: Here’s an update from Earthplace.

“We cannot say enough how much we miss our visitors, families and students during these difficult times.

“Our building may be closed to the public, but we are very active behind the scenes. Our 50+ animals need daily care, our building and grounds maintenance is ongoing, and our critical river monitoring work continues. The Earthplace trails remain open. We hope you come visit and (safely) spend some time outdoors in nature!

“Meanwhile, our wonderful staff has been working hard to support the Earthplace community with online resources including stay-at-home activities and educational nature videos. Click below for a virtual visit of Animal Hall, and check out our new YouTube channel.”


Early in the pandemic, Dream Spa & Salon owner Lori Dodd got a surprising — but welcome — call.

A group of concerned, caring citizens were making anonymous donations to businesses in town. Dream was on the list.A

An attorney played Santa for a day. He delivered much-needed (and greatly appreciated) checks to places that met certain criteria:

  • Long-time Westport business
  • Owned and/or operated by Westport residents
  • Impacted by Covid-19
  • “Westport would not be the same without them.”

That last meant a lot to Lori. She cried — and was told other men and women did too when they got their donations. It helped a lot to keep her salon going.

And it’s still going. She’s got a Mother’s Day special: For gift certificates of $150, you can pick up a major spa swag bag (prepared of course by healthy, gloved and masked staff!). Just click here, then text 203-349-0680 to say you’ll be picking up the certificate and gift bag on Saturday, May 9 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), as opposed to the e-gift option.


Many Staples High School students have access to technology. Many students elsewhere do not.

Some of those Westporters — members of Staples’ Girls Who Code chapter –have joined a national fundraiser to provide underprivileged girls the technology they need, now more than ever. Without it — and with libraries and community centers closed — virtual learning is virtually impossible.

The effort runs through May 12. Girls Who Code’s partner Citrix will match every donation, up to $50,000. To help, click here.


Staples High School Class of 2000 graduate Shane Smith had plenty of success as an entrepreneur with Med Spa. But through a connection with one of the country’s largest laser cutters, he’s now helping provide masks to those who desperately need them.

CT (Connecticut) Masks began as a charity effort. He and partner Nuwan Foley first donated 170 masks to the Westport police department. They shared the news on social media; residents soon asked if they could buy the same type masks.

The masks are laser cut in the US, and machine packaged. That eliminates human contact, while the “no-sew” style makes them more comfortable than most. There is a lightweight “jersey” style, and a thicker “fleece” option.

Shane and Nuwan sold some, bought more, and donated even more. Up next: Norwalk Police Department, and a New York City precinct.

To order your own — and help them pay it forward — click here.

 


And finally … back in the day, Friday marked the end of a tough week. Work, school, whatever — it was all over. Time to cut loose, kick back and par-tay!

Now, Friday is just another in an endless line of similar days. You may not even know today is Friday. But it is. So cut loose, kick back, and get down with the Easybeats.

COVID Can’t Stop Staples Senior Interns

When then-Staples High School principal John Dodig proposed a springtime Senior Internship program more than a decade ago, many people were wary.

Teachers did not want to “lose” students. Students did not want to “work” in the middle of senior slump. And what businesses, everyone wondered, would want to hire slumping seniors during beautiful May weather?

All those worries were unfounded. As the Senior Internship grew, teachers realized the benefits in having slumping students out of their classes. Students were energized by having real jobs and real responsibilities before heading to college. All kinds of businesses — retail stores, ad agencies, financial service firms, restaurants, tech companies, theaters, engineering companies, non-profits, media firms, medical offices, farms, schools, you name it — saw the value in interns.

From modest beginnings, Staples’ program exploded. Now, nearly every senior eligible — those without attendance or grade issues — participates. It’s one of the most popular, highly anticipated parts of the entire high school experience.

From a wealth management firm …

So what happens when a pandemic shuts school — along with nearly every business that already committed to having an intern?

Fortunately, not much. Despite all the uncertainty of the past few weeks, Staples’ program is on track to begin later this month.

Internship coordinators Michelle Howard and Denise Pearl had spent months preparing for this spring. Beginning in September they’d contacted the more than 400 sites in their database.

They’d met individually with 450-plus seniors, describing options and opportunities. (About 100 seniors design their own internships each year.)

… to Wakeman Town Farm …

In mid-March, everyone was looking ahead. Internships would begin as soon as AP tests ended. Students would spend 5 hours a day for 4 weeks at their sites. They’d write weekly self-reflections, and check in regularly with faculty mentors. The “real world” was about to begin.

Then the real “real world” intruded. COVID-19 upended everything.

For a couple of weeks, Howard and Pearl wondered how to salvage the program. As they fielded questions from students and sites, they realized many people wanted it to continue, in whatever ways were feasible.

The directors spoke with Staples senior class assistant principal Meghan Ward. Soon, the idea of “remote internships” took place.

… to a catering company …

Though some sites were closed, and others not conducive to working with interns, many were. Attorneys, shop owners, graphic designers, hedge fund managers — they said, “we’ll make it work.” Through teleconferences, creative ideas and other experiences, they vowed to give their interns valuable life experiences.

For example, a preschool said their intern could create an online “graduation ceremony” for their tots. The Senior Center said they’d like their intern to devise a “virtual tour” of the artwork on its walls. A realtor wants help with social media.

Even New York’s Museum of Natural History promised to keep its intern on.

“They’re all really going above and beyond,” Howard says admiringly.

… to a builder of energy-efficient luxury homes …

Of course, not every site is able to accommodate its interns. So Pearl and Howard came up with 2 other concepts.

One is a “Do It Yourself Experience.”

“Get creative,” they say. “Design and develop a project from beginning to end.” For example, seniors could:

  • Create a business that could help the world recover from COVID-19
  • Write a book (poetry, short stories, children’s) about this crisis
  • Paint, draw, take photos, or produce a video about it
  • Build or construct something
  • Read extensively, and share what they learned
  • Research, or talk to experts on a subject like traditional school vs. distance learning; the emotional toll of isolation, or the effects of the coronavirus on an industry, or on social media.

The other option is an interview series, with at least 3 people. Students can then make a video, blog or podcast on subjects like careers, multi-generational voices, education, or any topic of their choice.

“It’s not the Senior Internship in its usual form,” Pearl admits. “But these are not usual times.”

The Class of 2020 has lost a lot: prom. Graduation. Even senioritis.

But they won’t lost their internships.

… and Harbor Watch, the Staples Internship Program is a highlight of senior year.

“I’m really proud of this program — and these kids,” Howard says.

“It’s a great experience being around 400-plus teenagers. It’s terrific working with the sites. We’ve made some great relationships.

“And those that can’t host interns remotely, they all say they want to be part of it next year.”

NOTE: Any business or individual interested in sponsoring an intern should email shsinternship@westportps.org as soon as possible.

This is not a 2020 photo. For many years, Staples interns have worked at hospitals, medical clinics and doctors’ offices.

COVID-19 Roundup: Face Masks; Food Closet; Moms’ Morning Photos; More


Since 1975, the Westport Woman’s Club has partnered with the Department of Human Services on a year-round, emergency food distribution program, the Food Closet.

When the club gets a call members fill bags of groceries, add Stop & Shop gift cards that the WWC purchases, and deliver the food to Town Hall, or directly to the recipient (whose name remains anonymous).

During the pandemic, requests for food have risen dramatically. In addition to increased demand, a traditional May food drive with the US Postal Service has been canceled.

Non-perishables are desperately needed. Canned goods can be dropped off at the Woman’s Club (44 Imperial Avenue) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, between 9 a.m. and noon. (If the door is locked, call 203-227-4240.)

Checks are also welcome. Click here to donate online. They can also be made out to “Westport Woman’s Club,” and sent to 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport CT 06880.

Last year, Westport Woman’s Club members Wendy McKeon, Catherine Smith and Kim Reichert helped out with the Food Closet drive.


Two women-owned local businesses — Bungalow and Private Portraits — have teamed up to capture casual, candid glimpses of women at home, while raising money for female entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19.

“Sophisticated boudoir photographer” Jen Goldberg takes sunrise, socially distanced front porch sessions — as early as 5:30 a.m. — capturing moms in the moments just before their house awakens.

A portion of the proceeds benefits Sara Blakely’s The Red Backpack Fund. The nationwide effort will make at least 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to women whose businesses have been impacted during the pandemic.

For $100 (additional donations welcome), you’ll receive a 5 x 7 print and a $25 gift card to Bungalow, the Sconset Square boutique. For more information, email jen@privateportraits.com.

HINT: Mother’s Day is Sunday!

(Photo/Jen Goldberg)


Rye Ridge Deli originally stayed open, with curbside and delivery service. Business was slow though, so they closed. Now they’re back open, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here to order online.

Also now open, after an initial closure: Five Guys (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.). Click here for curbside pickup and delivery.


“Essential businesses” in Westport with 50 employees or fewer are are eligible for free masks, under a state plan. Click this link, but hurry: The application deadline is early afternoon tomorrow (Thursday, May 7).

In addition, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe advises residents about the proper use of cloth face masks. According to the CDC, they should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Do not put your hands on the front of mask when putting it on or taking it off. Use the loops or attached ties to secure or remove. Click here for more instructions on cloth mask use.


Homes With Hope hosts a non-perishable food drive this Saturday (May 9), from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gillespie Center behind Restoration Hardware. Items needed include canned chicken, salmon, Spam, tuna, fruit, applesauce, soups, stews and vegetables; pasta sauce; peanut butter and jelly; mac and cheese; Chef Boyardee, and cereal.


 

The Sunny Daes cow has the right idea. (Photo/Lily Bloomingdale)


And finally … this underrated gem, from Sir Elton John:

COVID-19 Roundup: Center Street Concert; Free Face Masks; Meal Train; More


Last weekend, residents of Center Street enjoyed an amazing performance.

Their neighbor John Karrel, and fellow Westporter and friend Jeff Chasnow played beautiful selections from Bach and Vivaldi.

The musicians were socially distanced, on John’s porch. But they — and all who heard — were drawn emotionally together.

“It was so lovely sitting in the garden surrounded by spring blossoms, with the best weather of the year so far,” says Heidi Curran. “I hope they will treat us to more!”

John Karrel (left) and Jeff Chasnow)


Every Christmas, the tree next to Assumption Church is hung with lights.

This spring there’s something new on Riverside Avenue: face masks.

They’re hand-sewn, washable — and free for anyone to take. Be sure to pick up sanitizing prep pads too (donated by Knights of Columbus) — and a prayer card.


Everyone needs positivity. Savvy + Grace has it, for sure. In fact, it’s called a Positiv-A-Tea Basket.

That’s just one of the many fun, fine products the Main Street gifts-and-more store has for Mother’s Day (and the rest of the pandemic too).

Owner Annette Norton — downtown’s biggest booster — offers both shipping and no-contact curbside pickup (weekdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Her Easter baskets were a huge success, so Mother’s Day is a natural follow-up.

For gift baskets — or options to built your own gift box from their great selection of clothing, lounge wear, cashmere, fine jewelry, food items, bath and body products, and gorgeous home items — click here, or call 203-221-0077.

Positiv-A-Tea gift basket.


Tomorrow is National Nurses Day. As they and their colleagues bear the brunt of the pandemic, we can show support by signing up to feed a team (about 20 people) at Norwalk Hospital.

Ordering online through for this meal train helps them — and your favorite restaurant. Click here; it’s easy, quick and important.

Volunteer Lisa Power says, “If you’ve already signed up, and/or already donated to one of the many other places or people in need, please pass the link along to others. Spread the word!”


Speaking of Meal Trains: Garelick & Herbs participates. And they donate 20% of the price of any order to Jewish Family Services.

The popular market offers “Do Good, Feel Good” meal trains for Norwalk Hospital (20 staff members), Greenwich Hospital (50), Carrollton Nursing Home (35), and 5 options for police and fire department shifts.

They’re all on Garelick & Herbs’ website (scroll way down to the bottom). While you’re there, check out the huge variety of options for yourself, either curbside or delivery: breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, noodle bar, dinners, quiches, breads, pastas, desserts and more.

Plus Mother’s Day brunch, dinner, gift baskets, cakes — and a special “You Cook for Mom” feature.


In 6th grade, Emma Borys was diagnosed with epilepsy. The teenager is now an outspoken advocate for research and education.

The Walk to End Epilepsy — which she has raised plenty of funds for — has been canceled by the coronavirus. She also will not be able to take part in her long-awaited graduation walk at Weston High School.

But Emma is not deterred. She organized a virtual Walk to End Epilepsy — and promises to walk 2,020 steps (get it?) every day, from now until graduation, in return for pledges to the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut. Click here to help.

Emma Borys


The Avery Center for Obstetrics & Gynecology now offers COVID-19 antibody testing to determine whether you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus, even if you have no symptoms. It’s by appointment, at 12 Avery Place. Call or text 203- 227-5125.


And finally … a couple of years ago I saw “Bruce Springsteen on Broadway.” (Remember Broadway?!)

It was an evening of poetry, passion and power. Among the most powerful moments: a stripped-down version of this song. As always, The Boss says it best: