Category Archives: Local business

Roundup: Robin Tauck/Y Challenge, Narcan, Pop-Up Sale …

Robin Tauck and the Westport Weston Family YMCA are teaming up again.

The former trustee, benefactor of the Robin Tauck Wellness Center and longtime executive with her family’s international travel company celebrates the Y’s 100-year anniversary with a $100,000 matching challenge.

From now through June 30, Robin will match every dollar donated at $500 and above. Funds will go toward new programs for seniors, adults, and youth that improve health outcomes.

They include fitness and well-being for arthritis, Parkinson’s, cancer management and other diseases, and special strength and conditioning program for youths.

Funds will also benefit the Y’s financial assistance program, serving under-resourced families and those in need.

Donors who contribute $1,000 or more will enjoy a special summer event.

Fore more details and to participate in the matching grant challenge, click here. 

Questions? Email


Opioid abuse is rampant everywhere — including Westport.

And in the event of an overdose, everyone can help.

A free overdose awareness and Narcan training session is set for next Friday (May 12, 4 to 5 p.m., Positive Directions, 90 Post Road West).

Topics include how and when to administer Narcan, and prevention resources and messages to share.

Registration is required; click here.


A pre-Mothers Day pop-up shopping event This Friday (May 12, 12-4 p.m., Yoga45, 201 Main Street) benefits A Better Chance of Westport.

A portion of sales will go to the local organization, which for 20 years has offered educational opportunities to academically gifted young men of color.

It’s a great way to shop local, at a women-owned store, for Mom — and for a great cause!


Among many other things, Verso Studios and the Westport Library are becoming a film hub for movie buffs throughout the area.

On May 19 (7 p.m., the Lundberg Family Foundation Masters Film Series launches, to tie it all together.

The first event is the Connecticut premiere of the documentary “Heaven Stood Still: The Incarnations of Willy DeVille.” Area residents Chris Frantz and Crispin Cioe are featured in the film.

A Q&A after the showing with the filmmakers, including the filmmakers; Frantz and Cioe, and DeVille’s niece.

The Lundberg Family Foundation Masters Film Series will showcase films and filmmakers. It bridges independent production and established innovation. Special screenings coupled with master classes will “educate and inspire on modes of production and storytelling craft, as well as technical, philosophical, and historical aspects.”

Master classes on June 14 and 21 will focus on techniques to convert a film concept into a compelling documentary story.


Brown University 1968 Bernicestine McLeod Bailey adds another degree later this month. The IT leader and longtime advocate for inclusion of alumni of color  will receive an honorary degree — doctor of humane letters — at the commencement ceremony.

Following her career as an IBM systems engineer, she established McLeod Associates, a pioneering minority-owned IT consulting firm.

McLeod Bailey is a founding member of TEAM Westport, and former board member of the Westport Library and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

At Brown, she is a longtime member of the Pembroke Center Advisory Council and served as founding chair of its Archives Committee with a focus on elevating gender history. She has established funds to support undergraduate diversity and initiatives highlighting Black history at the university.

McLeod Bailey served as a Brown trustee from 2001 to 2007, and is an honorary lifetime member of the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity. She also received the Brown Bear Award, the Brown Alumni Association’s highest volunteer honor.

McLeod Bailey and her husband, Brown alumnus Harold Bailey Jr., are the parents of Brown alumni Aisha (Class of 1999) and Harold III (Class of 2003).

Bernicestine McLeod Bailey


Last night’s Pic of the Day showed tulips blooming beautifully at the Minute Man monument.

How did they get there?

Andrew Colabella — RTM member and all-things-Westport booster — planted 100 bulbs.

Another 400 are coming this fall, he promises.

Andrew Colabella, with a bulb at the Minute Man monument. (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)


Former Westporter Kristin Erickson died April 25 in New Fairfield. She was 62.

She studied at Northfield Mount Hermon, Denison and Southern Connecticut State Universities, and a earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University.

As a hospice social worker, Kristin had “a remarkable capacity to show up for people and their families in very dark moments.” She was passionate about death with dignity, access to mental health resources, and caring for senior dogs and dogs with high needs. She was recently certified as a death doula.

Kristin and her former husband Dan Carpenter raised 3 children in Fairfield. They were her pride and joy. Her family says, “she was a creative, goofy, and above all, deeply loving mother. She also filled roles as a cool aunt, second mom to her kid’s friends, and dedicated dog mom.”

Kristin spent the past years between West Palm Beach and New Fairfield with her partner Ken Green and his dogs. She spent a lot of time with her mom, Sue, as well. Kristin had recently become certified as a death doula and had continued to hold space for people at the end of their lives.

Kristin is survived by her parents, Susan and George Erickson; children Nell, Guthrie and Aria Carpenter; siblings Jon and Martha Erickson and their partners Jayne and Bones; nieces Riley, Mullein, Romy, and Faye, and many lifelong friends.

n lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Compassion & Choices, a non-profit Kristin was passionate about.

Kristin Erickson


There’s always something different to see from Grace Salmon Park.

Patricia McMahon framed this “Westport … Naturally shot beautifully, as spring comes to the popular Saugatuck River spot:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


And finally … in honor of Bernicestine McLeod Bailey’s honorary degree from Brown (story above), here is the world’s greatest college fight song.

Sorry, Michigan and Notre Dame. But this one’s clearly the best.

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Roundup: Music Honors, Library Book Sale, Twiddle …

It’s getting to be routine. But it never gets old.

For the 11th year in a row, the Westport Public Schools have been named a “Best Community for Music Education,” by the NAMM Foundation.

The honor goes to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.

The application process includes questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. The Music Department cites partnerships with organizations like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTA Cultural Arts, WestPAC and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.


Westport music instructors take bows, at the Levitt Pavilion Pops Concert.


The Westport Library’s spring book sale starts today (Friday).

Thousands of gently used books for children and adults are available in over 50 categories, plus vintage children’s and antiquarian books, music CDs, and movie and television DVDs.

Of special interest: Books donated from the homes of former US cabinet member Joseph Califano; NBC Sports producer Ricky Diamond, and philanthropist and educator Elisabeth Luce Moore, sister of Henry Luce (Time-Life founder). Many of the books in the Califano collection have been signed political, journalist, literatary and entertainment figures.

Plus a collection of works by or about James Joyce, and an extensive collection of history books, especially US and world politics, and World War II.

The “Fiction for $1” room is back by popular demand, filled with hardcover fiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy and young adult fiction, plus paperbacks, just $1 each.

Vinyl records, graphic novels and manga will be available at the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green from the Library.

  • Friday, May 5: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 6: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 7: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; almost everything half-price.
  • Monday, May 8: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: fill a logo bags for $8 (or fill your own equivalent-sized bag for $5), or purchase individual items for half price.

Westport LIbrary Book Sale


Years ago, as a student at Providence College, Alison Reilly became interested in American Sign Language.

This year she began exploring how to add it to the Staples High School curriculum. She cites the benefits of learning any language, including improved memory, attention and problem-solving skills, and increased cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Studies have shown that learning ASL can have cognitive and academic benefits for students. Learning a second language has been shown to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills, and ASL is no exception. In addition, learning ASL can help students become more culturally aware and sensitive, and demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Schools like Brown, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Berkeley, Michigan, Penn and Yale all accept ASL as fulfilling students’ world language requirement for admission.

Fairfield, Wilton and Greenwich already include ASL in their course offerings, Reilly says.

Assistant superintendent of schools of teaching and learning Anthony Buono says, “We currently offer ASL online as an elective. We have had conversations about offering it as a World Language option, but nothing formal has transpired.

“One significant challenge is finding certified teachers. Darien is currently searching for a teacher and has been unable to find one.”

Reilly says she’ll keep “06880” posted on the progress of her initiative.

Artist/photographer Miggs Burroughs created “Signs of Compassion,” by asking 30 Westporters to sign a different word, in Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name.


In his work with “CBS Sunday Morning,” PBS’ “Nova,” the Missing Manuals tech guides and more, David Pogue calls himself a “professional explainer.”

At Monday’s Y’s Women meeting (May 8, 11:15 a.m., Green’s Farms Church), he’ll explain something all of us have heard about, but few understand: artificial intelligence.

It’s useful — and terrifying. An app can write anything you ask it to: Letters, song lyrics, research papers, recipes, therapy sessions, poems, essays, software code.

Other apps create music, perfectly mimic anybody’s voice, and generate complete video scenes from typed descriptions.

His talk is so important, the Y’s Women are inviting everyone to come. So be “wise”: Go hear David Pogue.

And get even wiser.

David Pogue, professional explainer.


The Westport and Fairfield Senior Centers co-hosted a “Meet the Authors  yesterday, in Westport Nearly 2 dozen local authors chatted informally about their works (and sold copies).

Susan Garment buys an autographed copy of “I Pried Open Wall Street In 1962: Overcoming Barriers, Hurdles and Obstacles – A Memoir” from author Winston Allen. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Twiddle — the Vermont-based ensemble that played to sold-out Levitt Pavilion crowds last summer — returns for a 2-day, 4-set festival July 21-22. (Click here for a great video of that weekend.)

It’s extra special, because soon after, they’ll take an indefinite hiatus from touring.

The Twiddle Festival also includes Lespecial, Kung Fu, Oh He Dead, and one more band to be announced soon. Click here for tickets, and more information.


The Levitt Pavilion recently announced a new slate of free shows, too.

The Suffers — an 8-piece Gulf Coast Soul/rock/country/Latin/Southern hip hop/Stax and Muscle Shoals band from Houston — take the stage July 14.

Calexico’s “Feast of Wire 20th Anniversary Tour” is August 17.

Click here for free tickets, and more information.


Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — heads to Longshore for their next event.

The picnic at Evan Harding Point includes card games, MoCA art, the Super Duper Weenie food truck, a giveaway, and a special surprise.

The date is May 25 (6 to 7:30 p.m.). Click here to RSVP, and for more information.


Do you have questions about aging, like who will protect your financial assets, how to navigate healthcare, and whether you can age in place?

The Residence at Westport hosts a panel on “Navigating Senior Care Options” (May 16, 2 p.m., 1141 Post Road East).

Representatives from Cohen & Wolf, Constellation Health Services, Growing Options, Hartford Healthcare Geriatric Medicine, Moneco Advisors, National Heath Care Associates, Privatus Care Solutions, Stardust Move Managers, The Carolton and William Raveis Real Estate will join The Residence experts.

RSVP:; 203-349-2002.

The Residence at Westport.


Westport artists Dale Najarian and Tomira Wilcox are featured in the “Shadows Revealed” exhibit at Sono1420 craft distillers in South Norwalk.

Proceeds from a portion of sales, and an artwork raffle at the opening reception May 11 (6 to 8 p.m.) benefit The Rowan Center sexual assault resource agency.

Artwork by Dale Najarian.


Laurel Canyon comes to Westport on May 13.

Voices Café’s next concert (8 p.m., the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport) features with The Bar Car Band. Their “Songs & Stories of Laurel Canyon” — with the music of Carole King, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and more — is a benefit for the Green Village Initiative.

The Bar Car Band includes Nina Hammerling on vocals, Russell Smith on guitar and vocals, plus Joe Izzo (drums), Scott Spray (bass), Tim DeHuff (guitar), Tim Stone (keyboards), David Allen Rivera (percussion), Amy Crenshaw (vocals) and narrator Hadley Boyd.

There’s café-style seating (at tables) or individual seating, plus room for dancing. Bring your own beverages and snacks; snacks are available for purchase too. Tickets are $25 each. Click here for tickets and more information.

The Bar Car Band


LaBeaute Artistry Brow & Nails has just opened, in the rear of the 234 Post Road East building that is anchored by Calico (just east of Imperial Avenue).

Owners Penny Yi and her sister, and their team, specialize in designs and nail extensions. They offer mani and pedi, microblading, brows lamination, tinting, waxing and other services.

Right now, there is 20% off for promgoers and new clients. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 203-349-5655.

Nails by LaBeaute.


The first rainbow of the year rose yesterday evening.

Mary Beth Stirling spotted it over Compo Beach. She notes that it’s just in time for today’s Full Flower Moon.

And Cinco de Mayo.

(Photo/Mary Beth Stirling)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is more proof — not that any is needed — that spring has arrived. Sunil Hirani captured this image on Riverside Avenue.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … in honor of Voices Café’s Laurel Canyon show (story above):

Historic District Honors Non-Teardowns Of The Day

Westport is a town filled with — and known for — teardowns. Thankfully, some building owners invest time, energy, care, concern — and money — to preserve our history.

Last night at Town Hall, the Westport Historic District Commission honored the men and women who persevere, to preserve.

WHD Preservation Awards went to the owners of 6 private homes, 2 neighborhood restaurants, an office and a church.

Kudos to:

8 Mayflower parkway

Built in 1926, and distinguished by a classically inspired portico, 8 Mayflower Parkway (off Compo Road South) was saved from demolition by David Vynerib, founder and principal of CCO Habitats. His extensive renovation restored the home to its prior glory.


The “Stevens Cottage” was built in 1920, and is part of the Compo-Owenoke Historic District. Blanca and Sunil Hirani purchased it in 2020 — just before it was torn down — and then enhanced the entire streetscape of the beach exit road.

21 danbury avenue

Another home in the Compo-Owenoke Historic District, this bungalow was built in 1922 by Gertrude May Allen. It was bought in 2019 by Julie and John Headland, who preserved it in the midst of other teardowns in the area.


Built in 1825, the Davis Taylor House was a single-family residence that evolved into a multi-family dwelling from the 1920s through ’60s. Today the Federal style structure is home to Peter Cadoux Architects, who faithfully restored it as their office.


The original house was built in 1772 by Phineas Chapman, a Connecticut Militia lieutenant. It burned in 1877 and was rebuilt by his grandson, Charles Chapman. It remained in the family until 1927, when his last descendant died. It later served as a nursery school. Designated as a local historic property by Deborah Howland and her son Galen Murray in 2018, new owners Amy Gay and Matthew Burrows recently completed an extensive renovation of the property on a very visible road.


Green’s Farms Congregational Church was established in 1711, when Westport was part of Fairfield. A meetinghouse was raised near what is now the Sherwood Island Connector commuter parking lot. The church’s 3rd building was constructed in 1853, on Hillandale. It expanded in phases. In 2019 — with the structure needing major renovation — the congregation quickly raised funds to repair the original foundation, restore the steeple and overhaul the organ. Click here for a full story.

161 cross highway

The Masiello family opened Christie’s Country Store in 1926, to sell produce grown on their nearby farm. They gave up farming in the late 1940s, but continued the business and added a gazebo moved from Redding Road. In 1958 the market was enlarged. It has gone through various incarnations — including, briefly, a dry cleaner’s — but longtime owner Tim Purcell renovated it. It now houses the popular Porch @ Christie’s restaurant.


This property, built by James Masiello in 1922 for his wife Mary, has been in the family for over 100 years. The Colonia Revival home has been lovingly conserved by Jean Masiello.


Built in 1919, this is the oldest continually operating retail and food store in Westport. Designed as a small market to serve the area around Old Mill Beach, it was known variously as “Old Mill Grocery,” “Kenny’s,” “Elvira’s” and “Joey’s by the Shore.” A year ago, when sale to a residential developer seemed imminent, a group of residents formed the Soundview Empowerment Alliance. They saved it from destruction, renovated it, and turned it once again into a beloved “Old Mill Grocery & Deli.” Click here for a full story.


The Patrick Rice House (aka the Gray-Coley House and the Lamar Webb House) is one of the finest examples of Italianate style in Westport. Believed to be built in 1869, it is part of the Gorham Avenue Historic District. It has been lovingly maintained by a long history of owners. Current stewards Kristin Schneeman and Ezra Greenberg have meticulously maintained the property since buying it in 2011.

The Historic District Commission is chaired by Grayson Braun. She and Donna Douglass wrote all the narratives for the awards. Bill Harris donated the printing of the programs for the ceremony through his organization, the Army Aviation Associated of America.

The awards were organized by coordinator Donna Douglass; former member and house researcher Bob Weingarten; former chair and current member Bill Harris, who donated the printing of the programs through his Army Aviation Association of America, and HDC members Scott Springer, Wendy Van Wie, Martha Eidman and Elizabeth  Bolognino. 

(Westport’s history — and real estate — are among the most popular topics on “06880.” Please click here to support the work of your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: Mothers Day, Rowene Weems, Mystery Boxes …

Fig Linens and Home — a small woman-owned business in Westport since 2003 — has your Mothers Day covered.

Their advice (whether you shop at their 66 Post Road East store or not) is:

The perfect Mothers Day gift is different for every mom. Finding the perfect pick is dependent on choosing what your mom loves.

Some questions to ask yourself to pick the ideal Mother’s Day present include:

  • Do any gifts align with her interests? Think of the things your mother loves most, and the things she does every day. Making a list of her hobbies and activities can help you brainstorm gift ideas.
  • Is it something you can see her using? Traditional gifts include things flowers, spa treatments and chocolate. If you never see your mom utilizing any of those, it’s time to re-evaluate. We often recommend gifts like luxury robes, silk slippers and relaxing candles, because they are usable every single day.
  • Would she buy it for herself? The best Mothers Day gift strikes a balance between being something she’ll want and use, while being something she probably wouldn’t splurge on herself. If your mom gets a massage every week, a massage gift card probably isn’t the best gift. Think instead of items you don’t think she would purchase, but that she would love.

PS: Mothers Day is a week from Sunday: May 14. Don’t forget!


Westport Police made 4 custodial arrests between April 26 and May 3.

One was for burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, larceny and criminal mischief, following a break-in at Riverside Sunoco of $3,600 worth of cigarettes and vaping devices.

Another arrest was for criminal attempt to commit larceny and forgery, after an attempt to cash a fraudulent business check for $18,500 at TD Bank.

A third was for criminal attempt to commit larceny, breach of peace and threatening, following mail theft by the neighbor of a Westport resident.

The fourth arrest was for failure to appear in court, after a September motor vehicle accident.

Police also issued the following citations:

  • Traffic control signal violations: 6
  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 5
  • Failure to comply with state traffic regulations: 4
  • Operating a motor vehicle without minimum insurance: 3
  • Distracted driving (not cellphone): 2
  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 2
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 2
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 2
  • Improper use of markers: 1
  • Assault 3rd degree, physical injury: 1
  • Speeding: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle while texting: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 1
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 1
  • Failure to renew registration: 1
  • Failure to register a commercial vehicle: 1
  • Unreadable license plate: 1

An arrest was made after a break-in yielded $3600 worth of cigarettes and vaping devices.


The Westport Book Shop’s Artist of the Month is an “06880” favorite: Rowene Weems.

The photographer will display “Wish You Were Here: Postcards from Westport.” The 16 photos depicting scenes around town are part of a larger series of “love notes” to Westport.

Rowene moved to Westport from Wyoming 4 years ago. She says, “The beauty of Westport’s waterside landscape is such a lush contrast to my Rocky Mountain home. I find it a continuing source of inspiration.”

Rowene’s photography will exhibited at the Book Shop on Jesup Road through May 31.  All pieces are available for purchase.

Rowene Weems with her photos, at the Westport Book Shop.


We can’t make this stuff up.

The former site of State Cleaners — the near-70-year business that closed this winter, at the rear of 180 Post Road East — will soon have a new tenant.

It will fill a gaping need in Westport. It’s just what we need! Check it out below:

(Photo/Molly Alger)


Bob Mitchell sends this photo —

— and writes: “These have appeared all over my neighborhood – Redcoat and Cavalry Road. Any idea what they are? Something to do with cable?”

That’s above my pay grade. But “06880” readers will know. Click “Comments,” so we are all up to speed.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — taken on Imperial Avenue — is one of our most gorgeous ever.

Then again, it is mid-spring in Westport.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)


And finally … happy belated (yesterday) 89th birthday, Frankie Valli!

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Roundup: Ed Budget, Farmers’ Market, Traffic Safety, Laura Linney …

A day after passing the $81.3 million town budget, Westport’s Representative Town Meeting okayed a second, much larger one.

Voting 31-0 after little discussion, the legislative body passed the $144.3 million plan.

The final part of the 3-step budget process is approving the mill rate. That comes later this month.


In journalism, a “dog bites man” story is one that happens so frequently, it’s not really news.

Without downplaying its seriousness, that’s a good way to describe accidents at the Cross Highway/North Avenue intersection.

Another one took place yesterday at the poorly angled, difficult-to-see-past site. This one involved 2 vehicles, with injuries. The Westport Fire Department released a photo, but provided no other details.

Yesterday’s crash at Cross Highway and North Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

The Post Road/Wilton Road/Riverside Avenue intersection has been called Westport’s worst.

But at least it has a light.

And, from time to time, a cop.


Coincidentally, Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast features 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker’s take on the recent public meeting on street improvement for traffic and pedestrian safety, and the increased Westport Police traffic safety enforcement program.

Click below to listen to this Y’s Men of Westport and Weston production.


Happy May! And happy return of the Westport Farmers’ Market!

Our favorite outdoor produce-and-much-more celebration returns to the Imperial Avenue parking lot May 11. It runs every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through early November.

This year promises to be the best in the market’s 17-year history. A variety of programs operating under their “who grows your food” banner will add even more community-inspired programs, vendors, sponsors and activities.

Vendors – WFM favorites and new faces – will hold to high standards of sustainable practices, including plastic-free packaging, and participate in other market-to-community efforts. Among them: Farmer-to-School-to-Community, Farmer Kids Community, Friend of the Market, Recipe, Farmer-to-Veterans, Get Growing, Farmer Fund, Young Shoots, and other programs focused on giving back.

This year’s lunch and music areas will be shaded and separated from the central shopping experience. The Westport Library will select musical guests, through Verso Studios.

For more details, click here or email


Tickets for “Booked for the Evening” — the Westport Library’s big fundraiser — go on sale next Monday (May 8, 10 a.m.; click here).

This year’s guest is Laura Linney. The noted theater, film and television actor will be honored in the Trefz Forum on July 13.

Now in its 24th year, “Booked for the Evening” celebrates an individual whose work reflects the purpose of the Library: to nurture a love of learning, and enhance our understanding of the world.

Laura Linney


Mexicue — the very popular new Main Street restaurant — has expanded both their menu and hours.

They’ve added dinner-focused “Platos Fuertes,” while at the same time opening for lunch 7 days a week. Their new hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with brunch on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekday happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m.

Updated hours below. We also just launched a new menu with several more dinner-focused “Platos Fuertes” – menu attached.

Mexicue is the newest addition to our “06880” Restaurants tab. Just click on at the top of our home page (or here), for a wide variety of local spots — including menus, websites and social media.

Mexicue’s intriguing interior.


Speaking of restaurants: Is Emmy Squared coming to Westport?

CTBites — the state’s premier food blog, published by our very own Stephanie Webster — reports the “unconfirmed” news that the “iconic and much-loved” restaurant is looking for staff here.

Begun in Brooklyn in 2016, “they are known for their signature Detroit-style pizza, marked by its square shape, crispy bottom, fluffy dough, cheesy ‘frico’ crust, and signature sauce stripes.

“Their famed double-stack burger, Le Big Matt (served on a pretzel bun), was named ‘#1 Best Burger in Nashville’ by The Tennessean and Nashville Lifestyles, voted one of ‘The Best New Burgers In NYC’ by Gothamist, and listed as one of the ‘20 Best Burgers in NYC’ by The Infatuation. The menu also highlights a selection of approachable salads and sandwiches served on pretzel buns.”

There are now 8 location in New York, Nashville, Philadelphia, Washington and Louisville.”

Pizzas from Emmy Squared.


In March, “06880” reported on Lynda Bluestein’s crusade. The longtime and very active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport has terminal fallopian tube cancer. That month she reached a settlement with the state of Vermont, making her the first non-resident to take advantage of a law that allows people with terminal illnesses to end their own lives.

Yesterday, Governor Phil Scott signed a bill that removes the residency requirement from the state’s medical aid in dying law. Bluestein’s case prompted legislators to revise the law for all non-Vermonters. Click here for the full story.

Lynda Bluestein and her husband Paul. (Photo courtesy of NBC Connecticut)


Westport resident Lee Bly’s home golf course is Longshore.

But on Sunday, at Stamford’s Sterling Farms, the 2007 Staples High School graduate had a hole-in-one. Playing with former classmate Carter Myers, Lee aced the 223-yard par 3 17th hole.

Congratulations, Lee!

Lee Bly, at his now-favorite hole.


TAP Strength hosts a special Sound Bath Meditation Class tomorrow (Thursday, May 4, 7 to 8 p.m., 180 Post Road East).

Experience deep relaxation, enhanced mental focus, clarity and creativity through crystal and Tibetan bowls, gongs, chimes and other instruments.

Bring a mat and any other items to feel comfortable. Member and non-member class fees apply. Email or call 203-292-9353 for more information.


Jazz at the Post goes international this week.

Japanese pianist Hiroshi Yamazaki will be joined by Takashi Otsuka on bass, and Americans Jason Tiemann on drums and Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” on sax.

There are 2 shows (7:30 and 8:45 p.m., Thursday, May 4; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399). Dinner service begins at 7.

Reservations are highly recommended:

Hiroshi Yamazaki


Since moving here a couple of years ago, Shona Rhimes has become an avid Westporter.

Westport Lifestyle magazine caught up with our new neighbor, for their May issue. She describes how she chose our town, the buzz behind buying her house, what she’s up to now (a “Bridgerton” prequel) and more. Click here to read.

Shonda Rhimes, last year at the Westport Library. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)


Once upon a time, you saw sights like this in Westport.

(Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)

You still see it in New York.

But — as Carl Addison Swanson, who spotted the sofa and sign on Richmondville Avenue — notes, “This may be the last free thing in Westport.”


Among the recent “Westport … Naturally” sights this spring: a crabapple tree at Ned Dimes Marina.

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


And finally … Gordon Lightfoot died Monday in Toronto. He was 84.

Though never as popular in the US as in his native Canada — where he was a beloved icon — the folk singer was one of my all-time favorites. He had me with “Go Go Round” in the mid-1960s, and never let go.

Click here for a full obituary.

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Terry Eldh Sings Sounds Of Healing

It’s one of those “Westport connections” stories.

Terry Eldh — a conservatory-trained singer — was invited to perform at the wedding of 2 friends from Staples High School: fellow cheerleader Karen Waltrip and football star Dan Bennewitz.

Karen’s father Bill — the president and CEO of Pan American Airlines — introduced Terry to the secretary of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The non-profit provides grants to opera singers on the brink of international careers.

Terry did not get one. But the secretary introduced her to Larry Stayer, James Levine’s right-hand man at the Metropolitan Opera.

He did not hire her. But he offered encouragement.

“Get your technique together,” Stayer told Terry. “You can make this a career.”

His positive feedback changed her life.

She left her job on Wall Street — hey, singers have to pay the bills — and landed a summer workshop role as Susanna in “The Marriage of Figaro.”

Terry was on her way.

Until then, her life had unfolded in typical fashion — typical for a multi-faceted Westporter, anyway.

Terry Eldh

Her parents moved here in the middle of her sophomore year. “Staples was the perfect place for me,” Terry says. She sang with the elite Orphenians, starred in Players’ “Wizard of Oz,” and captained the cheerleading team.

She spent the summer before senior year in Turkey, as an American Field Service exchange student.

Terry then studied music, business and French at the University of Connecticut. She did a junior year abroad, at the University of Rouens. On a whim, she auditioned for the conservatory there. She got in — and won first prize at the year-end competition.

“I was just there for fun!” she marvels.

Terry then spent a year at the Manhattan School of Music. But when they wanted her to commit to 4 more years of vocal classes, she joined the “real world” of temping, then institutional sales for a boutique brokerage firm.

After “Figaro” and 3 apprenticeships, she began landing roles.

In the late 1980s, friends were hired for Broadway shows that required classical techniques: “Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon,” “Phantom of the Opera.”

The actors’ union was stronger than the opera singers’. Health insurance was better. And long-running shows “allow you to have a life,” Terry says.

She went to a Broadway “cattle call” auditions, then 2 callbacks.

Several months passed. In the fall of 1991, director Hal Prince invited her to sing for him.

Soon, she was covering Carlotta.

She stayed with “Phantom” for 8 years.

After Broadway, Terry did many things: corporate seminar facilitation, legal temping, church singing. Her sight reading skills landed her work at Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls. She sang locally at the Levitt Pavilion, too.

Terry Eldh at the Levitt Pavilion, last summer. (Photo/Dan Woog)

She does not know where the next turn of her life  path came from, but she explored healing.

An introductory Reiki course intrigued her. She studied to the master level, and beyond.

More than 2 decades ago, she heard about “sound healing”: using instruments, music, tones and other sonic vibrations to balance and heal the body, mind and spirit. Over the years, she became a sound healer.

When COVID struck, Terry was working at GE Capital. With stress levels high at the beginning of the pandemic, the head of their wellness program invited her to livestream a sound meditation for the entire division.

She took a quick course in how to livestream effectively.

Over 100 employees tuned it. Feedback was excellent.

Terry realized she could fill an important need. She created an LLC for SoulOSoaring, and set up a website.

A year ago, Terry retired from GE. She’s now a full-time sound healer, with a Southport studio.

She offers in-person and online sound meditations (“baths”) for individuals, groups and corporations.

She trains people who want to use alchemy crystal singing bowls. She sells the bowls too, for personal use or gifts.

Terry Eldh, with her alchemy crystal singing bowls.

Sound healing “slows down brain waves,” Terry explains. “You get to a meditative state, closer to your subconscious, so healing can take place.”

Many clients are already wellness practitioners. They want to add sound healing to their modalities, or do it exclusively.

Others are curious. They soon become believers, Terry says.

“This is my path,” she says. “I’m so drawn to it. I’m following the bread crumbs in front of me.”

Hear, hear!

(Click here for Terry Eldh’s website. On May 10, Terry will be part of the 6 p.m. “Self-Checkout” monthly mindfulness series at the Westport Library. Click here for more details.)

(When Staples graduates forge new paths, “06880” is there. Please click here to help us tell their stories. Thank you!)

Roundup: Wynston Browne, Traffic, Hook’d …

If you want an inspiring way to start the week, keep reading.

Then click the video below.

“06880” has highlighted the story of Wynston Browne. For 14 of his 15 years, the non-speaking, autistic Staples High School sophomore was thought by everyone — educators, doctors, even family members — as having a profound intellectual disability. It was believed he could barely learn or communicate.

That was far from the truth. He had learned on his own, all his life.

Two years ago, Wynston began communicating through a spelling device. His vast knowledge and intelligence were unlocked.

The weekend before last, at a Circle of Friends ceremony — where local teens were honored for their work with people with disabilities — Wynston shared insights into his journey.

And into his future, as a neuroscientist and advocate for people with autism and other disabilities.

It was a remarkable afternoon. His standing ovations were well-earned.

Thank you, Wynston, for inspiring us all!

PS: To learn more about the remarkable first generation of “spellers” that Wynston is part of, click here.


Alert — and frustrated — “06880” reader Ray Broady writes:

This issue gets worse by the day.

My evening commute back to Westport takes me off I-95 at exit 17 daily, usually between 4:30 and 6 p.m. This route is getting so bad, it sometimes adds 45 minutes to my time.

Friday evening, it took an extra half hour just to exit I-95 and sit in traffic through Saugatuck, to the right turn at the Cribari Bridge.

One issue is that Westport stations a police officer across from the bridge to help keep the intersection moving. This really helps, but this person is nor in place until 5:30 or 6 p.m. I have called the police, and requested the lieutenant in charge of traffic and safety issues to try to have that person on duty from 4:30 to 6:30,  when the problem is at its worst.

This problem is amplified when Waze reroutes thousands of I-95 commuters onto Bridge Street and Greens Farms Road.

I realize that this section of streets is a state route (136), and possibly only the state Transportation Department and engineers can affect changes. But there must be something Westport can do to improve this horrible situation.

I have not heard of any change on the Cribari Bridge status, so I don’t know what is happening there. It may even worsen this, for so many Westporters.

I am more than willing to donate some of my time and energy to address this disaster. But I need help from others to make this a Westport priority. How can we get this ball rolling?

I feel we should get a group of volunteers together, to start a positive effort to work on interfacing with town, state, police and the impacted Saugatuck community to help find a permanent solution, and not a bucket list future dream.

Charles Street traffic. (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)


A steady crowd braved yesterday’s rain, for a book signing at Savvy + Grace.

Spoiler alert: It was mine.

Thanks to all who came to pick up “Pick of the Pics”: the best-of-“06880” photos compilation.

Lyah Muktavaram — my Staples High intern last spring, who did all the hard work on the book — and I had a great time greeting the 100 or so folks at Main Street’s favorite gift-and-more store.

Couldn’t make it? Click here to order!

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Ted Horowitz — whose photos are in the book — joined Lyah Muktavaram and Dan Woog at the Savvy + Grace launch party. (Photo/JC Martin)


Sure, Hook’d opened 2 weeks after their contract said they would.

But hey — the retro video games are free!

(Photo and hat tip/Johanna Rossi)


“Westport … Naturally” starts the week with this gorgeous photo from Imperial Avenue.

Scenes like this are as fleeting as they are welcome. Enjoy them while you can!

(Photo/Fred Cantor)


And finally … hard to believe, but I missed Willie Nelson’s birthday.

It was Saturday.

So: Happy birthday, to one of my favorite all-time musicians. One of the highlights of my life was being up front at his Levitt Pavilion performance a decade or so ago.

It’s also hard to believe he is 90 years young.

Here’s to another 90 great ones. Don’t bet against him.

Unbelievably, it’s his 88th. He will outlive us all.

(Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be people who don’t support the blog they read. Please click here to contribute to “06880.” Thank you!)

Remembering Stew Leonard, Sr.

Stew Leonard, Sr. — founder of “the world’s largest dairy store,” which now sells everything from cashmere to wine, has 7 locations in the tri-state area, and traces its heritage to a milk dispensing machine at the corner of Saugatuck Avenue and Treadwell Avenue — died yesterday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, from complications of pneumonia. He was 93 years old, and lived in Westport.

A graduate of Norwalk High School and the University of Connecticut’s School of Agriculture, Stew first worked for his family’s business: Clover Farms Dairy in Norwalk.

It was state-of-the-art for its time. with a pasteurizing and bottling plant, and fresh milk delivered daily by trucks (with plastic cows on the front that “mooed” for the neighborhood children).

Stew Leonard, Sr.

In the late 1960s, Stew realized the milk delivery business was going the way of the iceman. His belief that it was time to start something new was driven home when the state informed him that Clover Farms Dairy was in the path of a new highway.

He decided to build a retail dairy store where children could watch milk being bottled, while parents shopped in a farmer’s market atmosphere.  In December 1969, Stew Leonard’s opened its doors. It was 17,000 square feet, and carried just 8 items.

Stew Leonard’s grew into what Ripley’s Believe It or Not called the “World’s Largest Dairy store.” It also earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest dollar sales per square foot of selling space. The company is featured in two books by management expert Tom Peters.

Stew was presented with the Presidential Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, and gave a keynote address to the National Speakers Association. He was named a “Top 50 Visionary” by Supermarket News in 2002, and received awards from Ernst & Young,  Inc. magazine and Dale Carnegie. Stew received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bridgeport in 1987.

He published a memoir — “Stew Leonard: My Story” — in 2009.

Stew grew up around the water, and loved Long Island Sound. He won the 1956 North American Water Ski championship, and set a world and national record in point totals for trick water skiing in 1959.

He invented and patented the “Skee-Trainer,” which was attached to a tow rope to teach people to water ski.

Throughout his life he stood at the front door of his Norwalk store greeting customers, often by name.

Stew Leonard’s has grown into a $600 million family owned and operated business. It was named one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” 10 years in a row.  The company is run by Stew’s son, Stew Leonard, Jr., with help from his siblings Tom Leonard, Beth Leonard Hollis, and Jill Leonard Tavello. Five of Stew’s grandchildren have also joined the business.

Stew Leonard’s Norwalk store.

A memorial service and burial will be private. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Donations in Stew’s memory may be made to the Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation, which helps fund swimming lessons for children in need. It honors his grandson, who drowned in 1989. Click here to send a message to the family. Cards can also be sent to 100 Westport Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851.

Stew is survived by his wife of 70 years, Marianne Guthman Leonard, their 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Roundup: Wilton Road, Weston History, “06880” Book Launch …

The latest Westport clear-cutting project took some Westporters by surprise,

In fact, it’s part of an 8-30g project approved before the moratorium took effect.

122 Wilton Road — the 1.16-acre parcel bordered by Wilton Road, Kings Highway North, the Saugatuck River and Taylortown Salt Marsh — will be the site of a 3-story, 19-unit,  20,078-square foot apartment complex..

In 2018, the state Appellate Court denied a plan by Garden Homes of Stamford to build a 7-story, 48-unit apartment complex.

The developer returned with the smaller, 19-unit proposal, which included an 8-30g component.

Again the P&Z rejected the request. The scale was still too big; there were still traffic and fire safety issues.

But Garden Homes appealed, and a court overruled the P&Z. According to 8-30g, affordability trumps traffic and safety concerns.

COVID pushed back the schedule. But eventually the Conservation Department, Water Pollution Control Facility and Building Department issued permits.

This was the scene Monday:

And yesterday:

(Photo/Chris Tait)


Bill “Mr. Memorial Day Parade” Vornkahl notes that many organizations have not yet replied to invitations to participate in the Memorial Day parade.

So, organizations: If you want to be in Westport’s best parade of the year, contact Jamie Boone at the Westport Parks & Recreation Department:; 203-341-5091.

Don’t be left out of the Memorial Day parade!  (Photo/Jodi Harris)


MoCA’s Spring Thursday evening “Cocktails and Conversation” series has begun. It features compelling speakers, within the context of MoCA’s current exhibition.

The current show — “Rainbow in the Dark,” with works by German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle — runs through May 28.

“Cocktails and Conversation” includes:

April 27 (6 p.m.), “Creativity and Climate Action”: 4 Bridgeport artists show (and offer for sale) the projects they’ve created.

May 4 (5 p.m.), “The Wellness of Style” with Gayle Perry, exploring “the noise that our clothes and spaces create for us, with 15-minute style sessions.

May 11 (6 p.m.), Iraqi multi-instrumentalist Ameen Mokdad.

May 18 (6 p.m.), Conversation with “Rainbow in the Dark” curator Emann Odufu, followed by a concert by rock band Darling.

May 25 (6 p.m.), Barbara Sallick of Waterworks and Shari Lebowitz of Bespoke Designs on female entrepreneurship, home design trends, and the blending of function and style.

Most events are free for MoCA members, $10 for non-members. For more information click here, or call 203-222-7070.

Emann Odufu


Time for a church barn dance!

‘The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport sponsors its 4th one on Saturday, April 29 (5 to 9 p.m.). Billy Fischer is the caller, accompanied by Wry Bred.

All ages are invited. There’s pizza and cake too. Donations ($5 per person, $15 per family) are requested. Questions? Call 203-227-7205, ext. 10. Swing your partner ’round!


Speaking of concerts: The Weston History & Culture Center’s outdoor summer concert series “Music at the Barn” returns for its 8th season. Concerts are set for June 4 and June 25, July 9 and July 23, and September 10.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for food, history, crafts and fun. Music starts at 5:30 p.m., and ends at 7.

The bands are from throughout Fairfield County. Kids will enjoy the crafting table, historic games and a walk through the sculpture garden. Adults can explore history with tours of the Coley House and “Penned, Painted & Sculpted: Weston Artists 1900 – 1965” exhibit.

Music at the Weston Historical Society.


Reminder: The launch party for “Pick of the Pics” — the “06880” book highlighting over 100 of our blog’s best Pics of the Day — is this Sunday (April 30, 2 to 4 p.m., Savvy + Grace, 146 Main Street).

Books will be available for purchase at a special price of $20 (regular Amazon price: $24.95).

I’ll sign copies; so will Lyah Muktavaram, my “06880” intern who did 99% of the work on it.

Photographers featured in the book can pick up a free book at the launch party too.

Can’t wait? Click here to order!


Totally random, but interesting:

Alert reader Jim McKay writes: “In 1982, when the Saugatuck train station rain shelters were installed, the Ukrainian flag colors were used. Long before Ukrainian independence.”

(Photo/Jim McKay)


Last week, Amy Schneider captured — on camera, that is — today’s “Westport … Naturally feature: a snowy egret, perched over the Saugatuck River.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


And fiinally ,,, Harry Belafonte, whose life was defined as much by his work on civil rights as by his popularizing of calypso music in the pop realm, died yesterday in New York of congestive heart failure. He was 96.

Belafonte attended fundraisers here, during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Click here for a full obituary of this remarkable man.

(If you enjoy our daily Roundups, please support “06880.” Just click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Crash, Bochu Walker, CVS ….

Not far from the notorious Cross Highway/North Avenue and Cross Highway/Bayberry Lane intersections, there’s another accident-prone spot.

Drivers roaring west on Long Lots Road often miss the stop sign at the top of the hill, heading toward High Point Road.

It’s a tough, non-aligned intersection, with Hyde Lane coming in too from the south.

This was the scene yesterday. Fortunately, no one was injured.

But as “06880” says often: Be careful out there!

(Photo/Amy Saperstein)


One of the last buildings on Main Street dating back to the mid-19th century — circa 1865 — has been newly renovated.

Brochu Walker — a luxury brand that was not around when Westporters marched off to the Civil War — is the new tenant at 139 Main Street.

The store opened a year ago, in a building crying out for renovation. The timeless quality attracted the knitwear/”timeless dresses”/sweater company.

Construction is now complete. A ribbon-cutting was held last week.

The renovated Brochu Walker store.


At least one “06880” reader is not a CVS fan. She writ

“On Saturday morning I went into CVS to ask about getting the new COVID vaccine.

“I stood at the counter marked ‘consultation.’  Three people were working within my view, but they studiously avoided looking at me for quite some time. Finally one came over and started looking at me.

“I said, ‘Good morning, do you have the new COVID vaccine available ?’  Gruffly she responded, ‘Appointment only.’  I said, ‘OK, may I schedule an appointment please?’ Gruffly again, a one-word response: ‘Online.’

“I went home and logged onto the CVS website, trying to navigate as best I could. It told me the two places I could get the vaccine were Bethel and Old Greenwich.

“I went on the Walgreens website. I found it easy to navigate, and there were appointments available from 10:30 on every half hour or so. I signed up for a 10:30 appointment and filled out the online paperwork.

“I drove the short distance to Walgreens. When I walked in, the young woman standing there looked up, smiled and said, ‘Good morning’ very pleasantly. I went to the prescription counter, said who I was, and was treated with efficiency and courtesy. I received my shot promptly at 10:30, stayed 10 minutes to check for a reaction, and then went home.

“I think my days of shopping at CVS are finished.”

I’m surprised at the encounter this “06880” reader had. I’ve always been treated courteously at CVS, and had no problem with prescriptions or vaccines.

Their app leaves something to be desired — employees often apologize that the Wifi in the store is bad.

But it’s good we have a choice. Let’s hope the CVS person just had a bad day!

PS: The new facade in Compo Shopping Center looks spiffy.


The Westport Weston Family YMCA hosts its annual Healthy Kids Day event this Saturday (April 29, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mahackeno Outdoor Center). It’s free, and open to the public.

The goal is to inspire kids and families to keep their minds and bodies active throughout the summer and beyond.

The day includes a variety of activities, healthy snack demos, food trucks, fitness classes, games, art, and a free t-shirt for the first 200 kids.

Pre-registration online is encouraged, for easier, faster entry.


Jessie Harris is the son of theatrical attorney and Broadway producer Jay Harris and actress Marie Masters. His family spent many summers on Compo Hill.

Jessie — a singer-songwriter — will perform at Nublu in New York May 1, and Bowery Electric on May 11. On May 18 — if you’re in Paris — catch him at Sunset.


Amy Schneider took this a few days ago, so it might already be dated.

But her shot of crabapple and maple buds behind the Levitt Pavilion is still “Westport … Naturally” worthy.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


And finally … speaking of the post office (story above):

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog — and contributions are tax-deductible. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)