Category Archives: Local business

Roundup: Cell Tower, Walking Tours, Wafu …

Tarpon Towers II and AT&T are proceeding with plans for a 124-foot cell tower in the back yard of a private home, at 92 Greens Farms Road.

Neighbors, meanwhile, are proceeding with their fight against it.

A petition cites environmental and aesthetic concerns with the proposal. It’s already garnered over 200 signatures.

Verizon is an “intervenor” in the case. They’ll join AT&T in leasing space on the tower.

Stephen Goldstein says: “Verizon admits that only ~1.5% of its calls in the area get dropped (vs their “target performance” of less than 1% – pretty darned close…) – and they say the reason for this tower is ‘primarily’ to increase coverage on I-95.  That’s a tough pill for the neighborhood to swallow, for sure.”

The Connecticut Siting Council will hold a Zoom meeting about the application on August 9. It begins at 2 p.m. with an evidentiary session. Public comment follows at 6:30 p.m. Click here for the link.

To participate in the 6:30 p.m. public comment session, email siting.council@ct.gov with your name, email address and mailing address, by August 8. Public comments may also be submitted to the Council by email (see address above).

A cell tower has been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road.

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Baseball and ’70s/’80s music are the stars of this week’s Remarkable Theater offerings.

Today (Monday, August 1, 8 p.m.; gates open at 7 p.m.), the Imperial Avenue drive-in screens “The Sandlot.” Besides baseball, the film includes treehouse sleep-ins, a desirous lifeguard, snooty rivals, a travelling fair and a ball-eating dog..

“Mamma Mia!” needs no introduction, beyond one word: ABBA. It’s set for Wednesday (August 3, 8:15 p.m.; gates open at 7:15). Glittery costumes are optional.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Like many Westporters, Nancy Wilson is intrigued by the “Destination Westport Walking Tours” signs popping up all over town.

(Photo/Nancy Wilson)

Like most people, she drives — not walks — past them.

She’d love to know more. However, the QR code does not work on a photo like the one she took (above).

And there’s no other info on the signs, as to a sponsor, date, or anything else.

So although these signs are posted on major roads, they all lead to dead ends.

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Wakeman Town Farm’s bee team harvested a big batch of home-grown local honey yesterday. Overseen by beekeeper Jaime Smith, WTF worker bees 🐝 spun 11 boxes, which they then turned into golden nectar.

The process begins with opening up the capped comb by scraping off the wax, then putting the frame into the extractor. Once the extractor is filled with frames, the spinning begins.

Erika Smith, hard at work. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

Honey drips to the bottom of the tank. It is then poured into storage to be siphoned into glass jars.

It’s a sticky process. But the result is delicious — and it’s sold at WTF’s farm stand every Saturday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Sweeeeet!

Honey-making at Wakeman Town Farm. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

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If you’re not aware: AWARE is a wonderful Fairfield County-wide organization.

The acronym stands for Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education. Each year, members partner with a local non-profit. They volunteer with that group, organize an educational event and host a fundraiser.

Among AWARE’s past partners: the Cancer Couch Foundation (health), International Institute of Connecticut (human trafficking), Mercy Learning Center (education), Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes (veterans) and Malta House (pregnant and new mothers).

The other day, AWARE volunteers gathered at Compo Beach. They celebrated the work they do, their commitment to helping other women — and the beautiful sunset they felt lucky to enjoy.

AWARE, at the beach.

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As Old Mill Grocery celebrates its first week in operation, Westporters continue to give thanks for the revival of the neighborhood deli/market.

And by “Westporters,” we mean humans of all ages.

And man’s best friend.

(Photo/John McGrath)

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In June there was a shooting at Wafu — the Asian fusion restaurant just over the town line, in Southport.

Then the state suspended its liquor license.

That was just Wafu’s latest problem. In the months before, Fairfield police had been called there numerous times, for public urination, underage drinking, and a bouncer allegedly pepper spraying a crowd.

Now it’s permanently closed. Chris Grimm snapped this photo, noting that the sign with its name is removed.

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

The Westport location in Bedford Square — which calls itself a “Korean BBQ” restaurant — is still open.

There have been no reports there of shootings. Or public urination, underage drinking or a bouncer using pepper spray.

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“06880” readers are sharp.

When I posted a “Roundup” item about Jillian Elder’s Westport-themed t-shirts, hoodies and tumblers, a number of you quickly spotted a misspelling: “Patrick Wetlands,” not “Partrick.”

Clicking on the link provided, several also noticed that “Greens Farms” was rendered as “Green Farms.” There’s plenty of debate about an apostrophe — both Greens Farms and Green’s Farms are used — but there’s no doubt there’s an “s” at the end.

Jillian quickly apologized — and printed new shirts. She thanks all who pointed out the errors.

To order a correctly spelled item, click here.

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Speaking of eagle eyes:

“06880” reader Jill Haymes was watching yesterday’s Yankees-Royals game.

This “Veteran of the Game” came on:

(Photo/Jill Haymes)

Thanks, Seaman First Class Wall, for your service.

And thanks, Jill, for helping us honor him today.

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Wendy Levy spotted this bee on hydrangea at Little Barn. We’ve run some “Westport … Naturally” plant and insect photos before.

But never from a restaurant.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally, on this date in 1876, Colorado was admitted as the 38th US state.

 

Roundup: Curt Swan’s Superman, Starbucks’ Scalding Coffee …

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman at the Westport Library!

Sort of.

For many years, the legendary superhero comic strip was drawn by Westport illustrator Curt Swan.

This Wednesday (August 3, 7 p.m., Westport Library), local comic book art historian Arlen Schumer dives into the artist’s work.

Swan worked full time on Superman from 1957 to 1986. From the scenes of a doomed Krypton to soaring above Metropolis, his Superman is the standard against which all succeeding artists are judged.

Schumer is an award-winning comic book-style illustrator and pop culture historian. He writes, lectures and teaches on his passions.

Click here for more information.

From the 2002 book “Curt Swan: a Life in Comics”

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An environmentally minded, coffee-drinking reader writes: “Starbucks now uses sustainable cups, straws and lids. That’s great.

“But the lids suck. Twice this week at the drive-through one they fell off, burning my husband and me.

“When I asked for a new lid, they told me to call corporate because everyone is complaining about these flimsy sustainable lids, and ‘someone is gonna sue soon.’

“I’m all for sustainable Westport — but not at the expense of being burned.

“The good news is: They gave me a $10 gift card the second time. They saw it happen, and felt terrible.”

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Lou Weinberg is a teacher, director of our town’s Community Gradens, and a superb photographer.

Here’s what he says about today’s “Westport .. Naturally” submission:

“I was listening to this black-capped chickadee sing its song. It really went the extra mile. My exuberant applause was met with a full bow by the bird. It was a command performance!”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … in honor of Arlen Schumer’s homage to Curt Swan at the Library this week (see story above):

(Be a superhero!  Please click here to support “06880.”)

Roundup: Greens Farms Spirit Shop, Coffee, Hot Dogs …

“06880” reported yesterday that Greens Farms Spirit Shop was for sale. It was right there online, with an MLS listing.

Yesterday afternoon, owner Nick Conti emailed:

“Been hearing a lot of chatter today about my store being for sale. I can personally tell you: ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’ The store is not, in fact, for sale. I have had the store for almost 4 years now and couldn’t be happier in Westport. It’s a tremendous community!”

It seems a broker Nick had not met before misinterpreted an offhand remark, and posted — without his knowledge — an item about the sale. (“The MLS is a strange place to market a business,” Nick adds.)

So, not only is Greens Farms Spirit Shop not for sale. But the store was just recognized as one of the nation’s Top 100 retailers, by Beverage Dynamics magazine.

It’s all good. Party on!

Not for sale!

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Alert — and thirsty (though not for alcohol) – “06880” reader Mark Lassoff writes:

“I get off I-95 at the Southport exit yesterday, on my way to my Westport office.

“The Maple Avenue Dunkin’ Donuts was shuttered, without warning.

“The ‘New Dunkin’ opening in 3 days’ sign in Compo Shopping Center had not changed in a week

“Coffee An’ is closed for vacation.

“And Mrs. London’s Bakery is closed and locked, with no lights on and no sign on the door.

“I was forced to get coffee at Manna Toast ($5.19, from a thermos).

“When will the new Dunkin’ open? Downtown office workers are having a coffee crisis!”

Too bad, Mark: You should have looked more closely (or perhaps driven by a few minutes later).

Westport’s newest/most recently relocated Dunkin’ opened yesterday. Enjoy!

(Pro tip: Park in the back lot. There’s plenty of room. Unlike, ahem, the front.)

Closed for vacation!

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Everyone continues to rave about Old Mill Grocery — the newly reopened deli/market on Hillspoint Road.

And by “everyone,” we mean all kinds of people.

And their pets.

With plenty of dog treats on the shelf (courtesy of Earth Animal), we’ve seen lots of tail wagging — inside, and out front.

Bobo, at Old Mill Grocery. (Photo/Sunil Hirani)

Cathy Malkin sent this photo of Yogi Bear, and says he  gives the new place “2 paws up”:

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)

Meanwhile, Maggie Moffitt Rahe reports — happily — “the line was out the door. One can only say ‘thank you” to the donors for opening the doors again. It’s bustling, and beautiful.”

Old Mill Grocery. (Photo/Maggie Moffitt Rahe)

Classic scene is back. (Photo/Patty Gabal)

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Not far away at Compo, every Tuesday during the summer, the Y’s Men picnic near the cannons. Once a year, they use it to raise funds for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

This week’s hot dog cookout for the camp was the most successful ever

Several dozen Y’s Men and spouses — plus frequent Y’s Men speaker and loyal supporter 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker — enjoyed hundreds of dogs. They were donated by Y’s Man David Kalman, and grilled by members Roy McKay and Larry Licht.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker drops a contribution in the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp bag. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

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Also at Compo: For a few weeks after it was installed, the new electronic sign notifying beachgoers of the parking situation sat idle.

Yesterday, it worked.

Well, if you disregard those diagonal black lines everywhere.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Flyers distributed yesterday in Saugatuck announced a state Department of Transportation “I-95 Resurfacing and Median Reconstruction Project, to begin July 2022.”

The bridge over Saugatuck Avenue will be replaced, using “Accelerated Bridge Construction Methods called Lateral Slide, which minimizes the disruption to I-95 commuters.”

In addition, the I-95 bridges over Franklin Street and the Saugatuck River will undergo concrete deck repairs, replacement of expansion joints and installation of new standpipes.

A portion of the structure will be replaced over a weekend, with 2 lanes of traffic in each direction.

Other work includes:

  • Reconstruction of the center median and right shoulders along with resurfacing of the highway mainline and ramps at Interchanges 16 and 17.
  • Median will be reconstructed consistent with other stretches of I-95 to provide a 6-foot-wide capped concrete barrier section.
  • Wider left and right shoulders where possible.
  • Improve drainage by replacing and re-routing drainage structures
  • Replacement of the existing highway illumination system
  • Install new realigned Incident Management System (IMS)
  • Install new guide rail
  • Utilize wet retroreflective pavement markings to provide increased visibility of pavement markings in wet conditions.

(Hat tip: Ken Stamm)

I-95 bridge over the Saugatuck River. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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Matthew Hooper and his wife live near downtown. On Tuesday night, walking in that often bustling area, he spotted 2 deer.

One was happily hanging out at the Millman & Millman law office. Moments later it as joined by another, strolling right down the yellow line on Main Street.

Whether they were looking for legal advice, or perhaps a gelato, they captured Matthew’s attention. And he captured one on camera, for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Matthew Hooper)

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And finally … Mark Lassoff may not be able to find a cup of coffee. But if he’s lookin for java:

 

Optimum Offline

Optimum boasts: “#1 in customer satisfaction.”

In neighborhoods all around Westport, customers beg to differ.

Social media was filled this week with complaints about the long-time cable provider.

Randi Nazem came directly to “06880.” Describing the situation off North Avenue, she writes:

We have WiFi sometimes, but it drops intermittently throughout the day. On Tuesday, for example, we had it all morning. Around 1 it dropped, and didn’t come back up until after 6 p.m.

This past weekend it dropped every few hours, for 10 to 15 minute intervals. It’s bizarre, and very frustrating.

This has been going on for 10 days. I’ve had Optimum on the phone 10 times. I’ve spoken to managers and the supervisor. They came to check and said everything ‘looks’ fine, yet my home (and many others) have no or only intermittent service.

Meanwhile, my $300 bill is due this week. I have to pay it, right?

Randi’s husband works from home. Without WiFi, that’s impossible, she says.

Randi reached out to “06880” because nothing else has helped. They need senior-level attention.

I received another email, this one from a woman in the Old Hill area. She said:

We have not had regular/consistent internet for the past 10 days. It sounds like this is pervasive in Old Hill, from an informal neighborhood poll — often out for more than an hour at a time).

I missed an important job interview due to the outage, and then had to reschedule and do it at the library.

My husband and I both work remotely full time, and have 2 children under 2. I monitor my newborn’s breathing through internet while she sleeps.

Our alarm system doesn’t work without internet, and we receive very little cell reception here so we need Wifi to make calls.

Optimum has a monopoly. They are content to do nothing and provide nothing to customers that have no choice.

This is fundamentally impactful to all of our lives. This affects the entire Old Hill neighborhood. The town needs to intervene with Optimum. This puts safety as well as ability to work at risk.

Randi sent screenshots of social media posts from other areas in Westport.

A plea — from 2020. (Photo/Aurea de Souza)

A second Old Hill neighbor reported: “Optimum gave us a new modem, and fixed most of it. Still some issues connecting our devices to Wi-Fi though.”

A woman on Imperial Avenue added: “I’ve had this issue for the last 2-3 weeks. We have all the best equipment on every floor of our house, yet we have full-on blackout periods every single day for hours. I’m losing my mind.”

Another person said: “We’ve had similar issues with daily outages this week. Optmum is the worst company I’ve ever dealt with, and our only option for high speed internet. I can’t wait for the day when there is another reliable, and likely cheaper, option.”

Some commenters suggest it may be an issue related to line work Optimum is doing. Others discussed the pros and cons of the Eero Mesh wifi system.

Bottom line: Optimum has some very unsatisfied customers, all over town.

They’re looking for answers.

Or at least for someone in a position of authority to care.

(Here’s one thing you can rely on: “06880.” Please click here to support this blog!)

 

Roundup: Sweetgreen, Bridge Square, Saugatuck …

Sweetgreen went before the Architectural Review Board last night.

The salad-and-bowl fast casual restaurant — with over 150 outlets in more than a dozen states — will replace Organic Krush. The “lifestyle eatery” replaced Chipotle less than 2 years ago. Board members were pleased with the new look. (There were no comments on the menu.)

Representatives from Bridge Square faced more questions, about the new look of that venerable plaza. Questions centered around architectural additions, the back (river) side, and color.

Ultimately, the ARB voted to let the project continue, with the recommendation that the owners come back with a new color scheme.

The ARB took the most time on a pre-application review of a text amendment for The Hamlet at Saugatuck, the proposed redevelopment of the area bordered by Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place and Charles Street.

No decisions were made. Members asked questions about height and architecture. ROAN Ventures, the project developer, continues the process with the ARB and Planning & Zoning Commission in September.

Part of the proposed Saugatuck Hamlet project.

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One of Westport’s oldest best known liquor stores is for sale.

A commercial real estate listing for Greens Farms Spirit Shop says: “Prime location on well-traveled road. Fantastic selection of all types of Spirits, with experienced Staff. Full delivery service, and help with all Events, Weddings, as well as corporate outings. Truly a must see to get the full affect [sic] of the operation.”

It’s listed for $2,250,000. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Amy Swanson)

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Hook’d — the Compo Beach concessionaire — remains controversial.

A few “06800” readers accused me of being too harsh, with my recent report that my request for a rare cheeseburger was denied.

That’s the Health Department looking out for beef eaters, apparently. (Don’t forget: The girl at the counter said that all their burgers are cooked the same: medium. I couldn’t have gotten mine well done, either).

So take this next item with a grain of salt. Alert reader Martin Iselin writes:

“Joey’s (the previous concessionaire) was known for one of the best hot dogs around. After a bike ride I always rewarded myself with one.

“After finishing a recent ride, I thought I’d try the new place. I ordered a hot dog, and asked if they had sauerkraut. No!

“I asked about relish. No!

“Disappointed, a put a little mustard on it. I don’t what brand they use, but it was so salty I could not eat it.

“What kind of beach summer place has no condiments, and such bad food?”

I’m guessing that’s a rhetorical question.

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Marine Layer — the small clothing store next to the much bigger Gap — is closing August 1.

But they’ll reopen in late August, at a new location: 59 Main Street. They’re taking over Intermix.

I searched the “06880” archives for a mention of Marine Layer. Up popped a story from 2017.

It described a new group — Earth Guardians — that encouraged businesses to keep their doors shut when air conditioning (or heat) was on.

Of all the stores they visited, only one had its door closed: Marine Layer.

Marine Layer, with its door firmly closed.

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Sarah Jane Cion snagged first place in the 17th annual Great American Jazz Piano Competition.

Tomorrow, she plays the magnificent Steinway — direct from the legendary Village Gate club — at Westport’s VFW (465 Riverside Avenue). It’s the next, and one of the most anticipated, “Jazz @ the Post” shows of the summer.

Cion has performed with legends like Clark Terry, Etta Jones, Anita O’Day, Bucky Pizzarelli and Don Braden, and is a regular at Birdland. Judges for her award-winning competition were Horace Silver, Kenny Barron, Ellis Marsalis, Benny Green and Bill Charlap.

Music begins at 7 p.m. The cover charge of $10 goes directly to the musicians.

For more information and schedules, click here or here. For table reservations, call 203-227-6796 or emailjazzatthepost@gmail.com.

Sarah Jane Cion

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Tag sales wax and wane with the weather. We don’t see too many in winter — or summer.

But on Saturday, August 6 (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; early bird special $10 for 8 a.m. entry), the Unitarian Church in Westport sponsors its always popular (and massive) sale.

Thousands of items are donated by dozens of families. Among them: outdoor tools, kitchenware, china, artwork, home décor, rugs, clothing, books, blankets, sheets, arm chairs, lamps — even a unicycle.

COVID knocked out the past couple of tag sales. So there’s plenty of merch — and demand 

Proceeds fund operating costs of the congregation, and the social justice causes they support.

A pre-COVID Unitarian Church tag sale.

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The eagle has landed. And it stayed at Schlaet’s Point for at least half an hour.

Alert “06880” reader Mary Gai captured this magnificent bird — at least with her camera — for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo?Mary Gai)

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And finally … speaking of bad hot dogs …

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Roundup: Parks & Rec, Julia Marino, Twiddle …

Westport Parks & Recreation Department seasonal employees do it all.

Lifeguards keep everyone safe at our beaches and pools, handle first aid and medical concerns, and answer countless questions (over and over again).

Guest Services staffers collect daily fees, organize parking, keep the beaches and lots clean, and answer countless questions (over and over again).

Tennis clerks greet customers, schedule reservations, collect fees, and maintain the courts and surroundings.

Dock attendants assist boaters n docking, sell gasoline and ice, and oversee the marinas at Compo and Longshore.

Those are thankless jobs. So of course, most of us never say “thanks.”

On August 8, Parks & Rec operations manager Carmen Roda and waterfront foreman Michael Giunta will.

They (and guest services supervisor Donny Christopher, and tennis supervisors Jamie Boone and Matthew Schwartz) are treating those employees — well, the ones who won’t be working, anyway — to a “thank you” picnic.

It’s a welcome gesture. These (mostly) young men and women help make our summers rock. 

Meanwhile, the next time you see a lifeguard, beach or dock attendant, or tennis employee, say “thank you” too.

Westport Parks & Rec staff help the summer run smoothly.

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Over the past few years, the dingy pedestrian tunnel underneath the Westport railroad station tracks has been transformed into a much more welcoming space.

A partnership between the Westport Police Department — they’re in charge of railroad parking — and the Westport Arts Center, with gifts from Bill Scheffler and his wife Ann Sheffer, Robin Tauck, the late Gordon Joseloff and others, turned the sometimes-scary passageway into a stunning art gallery.

Westport native and noted artist Miggs Burroughs created 16 LED-lit lightboxes. Each continued a lenticular image that combined one from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport’s past, with a current shot of the same scene. Compo Beach, Longshore, the station itself — all are represented.

This spring, a new lightbox was added, on the station wall itself. You don’t have to descend into the tunnel to see another handsome lenticular, with scenes of the cannons and downtown. This one actually says “Welcome to Westport!”

Now there’s a new one, with a modern twist. It honors Olympic snowboarding silver medalist (and Westport native) Julia Marino.

It’s another great lenticular image by Miggs. Unveiled yesterday morning, it will be displayed for the next year.

One view of MIggs Burroughs’ lenticular image …

… and the other.

At the unveiling yesterday (from left): 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Julia Marino, Deputy Chief Sam Arciola, Julia’s father John (hidden), Miggs Burroughs.

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Twiddle fans are all a-flutter for this Friday and Saturday’s special Levitt Pavilion shows (click here for details, and tickets).

An added bonus (besides the Vermont-based jam band, plus Mihail and The Nth Power):

The White Light Foundation supports causes and organizations important to Twiddle and its fans. They receive $1 from every ticket sold, then donate it back into each community where the band plays.

For their Westport shows, White Light has selected Earthplace and Project Return.

Great choices! The science/conservation/education group, and the empowerment program for homeless young women, both do wonderful work.

No wonder this weekend’s headliners have such a devoted following. They — and their fans — truly care about others. And they walk the talk.

They don’t just sit around twiddling their thumbs.

Twiddle. ©Jay Blakesberg

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Speaking of the Levitt Pavilion: Sunday’s Sweet Remains concert was a smash. A full house loved the sweet-sounding group, an annual Levitt Pavilion favorite.

But you didn’t have to haul a lawn chair to the grass to enjoy the show.

Dylan Germishuys has a different idea. He writes:

“I line up Sunday concerts with higher tides, then get some people on our boat to go up the Saugatuck River and listen  from the best seats ‘in’ the house.

“There was a perfect incoming tide for the Sweet Remains. We took a slow trip, found our spot, and had a picnic during the concert. The sound was great.

“At lower tides you have fewer options as to where you anchor, and have to be a little more cautious coming up this far. If the river was dredged, that might create more space.

“At higher tides , the Cribari (Bridge Street) bridge is a challenge for bigger boats. We only had a foot or two clearance on the way out.

“There’s enough room for quite a few more boats to do the same. You have to test your Bridge Street clearance at high tide before venturing up at low though, and being stuck for a tide cycle!”

Boating by the Levitt. (Photo/Dylan Germishuys)

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted the (aaaaargh!) holiday music at the Bridge Square Dunkin’ Donuts.

Halloween is a lot closer than Christmas: only 97 days away.

So hurry on down to HomeGoods, which has already stocked all your costume needs.

(Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

That area of town is quickly cornering the Halloween market. Just moments after Sandy Rothenberg sent her (aaaaargh!) HomeGoods report, Jack Krayson noted that Spooky Town — across from Stop & Shop, by Bulkley Avenue North — is open for business too.

No sign of pumpkins yet though, at either store.

Slackers.

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Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican parties have primaries on Tuesday, August 9.

Unaffiliated voters cannot vote in primary elections — unless they change their registration to either party. Unaffiliated voters have until noon on August 8 to change, and register with either party. Click here for the link, to make the change online.

In other August 9 primary news: The town needs poll workers.

Poll workers must be registered voters in Connecticut. They must take part in a training session, for which they are paid $25.

Pay for the August 9 election day: A full day is $200, with a $40 food allowance;  a half=day shift is $100, with a $20 for food allowance.

Election Day work starts at 5:45 a.m. (polls open at 6 a.m. sharp) and concludes at 8:15 p.m. (polls close at 8 p.m. sharp).

For more information, email dgreenberg@westportct.gov.

Voting machines and poll workers, at the Westport Library.

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From time to time, “auction” signs pop up around Westport. Recently, we’ve been overridden with these:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Alert reader Matt Murray writes:

“I called this number. Just for laughs. I wanted to see where they were located. It had been disconnected. Gee, do you think you could have been a scam?”

I’m not a betting man, Matt. But I’d bet my Patek Philippe, Rolex or Lamborghini on it.

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Dream Spa & Salon is turning 22 years old.

To celebrate, they’ve hired an ice cream truck to treat their clients (and anyone else who wanders by).

It’s August 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. (1220 Post Road East — the funky house in front of Crate & Barrel).

Happy birthday, Dream!

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We head inside for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — a cool image of Dusty Smith’s colorful zinnias.

(Phoro/Dusty Smith)

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And finally … if you’re intrigued by Twiddle (see story above), but have never heard of the band (or even if you have), give a listen:

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Shelley Burger: At Home On The Range

Shelley Burger grew up on the football sidelines. Her grandfather was a coach. She loved being outdoors.

She loved photography too. She turned those passions into a career, spending years as a sports photographer for high schools and colleges.

Shelley Burger

When COVID blew a whistle on competition, the Westporter turned to wildlife. She was still outdoors, still shooting action and movement. Freezing a moment in time — an eagle catching a fish, a horse bucking in the air, an athlete catching a pass or throwing a baseball — is what Shelley does well.

She began riding horses at 5 years old. She has fond memories of riding with her mom.

As she transitioned into wildlife photography, Shelley wondered how to realize a childhood dream: sitting among wild horses, in their home on the range.

This past spring she headed to Onaqui Mountains, 2 hours outside of Salt Lake City. She spent an “amazing” several days in a herd of wild mustangs. Nestled in the tall grass, she watched them frolic and spar. She felt humbled to be among so many “powerful, graceful and compassionate” animals.

While she spent much of her time appreciating the beauty of the land and horses, she learned quite a bit too.

Though she — like many Americans — imagined that mustangs roam freely in the West, in reality, their lives are in danger. The Bureau of Land Management rounds up and removes hundreds of horses each year. Some are relocated; many are slaughtered.

The land is then leased back to cattle ranchers, Shelley says.]

Shelley vowed to help. Back home in Westport, she opened a pop-up gallery on Church Lane, in the former Savannah Bee store.

Her mustang photography exhibit debuted with a special show. Proceeds from sales went to Red Birds Trust, a non-profit that helps wild horses of the Onaqui.

Shelley’s gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays (noon to 8 p.m.), through August 15.

Signed prints are available on her website too. Email Shelley_Burger@mac.com for sizing, framing and customization.

(All wildlife photos copyright/Shelley Burger)

(“06880” relies on reader support. Please click here to donate.)

Roundup: Winslow Park, Tarry Lodge, Dunkin’ …

In May, “06880” published the sad story of Winnie the Pooh.

Fifth grader Alex Johnson eulogized his dog. It had run through a break in the Winslow Park stone wall, and been struck and killed by a car on Compo Road North.

Thanks to the efforts of the Johnsons — and many others — tragedies like those may soon be diminished.

Last week, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Commission voted unanimously to fill in 3 breaks, in the park’s off-leash area.

The plan includes split-rail fencing, backed by “nearly invisible” mesh fencing, plus a 3 1/2-foot gate at each of those 3 areas. (Hat tip: Tricia Freeman)

Winnie The Pooh.

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The Sweet Remains are a highlight of every Levitt Pavilion season.

But last night’s concert was extra special. The usual local pride — Sweet Remains leader Greg Naughton grew up in Weston, and lives in Westport — swelled when the trio was joined onstage by Greg’s wife, Broadway star Kelli O’Hara; his father James, the noted actor, and sister Keira.

Alert “06880” reader/longtime music fan/superb photographer Tom Kretsch reports: “It was a truly incredible evening, with a packed crowd enthralled by the group’s performance.”

The Sweet Remains, with James Naughton, Keira Naughton and Kelli O’Hara.

Levitt Pavilion, last night (Photos/Tom Kretsch)

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What’s up with Tarry Lodge?

Recently, alert and hungry reader Patti Brill has noticed the “unkempt” appearance of the Charles Street restaurant. Yesterday, it looked like it was closed.

I checked the website. Nothing unusual; it was taking reservations and pickup orders.

I called. I was about to hang up when — on the 10th ring — a recording said, “We are pleased to announce our new hours.”

That’s usually a euphemism for “shorter hours.” I don’t know their previous schedule, but according to the chirpy voice, Tarry Lodge is open Wednesdays through Friday from 4 to 9:30 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

This was Sunday. I pressed “2” to order by phone.

Nothing. Nada. Zippo for some za.

If any reader knows more, click “Comments” below.

Tarry Lodge, yesterday. (Photo/Patti Brill)

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Around the corner from Tarry Lodge, the Bridge Square Dunkin’ Donuts is definitely open.

Alert “06880” reader John Karrel was there this morning.

The music playing in the background was a bit mystifying: Christmas carols.

Hey! Only 153 shopping days left.

Meanwhile, in other Dunkin’ news, a large sign promises that the Compo Shopping Center spot — newly relocated from across from Fresh Market — opens in 3 days.

We’ll soon find out which is more dangerous: The drive-thru Starbucks, or its competitor in an already overcrowded and dangerous plaza.

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Today’s “westport … Naturally” feature shows a serene Sherwood Mill Pond weekend scene. And how did you spend your Saturday evening?

(Photo/Gary Weist)

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And finally … if you missed the Sweet Remains last night — or want to hear more — click below:

 

 

 

Old Mill Grocery: Open For Business!

A new era began at 7 this morning.

Old Mill Grocery & Deli opened its doors.

Once again, all’s right with the world.

Neighbors, dogs, open door — just like old times. This was Old Mill Grocery, minutes after it opened this morning. (Photo/Matt Murray)

The century-old wooden building on Hillspoint Road — most recently Joey’s by the Shore and Elvira’s — has been rechristened with its original name.

It’s once again a community center, for the neighborhood, anyone working there, and everyone passing by to or from Compo Beach.

The line was long this morning. But service was quick and attentive. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Old Mill Grocery sells everything from coffee and pizza to toilet paper, dog treats and swag.

Fruit, granola and OMG swag. (Photo/Dan Woog)

It’s a joint venture of the non-profit Soundview Empowerment Alliance (which bought the property, and will provide training and employment to people with disabilities) and TGB Hospitality (better known as Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily, The Granola Bar founders, who will operate OMG).

An official ribbon-cutting took place 2 hours after opening.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker cut the ribbon, moments ago. She’s flanked by Old Mill Grocery partners and staff, Granola Bar owners, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, and Koda, the OMG dog. (Photo/Dan Woog)

It was interrupted — joyfully — by honks and thumbs-up signs from grateful residents and passers-by.

Way to go, Westport!

Photo Challenge #395

For a couple of years, a “Pride Bench” — decked out in rainbow colors — sat in front of Mystic Market. Everyone traveling past, on heavily trafficked Charles Street, saw it and smiled.

When the store closed in May, Westport Country Playhouse company manager, Bruce Miller thought that — given their close ties to the LGBTQ community — the Playhouse could make a good next home.

The Mystic Market folks agreed. The “Pride Bench” now sits proudly in front of the Sheffer Studio.

Fred Cantor, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Amy Schneider and Jonathan Prager all knew the new location of the bench. Susan Iseman, Nancy Vener and Celeste Champagne, meanwhile, recognized it from its previous location. (Click here to see the photo.)

This week’s Photo Challenge is less colorful — but very interesting. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)