Category Archives: Local business

Roundup: 9/11 And Westport, New Restaurant, Young Chefs …

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Peggy Lehn is a 1979 Staples grad. Her family has been in Westport for 11 generations (her grandmother was born on the property that is now Longshore).

She is also an American Airlines pilot.

She flew both of the airplanes that the carrier lost on September 11, 2001. For 2 decades, Peggy has kept the answering machine messages from family and friends, wondering if she was alive.

She was not on duty that morning, 20 years ago today. But her brother Tom — Staples Class of 1985, and also an American Airlines pilot — was.

Peggy sent along this message he received, from a dispatcher in Texas. It’s a chilling reminder of the terror that day — and how close to home it struck.

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One more 9/11 story, with a local connection:

On that day, Westporter and Vietnam veteran Tony Anthony was a marketer on an assignment for AmeriCares. He was at their office when the news came that the World Trade Center had been hit.

AmeriCares has a helicopter. Their pilot flew around the towers, but was unable to help. He had to leave the airspace.

Tony was on board, taking photos. Jack Farrell shared this one, with “06880”:

(Photo/Tony Anthony)

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There’s action at Railroad Place — specifically, the former Cocoa Michele, and the spot Romanacci recently moved from.

It looks like another eatery is moving in.

(Photo/Gary Nusbaum)

This “Allium Eatery” is not to be confused with Allium Pizza Co. & Mo’ in — of all places — Westport Island, Maine.

“06880” will pass along info when we get it.

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Farm to Local — the new food-crafts-and-more Main Street store opposite Colf Fusion — has a soft opening this weekend (12 to 5 p.m.).

New products and merchandise are added daily. Another new feature: the Westport Artists’ Collective has a mini-gallery inside the store.

Local to Market – the first stocked shelves.

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The Westport Library is b-a-a-a-c-k!

On Monday, full operating hours resume. That’s Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

There’s another chapter: The Café opens weekdays (9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), Saturdays (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and Sundays (1 to 4:30 p.m.).

The Café has partnered with Gruel Brittania, in addition to existing vendors Sono Baking Company and Cloudy Lane Bakery. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, pastries, cookies and quiche.

Though the Westport Library reopens full-time on Monday, we still won’t see scenes like this for a while.

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Mark your calendars: Westoberfest returns on October 16 (1 to 5 p.m.).

The Craft Beer Festival on Elm Street also includes live music, classic car rally and exhibition, kids’ activities and — because Halloween will be right around the corner — a pumpkin giveaway.

Click the QR code below, or click here for more information.

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Forget Easy-Bake ovens. (Do they still make them anymore?)

Among the fall class offerings at Wakeman Town Farm: a new cooking class for youngsters in kindergarten through grade 3.

“Pint-Sized Cooking: Everything Mini” teaches cooking, baking and “food experimentation, while creating meals in miniature. Young chefs will be put on a path to understanding the appeal of delicious food.”

Popular favorites for older kids — including Cooking Around the Globe and Young Chef’s Club — continue too.

Click here for more information, and registration.

Eager students in Wakeman Town Farm’s “Cooking Around the Globe” class.

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Worried about heating bills?

Low-income residents can apply for Connecticut’s Energy Assistance Program through Westport’s Department of Human Services. Applications are available starting October 1, and run through April 30.

Individuals and families qualify for CEAP based on annual income and household size. Click on the state website for full details.

Households with previous CEAP applications on file will receive mailed application instructions in the coming weeks.  New residents can contact Human Services for application information (203-341-1050) or email humansrv@westportct.gov.

DHS also operates a separate Warm-Up Fund.

For more information, click on Westport Energy Assistance.

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Duncan Hurley — father of 3 children, and a longtime Westport Soccer Association volunteer coach — died this week.

A grateful parent remembers seeing him on many Saturday mornings, with a toddler on his hip coaching older players.

“They were the most jovial and effervescent family, even in the midst of health struggles they dealt with privately,” she says. “I reflect on this passage from The Little Prince in his honor: ‘In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And when your sorrow is comforted 9time soothes all sorrows), you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. I shall not leave you.'”

She adds: “He was a king, raising princes and a princess in the best form. He was a gem, to any and all who had the pleasure of crossing his path.”

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When I was young, the only turkeys I saw were at Thanksgiving.

Now they’re all over town. This crew was “stuffing” itself at Earthplace — and posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot.

(Photo/Abby Gordon-Tolan)

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And finally … there are 2 great songs that stood on their own for years. For the past 2 decades though — and for the rest of my life — I’ll always associate them with 9/11.

They were played often then, on the radio, funerals and memorial events. They became the deeply comforting soundtrack of those truly awful days.

Friday Flashback #261

When Life magazine went looking for a mom-and-pop business to epitomize community involvement for its July 5, 1963 issue, it found one in Westport.

That’s not unusual: At the time, Westport was bursting with Time/Life editors and writers, and advertising executives at all the top shops.

Achorn’s Pharmacy was actually one of many local sponsors for Little League teams. (Though as alert “06880” reader — and former Little League player — Fred Cantor, who found this gem, points out, it was actually a “pop-and-grandpop”: the Main Street drugstore was owned by Murray and Henry Bravin.)

The Life text explains that the sponsor didn’t get to see his team play, because as an important part of of the community he opens early and closes late. Achorn’s, it seems, symbolized pharmacists and pharmacies everywhere.

Nearly 6 decades later, Achorn’s is still a Westport institution (though now at Playhouse Square). And local businesses continue to support Little League, softball, and countless other sports and youth activities in town.

Roundup: Wildfires, Ice Cream Parlor, Staples Sports …

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Westport Fire Department chief Robert Yost has returned from a 2-week national assignment, supporting wildland firefighters in Minnesota.

He calls this “an incredible training opportunity in large-scale incident management. Connecticut is not immune to a wildfire or large-scale natural disaster. We need to be just as prepared as our western counterparts. As the fires continue to burn, please keep all the firefighters out on assignment nationwide in your thoughts and prayers.”

When Yost arrived, the Greenwood Fire was 6,000 acres and 0% percent. During his deployment it grew to 26,000 acres, directly threatening the town of Isabella.

Yost was the medical unit leader trainee responsible for the entire incident, along with 7 fire line medics, 2 medical ATVs and 2 incident ambulances.

Chief Robert Yost at Greenwood Fire briefing.

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Yesterday’s “Unsung Hero” story highlighted a Saugatuck Elementary School custodian, hard at work cleaning drains after Hurricane Ida.

Now we can put a name to his dedication. He’s Al Orozco, head custodian at SES. As several readers — and staff members — noted, he is a gem. And well deserving of his Unsung honor.

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Butzi Moffitt — who as Butsy Beach owned the original ice cream parlor on Main Street in the 1950s — stopped in to Cold Fusion on Tuesday. The new gelato shop is just a few doors down from the first Ice Cream Parlor (where Brandy Melville is now).

Butzi — 93 years young — brought owners Eric and Kelly Emmert an original menu from 1954.

Bitzi Moffett shows Eric Emmert an original Ice Cream Parlor menu.

The menu.

Butzi — who also owned clothing stores on Main Street — was joined at Cold Fusion by her daughter Maggie Moffitt Rahe, a teacher at Coleytown Elementary School. Butzi also brought a photo of herself, outside the first shop.

From left: Amy Greene, and Bob and Butzi Beach, owners of the Ice Cream Parlor.

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The Staples football team’s home opener is tomorrow (7 p.m.). It should be a great game — the opponent is former coach Marce Petroccio’s Trumbull High — and getting tickets has never been easier.

Click here to purchase online; then have your phone ready to show at the gate. You can also click on the QR code below:

You can make Friday a Staples sports doubleheader, too. At 4 p.m., the boys soccer team hosts Ridgefield, in their 2021 season opener. Admission is free!

Reese Watkins, for the Wreckers. (Photo/Brian Watkins)

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The Westport Artists Collective’s pop-up shows pop up regularly. They’re eclectic, inspiring — and fun.

The next one runs from Wednesday, September 15 through Sunday, September 19 (2 to 6 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse). There’s an artists’ talk that final Sunday, at 3 p.m.

Like any pop-up, it will pop down quickly. Be sure to get there before it goes!

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Westport-based Fairfield County Writers’ Studio’s fall classes will be held via Zoom — at least for now.

There are some intriguing ones. Topics include Writing for Children; LGBTQ+ Workshop; Writing Your Memoir; Creative Writing; Novel Writing, and Fantasy, Science Fiction & Horror.

Click here for details, and registration information.

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Among all our woodland creatures, we tend to overlook squirrels. They’re the Muzak of our backyard lives.

But Jamie Walsh captured this intriguing shot, reminding us to not overlook every living thing in our “Westport … Naturally” world.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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And finally … today is September 9 — 9/9. Which means, of course:

 

 

 

Remembering Bill West

The Reverend William Henry (Bill) West — former assistant Greens Farms Congregational Church minister, strong youth advocate and, later, Custom Printing & Graphics business owner — died peacefully at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford last week, after a long battle with cancer. He was 76 years old, and lived in Old Saybrook.

The Long Island native graduated from Manhasset High School and Alfred University, then earned a Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological Seminary.

After student ministry in Andover, Massachusetts, West moved to Greens Farms Church here. He served as director of the Youth Adult Council — predecessor of the Youth Commission — in the 1960s and ’70s.

Rev. Bill West

After operating his printing company, he worked with organizations that serve the disenfranchised and needy, including United Way and Literacy Volunteers of America. He also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and Operation Hope of Fairfield and Bridgeport.

West returned to his true passion: working one-on-one with individuals in need. After earning certification as a chaplain from Hartford Seminary, he served as a protestant chaplain at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford and St. Raphael’s in New Haven. He also counseled men suffering from drug and alcohol addiction at the Relapse Prevention Program in New Haven. He retired in 2018.

His family notes West’s “unswerving commitment to others, his smile, his welcoming demeanor, and his compassion. Patients and staff at St Raphael’s and Yale-New Haven repeatedly cited his presence as comforting. He loved his work, even as he was loved by those he served and those with whom he worked.”

West was predeceased by his wife Margaret. He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth; grandsons Theo and Quinten Ewasko of Newtown; brother Robert of Farmington; 2 nieces, a nephew, cousins, and many friends and colleagues.

A service in his memory will be held at the First Congregational Church, Deep River, on September 25 (1 p.m.)

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Closer to Free Program (Office of Development, Box 1849, New Haven CT 06508); First Church Congregational in Deep River (DRCC, Box 246, Deep River CT 06417), or Dylan’s Wings of Change “Wingman Program (Box 3489, Newtown CT 06470).

Looking Back On Laurel: Despite COVID, A “Celebratory” Camp Summer

It was a different summer this year at Camp Laurel.

There were no games against other camps. No overnight trips. Even Visiting Day was canceled.

Yet the summer of 2021 was joyful, wonderful, beautiful — everything camp should be.

Campers come from across the country to the Belgrade Lakes region of Maine. They enjoyed athletics, aquatics, arts and adventures. It’s been that way for 72 years — except last summer. That’s when COVID knocked the summer camp industry — along with much of the nation — for a sad, lonely loop.

Camp Laurel’s off-season headquarters are downtown, in Brooks Corner. Jem Sollinger and his wife Debbie are directors and partners.

Jem Sollinger (2nd from left) with Laurel campers and a staff member.

The other day, Jem — a 1988 Staples High School graduate — reflected on this summer, and last. He was still on a high from the success of this year.

It’s a far cry from 2020.

The decision not to open then was “challenging, but the right one,” Jem says.

He never second-guessed himself. The unknowns were too great at the time. Considering the downside versus the upside, it was a fairly easy call.

This year’s decision too was “not tough.”

He and his senior staff had not anticipated that, a year later, the world would still be dealing with COVID. But, he notes, “we had 15 months to educate ourselves, to learn and develop new systems to be safe.”

Those included 2 negative tests for campers before arrival, a negative test on Day 1, and another one 5 days later. All campers were masked, and in pods the first 6 days.

Once the masks came off, campers could hug.

“There was a desire for camp, by families and children. Even more, there was a need for it,” Jem says.

The need was for “kids to be kids. They’d had 15 months of being stagnant, restricted and masked. They needed to be active, interact with each other, be appropriately challenged — to get all the benefits of camp.”

Some of the new systems were easy to implement.

Others, such as dealing with 2 “senior classes” — this year’s oldest campers, and last year’s, who were invited back after missing a year — were harder. “They worked wonderfully together,” Jem says with relief.

There were also twice the amount of new campers this year. It was a challenge to integrate so many new faces into the camp culture — but also a chance to shape that culture positively.

And they’re off! Newcomers quickly acclimated into the Camp Laurel culture — which itself evolved this summer.

COVID also provided an opportunity to “tweak and evolve.” Traditions are great — and every camp has plenty of them — but the ability to pivot is important too.

With Visiting Day out, for example, each camper had a FaceTime session with parents and siblings.

Officials had to devise activities for staff, who usually use days off to “rest, refuel and have fun.” They were restricted this summer to camp.

Staff orientation was also lengthened from 8 to 12 days, to allow for quarantines.

Jem praised the “amazing team effort” of counselors and senior staff. “People had to step up — and they did. These are teachers, coaches, educators and artists — adults who had missed camp too. Laurel is part of their lives.”

But some college-age staff saw their friends leading less restrictive lives elsewhere. There was, Jem notes, “a bit of FOMO” (fear of missing out).

Some counselors expressed a need to prioritize their own mental health. “It’s like parenting, or Simone Biles,” he says. “Sometimes you do need to put yourself first. I understand that. Everyone is coming out of a strange time.”

After a sad summer in 2020, camp provided a welcome respite.

Camp Laurel had no COVID cases the entire summer. Jem attributes that to careful planning — and luck.

Despite — or perhaps because of — being tethered to home for 15 months, the director found there was less “home-missing” this year than usual.

Jem senses that more campers “pushed themselves, tried new things, and extended themselves to others.”

In addition, there was “more appreciation for the beauty of Maine, and just being there.”

He describes “a certain simplicity” to this summer. In the absence of trips and inter-camp competitions, everyone — adults and children alike — felt a “reinforcement of the power of the camp experience.”

Camp has been over for just a month. Already, Jem and his staff are deep in planning for 2022. There were no tours for prospective campers this summer — usually he greets 50 to 75 families — but he did 40 tours as soon as the season ended. He’ll do another 15 soon.

“Lots of questions remain,” he notes. “But next summer will happen. We’re looking forward to another celebratory year, with energy, enthusiasm and joy.”

Roundup: Carvel, Lifeguards, Challah …

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Last Friday’s Question Box sparked a debate about when Carvel opened.

The definitive answer: August 1954.

And the man who provided that answer — RTM member Harris Falk — also offered proof. Here’s a newspaper advertisement from that month:

Check out the ice cream cone on top of the store. As Dave Lowrie noted in the Comments section, both it and the red and white bucket over KFC (now Sun Reflexology, next to Layla’s Falafel) came down in the 1970s. The Architectural Review Board was trying to make the Post Road look “less commercial.”

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As one of their many services, the Compo lifeguards post a new, thought-provoking quote every day. Little gestures like that mean a lot.

But this sign last week was particularly intriguing:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Were they being slyly clever, misspelling both “their” and (look closely) “swimming” in a quote about fault-finding?

Or were they just simple mistakes, made more prominent by the context of the quote?

We may never know. Today is their last day on duty.

Anyway: Who cares? If you see a lifeguard, thank him or her for another safe, fun summer.

And for a daily diet of inspiring, important quotes.

No matter how they’re spelled.

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Every Home Should Have a Challah — the Westport-based national delivery service — is busy taking Yom Kippur orders. The deadline is midnight Wednesday (September 8). Click here for details.

Rosh Hashanah challah is already sold out.

Challah, from Every Home Should Have a Challah.

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Westport Book Shop is expanding its hours. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, September 7), they’ll open earlier — 10 a.m. — Tuesdays through Saturdays.

They’ll open at noon on Sundays, and are closed Mondays.

Westport Book Shop, on Jesup Road.

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William Nicholas (Nick) Delgass died peacefully at his West Lafayette, Indiana home last month, attended by his family, after a 9-year battle with cancer. The 1960 Staples High School graduate was 78.

His interest in the world and the way it works led him to science. He graduated from the University of Michigan, then earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University.

He was more than a scientist. Throughout his life, Nick was well rounded. When he spotted Elizabeth (Betty) Holstein at a mandolin concert in 1966, he convinced her to go out with him after they bonded over a love of English literature. They married a year later, and would have celebrated their 54th anniversary at the end of August.

He and Betty had their first child, Michael, while Nick was completing his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California. He accepted his first faculty position at Yale University, and the growing family moved to Branford, where their second son, Leif, was born. Nick was on the faculty at Yale University for 5 years before accepting a position at Purdue.

he became chair of the chemical engineering department there, and taught until retirement. Nick was globally recognized for his work in integrating new tools and methods into reaction systems. His colleague Fabio Ribeiro said that few researchers impacted the field so broadly. He was a joint author of over 200 scientific papers, 2 books, advisor to many graduate students, and consultant to many companies.

His love for Betty was fierce. Nick often biked from the lab to have lunch with his family, and was a constant presence at his sons’ events. When his grandchildren were born, he made cross-country trips to visit.

Nick served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Catalysis, the flagship journal of the field. he earned various awards, and was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Teaching was one of his great loves, as evidenced by his many honors, including the Shreve Teaching Award 7 times, and inclusion in the Purdue University Book of Great Teachers.

In addition to his wife Betty, Nick is survived by his sons Leif and Michael (Jessica Spector), and grandchildren Isaac, Aidan, Ariella, and Serafina.

No formal service is planned, but there will be a memorial reception on October 16 at the Whittaker Inn in West Lafayette. Click here to leave condolences.

Nick Delgass

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Since we began our “Westport … Naturally” feature a couple of months ago, we’ve posted plenty of animal photos. Lots of flowers, too.

This may be our first cucumber shot. It’s a nice “window” into another aspect of Westport’s many natural wonders.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … Happy Labor Day!

It’s easy these days to forget the origins of the holiday. We may not remember (or never learned) the importance of unions in our nation’s history. They brought about safety, minimum wages, overtime pay and more.

Winning those rights was not easy. The power of unions has waned over the years — look at the recent Amazon battle in Alabama — even as income inequality has grown. Organizers there no doubt wish they still had a Pete Seeger to champion their cause.

Dave Briggs: Business’ Biggest Booster

For 18 months, COVID has devastated the globe.

It’s also been really good for Westport.

That’s the counterintuitive — but strongly held — view of Dave Briggs.

“People are reluctant to say it. And I’m not downplaying all the damage it’s done, and the lives it’s impacted,” says the longtime Westporter, and former Fox News, NBC Sports and CNN broadcaster.

“But because of COVID, we have hundreds of new residents who love it here. Downtown is being revived. It feels alive. New stores are opening. The vacancy rate is way down.

“There are new restaurants everywhere. There’s so much positive energy all over town.”

Dave Briggs

Briggs says it’s “tragic” that some restaurants and shops did not make it through the pandemic.

For the many that did though, it’s time to do three things.

“Let’s introduce our businesses to our residents, new and old. Let’s help them out, by telling their stories. And let’s celebrate what they’ve done to our town during COVID.”

Briggs is just the guy to do it.

For a number of months he’s parlayed his media background into a series of Instagram Live interviews, with intriguing area residents. Now he’s taking his platform one step further.

Using Instagram Live, Facebook Live (both @DaveBriggsTV), and then archived on his YouTube channel, he’ll highlight local business owners.

Restaurants, retail stores, spas, gyms, services like Vivid-Tek and home stagers — all will be part of his as-yet-unnamed venture. So will businesses like Merican Mule (premium cocktail brand) and Q-Collar (concussion product), which are locally based, yet still low-profile.

First up: The Granola Bar.

“Julie (Mountain) and Dana (Noorily) are two of my favorite business owners,” Briggs says.

“They started from the ground up with a coffee shop, when I’m sure many people said ‘Don’t do it.’ Now they have 5 stores, and a truck. They’ve got a great story.”

Briggs envisions other subjects, including people who are thinking about starting their own business.

He likes the immediacy of Instagram Live and Facebook Live (and knows that different people prefer one over the other). Both offer the ability to ask questions and respond in real time.

Social media is “a small business’s best medium to tell people about themselves,” Briggs says. “But not a lot of owners know how to use it well.”

Dave Briggs does.

Click on. Tune in. And celebrate all the good things that came out of COVID.

(Watch @DaveBriggsTV on Instagram Live and Facebook Live. Got an idea? Email DaveBriggs1976@gamil.com.)

Photo Challenge #349

You think of stained glass at a church or synagogue. Maybe on display in an art gallery or museum.

Not Goodwill.

But that’s where last week’s Photo Challenge can be found.

Only 2 readers — Jennifer Kobetisch and Madison Malin — identified the Post Road cut-rate store correctly. And neither had any information about why it’s there.

If you know, click “Comments” below. To see the image, click here.

This week’s Photo Challenge seems like it could be anywhere in town. If you know exactly where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/JC Martin)

Roundup: Texas Law, Transfer Station, Paulie’s Push …

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A grassroots group has quickly organized a protest against Texas’ new abortion law.

A rally is planned for 10:30 this morning (Sunday, September 5), on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen (Post Road) Bridge downtown. All are welcome.

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“06880” reported yesterday on the uncharacteristic mess at Westport’s transfer station.

The cause was a perfect storm (pun intended): the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, closure of the facility on Wednesday for scheduled repairs, and the unexpected breakdown of the trash compactor (belonging to a sub-contractor).

The staff — as usual — sorted it all out (pun also intended).

Fortunately, says Pippa Bell Ader, the food scrap program ran smoothly. They continue to be brought to an industrial facility, and made into compost.

Food scrap recycling. (Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)

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The Post Road has been the scene of Olympic torch relays, motorcycle rides for veterans’ causes, and people running, walking and powering wheelchairs cross country.

But until yesterday, there was never a man pushing a beverage cart from Boston to New York.

Paulie Veneto is a former United Airlines flight attendant. His route — from Logan Airport, where one of the 9/11 flights took off, to Ground Zero — honors the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

It’s also a way to raise funds for victims’ families, and alcohol rehabilitation. Click here for Paulie’s Push page, to help.

Paulie Veneto pushes through Westport. (Photo/Johanna Rossi)

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Mozy — the Westport-based manufacturer of weatherproof lower body wraps — perfect for autumn picnics, campfires, sports events, outdoor concerts and the like — has added 2 new products.

A lightweight soft fleece Mozy is great for autumn days and nights, with nips in the air. A heavier nylon version is best for colder temperatures.

A Mozy can be worn at the waist, sealed halfway down, or fastened snugly to shoes. For more information, click here.

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As Westport youngsters are back in school — well, they will be again on Wednesday — the Police Department offers these safety tips:

Drivers

• Watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.

• Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.

• Be alert! Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

• Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.

• Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists on both sides of the roadway must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

Children

• Get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

• When the bus approaches, stand at least 3 giant steps away from the curb, and line up away from the street.

• Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it is okay before stepping onto the bus.

• If you must cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 5 giant steps ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.

• When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps are not caught in the handrails or doors.

• Never walk behind the bus.

• Walk at least 3 giant steps away from the side of the bus.

• If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

• Follow instructions given by school crossing guards. Do not cross until they have stopped traffic completely and have advised it is safe to cross.

(Hat tip: Meg Barbour)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows a group of horseshoe crabs, huddling together.

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

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And finally … Buddy Miles was born today. The drummer/singer/composer/ producer played with Electric Flag, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana. He had his own band — the Buddy Miles Express — in 1969, which included 16-year-old Staples High School dropout Charlie Karp.

Roundup: Kayak Thefts, Hurricane Ida, School Calendar …

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Kayak threats from Compo Beach — first reported on “06880” in July — continue.

Mousumi Ghosh is the latest victim. Her red Eddyline Equinox is gone from the storage area. She writes:

“We are devastated. It was one of the few recreations that we were able to enjoy as a family during the last year, not to mention the cost to replace it.

“I was away for a month for a family emergency. It could have happened any time during August.

“From speaking with others, I am discovering that this is not an isolated event. Many believe that crime is on the rise at the beach. Neither the police nor Parks & Rec are hopeful that the kayak can be recovered, or that there is much they can do to help.”

If anyone sees it (the rack emblem is #39), please call Westport Police. Meanwhile, another victim contacted “06880,” suggested security cameras. They’re installed elsewhere at the beach already. Perhaps it’s time to extend their range.

Kayak racks at Compo Beach. They look lovely — but they’re not secure. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Among Wednesday night’s Hurricane Ida flood victims: The Toy Post.

The store at 180 Post Road East (near Imperial Avenue) has no flood insurance. They’re offering 50% off anything wet. (Hat tip: Jonathan Alloy)

Part of The Toy Post’s flood.

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Sure, you can have a January-to-December calendar. But in Westport — where the rhythm of life is attuned to the school year — you really need the Public Schools’ September-to-September version.

Plus, it’s decorated with artwork by local students, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Some very impressive stuff there!

And: It’s a fundraiser, for the Westport Public Art Collections. Paintings, photos and more hang in every school and municipal building in town.

Click here, then scroll down to order. The cost is $20 (pick up) or $23 (mail). It’s available too at ASF, Colonial Druggists, and the Westport Library.

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For many years, the small shop on Maple Avenue South was Mario & Mike’s barber. Then it became Bill’s. After that, Salon Juljen.

Now it’s vacant. A sign says they’ve moved to Southport. No word on whether a new hair place — or some other business — will move in to the mixed commercial-residential building. (Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

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It’s been 2 years since CLASP Homes’ last in-person, inside event.

But the Westport organization — which serves people and families with autism and developmental disabilities — is returning to live fundraising in a big, fun way.

Band Central brings the best of Motown and soul to a benefit concert (October 15, 6:30 p.m. Fairfield Theatre, Company).

Click here for tickets, and more information. To volunteer, email rhammond@clasphomes.org.

In other CLASP news: Throughout September, the Westport Book Shop will exhibit the works of 4 participants in its art program. The used book store is on Jesup Road, across the green from the library.

CLASP art, at the Westport Book Shop.

 

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Another organization serving people with disabilities — STAR Lighting the Way — has good news too.

A grant from the Drew Friedman Arts Center will help them provide art classes to people with intellectual and developmental differences. The 6-week sessions cover a range of mediums — including photography, watercolor, acrylics, collage, dance, improvisation, acting and more — and engage local artists.

Some have already begun, at One River Art School in Westport.

Artists — including Drew Friedman Arts Center director Miggs Burroughs (far right) and STAR officials.

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Carl Addison Swanson’s 49th book has just been published. And it’s already been optioned by HBO.

A husband whose wife dies after a botched birth delivery stalks the guilty doctors and nurses — slowly and methodically.

Click here to order, and for more information.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows a praying mantis. Peggy Lehn spotted 2 of the cool-but-creepy-looking creatures on her garage.

(Photo/Peggy Lehn)

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And finally … today is the 80th anniversary of the birth of Tompall Glaser.

Though less well known than his fellow country “outlaw” singers Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, he had quite a career before dying in 2013.

Among my favorites: this decidedly tongue in cheek tune from 1976.