Category Archives: Local politics

Remembering Claire Ford

Claire Moran Ford — a longtime Westporter and civic volunteer, whose beautification efforts enhance our town decades later — died July 28, at 89. She was surrounded by her loving family and parish priest.

The Long Island native thoroughly enjoyed Cornell University, where she received a BS in home economics and met Clark George Ford. They wed in 1954 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and lived in New York City and Germany, while Clark served in the U.S. Army. The couple settled in Westport in 1959, where they raised 3 children. Claire lived in their home on Timber Lane until 2015, and sold their home earlier this year.

She lived a full life enriched by family, social, professional, educational, religious, and volunteer experiences. She was an avid reader and gardener, and enjoyed cooking meals and hosting parties for family and friends. Claire was also an exceptional listener, problem solver and friend.

Claire’s early career was in marketing, starting with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, then with Young & Rubicam in Manhattan. She later worked for the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, after which she was a realtor in Westport with William Raveis and Coldwell Banker.

Claire Ford

Claire’s numerous volunteer activities included first chair of the Westport Beautification Committee. Established by First Selectman John Kemish in 1968, in partnership with the Planning & Zoning Commission, under Claire’s leadership the committee purchased small parcels of land, transforming them (and existing town land) into beautiful parks.

Working with the town and Westport Woman’s Club, the Beautification Committee contributed to the success of the Greening of the Post Road initiative, responsible for the thoughtful planting and care of trees and shrubs along the heavily traveled route.

Nearly 50 years later, some of the first trees planted still add to the beauty of Claire’s favorite town. After stepping down as chair, Claire continued serving on the Beautification Committee for decades.

She also chaired the flower committee, taught religious education and managed audio/visual equipment usage at St. Luke Parish, where she was a parishioner from 1959 until her death.

Claire served on the Westport Republican Town Committee and was a member of the Westport Woman’s Club, Westport Young Woman’s League, League of Women Voters of Westport and Republican Women of Westport. She volunteered at STAR, supporting individuals with special needs. She also volunteered at the Connecticut Unemployment Office, bringing both assistance and compassion to those going through a hard time.

Claire served as a justice of the peace, and enjoyed providing joy by performing weddings. She was an active supporter of her children’s interest in scouting, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, serving as a Cub Scout den mother and a Girl Scout troop leader, while also serving on the Board of the Southwestern Connecticut Girl Scouts Council.

Claire’s social activities included the “Beach Bunch” (friends who celebrated and thoroughly enjoyed Compo Beach together for nearly 60 years); Westport Country Playhouse, Westport Community Theater, Westport Community Gardens (founding member), the Gourmet Club, Food & Friends, County Capers and Cotillion dance clubs, multiple book groups, Cornell Club of Fairfield County (president for 10 years), Cornell Class of ‘53 (reunion chair for many reunions, and Columbine Investment Club.

Claire was always curious and adventuresome. She said she lived vicariously through her children, encouraging and supporting them in pursuing their interests. However, generations of family and friends continue to be inspired by her involvement in the world around her.

Claire’s most recent return to the classroom was at Norwalk Community College where in her mid-80’s she took several courses, fueling her passion for learning about history and the ever-changing world.

In her teens during the 1940’s she loved to pilot airplanes. In her 20s she took racing lessons using her beloved 1953 Jaguar XK-120. Claire and Clark had a lifelong love of travel, and took their family on trips within the US, and across Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

During her nearly 53 years of marriage to Clark, Claire exemplified the perfect partner. She was loving, collaborative, supportive, insightful, objective and independent, inspiring her children and grandchildren (among others) to live happy, healthy and balanced lives.

In recent years Claire lived at Maplewood at Strawberry Hill and, when it opened, Maplewood at Southport, where she socialized with her many new friends. She served on the Residents Committee, participated in the book club, attended movie screenings and outings with family and residents, and hosted numerous family gatherings, much as she had done throughout her life.

Claire is survived by her children, Jeff, Suzie and Chris; grandchildren Blair, Jaime, Max and Chloe, along with nieces and cousins. Her brother, Lawrence Joseph Moran, passed away 22 days after she did. Her husband Clark died in 2007.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Luke Church on Saturday, November 6 (10:30 a.m.). It will be live streamed at https://www.saintlukewestport.org. A celebration of life luncheon will follow immediately.

Letters of condolence can be sent to Claire Ford Family, 606 Post Road East, Suite 3, #507, Westport, CT 06880 or clairefordfamily@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations “in memory of Claire Moran Ford” can be made to the Cornell Annual Fund online at www.giving.cornell.edu. There is a section online to specify “Cornell Fund” and another to specify “in memory of” information. Checks can be mailed to: Cornell University, Box 37334, Boone, IA 50037-0334.

Roundup: Car Robbery, NY Marathon, Election Debate …

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The weather was great — and crowds large — for yesterday’s Westoberfest.

It wasn’t just about the craft beers. Among the scenes at the Westport Downtown Association-sponsored event: fun for kids.

(Photo/JC Martin)

A Post Road West business owner writes:

A technician was in my store Thursday evening, fixing our Wifi network and cameras.

Around 10 p.m. he saw a guy trying to break into his car, which was parked in front. He banged on the window to get him to stop. He didn’t want to step outside, because the man had a backpack. My network guy didn’t know if there was a weapon inside.

My guy called the police. The cops arrived very quickly.

Incredibly, while waiting for the police, my guy started praying for a safe resolution. When he looked outside, the robber stopped trying to break into the car. He started sobbing and praying as well.

My guy said that somehow his prayer had something to do with the change of heart of the would-be robber.

The police took him in without incident. But they said that was the third call of a car break-in that night.

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Todd Suchotliff moved to Westport this summer. He’s enjoyed running through town. Next Sunday (October 24) he’ll run the New York Marathon — right here.

He encourages his new neighbors (and strangers!) to cheer him on, or join him for part of the route.

It’s his 9th straight NYC Marathon — and the 2nd virtual one. He runs in memory of his mother, who died of chronic lymphocytic leukemia 9 years ago this Tuesday. It’s his way of keeping her fighting spirit alive (and supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — click here to help).

Todd has been training with his kids, and been motivated by the beauty of Westport.

His long runs start at his home on River Lane. He goes down Wilton Road, across the Saugatuck, up Cross Highway to Sturges Highway, down across Post Road to Greens Farms Road, turning at Hillspoint Road to Compo and through Longshore, then back across the Saugatuck on Bridge Street, up to Wilton Road and home.

“I realize it looks crazy, written out like that,” todd says. “But that’s more or less (actually more) the marathon route.”

His shorter runs, with his kids, include Compo and Longshore. They finish at the beach playground, and top the day off with donuts from Coffee An’ on the way home.

Todd Suchotliff and his kids.

Todd’s “NYC Marathon” route through Westport.

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As the days dwindle before the election, the League of Women Voters Westport is gearing up for a pair of debates. They’re set for Monday and Tuesday, October 25 and 26 (7 to 9 p.m.).

The first debate includes candidates for first and second selectmen, and the Boards of Finance and Assessment Appeals.

The second is for the Board of Education, and Planning & Zoning Commission.

Candidates will be in Town Hall, but there is no live audience. The debates can be watched on Cablevision Channel 79, or livestreamed from the town website.

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There must be a reason this driver chose this parking spot at Long Lots Elementary School.

But I sure don’t know what it is.

Guesses are welcome. Click “Comments” below.

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In the midst of COVID, Staples High School Class of 2002 graduate Sarah Kesselman and her boyfriend Hermes Arriola filmed a series for YouTube. it features snacks from other countries.

It was a hit. Viewers soon sent in their own snacks,. Sarah likes the sweet ones; Hermes, the salty ones. Hence the name: “Salty and Sweet.”

Click here for the channel. below to enjoy “Oreos from Around the the World.” Who knew?

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Halloween comes early to the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Nest Saturday (October 23, 5 to 6:30 p.m.) — 8 days before the holiday — they’re sponsoring a “Spooktacular,” for children 10 and under.

Events include costumes, cookie decorating, Halloween crafts, face painting, ring toss, bean bag throw, and free play in the gym.

The cost is $5 per child. A parent or caregiver must attend. Click here to register.

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Speaking of the Y: Collette Winn took today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo at the parking lot there.

I wonder: “Y” did these 2 birds choose that particular car?

(Photo/Collette Winn)

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And finally … happy 79th birthday to Gary Puckett!

 

Roundup: Candidates, Moon, Music …

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Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?

Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).

Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.

Click here for details on how to watch. Both debates will be recorded and posted to the Sustainable Westport website.

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Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.

The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.

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Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.

He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.

This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Chris Frantz (Photo/Ebet Roberts)

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Congratulations to this year’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services award winners. They were cited at this week’s annual dinner.

Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.

Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.

Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.

Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.

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The Westport Garden Club installed Ginger Donaher as its 52nd president yesterday. She’s new — but her family is very familiar.

Ginger’s mother, Nancy  Gault — yes, of those Gaults — served as president from 1991 to ’93. Ginger’s aunt, Judy Sterling, held the position from 1983 to ’85.

Ginger’s grandmother, Georgiana Gault, was not president. But she was an active Garden Club member from the 1950s until her death in 1994.

Kelly Pollard — Ginger’s’ cousin, and Judy’s daughter — is the club’s current hospitality chair. And — who knows? — perhaps a future president herself.

Westport Garden Club president Ginger Donaher (center) is flanked by (from left) Kelly Pollard and Judy Sterling. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Westporter and animal Reiki volunteer Cathy Malkin is featured in this month’s Connecticut Humane Society spotlight.

She describes herself as “an animal muse who is able to translate animals’ thoughts, feelings and viewpoints so they can be better understood.” For the full Q-and-A, click here.

Cathy Malkin

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Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.

Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.

For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.

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Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.

They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.

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It’s mid-October. Most leaves have not yet turned. Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, for example, from Weston Road near Lyons Plains.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A week from now, this will be an entirely different scene.

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And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.

 

Remembering Jackie Heneage

Jacqueline Heneage — Westport’s 1st female 1st selectman — died October 3. She was 96 years old.

A former president of the League of Women Voters, her election over incumbent John Kemish in 1973 marked the first time a Democrat had won the top spot since 1948. She was 3 more times, serving until 1981.

Jackie Heneage, 1979

As noted in Woody Klein’s history of Westport, she hired a grantswoman who obtained nearly $2 million. It was used to convert Bedford Elementary School into Town Hall, and for open space acquisition, a youth center (now the Gillespie Center), elderly housing, the Police Department and beautification projects.

Heneage extended long-term projects like flood control, and sewers and road improvements. She believed the town had enough commercial zoning, and pushed for reduced building sites, increased setbacks and the elimination of Design Development Districts.

Westport’s school population declined sharply during her tenure. In addition to the Bedford Elementary School conversion,  Hillspoint Elementary School became a childcare center; Greens Farms Elementary became the Westport Arts Center, and Saugatuck Elementary on Bridge Street became elderly housing.

Heneage also oversaw the construction of the transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector, extension of sewers on Post Road East and in many residential areas, and the move of fire station headquarters from Church Lane to its current Post Road location.

Jackie Heneage in 2002 with Ted Diamond. He served as her 2nd selectman.

She entered into long negotiations with Baron Walter Langer von Langendorff, who owned 32 acres of land on the Post Road East/Compo Road North corner. In 1979 the RTM voted to appropriate $3,48 million for the purchase, but postponed giving her condemnation authority if the baron refused to sell. After her administration, the land became Winslow Park.

Heneage also oversaw Westport’s participation in the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. Over that July 4th weekend, Main Street between the Post Road and Elm Street turned from 2-way traffic to a 1-way street.

But Jackie Heneage was more than a groundbreaking first selectwoman. Her daughter Audrey sends along this remembrance.

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Our mother, Jackie Heneage was a dynamo. During our childhood she worked part-time, volunteered in many civic organizations, played tennis and still found time to put a hot meal on the table every night (despite not being a domestic
goddess)!

Saturday mornings we woke up to Broadway tunes or classical music blasting in the living room and our list of chores. It was always: clean your room and another space, plus mow one side of the lawn in summer. But after that we were
free to do whatever with whoever until dinner.

Summertimes we were shipped off to Beach School or Longshore every day for swim lessons and general tanning. This regimentation may have felt onerous to us, but it allowed my mom to continue being herself and not drown in family life.

There was no guilt on her part and no lasting damage to us kids. In fact, the structure was just what we needed.

Winter vacations meant a visit to our grandparents in Hanover, New Hampshire where she taught us all how to ski on her old equipment on the golf course behind her house, which had a rope tow in winter. She threw us into all the activities she had loved as a child. We were always outside riding bikes, skating, swatting at tennis balls. While only one of us became an athlete (Cynthia). the exposure was not a waste. She supported Cynthia in every sport she wanted to try — swimming, figure skating, skiing, gymnastics. She became proficient at all of them, although Mom finally told her she had to focus on one because she didn’t have time to drive her to the various practices.

Our mother planned fantastic trips and outings for our family. After Cynthia brought home several books on the national parks, she planned a 1-month trip out west. In summer 1966 we visited 7 different national parks and Mexico.

Jackie Heneage (seated) with her daughters.

The ’60s were the time of her increasing involvement in the Westport League of Women Voters, eventually becoming its president. The League’s study of town government prepared her for her first political campaign for a seat on the Zoning
Board of Appeals, and her later successful campaign for First Selectman.

As first selectman she was busy at work all day, and at town meetings every night. She took speechwriting very seriously and labored over each one, reading them aloud for our feedback.

On weekends, the police chief called her to report various disturbances around the town, many which her youngest daughter had attended (but never as a troublemaker)!

Her 8 years in office coincided with her parents needing increasing care in New Hampshire. Every holiday she and our father Peter traveled to give the caregivers their time off, never taking the holiday for themselves.

Jackie Heneage, reading the Westport News.

She retired from First Selectman in 1981 and went on to further corporate and government jobs. In 1983 she became a grandmother and doted on her grandchildren.

After her retirement in 1992 she and Peter delighted in taking them on excursions and extended trips, in between their own travels. She continued to play her favorite sport, tennis, until she was 80 years old. She was eventually blessed with 5 great-grandchildren she loved to see.

Peter and Jackie moved to Sedona, Arizona in 2018. Always active, Jackie made a friend who took her to meetings of the Sedona League of Women Voters and out to lunch. Jackie maintained her sense of humor and upbeat attitude to the end, becoming a favorite at Sedona Winds Assisted Living. But when she reached the age of 96, the age of Peter at his death, she decided it was time to check up on him, and off she went. We will miss her dearly

Roundup: Selectmen, Mark Twain, Winslow Park …

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Missed yesterday’s debate between the candidates for first and second selectmen?

No problem!

The event — sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library — is now online. Click below to view.

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Domestic violence is real, and part of Westport life.

Next Monday (October 18, 7 p.m.), the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force, Westport Human Services Department and Westport Library will present an important webinar.

“When Stop Doesn’t Work: What is the Impact on our Children?” features Ann Rodwell-Lawton, associate director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center. She and Liz Modugno — an alcohol and addiction counselor at Westport’s Aspire Counseling — will discuss the generational impact of trauma and family violence on children. Click here to register.

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Westport native Bruce Michelson is now an English professor — and noted Mark Twain scholar — at the University of Illinois. He credits Burr Farms Elementary School 6th grade teacher June Jack with getting him interested in the famed author.

John Kelley — who sent along this interview with Michelson from the Mark Twain Circle of America newsletter — recalls a field trip to Twain’s Hartford home with that class. Michelson mentions the visit in the piece.

It took place more than 60 years ago. Who knows what youngster today will follow a career in the 2080s that started — perhaps today — in one of our elementary schools?

Bruce Michelson

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Frank Sisson writes:

At Winslow Park. another dog owner told me he had seen a dead dog on the road just outside a North Compo entrance — one of several openings in the stone wall along the road. Why are those openings not gated to prevent such a tragedy? Dogs will be dogs, and one unauthorized squirrel chase in the wrong direction could spell disaster.

If the town can’t swing it, maybe a group of regular Winslow Park dog owners could get together with a plan to chip in and make this happen.

There are gates — though open on this part of the Winslow Park stone wall. (Nell Waters Bernegger)

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Longtime Westporter June Fernie died recently. She was 94 years old.

A child of the Depression and World War II, she was the eldest daughter in a family of 7 children. She left her home in Guelph, Ontario, Canada at 17 for Toronto, where she worked as secretary at an advertising agency. Her life changed when John Fernie, a recently discharged RAF pilot and artist from Scotland, walked through the door looking for a job.

After a quick courtship they married and emigrated to the US in 1947, making their first home in a cold-water flat in Brooklyn.

A talented illustrator, John found work quickly at a prestigious Madison Avenue ad agency. Working together, the newlyweds earned success.

In 1950 they moved into their first real home in Westport. Their children Bruce, heather and Mitchell were born and raised there.

June and John enjoyed all that New York, Westport and London had to offer in the swinging ‘60s, socializing with creatives from the art and literary worlds as well as entertainers from movies and music.

June organized family skiing in Vermont every winter, and annual summer holidays in England and Europe. Supportive of John’s love of fast automobiles, she was an enthusiastic pit crew during frequent weekends at the racetrack.

In 1970 June and John moved their family to Vermont, before finally settling
in Kennebunkport, Maine in 1980.

June was a talented administrator who, in addition to managing her husband’s art business, worked for many years as an administrative assistant in Maine. Her years as a volunteer at the Kennebunkport Historical Society brought her a great deal of pleasure.

June is survived by her children Bruce (Katherine Walsh) of West Tisbury, Massachusetts and Heather Fernie McInnis (Craig) McInnis of Kennebunkport; daughter-in-law Barbara Borchardt of Cumberland, Maine; foster daughter Jill Deveraux of Oro Valley, Arizona; grandchildren
Alexander, Dana, Bowen, Avery, Mitchell and Trevor, and great-grandchildren Mae Fernie, Helena and Ollie.

June Fernie

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The Westport Library Book Sale earlier this month exceeded already high expectations. That’s due in part to over 200 volunteer who assisted with setup, the event itself and cleanup. Other volunteers work year long processing books, and helping at the Westport Book Shop.

Organizes give a special shoutout to organizations that supported the effort, including the Westport Young Woman’s League, Neighbors and Newcomers of Westport, Abilis, Westport Public Library staff, Staples Service League of Boys, Westport National Charity League, Builders Beyond Borders, and Staples High School National Honor Society.

All proceeds of the sale support the Westport Library, and the employment of adults with disabilities.

Staples Service League of Boys (SLOBs) at the Westport Library book sale.

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Three attorneys at Westport’s FLB Law — Stephen Fogerty, Eric Bernheim and Joshua Auxier — have been named to the 2021 Connecticut Super Lawyers list. Brian Tims has been named to the publication’s Rising Stars roster.

Super Lawyers lists are generated by peer ratings.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo pays homage to our beloved fall ritual: Dogs are allowed back on Compo Beach.

This guy acts like he owns the place, all year long.

(Photo/Collette Winn)

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And finally … happy 63rd birthday to Marie Osmond!

 

 

Roundup: Westoberfest, Poll Workers, Porch …

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Saturday’s “Westoberfest” has something for everyone.

The Westport Downtown Association event — set for all around Elm Street — includes road races (kids at noon, 10K at 12:30 p.m.); food, vendors, apples and pumpkin giveaways, pumpkin decorating, street magician and live music  (1 to 5 p.m.), beer tasting (2 to 5 p.m.), and an air-cooled classic vintage car expo (3:30 p.m.).

Advance tickets are $40 each, $75 for 2, special 10-pack for $350. Click here for tickets. They’re $50 each, if purchased at the event.

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Also on Saturday (and free): presentation of 5 murals at the Main Street entrance to Bedford Square.

Commissioned by the Westport Arts Advisory Committee, each represents a different aspect of life in Westport’s history. They start with indigenous people, and move across the wall to the future: Westport, circa 2070.

Artists include Westporter Eric Chiang, who exhibits locally and in his native Taiwan, and is a founding member of the Artist Collective of Westport; Westporter Jana Ireijo, founder of “Mural Ethos,” which creates vanishing murals to illustrate climate change; Staples and Pratt Institute graduate Rebecca Ross; Hernan Garcia from Norwalk, born in Colombia and trained in both architecture and fine arts; Bridgeport painter and Antigua native, poet, writer, actor and playwright Iyaba Ibo Mandingo.

“Westport: Circa 2070” (Rebecca Ross)

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Westporters go to the polls on November 2. But the polls need poll workers.

It’s a paying gig ($265 full day, $130 half day)– and important for democracy.

Jobs include checker, ballot monitor, tabulator/security monitor and floater. No experience needed. There’s a training session Saturday, October 23 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Also needed: setup (Monday, November 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and cleanup (Tuesday, November 2, 8 to 11 p.m.). Both pay $18 an hour.

Interested? Contact Maria Signore at the registrars of voters office: 203-341-1117; msignore@westportct.gov.

A familiar scene, year after year in Westport.

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As the weather cools, The Porch @ Christie’s rolls out its “The Porch Warms Our Hearts “ promotion.

It includes 2 soups a day (with quarts added soon), plus steel-cut oatmeal with 2 toppings, and hot chocolate.

There are heaters on the porch, with roll-down sides as needed. It’s even cozier indoors, with a fireplace.

Order ahead for quicker service. All items are available for delivery too. The Porch is open 7 days a week.

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What’s up — or down — with this flag?

It’s been flying like this for a few days, at the apartments near the Whelk and Saugatuck Sweets.

A mistake? A true distress signal? If so, for what?

Inquiring Westporters want to know.

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You’ve heard of a trunk show?

The Westport Artists Collective takes that term literally.

This Sunday (October 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), they’ll sell affordable art from — actually — the trunks of their cars.

The site is the Taylor parking lot — near the lower level of the Westport Library. It’s a great place for affordable art (and seeing what some of our favorite local artists drive).

Susan Fehlinger, and her trunk art.

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Winslow Park Animal Hospital seldom misses a holiday. Here’s what the Post Road clinic’s front yard looks like now:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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Sure, the Westport Young Woman’s League does wonderful, charitable work.

But members have a great social time too.

On Saturday, past president Lauren Bromberg hosted a “Rock ‘n’ Paint” party at her home. Guests shot paint from water guns to create art — while rocking out to ’90s tunes.

The WYWL plans a number of other casual gatherings this year, including fire pits, wine tastings, hikes, dog play date meet-ups at Compo, coffee chats, evening dinners and more. For more information, click here or follow on Instagram: @wywlwestport.

“Shooting” artwork at the Westport Young Woman’s League social,

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“Westport … Naturally” covers all creatures great and small. Ellen Wentworth sent this image, with the note: “He was on my car in the garage!”

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

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And finally … today in 1997, John Denver died while piloting a light plane. He was just 53 years old.

Candidates’ Voter Guide: 2021

Before every local election for years, Westport’s League of Women Voters distributed a Voters’ Guide. Filled with biographies of candidates for every office — and, more importantly, their responses to very direct questions about key issues — they helped many Westporters decide who to vote for.

Back in the day, nearly every Westporter got those guides through the Westport News. The paper is still printed, but the guide is not.

Fortunately, the LWV Voters’ Guide is now online.

So if you want to know where the candidates for selectmen; the Boards of Education, Finance and Assessment Appeals; Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals, plus all 9 RTM districts, stand — as well as where to vote, get absentee ballots, even how to register — click here.

It took a massive amount of work to prepare. It’s well worth taking the time to download. (NOTE: It is the only literature you’re allowed to bring into your polling site.)

And — on November 2 — don’t forget to vote!

Roundup: COVID, Sheryl Crow, Unsung Science …

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1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

“The rise in case levels in Westport for the past 1 weeks placed the town into the ‘substantial transmission’ (‘red’) category this week. Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) Director of Health Mark Cooper stated, ‘High risk individuals should take extra precautions, particularly those who are unvaccinated, by avoiding large gatherings. Getting fully vaccinated, wearing masks and social distancing continue to be strongly recommended for all.’

“The First Selectman’s Executive Orders #9 and #10 remain in effect. They require masks in indoor public places within Westport for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Indoor public spaces include retail establishments, restaurants, or other businesses, as well as galleries, museums, performance spaces, places of worship and government buildings. Businesses may still require proof of vaccination to enter, but a mask will also be required. Executive Order #10, which modifies Executive Order #9, refers specifically to gyms and workout studios, and provides certain exceptions to mask-wearing in those public places only.

“I am grateful that Westporters recognize the importance of wearing masks and getting vaccinated. It is for our physical and mental health and safety that we remain vigilant.

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If you know Dan Aron, you know how proud he is to be an Indiana University grad.

If you don’t know Dan Aron, you know his house. It’s the one on Soundview Drive with the huge IU flag.

On October 14 — during Homecoming — he’ll be one of 3 recipients of Indiana’s Distinguished Alumni Service award. It’s the highest honor the school gives to a graduate.

Dan earned a BS from IU’s Kelley School of Business in 1983. He was an equity sales trader, partner and head trader for 30 years with Salomon Brothers, John Levin & Co. and others. Along the way he mentored Kelley students, and served on many school advisory boards.

Dan and his wife Maureen raised daughters Alexa, Ashley and Anna in Westport. The couple underwrote the Investment Center in Hodge Hall, and the Kelley Diversity Merit Bicentennial Scholarship.

“I will never forget where I came from. I will always be a Hoosier,” Dan says. (Hat tip: JD Denny)

Dan Aron

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Speaking of Dan Aron: Among his philanthropic activities, he’s a big supporter of the Levitt Pavilion.

He was there there — near the stage — at last night’s great Sheryl Crow concert. Here’s his photo:

(Photo/Dan Aron)

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David Pogue has a new project.

Well, the Westport tech guru/media personality always does. But this is especially intriguing.

“Unsung Science” (@UnsungSci) debuts Friday. Each weekly episode offers the origin story of a cool science or tech achievement. They’re told by the characters themselves, from their first inspiration to the times they almost gave up.

Episodes include the NASA engineer whose team landed a delicate, unpiloted $3 billion rover on Mars without kicking up dust; the father of the cellphone; the committee that chooses which emoji to add to your phone each year; the computer scientist who blessed/cursed the world with CAPTCHA website login obstacles; the storm chaser who discovered that Tornado Alley is shifting east into more vulnerable states; the inventor of the Impossible Burger, and more.

Click here for more information.

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Stephen Gustafson loves dahlias. Others do too. He’s formed them into a close-knit Facebook group: the Westport Dahlia Society.

Now he — and anyone else who shares the dahlia passion — will meet at Wakeman Town Farm. The event is  October 18 (7 p.m.).

Gustafson will explain the overwintering process of tubers to save for next year. There’s a door prize of dahlia seeds.

Guests can bring their favorite flower cuttings. Novices looking to learn more about dahlias are welcome too. For more information, email westportdahliasociety@gmail.com.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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“06880” does not run wedding announcements.

But this photo — by frequent Pic of the Day contributor Lauri Weiser — was too good to pass up.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

Her daughter, Sabrina Weiser-Min, married Matt Crorey last weekend at the Bryant Park Grill in New York City.

She has been friends with Micha Grand since Bedford Middle School. Micha and Matt were roommates in college. Then all 3 lived together in New York. He was the perfect choice to officiate.

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Frederick Louis Hyman, former president and CEO of The Cousteau Group and co-founder and president of The Cousteau Society, died October 7. He was 89.

After graduating from Staples High School in 1949, and then the University of Connecticut, he served as first lieutenant, combat command, in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

Hyman’s career started with Associated Artists Productions, a distributor to television of feature films and short subjects, best known for the Popeye, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. After acquisition by United Artists Associated, he became executive vice president. He then co-owned Scope Advertising, a New York agency.

He also founded Americom, a Westport manufacturer and marketer of unique custom phonograph records that combined print and sound for the publishing and education markets. He innovated a 4-inch flexible single record, the PocketDisc, with its own player.

His experience with educational television and publishing led Jacques-Yves Cousteau to him. Hyman joined Cousteau in 1971 as president and CEO of The Cousteau Group, the operator of all Cousteau related companies in the US and in France; television production; publications based on expeditions; the 20-volume Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau; research activities aboard Calypso, and the development of new technology.

A gift by Hyman and Cousteau was the basis for their 1973 creation of The Cousteau Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of marine life and the environment. Hyman served as president and later a board member. However, he later lost confidence in the management and no longer supported TCS.

Hyman was a founding member of the Aspetuck Valley Country Club in Weston. He played in 3 British Seniors golf championships, plus many tournaments in Bermuda.

He is survived by Janett, his wife of 67 years; children Richard (Margaret), Mark, Dean and Jane, and grandchildren Emily, Brent, Sarah, Ben and Olivia.

Frederick Hyman

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June Rose Whittaker is aptly named. She sends along this “Westport … Naturally” submission from her home: “the last rose of summer.”

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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And finally … if you missed Sheryl Crow last night, this will make you happy:

 

 

Hillspoint Road Bridge Honors Khaliq Sanda

In his short life, Khaliq Sanda made a large impression on Westport.

The A Better Chance of Westport scholar had a a magnetic personality, an insightful mind, a welcoming spirit and a heart of gold.

Khaliq took 10 AP classes. He tutored. He worked at Internal Medicine Associates. He volunteered with Key Club, and served on Student Assembly.  

He touched everyone he met.

After graduation in 2013, he headed to Duke University. He took pre-med courses. He wanted to be a psychiatrist.

Khaliq Sanda

In 2016, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. It metastasized to his brain. He fought valiantly with 5 years — and had the help of countless Westport and Duke admirers.

His death last March devastated our town.

Khaliq won’t be forgotten. The Hillspoint Road bridge over I-95 will be named in his honor.

“Khaliq left an indelible mark on Westport, enriching our town with his kindness, humor and grace,” said State Senator Will Haskell. “Walking through the halls at Staples, it seemed that every student and teacher knew and admired him. In the wake of his passing, I had an opportunity to work with just a few of the many people who loved him to name this bridge in his honor. For those who pass by it each day, I hope it will remind us of his optimism and compassion, bringing out the best of Westport — a town Khaliq loved and a town that loved him.”

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg added, “Khaliq was an outstanding individual who had his future tragically cut short by cancer. During his time in Westport, he made a positive impact on our community. Khaliq was beloved by his peers and excelled in the classroom. He will be sorely missed. Naming a road in Khaliq’s honor will ensure his life and legacy will never be forgotten.”

First Selectman Jim Marpe noted, “He was a talented, deeply compassionate, energetic young man who had a passion for education, community service and a zest for life. It speaks volumes that Khaliq was so highly respected and possessed strong leadership qualities – these are his legacies. Now, he is further recognized with the honor of having this bridge named for him so that his kind heart and good works will be memorialized for generations to come.”

Roundup: Candidates, Chores, Irene Backalenick …

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A sure sign of fall: Our yards and traffic islands sprout dozens of signs for political candidates.

If you’d like to base your chose on more than placards, pencil in next Tuesday (October 12, noon, Westport Library and streaming). The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Library team up for a debate between the candidates vying for 1st selectman and 2nd selectmen: Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore (Republicans), Jonathan Steinberg and Candi Savin (Democrats), and TJ Elgin and Louis D’Onofrio (independents). Chamber director Matthew Mandell will moderate.

Click here for in-person tickets, and more information. It’s available on Cablevision Channel 79, and will also be archived.

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Another sign of autumn: As leaves fall and Westporters prepare for winter, many senior citizens need help.

The Department of Human Services hopes that seniors (in high school) — and juniors, sophomores and freshmen, plus middle schoolers — can help.

The DHS is compiling a list of students willing to help with outdoor chores. The suggested rate is $12 an hour.

Students interested in helping seniors (and earning money) should call 203-341-1050, or email humansrv@westportct.gov. Seniors needing assistance should also call 203-341-1050.

Need help bagging leaves? Human Services have kids for hire.

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Irene Backalenick turned 100 in August.

The former New York Times theater critic celebrated by publishing 143 of her reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

The collection spans the last 11 years of her career (2004 to 2015). Her final Broadway review was “Hamilton.”

Click here to order “In the Theater World.”

Irene Backalenick

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Caryl Beatus is one of “06880”‘s most avid readers — and frequent, insightful contributors.

She’s also a longtime golfer. Yesterday the Longshore Women’s Golf Association honored the founding (and 61-year) member, at the annual event named for her.

Caryl hit the ceremonial first shot. Fore!

Caryl Beatus was — as the golf cart says — Longshore’s “Queen for a Day.” (Photo/Mark Farrell)

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Bill Taibe is CRAzy.

Or at least, the owner of The Whelk, Don Memo and Kawa Ni is the 2021 Restaurateur of the Year, according to the Connecticut Restaurant Association. The organization — “CRA” — will present it’s “CRAzy Award” on December 6.

Taibe was chosen by a panel of more than 2 dozen food writers, critics, social media influencers and bloggers.

Meanwhile, the public can vote for other honors. Among the nominees: Taibe’s own Don Memo (Newcomer of the Year), and OKO (Restaurant of the Year, Fairfield and Litchfield Counties). Click here to see all nominations, and cast a ballot.

Bill Taibe

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For the second time this year, a Staples High School swim and dive team record fell.

The meet with Westhill came down to the final event. The 400 meter freestyle relay would determine the outcome. The Wreckers won in 4:10.46, earning the very tight 93-92 win.

The record-setting swim came from freshman Annam Olasewere. Her 26.15 time in the 50 meter free beat her previous record of 26.48, set just last week. She also won the 100 meter free.

The Wreckers are now 3-2. They’re in action next on Friday, vs. Greenwich (4 p.m., Staples).

Annam Olasewere (far left) earlier this month, with her 400 meter freestyle relay team (from left): Ayaan Olasewere , Ella Alpert, Jessica Qi,

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Susan Fehlinger is the Westport Book Shop’s guest artist this month. She’s an oil painter. The exhibit includes 12 coastal paintings. It’s open during business hours, at the popular used bookstore on Jesup Green.

Susan Fehlinger, at the Westport Book Shop.

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Halloween comes a day early to the Westport Country Playhouse.

The historic theater presents “Spectres and Spirits” — an original, 30-minute radio play – on October 30 (12 p.m., WSHU-FM).

It’s the work of frequent Playhouse collaborator (and macabre-minded) Richard R. Henry. John Gromada contributes clever sound design. To learn more and listen, click here.

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The other day, “Westport … Naturally” featured a monarch butterfly being eaten by a praying mantis.

Here’s one that lived:

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … Long before Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, Millie Small put Jamaica on the musical map. She was born today in 1947. She died May 5, 2020, at 72.