Category Archives: Media

Bad News: Yellow Pages Will Be Tossed In Your Driveway Soon. Good News: You Can Opt Out!

The new edition of the Yellow Pages will be distributed hurled intrusively onto your driveway soon. The project — which wastes enormous amounts of fuel as drivers deliver a product that wastes enormous numbers of trees, and which no one uses these days anyway — begins around September 22.

If you’re one of the 100% of Westporters who believe the Yellow Pages — and if not them, their current distribution system — should go the way of the Flivver and the fax, you’re in luck.

According to the 1st selectman’s office, you can opt out of “future phone book deliveries” by visiting www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. If you opt out 60 days in advance of the delivery, you will not receive the current publication. (Today is July 27. I know, I know…)

Westport’s official town nuisance.

Supposedly, data submitted will never be used for marketing purposes, and will not be given to third parties.

You can also use those links to request directories.  As if.

If you have “concerns” about the Yellow Pages, email sbconcerns@teampdc.com. Provide your name, address, contact information and specific details about why you’re concerned.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got any strategies for stopping the even more intrusive — as in, every week — Minuteman, click “Comments” to share.

Alisyn Camerota: CNN Anchor, Debut Novelist, Westporter

Three years ago — after 16 years with Fox, including co-hosting “Fox & Friends Weekend” — Alisyn Camerota left the network.

She joined CNN. She co-anchors the “New Day” morning show. She reports on breaking international stories. She’s one of their top journalists.

It’s not easy. Camerota leaves Westport — where she has lived since 2012 — at 3:30 every morning. On the plus side: With very little traffic, her commute is just an hour.

If she was still at Fox, Camerota would be one of President Trump’s favorite TV personalities.

At CNN, she — and the entire network — are in his crosshairs.

That’s fine.

“With some regularity, we report a story in the morning, and a tweet comes out directly correlated to something we or a guest said,” Camerota notes.

“We know the president is watching. And we know he sometimes objects to a question or angle we take.

“It comes with the territory. We’re not there to curry favor. But I don’t see us as the ‘opposition,’ or an ‘enemy of the people.’ Our job is to hold people accountable for what they say and do.”

That’s not to say working at CNN is easy.

“If it’s been a particularly rough day — if we got called out at a press briefing — we’ll remark on it,” Camerota admits.

“But it hasn’t changed how we do our job. I don’t sense any chilling effect. In some way, it’s invigorated us. It’s helped us define our role, and sharpened our purpose.”

Alisyn Camerota

In fact, Camerota says, wherever she is, people thank her for doing what she does.

In Westport, some are friends. Others are strangers.

Earlier this year, she moderated a panel with diehard Trump supporters. One was convinced that 3 to 5 million people had voted illegally. As Camerota pressed her — and the woman’s answers grew “increasingly illogical” — the journalist involuntarily slapped her forehead. A video of the moment went viral.

The next day, while shopping in a local store, a woman approached Camerota, and slapped her own head. Neither said a word.

Camerota’s days are full. But with the publication yesterday of her 1st novel — Amanda Wakes Up — her life is about to get even busier.

The book was 6 years in the making. In 2011 — as the ’12 presidential campaign was getting underway — Camerota was intrigued by the cast of candidates. They included colorful folks like Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

“There was no dearth of stories to cover,” the journalist says. She began taking notes.

She did not know her vignettes would become a book. But — because she was a weekend anchor and “could actually have a hobby” — she began writing.

Amanda follows an ambitious young reporter who lands a plum gig at a big-time cable news station — and quickly learns her “dream” job may be a nightmare.

Samantha Bee calls it “a hilarious, eye-opening glimpse into the TV news trenches, from one who’s had to navigate them backwards and in heels.”

Booklist adds, “Camerota’s timely send-up will engross readers from both sides of the political spectrum.”

“It was fun to assign my own ethical dilemmas to a fictional character,” the author says. “I let her figure stuff out.”

So how much of Amanda is Alisyn?

“All of it,” she answers quickly. “But the difference is, she figures everything out in 1 1/2 years. It took me 25 years.” That includes pre-Fox stints with ABC and NBC.

Amanda, it turns out, “is not me. She’s a distant cousin of mine.”

Tomorrow (Thursday, July 27, 7 p.m.), Camerota hosts a book signing at the Westport Barnes & Noble.

As for the rest of the summer, Camerota jokes: “I’m going to take a long nap.”

But, she continues, “My ‘day job’ has a breathless pace. I’m writing furiously during a 2-minute commercial break, trying to update a story or introduce the next guest.

“There’s something therapeutic and relaxing about sitting with my keyboard, trying to figure things out while writing a novel. I’m not sure — but I may have more stories to tell.”

Of course, she will also take time to appreciate summer in Westport.

“It’s stunningly beautiful,” Camerota says. “It’s so green. The flowers are in bloom. I love the beach, and Saugatuck Sweets. This is a glorious time to be here.”

So true. That’s definitely not Fake News.

Ka-Boom!

A tree fell earlier today on Hillspoint Road, by the Conservative Synagogue. It brought down utility lines, cutting power to over 50 customers. The traffic light at the Post Road by McDonald’s was out too.

A tree falls on Hillspoint Road

Darcy Hicks — who lives nearby — took this shot. Apparently her brother Tyler — the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer — is not the only Hicks family member with an eye for dramatic news images.

Ringo’s Hair

For the sold-out crowd in the Town Hall auditorium last weekend, Fred Cantor’s documentary “The High School That Rocked!” combined Woodstock and class reunions with a trip down memory lane.

Men with far less — but grayer — hair than in the mid-’60s, and women wearing not granny but actual glasses smiled, laughed and clapped as the true story of how the Doors, Sly & the Family Stone, Rascals, Cream and Yardbirds played at Staples High School was told by folks who Really Were There.

There were plenty of anecdotes. Two Westport girls baked a cake for the Rascals; another touched Jim Morrison’s face.

Ed Baer

And then there was the tale told by Ed Baer. A former WMCA radio “Good Guy” and longtime Westporter, he spoke on camera about the astonishing effect the Beatles had on everyone at the time. The example he used was a contest his station sponsored. The grand prize: a locket of Ringo Starr’s hair.

The audience smiled knowingly.

But one woman could not believe her ears.

Leslie Schine graduated from Staples in 1971 — Cantor’s year. But in 1964 she was 11 years old.

And she won the same contest Ed Baer described in the film.

A Bridgeport Post news story shows 11-year-old Leslie Schine clutching her Beatles album.

At a reception after the showing, she mentioned the astonishing coincidence. And, she said, she had not even entered the contest. She did not know who sent in her name.

A 1964 story in the Bridgeport Post suggested it was a colleague of her father’s. Leonard Schine was a noted local attorney, and a former Westport Town Court judge.

The lock of hair — clipped from Ringo’s head on the Beatles’ 1st US tour — arrived at Leslie’s Bayberry Lane home, along with a photo of the Beatles cutting his hair; an affidavit signed by Ringo; a letter from WMCA, and a fan club postcard signed by all the Beatles (except John).

More than 50 years later, Leslie Schine mimics her previous pose. Here, she holds a photo she was sent by WMCA, showing “the Good Guys” cutting Ringo’s hair. (Photo/Carlotta Grenier Schaller)   

When Leslie told this story last weekend, she thought she still had it “somewhere.”

Sure enough, the next day — in just 15 minutes — she found it in her attic.

Along with the documentation.

“I seem to remember bringing it to Coleytown Elementary, and handing out single strands to friends,” Leslie says.

It’s amazing. Of all the anecdotes Ed Baer could have told, that’s the one he chose.

And of all 300 people in the auditorium last weekend, one of them was Leslie Schine.

Ed Baer was there too. Unfortunately, neither he nor Leslie knew of the coincidence, so they did not meet.

Still, it’s an astonishing story.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

“Post Road Hero” Sequel: Daily News Coverage; GoFundMe Campaign

“06880” and WestportNow readers have responded strongly — and generously — to the story of Aaron Tucker.

The 32-year-old halfway house resident sacrificed his dress shirt — and a chance at a job interview — to help save the victim of Wednesday’s horrific Post Road automobile accident.

Now, millions more people will know about Tucker. The New York Daily News just published a big story about his heroics.

It includes this great quotes from Tucker:

Aaron Tucker (Photo courtesy of WestportNow.com)

“It didn’t go through my head, because a job can come and go, but a life is only one time. The only thing running through my head is that person in the car could pass away and I could help him.”

And this, about the outpouring of support from Westporters: “I just want everybody to know it’s not about what people could do for me. It’s just about me saving his life,” he said.

His story — including his desire to move on from a weapons conviction, and to support his 21-month-old son — clearly resonates.

The Daily News reports that a GoFundMe “thank you” page has set up to help Tucker.

In just 13 hours — as of 7 a.m. today — it already raised over $5,000.

(Click here for the GoFundMe page. Hat tip: Adam Goldberg)

Honoring A Post Road Hero

Yesterday’s Post Road car crash near Stop & Shop was harrowing.

It was also heroic.

As first reported by WestportNow in a compelling story, several people from Vautrin Auto Service rushed to help.

So did Aaron Tucker.

The 32-year-old  was on a bus from Bridgeport to Norwalk, for a job interview. The driver said he’d leave him there. But, Tucker told WestportNow, “I had to do what I had to do.”

He took off a new dress shirt, and used it as a tourniquet. He also turned off the ignition, preventing a possible fire.

Tucker gave up a lot by sacrificing his shirt — and his job interview.

Aaron Tucker (Photo courtesy of WestportNow.com)

WestportNow said that he lives in a Isaiah House in Bridgeport — a halfway facility — after spending 22 months in prison on a weapons charge. When he helped save the accident victim’s life, he had just $1.75 in his pocket. He also has a 21-month-old son.

“I’m determined to change my life,” he told WestportNow. “I just want to support my son and his mother,” Tucker said.

He added, “I’m looking for any kind of job –- construction worker, landscaper, restaurant worker. I’ll do a good job.”

WestportNow editor Gordon Joseloff got these quotes — and got to know Tucker — as Joseloff gave him a ride back to Bridgeport.

Tucker worried that he would be unable to vouch to his halfway house supervisors for missing the Norwalk job interview — or explain how he lost his new shirt.

When Joseloff explained to the supervisors what happened, one told Tucker, “you did God’s work.”

WestportNow posted that job offers or financial assistance could be sent to editor@westportnow.com, for forwarding to Tucker.

Today, town groups jumped in to help too.

Kami Naraghi Evans reports that contributions — money, clothes, toys for his Tucker’s son, whatever — can be dropped off starting tomorrow (Friday) evening at the Westport Arts Center (51 Riverside Avenue), and at the Christ & Holy Trinity Church office (Myrtle Avenue and Church Lane), from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

WestportNow reported today that Tucker is headed to the Trumbull Mall, to pick up job applications.

Let’s hope he puts “life saver” as one of his skills.

“06880” Party Is A Week Away!

The 5th annual “06880″ party is less than a week away.

And if you’re reading this, you’re invited.

Next Thursday (July 20, 6 p.m.) is the day and time. The far end of Compo’s South Beach — away from the cannons, near the boat and kayak launch, not far from our new palm tree — is the place. (Still confused? See the aerial view below.)

The blue arrow marks the "06880" party spot.

The blue arrow marks the “06880” party spot.

Every member of the “06880″ (as in, this website) community is invited. We welcome frequent commenters and lurkers. Folks who have lived here all their lives, and those who moved here yesterday. People who want the Saugatuck bridge to stay the same, those who want a new one, and everyone in between. (Though we’ll keep the party a politics-free zone.)

The tagline for “06880″ is “Where Westport meets the world.” Next Thursday, that world comes to Compo.

Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. (If you bring extras to share with others, we won’t say no). Then mix, mingle and enjoy the evening with the “06880″ crowd.

There’s no charge. It’s a “fun-raiser,” not a fundraiser.

A “blog party” — the “06880” version of a block party.

See you next Thursday!

Cribari Bridge: Another View

Yesterday’s statement by 1st Selectman Jim Marpe — requesting that the state withdraw funding for final design and construction projects related to the William F. Cribari (Bridge Street) Bridge — shined a spotlight on the 133-year-old span.

Along with the cannons and Minute Man monument, it’s one of Westport’s most treasured — and photographed — icons.

Here is another (video) view of the Saugatuck mainstay. It shows the swing bridge as it opens.

The time-lapse was shot last August by longtime Westporter Tom Feeley. He’s a proud Staples High School Class of 1987 graduate, and looks forward to this weekend’s 30th reunion. It’s set for the Saugatuck Rowing Club — right near the bridge.

Here’s another video from John Hartwell. It shows another bridge nearby — the Saugatuck railroad bridge. It too opens. This was shot in July 2015.

Despite Marpe’s statement, the next steps in the bridge’s long history have not yet been determined.

Farewell Travels: Hello Travel Designer

Westporters are no strangers to luxury travel. Whether it’s a helicopter to the Hamptons or a private jet to Jasper, you (or a neighbor) has done it.

Or heard someone brag about it, in the Balducci’s checkout line.

But there is luxury travel, and then there are people like Susan Farewell.

Today’s New York Times has a feature story on “a subset of travel planners — they prefer the term travel designers — who do far more than simply book trips. They manage the travel portfolios of their affluent clients.”

Susan Farewell

The piece includes Farewell Travels — the eponymous owner’s company. Like other travel designers, Farewell makes house calls (to observe family dynamics), and does “reconnaissance … the better to make recommendations on lodging, tour guides and special excursions.”

As an example, the Times article cites Westport clients Russell and Bobbi Crocker. Farewell planned a trip to South Africa and Zambia for the couple — then went ahead to check everything out.

After returning, she booked a different — presumably better/nicer/more something — for the Crockers.

The Times reports how she works:

Ms. Farewell’s initial meetings with new clients amount to an intake. She isn’t interested solely in where they would like to go, but in where they have been, their “style” (large hotel or boutique? adventurous or not so much? sedentary or active?), the ages of their children, the length of time they are willing to spend on a plane, the number of days they have available and the money they want to allot to travel annually. It’s not unusual, she said, for some small families she works with to spend $50,000 for a weeklong trip (not including the private jets).

The Times story notes that one client — hopefully not Farewell’s — would never use his particular travel designer again. At a remote location, the man was served frozen — not fresh — orange juice.

I’m sure no Westporter would ever feel so entitled.

But if he did, I’m also sure that Susan Farewell would tell him where to go.

(For the full New York Times story, click here.)

Save The Date: “06880” Annual Party Is July 20!

Mark your calendar: Thursday, July 20 (6 p.m.). That’s the date of the 5th annual “06880” party.

It’s our version of a block party. So, call it a “blog party.”

The first 4 years were great successes. They were true community gatherings– chances to meet and mingle with the diverse “06880” community (both online and real).

This year’s party will be even better. The word is out: It’s an event not to be missed.

We’ll gather at Compo Beach — the alcohol-is-okay end. Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. If you’d like to bring something to share, we’re happy to have it!

Like the website, “06880” simply provides space to get together, have a good time, chat, laugh, and of course bitch.

Part of the scene at last year's "06880" party.

Part of the scene at last year’s “06880” party. That is not me in the middle.

There’s no charge. It’s a “fun-raiser,” not a fundraiser.

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.” We call this party “where ‘06880’ meets each other.”

PS: We picked a Thursday because the beach is not as crowded as on weekends. As alert readers know, “06880” does not believe in reserving tables.