Category Archives: Organizations

Roundup: Granola Bar, Pruning, Pups, More

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When COVID hit, restaurants needed fast, to-go-friendly food. The Granola Bar scaled back their menu.

Many customers missed their oatmeal and turkey chili.

Great news: They’re back!

So is the kids’ menu. And the expanded bakery now includes cookie dough brownies, plus paleo and traditional chocolate chunk cookies.

There are specials each week. Coming soon: a robust catering department.

The Granola Bar has closed down their  pop-up taco bar. But more evening pop-ups will be announced soon. Follow @thegranolabar on Instagram for details.

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Pruning a tree, and raising a dog.

They’re all in a day’s work — well, 2 — at Wakeman Town Farm.

On February 8 (7 p.m.), master gardener/composter and Westport Garden Club civics chair Nathalie Fonteyne Gavrilovic offers the fundamentals of pruning. She’ll cover techniques, tools and timing. Click here to register.

On March 8 (7 p.m., Zoom), Dr. Jessica Melman discusses diet, crate training, vaccination schedules, flea/tick/heartworm prevention, common house hazards and more. She’ll answer questions too.

It’s perfect for all the new pandemic puppy owners. Click here to register.

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As a junior on the Boston College women’s rowing team, 2018 Staples High School graduate Brooke Schwab has spent more hours than she can count on the erg machine. It’s the workout rowers love to hate.

But today (Tuesday, January 26), she’ll erg 100,000 meters — with joy (and sweat).

A usual BC workout is 2,000 meters — 5,000 tops. These 100,000 meters — equivalent to 63 miles — will take 10 to 12 hours to complete.

The goal is to raise money for pancreatic cancer research, through the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

She’s honoring a close family friend, who was diagnosed last year at just 18.

Brooke is doing the heavy lifting — er, rowing. To do the easy thing — contribute — click here.

Brooke Schwab

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Published today: “The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance.”

Author Rich Diviney — a 1991 Staples High School graduate — is a retired Navy SEAL commander. In 20-plus years, he completed more than 13 overseas deployments — 11 to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was intimately involved in the SEAL selection process, whittling a group of exceptional candidates down to small cadre of the most elite.

His new book examines what it takes to be those optimal performers.

Diviney was often surprised by which candidates washed out and which succeeded. Some had all the right skills yet failed; others he might have initially dismissed rose to the top.

Seemingly objective criteria did not tell him who would succeed in the toughest military assignments. It is just as hard to predict success in the “real world.”

Diviney explores the lessons he’s learned about attributes –including cunning, adaptability, courage, even narcissism — that determine resilience, perseverance. situational awareness and conscientiousness.

He shares stories from the military, business, sports, relationships and parenting.

Click here for more information. (Hat tip: Celia Offir)

Rich Diviney

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Many Americans honored Martin Luther King last week. STAR Lighting the Way is celebrating him all year.

The non-profit — which serves people of all ages impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families — is collaborating this year with Open Doors Shelter and Person-to-Person. Together, the organizations will address local food insecurity and hunger.

Volunteers will collaborate with STAR clients to prepare, deliver and serve hot meals to Open Doors Shelter, and collect non-perishable food to deliver to Person-to-Person.

The first meals were prepared by chef Luis Solis, owner of Don Carmelo’s. Dessert came from Sweet P Bakery in Norwalk, founded by Westporters Bill and Andrea Pecoriello. Both institutions are longtime STAR cooking class supporters.

The initiative was launched on the MLK Day of Service. Officials lauded a $20,000 grant from The Arc-US and AmeriCorps, to help the effort.

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Karen Veronica — founder of Bread & Roses, the AIDS care center in Georgetown — died yesterday at her home in Ohio.

Her path to helping hundreds of people — at a time when many communities turned backs on them — began when her ex-husband contracted AIDS.

She, his lover and her 2 teen-age daughters — students at Staples High School — cared for him during the 18-month illness that kept him bed-ridden until his death in 1988.

Her grief turned to activism. Bread & Roses opened the next year. Click here for Jarret Liotta’s story on her impact from the New York Times.

Karen Veronica

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Bernie Sanders continues to hang around town.

Now he’s waiting impatiently for the start of Westport Country Playhouse’s 2021 season.

(Meme courtesy of Bruce Miller)

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And finally … today is Australia Day. (Well, it is still January 26 in the US. In Australia, it’s already tomorrow.)

The holiday marks the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in New South Wales, and the raising of the British flag at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip. Aboard the ships: 750 British prisoners, and 250 military men.

 

Barbara Pearson-Rac Says Goodbye

After nearly 30 years in Westport, Barbara Pearson-Rac is leaving.

She has made a difference here in so many ways. That’s literal: Make a Difference Day was one of her wonderful projects.

So was First Night. For 2 decades, our town rang in New Year’s with a host of fun activities. Hundreds of volunteers made it work. But none of it would have been possible without Barbara’s prodigious passion, energy and talent.

Soon, Barbara will leave this town she has done so much for. She’s been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. As she explains below, she’ll spend precious time with her daughter and family.

Westport owes an enormous debt to Barbara Pearson-Rac. She’s done so much for us, for so long. Godspeed, Barbara, from the town that loves you just as much as you’ve loved us.

Dear Westporters,

In the early 1990s, my family moved to Westport. We visited many towns in Fairfield County, but were always drawn back here. We sensed this welcoming and inclusive town would be ideal to raise our elementary school age daughter.

Barbara Pearson-Rac

As a product of the ’60s, I experienced the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. These tragedies led to a conscious decision to devote myself to community service. I realized I couldn’t move mountains but any impact, no matter how small, was my goal.

Shortly after we settled in Westport, I participated in the ADL World of Difference program. The outgrowth of my experience became Westport’s Make a Difference Day.

We mobilized adults and children to work on projects for non-for-profit organizations. We went beyond our town borders to help people in need across Fairfield County. This day of volunteering in October grew every year. It was so successful that in our 10th year we received national recognition for our work.

During 2020, due to COVID we had to scale back dramatically, but we were able to help where we could. I am so proud of our many Westporters who have made this event an integral part of our town culture.

First Night, our town New Year’s Eve party, was designed to bring our community together to share in a joyous entertainment event and strengthen ties. I ran the event for many years with a dedicated board and many community volunteers. Together we enjoyed music, fun for all ages, and the beginning of a new year.

The evening always ended at Jesup Green. Everyone gathered around a bonfire watching the fireworks. The happiness in everyone’s faces kept me and the board active in this endeavor for over 20 years, until it was no longer financially feasible. But it was our gift to the town.

John Videler’s drone captured 2016’s First Night fireworks over Westport.

Now I am on a new journey. I have to say goodbye to my beloved Westport and all the wonderful friends I’ve made over the years.

I have been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Soon my husband and I will move to Pennsylvania to be close to my daughter, son-in-law and 2 small grandsons. I want to spend as much time with them as I have left.

Do not feel sorry for me, though. Diagnosed in August, I have responded to chemotherapy better than the doctors ever expected. I remain active, with 3 yoga classes a week, working on my 5th novel (it’s almost completed), participating in virtual author talks, serving on the Senior Center board, and in Zoom with my friends.

I may have cancer, but my life goes on. I hope I’ve been a role model for my daughter on how best to cope when life throws you a curveball.

So with sadness I say goodbye to Westport, all my friends and colleagues, and the opportunities it has given me.

Roundup: Library Reopening, Light Up Westport, More

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The Westport Library returns soon to its December COVID schedule.

Effective Monday, February 8, appointments will no longer to browse the adult collection, speak with a librarian or use an Express computer.

Patrons visiting the Children’s Library, MakerSpace, media studios and store must still make appointments. Click here for more information.

The Library will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will remain closed on Sunday. Entrance is only through the upper parking lot doors.

Late fees will continue to be waived. Conference and meeting rooms will remain closed.

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For 4 years, WestportMoms has lit up Westport online. Now the multi-platform group wants to do so — literally.

Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post have launched “Light Up Westport.” The “appreciation project” charity fundraiser encourages people to send luminaries and personal notes of gratitude to friends, local businesses and first responders.

On February 4 (7 p.m.), participants should place their luminary in front of their homes or stores. They’ll light up the town.

They’ll then share photos on social media, and tag #lightupwestport.

Click here to order luminary kits. They include a WSPT luminary, note card and LED tea light. Volunteers will deliver them the day before the event.

All proceeds will go to Filling in the Blanks. The organization provides weekend meals to needy children throughout Fairfield County. WestportMoms have partnered with Ali Dorfman of Purpose 2 Purchase on this initiative.

WSPT luminary. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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If you haven’t visited George Billis Gallery, you’re missing a great addition to Westport.

The newest addition to Main Street — in space formerly occupied by Jonathan Adler — announces its first big events.

An international exhibition, is set for February 5-28. There’s an opening reception from 3 to 7 p.m., including a Zoom walk-through with juror Lisa Cooper from 3 to 3:30.

The exhibit features over 30 national and international artists presenting painting, photography, sculpture and works on paper.

George Billis Gallery, 166 Main Street.

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“06880” is looking for stringers/interns to cover town meetings: Board of Education, Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen. Town knowledge, enthusiasm, writing chops, ability to watch for hours needed. Perfect for bored college students and anyone else interested in town affairs. Interested? Email dwoog@optonline.net

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Bernie Sanders is a very impatient guy.

He was spotted yesterday outside Gold’s, waiting for bagels and lox …

(Meme courtesy of Our Town Crier)

… and then at Loeffler Field, waiting for the 2021 soccer season to begin.

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And finally … on this day in 1996, “Rent” opened officially at the New York Theatre Workshop. It was a bittersweet moment: composer/playwright Jonathan Larson died hours before, from an aneurysm.

Twenty-five years later, his work is considered one of the most monumental and important musicals of all time.

Move Over, Barnes & Noble. Another Bookstore Is Opening Downtown.

It’s been years since downtown Westport had a bookstore.

Next month, Barnes & Noble opens in the former Restoration Hardware.

This Thursday, a second bookstore opens right around the corner.

It’s smaller. It will sell only used books. But its story is huge.

The Westport Book Shop is a partnership between the Westport Library and Westport Book Sales, the non-profit with 2 important missions: They raise funds for the library by running its book sales, and they hire adults with disabilities.

For nearly 3 decades, the Summer Book Sale has been a beloved ritual on Jesup Green. So it’s fitting that the Westport Book Shop will be located between Green & Tonic and the new Basso restaurant (formerly Matsu Sushi).

In other words: It’s directly across Jesup Green from the library.

The new home of the Westport Book Shop.

The new venture — believed to be Westport’s first-ever used bookstore — came together quickly. The idea began in the spring, but the right space — a former art gallery — was not available until last month. Final town approval came on Friday.

The 5,000 or so books, in over 40 categories, come from donations to the annual book sales. There’s also a large selection of vinyl records, audio books, CDs and DVDs.

(In addition to the ginormous summer one, there are other book sales throughout the year. However, they’re on hold during COVID.)

The view from inside the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green to the library.

Books cover all major categories: fiction, non-fiction, biography, children’s, you name it.

“We’ll be talking to customers and ask what they especially want,” says Mimi Greenlee. The longtime volunteer will continue to work with Westport Book Sales on this project, with fellow members Jocelyn Barandiaran, Linda Hopper, Dick Lowenstein, Sharuna Mahesh and Deb Poulley​. Jennifer Bangser is the Library’s liaison.

The Book Shop also features the Drew Friedman Art Place. Miggs Burroughs will curate rotating exhibits of area artists.

Hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m.; weekends, noon to 5 p.m. COVID restrictions apply.

Mimi Greenlee inspects a book n the children’s section.

Founding donors include The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center, Eileen Lavigne Flug, Dan Levinson, Jeffrey Mayer and Nancy Diamond, Jocelyn and Walter Barandiaran, Linda Monteiro-Hopper and Scott Hopper, Robin and Brad Berggren, Rebecca L. Ciota, The Kail Family, The Michael M. Wiseman and Helen A. Garten Charitable Foundation, Abilis Community Foundation, The Betty R. and Ralph Sheffer Foundation, Craig Rebecca Schiavone, Westport Sunrise Rotary, Rita Allen Foundation, and Berchem Moses PC. Local law firm Verrill donated most of the bookcases.

For more information, email info@westportbooksales.org.

TEAM Westport’s Teen Essay Contest Tackles Timely Topic

For 7 years, TEAM Westport’s Teen Diversity Essay Contest has considered specific, newsworthy topics.

Westport students have been asked to examine — and write on — issues like micro-aggressions, the “taking a knee” controversy, white privilege, the increasingly diverse demographics of the United States, and self-segregation in school cafeterias.

This year’s contest addresses a broad, complex and crucial issue: Black Lives Matter.

All students attending high school in Westport — or who live here and go to high school elsewhere — are invited to participate. The prompt is:

The statement “Black Lives Matter” has become politicized in our country.  In 1000 words or fewer, describe your own understanding of the statement.  Consider why conversations about race are often so emotionally charged. Given that reality, what suggestions do you have for building both equity and equality in our schools, community and country?

“Since the murder of George Floyd, the nation has moved toward an inflection point on racial reckoning not seen since the Civil War,” says TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey.

“The ultimate resolution of that reckoning will have a profound effect upon the lives of our young citizens. Through it all, ‘Black Lives Matter’ has emerged as ubiquitous in message, aspiration and vision. TEAM Westport looks forward to the exploration of the impact of this phenomenon on our nation and community by Westport students.”

The entry deadline is February 26. The Westport Library is co-sponsoring the contest with TEAMWestport, the town’s multicultural commission.

First prize is $1,000; second prize is $750, and third prize is $500. Click here for he application form.

Students joined many others last spring, at several Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Westport. (Photo/Dan Woog)

 

Roundup: Super Bowl Raffle, End Of The World, More

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Each year, hundreds of Westporters enjoy Westport Rotary’s Duck Race and Wine Tasting events. Their support enables the organization to support worthy causes here and abroad.

Both events are COVID-canceled. Yet charities need help more than ever. Fortunately, the Rotarians have a plan.

Their new fundraiser is The Great Rotary Raffle: Super Bowl Edition.

Tickets are $50 each. On February 5 — 2 days before the game — each ticket will be assigned a randomly selected pair of numbers.

Winners will be determined by the scores at the end of each quarter. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter winners each get a $500 Visa gift card. The winner of the final score snags a $1,000 card.

50% of all ticket sales go to those prizes. The other half goes directly to charities.

Click here to buy raffle tickets.

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At Staples, 2015 grad Rachel Treisman wrote for the school paper Inklings. In college, she became editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News.

Now Rachel writes for NPR.

Yesterday, she wrote an important, comprehensive piece. Headlined “The Vaccine Rollout Will Take Time. Here’s What The U.S. Can Do Now To Save Lives,” it covers governmental, private and personal responses to the pandemic. Click here for the story.

Rachel Treisman

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There are 72 films at Sundance 2021. According to IndieWire, 15 are “Must-See,” and can be streamed at home.

Among them: “How it Ends.” Written, directed and produced by 2002 Staples High School graduate Daryl Wein and his “partner in work and love” Zoe Lister-Jones, it is “a star-packed comedic rumination on nothing less than the end of the world.”

“Timely, no?” IndieWire adds.

The film stars Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris and Cailee Spaeny.

Daryl Wein

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Don O’Day’s work as chair of the Coleytown Middle School Reopening Committee ended this month. The new school looks beautiful.

As one of his last acts, he hired a new security guard.

(Meme courtesy of Don O’Day)

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And finally … Jimmie Rodgers, the pop/country singer known for “Honeycomb” and other 1950s hits — died Monday in California. He was 87.

Roundup: Theater, Sports, Bernie, More

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Good theater is hard to find right now.

But a pair of Staples High School graduates are collaborating on an intriguing work, available from the comfort of your home. And it was filmed right in Westport.

Class of 2016 graduate Adam Riegler is directing a virtual play. “Albert Names Edward” by Louis Nowra is a taped theatrical production about 2 men who meet unexpectedly. One has no memory; the other is at the peak of his philosophical musings. Albert teaches Edward about the world he has forgotten, and introduces him to new ways of thinking that Edward does not always accept.

The company of recent graduates of Dartmouth College includes Max Samuels (Staples Class of 2011). They rehearsed on Zoom before getting tested for COVID. They took all precautions as they to met to film the show here.

The budget was low. Riegler built a camera dolly out of medical equipment from his father’s office. But the quality is high.

Riegler is finishing the footage now, with an original score.

“Albert Names Edward” will be available on demand on January 29 and 30, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but should be reserved ahead of time (click here). 

Max Samuels (right) in “Albert Names Edward.”

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Last month, the Hackett family collected new and gently used sports equipment for a group called Leveling the Playing Field.

This was not just a bin-ful. Westporters donated enough cleats, hockey and lacrosse sticks, bats, skates, footballs and softball gloves to fill a truck. It’s all been delivered to youngsters who want to play, but could not afford to.

The Hacketts thank The Granola Bar, WestportMoms (and “06880”) for getting the word out — and to everyone who contributed.

Play ball!

hloe Hackett (organizer) and Max Levitt (founder of Leveling the Playjng Field), Chloe Hackett and Marley, the Hacketts’ rescue dog.

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Patricia Wettach — a 50-year resident of Westport — died peacefully at home on Wednesday. She was 97 years old.

The Pennsylvania native and World War II Navy WAVES veteran met her future husband, Bob, in the service. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, and they married in 1951.

In 1971 GE transferred Bob to New York from Cincinnati. Patricia lived in that house ever since.

Gracious and warm, she built strong, loving friendships everywhere. She welcomed everyone to her home, and fed them well. She enjoyed bridge, book and gourmet clubs, and was a longtime member of the Westport Woman’s Club, St. Luke New Horizon Society, Delta Gamma of Fairfield County Alumnae, and Food and Friends. Patricia also volunteered with Fairfield County Hospice, and was a liturgical minister at St. Luke Church.

She traveled internationally with friends and family, but her favorite destination was the Wettach cottage in Vermilion, Ohio, overlooking Lake Erie. She spent many hours on the front porch reading, talking and enjoying the view.

Patricia is survived by her children Mary Ann Roehm (Edward), Jane (Paul Baldasare Jr.) and Robert III (Gayle); 6 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; sister Mary Werbaneth; stepbrother Colman Studeny, and 6 nephews.

She was predeceased 27 years ago by her husband Bob, whom she missed intensely.

As she approached her 90s Patricia was joined by Inga Durante, an aide whose tender care allowed her to stay at home until she died. Patricia’s family is deeply indebted to Inga for her service.

In lieu of flowers, Patricia asked that donations be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County (22 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897). Click here to leave online condolences.

Patricia Wettach

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Cohl Katz is a hair stylist and makeup artist to the stars.

Her clients literally span A (Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin) to Z (Zelda Williams) — with everyone from Jodie Foster, Tracy Morgan, Al Hanks and Bill Clinton thrown in.

But on Wednesday, Cohl — who counts many Westporters among her devoted fans — had one of her most demanding clients ever.

Look familiar?

And after that, Bernie headed off to Compo Beach …

(Posted by Todd Zegras to Facebook)

(Courtesy of Mary Lou Roels)

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And finally … today is January 23. In other words, 1/23. So …

 

Hindsight Is 2020; Student Art Is Timely

Hindsight is 2020.

That’s an old saying — made new and (perhaps) clever as we stumble into this new year 2021.

But it’s also the name of the soon-to-open MoCA Westport exhibition — the first to showcase high school student art.

“Enough” (Nate Kolek, Staples High School senior)

Beginning Saturday (January 23), and running through March 13, “Hindsight is 2020” features submissions created during (duh) 2020.

The nearly 200 entries from across Connecticut and New York — including painting, photography, digital art, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and more — offer a diverse portrait of what young people have experienced in these challenging times.

A number of Westport students are represented in the exhibit.

“Ronnie” (Miles Kennedy, Greens Farms Academy sophomore)

MoCA Westport’s Teen Council played an important role in the exhibit. One member — Staples High School student Tessa Moore — serves as a juror.

“We were so impressed by the quality and diversity of work we received from the high school artists,” says MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes.

“We know students have had a challenging year, and that art and creative expression have helped many students with coping and resilience.”

“Summer 2020” (Sabrina Paris, Staples High School sophomore)

Director of exhibits Liz Leggett adds, “It was very meaningful to have teachers so engaged in this process. We heard from several that entering this exhibition was a highlight of the year for many students.” Many teachers physically delivered works to MoCA.

The exhibit includes cash prizes for the top 3 pieces.

“Stalker of the Night” (Shivali Kanthan, Staples High School freshman)

“Hindsight is 2020” is open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays, 12 to 4 p.m. Click here for reservations, or visit on Free Fridays when no reservation is required.

The art can also be viewed on mocawestport.org in a digital gallery.

BONUS MoCA DISPLAY: the world’s largest abstract painting. It was created by the community during a MoCA Westport Family Day event in October. Westport artist Trace Burroughs helped the work set a new Guinness world record.

“Masked” (Ian Chow, Pierrepont Academy freshman)

Roundup: School Reopening, Seed Exchange, Leadership, More

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Westport’s elementary and middle school open for full in-person on February 1.

A new Westport Public Schools website offers information on the transition. it includes details on schedules, specials, health and safety, lunch and recess, mitigation and hygiene strategies, classroom cohorts, special education, transportation, technology and more.

Click here for the elementary school page. Click here for the middle school page.

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Talented Westport photographer Ted Horowitz posted this photo to his Instagram this morning:

He took the shot years ago at sunrise, in the Lincoln Memorial.

“In the silence of dawn, with golden light reflecting on the statue, the  the sense of gravity and majesty was overwhelming,” he says.

“It was a hopeful moment, as morning light poured in and a  day dawned once again. I felt that this image was appropriate for today, as we seeking relief from the past 4 years, and are hopeful for the new day which is about to begin.”

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Next Thursday (January 28) is National Seed Exchange Day.

Stumped for a celebration? Head to the Westport Farmers’ Market. It’s (no coincidence) their annual seed exchange.

People can bring seeds saved from their gardens — or take home a few saved by others.

WFM farmers will donate seeds from their favorite crops for the community to try at home. All seeds except invasive species are welcome, but the market urges people to bring and take home heirloom or organic varieties. (Click here for a list of invasive plants.)

Heirloom seeds are critical to reclaiming the food system. They’re open-pollinated plants passed down from generation to generation, without human intervention or manipulation. They taste better, are more nutritious, and help protect plant diversity.

“Collecting, sharing, and growing seeds saved by our very own shoppers, farmers and vendors – especially heirloom varieties – involves the community personally in the promotion of local food and flora,” says Farmers’ Market executive director Lori Cochran-Dougall.

“This year more than ever we want to seed the year with love and health.”

The seed exchange runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — or until all seeds are shared —  on January 28th at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Avenue.

Experts will be on hand to informally discuss the importance of seed saving.

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Yesterday’s mention of Capuli — the new restaurant in the old Westport Pizzeria location across from Bank of America — may have left the impression that it’s a pizza place.

It’s not.

The California-Mediterranean fusion menu — filled with healthy options — includes appetizers like chimichurri shrimp skewers and grilled octopus, and entrees like eggplant polenta Napoleon, pansotti, classic New York steak and California hamburger.

Click here for the mouth-watering lunch and dinner menus.

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Mike Hayes is a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, with service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He had defense policy and strategy roles in the Bush and Obama administrations.

He’s got a master’s in public policy from Harvard, and is the author of an inspirational book, “Never Enough.”

Hayes is also a Westporter. And on February 4 (7 p.m.), he’ll share his thoughts on leadership with former Westport Library trustee Maggie Mudd.

He’ll talk about how decisions get made, particularly under duress; crisis management, conflict resolution and more. Leadership lessons are applicable to every walk of life, Mudd notes.

Click here to register for the free virtual program.

Mike Hayes

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And finally (and I do mean “finally”) …

Roundup: Sound App, Y’s Men, More

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There’s an app for everything. Including remote audience and applause sounds.

Westporters Mark and Faith Sargent have developed iCrowd. It allows anyone — by themselves, or with just a couple of people — to make the same crowd sounds as if they were attending an event in, well, a crowd.

You can applaud with different levels of enthusiasm, boo, groan or make other crowd sounds.

The sounds selected by all of the users are transmitted to the cloud, then combined using the Sargents’ proprietary algorithm to form an aggregate crowd noise, which is transmitted back to each user.

Each user hears a combination of the sound they selected, and the combined crowd sound.

The crowd sound can be played over speakers where the event is taking place, so athletes, performers or others can hear the sound of the remote audience.

There’s also a chat for each event. So members of the remote audience can comment on the sound — or anything else — in real time.

The possibilities are endless. It’s great for sports events, plays and music performances (even those done virtually, like Facebook Live), or a TV show watch party. Politicians can use it for speeches too. Family members celebrating an online birthday can add applause and cheers when the cake is cut. Office workers can react to the boss’ presentation.

And if COVID knocks out our annual “06880” party again this summer, we can use iCrowd to make some noise.

To learn more, click here.

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The Y’s men continue to hike — COVID, age, and gray skies be damned.

On Friday, a group of septuagenarians covered 14,500 steps and over 6 miles, despite the weather.

They were socially distant, of course. But close enough to talk about the coronavirus vaccine, and how to get it.

Interesting in joining the hiking group? Email mhehen@gmail.com.

From left: Brian Fradet, Peter Eyes, Mike Johnston, Sal Mollica, Chris Lewis. (Photo/Michael Hehenberger)

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And finally … Howard Johnson died last week in Harlem, following a long illness. He was 79.

A tuba player (among other instruments) and arranger, his work transcended jazz, rock and pop.

He played with Charles Mingus and McCoy Tyner; contributed arrangements and horn parts for John Lennon and Taj Mahal, but was best known as an original member of the “Saturday Night Live” band.

And you’ve gotta Howard Johnson’s joyful work with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream.”

FUN FACT: It was written in 1927 by Howard Johnson — but a different Howard Johnson. And neither of those 2 are related to the Howard Johnson who later created the restaurant franchise that boasted 28 flavors of — yes — ice cream.