Category Archives: Police

Roundup: Smoky Skies, Staples Baseball, Startup Westport …

As predicted, the Singapore-style haze that smothered Westport yesterday has started to lift.

But Paul Delano was out early this morning. He reports: “It was a hazy red sunrise — although you couldn’t even see the sun until about half an hour after it rose.”

Here’s some of what he saw, at Compo Beach …

… and Sherwood Mill Pond:

(Photos/Paul Delano)


Play ball!

The Staples High School baseball team shoots for their 3rd state championship in 7 years this Saturday. (And one year was lost to COVID).

The 21-5 Wreckers — seeded #3 in the “LL” (extra large schools) division — face next-door foes, and close rivals, 4th-ranked Fairfield Warde.

The first pitch on June 10 is 12 noon, at Palmer Field in Middletown.

Staples is 21-5 this year. But two of those losses came to the Mustangs. After a 5-4 win in April, the Wreckers fell to Warde 7-0 in their second regular season meeting in May. The Fairfielders took the FCIAC semifinal too, by a razor-thin 3-2 score, en route to a 6-1 championship victory over Westhill.

Can’t make it to Middletown? Click here for the livestream.

Fans of all ages will be cheering for the Staples baseball team — in person, and virtually — on Saturday.


A crowd of 150 theaded to La Plage Tuesday evening, for the first big Startup Westport meeting.

The public/private partnership hopes to make our town Westport a special suburban center of an ecosystem of tech people and investors.

Attendees called the networking meeting “energetic, creative and productive.”

Plans are underway for a special event September 14, at the Westport Library. Dan Bikel — tech lead at Meta — will take about AI.


From left: Startup Westport board members: Peter Propp, Cliff Sirlin, Jay Norris; 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker; board member Sam Hendel; Police Chief Foti Koskinas; board member Dan Bikel.


Westport Police report 2 custodial arrests, for the period of May 31-June 7.

One man was arrested for larceny and credit card fraud. An Instacart delivery person became suspicious after receiving several orders from BevMax, for a person sitting in a car in front of a house under construction very close to the store. Several high-order deliveries had been requested, using different credit cards.

Another man was arrested for larceny, identity theft and forgery, after a resident’s check was stolen, altered and deposited.

Police also issued these citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 4 citations
  • Failure to comply with state traffic regulations: 4
  • Failure to renew registration: 2
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Failure to yield right of way: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 1.

Frequent orders from one liquor store led to an arrest.


Recent “06880” stories about the Westport Country Playhouse have elicited plenty of ideas for the future — and memories of the past. Nearly everyone in Westport has opinions about what’s right, and/or wrong, with one of our town’s artistic jewels.

But no matter where you stand, here’s a question: Who (or what) is that figure standing at the upper left, on the top of the Playhouse in the photo below?

Peter Hirst — a member of Staples Players back in the 1960s — noticed it. He assumes it was photoshopped in. But by whom? When? And why?

If you know, please click “Comments” below.

PS: I never noticed it before. Did you?


Club 203’s first year will end with a bang.

Westport’s social organization for adults with disabilities celebrates June 15 (6:30 to 8 p.m., Westport Library), with an end-of-year karaoke bash.

Along with singing and dancing, there’s dessert, and party art with MoCA.

The cost is $10 per person. Newcomers should click here, and follow the prompts.

Next on the Club 203 calendar: summer meet-ups. Details coming soon!


Two great kids’ activities are among the events this Sunday (June 11) at Blau House & Gardens’ “Last Lollapaloosa”:

Book reading and signing of “Pinkalicious: Fairy House” by author/ illustrator Victoria Kann: 11 a.m.; $15 per child (maximum 25 children). Each child received 2 Pinkalicious books; other activities include coloring, plant a bean to take home and watch grow; find the fairy houses in the garden.

Book reading and signing of “The Frog Who Wanted to See the Sea” by author/illustrator Guy Billout: 2:30 p.m.; $20 per child (maximum 20 children). Also: find a frog along the stream; plant a bean to take home and watch grow.

Blau House & Gardens is located at the end of Bayberry Ridge — a narrow, rutted road off Bayberry. The home — designed by theatrical stage set designer Ralph Alswang — is set between towering great oaks.

The grand gardens — by advertising executive Barry Blau — were created in response to the house. They incorporate native plants interspersed with a blend of exotics.

Other events on Saturday include:

Planting ceremony: Native rosebud trees; 9 a.m.; free (maximum 40 people)

Tour of Blau Gardens: 10 a.m.; $20 per person (maximum 36 people)

Gentle yoga with Millie: 1 p.m.; $20 per person (maximum 20 people)

Tour of Blau Gardens: 4:30 p.m.; $20 per person (maximum 36 people)

Garden reception: 6 to 8 p.m.; $75 per person (maximum 50 people). Help create a Blau House & Garden future.

Click here to register (deadline: June 5), and for information on payment and shuttle transportation from Coleytown Elementary School.

Just one part of Blau Gardens.


Friends of Sherwood Island State Park hold its annual meeting this Sunday (June 11, 4 p.m., main pavilion.

It’s a chance to meet our board, learn more about the non-profit, discuss plans to support the park, and say hello to new Supervisor Jeff Dery, his staff and interns.

Everyone is welcome, including prospective members. Entrance to the park is free for vehicles with Connecticut license plates.


James Naughton is a man of many talents, and passions.

The Tony Award-winning actor and Weston resident is finishing his run in “On Golden Pond” at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Ge’s very involved with Wildlife in Crisis.

And next Thursday (June 15, 11:30 a.m., Waveny Park main house, New Canaan) he will address the League of Voters there about his 6-year effort to get a Medical Aid in Dying law passed in Connecticut.

It’s come close — and approximately 75% of state residents support it. But it has still not been enacted.

Naughton’s advocacy honors the legacy of his wife Pamela. She died in 2013, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

James Naughton


Even the most passionate Westport sports fans probably did not notice that Luca Koleosho scored his first professional goal for Espanyol on Sunday, in their 3-3 draw with Almeria. At 18 years old, he’s the 3rd youngest player ever to score in La Liga, the Spanish soccer league that is one of the best in the world.

But Melissa Vallera sure did.

A former All-Region and Academic All-America soccer player at the University of Bridgeport, she’s Luca’s mom. She is also a physical therapist, who has spent many years working with Westport student-athletes, in a variety of sports. Her clients rave about her.

Luca was born in Trumbull. His family now lives in Greenwich. But he’s been playing in Europe since he was 11.

Luca’s father was a football running back at the University of Oklahoma.

Great genes — and a great accomplishment! (Hat tip: Vince Kelly)

Luca Koleosho


Former CBS radio and TV producer Tom Curley addressed the Westport Rotary Club at its Tuesday meeting. He discussed his sometimes chaotic personal experiences working with Lesley Stahl and Dan Rather (“a really nice guy” he said).

Now, after 10 years in retirement, he has created a TV studio in his basement. He produces humorous video programs called “Get Off My Lawn!” and “Media War Stories.”


Frederic Chiu is an internationally known pianist, and co-founder of Beechwood’s innovative Arts & Innovation series.

Turns out he’s also a superb nature photographer.

Here’s his submission for our daily “Westport … Naturally” series:

(Photo/Frederic Chiu)


And finally … Astrud Gilberto died on Monday. She was 83.

The first song she ever recorded — “The Girl From Ipanema” — was an international hit. It introduced Brazilian bossa nova to the US. And though she never replicated that success, she was a successful recording artist for decades. Click here for a full obituary.

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Tooker, Koskinas Reflect On Historic Ukraine Trip

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas will long remember many of the sights, sounds and smells of their recent trip to Westport’s sister city: Lyman, Ukraine.

Bombed-out buildings, charred tanks, artillery fire, an app alerting them to incoming missiles — those are seared in the memories of the first Americans to travel to the Donetsk Oblast since the Russian invasion more than a year ago.

But even more meaningful are their encounters with the Ukrainian people: the governor and head of the national police force, who traveled for hours to meet them. The mayor and police chief, finally in person after countless Zoom calls.

Most of all, the residents of Lyman: the people who put on the best clothes they could find, to greet the Westporters. The few children in the lone classroom still open.

And the man who skirted land mines to hike to a lake, bring back three fish, smoke them, and proudly present them as a traditional gesture of thanks.

Mayor Alexander Zhuravlov presents 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker with a smoked fish: a Ukrainian gesture of friendship.

Tooker and Koskinas are still processing all that they saw and did, on their 4-day journey from the Polish border to far east of Kyiv. They took a circuitous route on pock-marked roads and over pontoon bridges, doubling back around destroyed bridges and other obstacles.

In armored vehicles and with a police escort, they sped through every traffic light and stop sign. “It’s harder to hit a moving target,” Koskinas explains.

Yet the tight security was comforting. Tooker always felt safe, under the watchful eyes of the police and military.

US and Connecticut flags, at the Donetsk Oblast border. From left: Brian Mayer of Ukraine Aid International; Police Chief Foti Koskinas; 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker; Easton 1st Selectman David Bindelglass; a police officer, and Liz Olegov of UAI.

Still, it was not until they crossed — on foot — into Poland for the return leg that they felt out of complete danger.

The trip — privately financed, with no town funds — was a chance for the 2 officials to see how the $252,000 raised by residents over the holidays for our sister city had been spent.

Police chief Foti Koskinas, with 1 of 2 trash trucks bought by Ukraine Aid International, with funds donated by Westporers. When all such vehicles were destroyed by Russians, there was no way too remove tons of debris. 

Ukraine Aid International — the organization founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — handled ground arrangements. Tooker and Koskinas got an up close look at their personnel and logistics.

“Their model is unbelievably effective,” the 1st selectwoman reports. “They go where no other group goes. They even deliver goods for other groups.”

“They’ve developed incredible relationships. When they drive in, the military recognizes their vehicles and waves them through roadblocks.”

Westpor donors have funded an array of initiatives: building materials for apartments; water purification systems; home heating devices; police and trash vehicles; communication equipment; bulletproof vests for utility workers; vegetable and fruit seeds, and more.

Tooker and Koskinas saw that all those goods and materials had been delivered efficiently. “That’s not always the case with humanitarian aid,” Tooker notes. “But Ukraine Aid International gets the job done.”

Utility workers repair equipment near the front lines. Westporters’ contributions paid for protective and other equipment.

A second reason for the trip was to cement personal relationships. Since the holidays, Koskinas has spoken almost daily to his counterpart, Police Chief Igor Ugnevenko. Tooker has been in frequent contact with Mayor Alexander Zhuravlov.

Spending time with those officials underlined the importance of Westport’s sister city relationship. “Foti and I are more committed than ever to do everything we can to help,” Tooker says.

They’re spurred by a cascade of images. In the one functioning classroom, in the only school left standing. students of all ages come on a rotating schedule. Despite the challenges, “it’s as warm and welcoming as our classrooms here,” Tooker says.

There is no running water or electricity in the building. But in a makeshift cafeteria, educators proudly set out a lunch of homemade food for their guests.

The school is like the rest of Lyman. As they toured the town, Tooker and Koskinas were allowed to walk in only a few areas — and only on asphalt. Land mines are buried everywhere.

“Picture the most graphic World War II documentary,” Koskinas says. “We saw it. There’s a ‘graveyard’ of Russian military artifacts. You can still smell the burning flesh.”

The perseverance and warmth of the Lyman people was “astonishing,” says Tooker. They found the best clothes they could, ironed them, and greeted the Westporters with smiles and hugs.

A Lyman resident hugs 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, as thanks for Westport’s help rebuilding her apartment.

A ceremony for the signing of the official sister city relationship was held in a remote area. The governor, and the heads of the national police (the equivalent of our FBI) and patrol police traveled for hours to be there. It was important for them to see the Americans who had traveled so far, Tooker says.

“They kept calling us ‘heroes.’ It was embarrassing. We were horrified,” she adds.

The chasm between the US and Ukraine was brought home in sharp relief minutes after their arrival at Newark Airport.

“People were fighting over taxis. I mean, really?” Koskinas says.

They came home a few days before Memorial Day. This year’s holiday “had a whole new meaning for me,” the police chief says. “You know the saying: ‘Freedom is not free.’ That’s so true. They’re giving up all they have to be free.”

“My respect for the armed services was always high. Now it’s higher than ever,” Tooker adds.

The officials are eager to share all that they saw, felt and did. They are filled with respect for the Ukrainian people — and for the help that Ukrainian Aid International delivers.

Discussing clean-up operations, amid the remains of Russian tanks.

“Brian and Marshall Mayer told us that going there would make a difference to Lyman,” Koskinas says. “It did. That’s my biggest takeaway.

“Foti and I made a professional and personal commitment to our counterparts,” Tooker says.

“We will communicate regularly. They face a generation of rebuilding. We will be there for them.”

(The second round of donations for Lyman has begun. Click here, then select “Westport” from the “Where it is needed most” dropdown menu. And mark your calendar for July 9: A town-wide “Lyman-AID”  celebration with food, music and more. It’s free — but there are also many ways to contribute to help our sister city. Click here for details.)

Connecticut and Ukrainian officials, after a meeting in Sviatohirsk .


Roundup: Wertkin Murder, Scholar-Athletes, Affordable Housing, …

A murder that has haunted Westport for over 30 years may finally be solved.

At 11 p.m. on May 24, 1989, officers and firefighters responding to a fire behind the Coffee An’ strip mall found a burned woman’s body.

Shortly after, her husband reported 38-year-old Joan Wertkin missing.

Joan Wertkin

Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 6, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.), News 12 airs a new episode of “Crime Files.” The still-open case has recently generated new tips and leads.

News 12 spoke with family members, and the Westport Police Department. “Crime Files”‘ investigative team has discovered never-released details.

Mark Holofcener — Wertkin’s only sibling — is grateful for tomorrow’s show.

“I want anything that will bring justice,” he tells “06880.”

“I don’t know what it takes to put someone in jail, but I’m pleased attention is still being paid to it. There are a lot of parts to this puzzle. My hope is that all the pieces will come together, and we can see the complete picture.”

He too has spoken with News 12.

In addition to airing tomorrow on Optimum Channel 12 at 7 and 9 p.m., the “Crime Files” show will be streamed on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and Pluto TV.


Three dozen Staples High School scholar-athletes were honored last night, at a unique dinner.

The coach of each varsity sport (there are 36) nominates one candidate, for his or her combined academic and athletic achievements. Each is given one question to answer on the spot, involving their interests, activities and passions.

Questions last night ranged from astrophysics (“what’s the biggest problem in the universe you’d like to solve?”) to interning in the selectwoman’s office (“what did you learn about government that surprised you?” to rugby (“it’s been called a game for hooligans, played by gentlemen — which are you?”).

But the highlight of the night came from boys ski team member Jet Tober. A freestyle rapper who took Advanced Placement Mandarin, he was asked to rap — in Mandarin. He brought down the house.

Congratulations to all the scholar-athletes: Fall sports: Emma Porzio (fall cheerleading), Matthew Fleming (boys cross country), Eva  Simonte (girls cross country), Francine Stevens (field hockey), James Hillhouse (football), Finn Wolter (boys golf), Alex Laskin (boys soccer), Samantha Dewitt (girls soccer), Kate Whitaker (girls swimming), Kate Valante (girls volleyball), Benjamin Madoff (boys water polo).

Winter sports: Gavin Rothenberg (boys basketball), girls basketball (Scarlett Siegel), Jenny Bradshaw (cheerleading), Ava DeDomenico (gymnastics), Connor Moynihan (boys ice hockey), Chloe Hackett (girls ice hockey), Jonas Varnas (boys indoor track), Gabriella Gerig (girls indoor track), Jet Tober (boys skiing), Emma Nahon (girls skiing), Ryan Salik (boys squash), Rebecca Schussheim (girls squash), Joshua Tanksley (boys swimming), Jackson Oliver (wrestling).

Spring sports; Ethan Cukier (baseball), Keeva Boyle (girls golf), Michael Nealon (boys lacrosse), Cameron Retcho (girls lacrosse), Sam Pirkl (boys rugby), Parker Pretty (girls rugby), Grace Alfaro (softball), Alex Guadarrama (boys tennis), Lucia Wang (girls tennis), William Fitch (boys outdoor track), Isabelle Bland (girls outdoor track), Witt Lindau (sailing), Kareem Abouzeid (boys volleyball), Clara Smith (girls water polo).

After the dinner, scholar-athletes posed with their parents and coaches. Boys basketball honoree Gavin Rothenberg is shown with his coach Dave Goldshore (far left) and parents.


Speaking of Staples, here’s one more shot of Saturday night’s pre-prom festivities.

This is a different take. John Videler’s drone shows both the prom-goers and their proud parents.

(Drone photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)


“Fair share” — a proposal by which the state would assess the need for affordable housing, then mandate that certain towns above a certain poverty level provide such housing — was removed from a bill early Saturday morning.

The legislation that was then passed, by a narrow margin, by the House of Representatives includes a study of affordable housing needs in Connecticut. But it will be used for “informational purposes” and is “aspirational goal-setting,” according to one legislator.

The bill now goes to the state Senate. Click here for a full report, from CT Mirror.


Davide opens — or, to use its word, “arrives” — on Church Lane June 10.

(Photo/Sal Liccione)

Its website says, somewhat ungrammatically:

“Davide, founded by Joseph Davide in 202, pays homage to Italy, his origin and culture for inspiration while weaving it with the thread of the laid back attitude of modern luxury.

“Each collection being presented as ready to wear collections. Davide’s aesthetic tells the story of the classic man evolving from adolescence to adulthood.

“With no background education in fashion design, Joseph steers Davide with the vision of modernity and sophistication evoking a style of quality downtime through its relaxed silhouettes in his crafts.”

This may be Davide’s first retail outlet. No others are listed on the website.


Among the non-art attractions at Westport’s recent Fine Arts Festival: a fun fundraising contest by Staples Tuition Grants.

Entrants guessed the number of jellybeans in a jar. The actual number was 51,196. Eoghan Scully guessed 51,215 — only 19 off.

The very close 2nd and 3rd place guesses came from Crystal Benaroya and Annie Bowens. All receive gift certificates to their favorite Westport restaurants.

The contest helped STG award a record $405,000 in grants this year, to 119 students.

51,196 jellybeans!


Elisabeth Levey captured (by camera) these critters, coming out to play.

Or perhaps they were just posing for our daily “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Elisabeth Levey)


And finally … on this day in 1783, the Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their “montgolfière.” Today it is known as a hot air balloon.

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Roundup: Prom, PBA, Weston Woodstock …

Taylor Swift stepping out of her limo?


It’s parents, snapping photos at a Staples High School prom pre-party.

Meanwhile, on the other side:

And at another party in town:

(Photo/Kimberly Paris)


Speaking of parties: Hundreds of music lovers — and Senator Richard Blumenthal — jammed the Westport Library last night.

The launch party for Verso Studio’s initial album release — the first public library ever to record, produce and release a vinyl record — was a huge success.

Four bands played. Last night, Westport’s was the noisiest — and happiest — library in the world.

The Trefz Forum stage.


Speaking of celebrations: The Westport Weston Family YMCA hosted its first-ever Holi Festival yesterday.

The Hindu tradition celebrates the eternal and divine love of the god Radha and Krishna. It also signifies the triumph of good over evil.

A large crowd — Hindu and many other religions — joined in the joy at the Mahackeno Outdoor Center.

(Photo courtesy of Ifeseyi Gayle)


The Westport Police Benevolent Association has awarded scholarships to 19 (!) students. The WPBA Foundation suffered a great loss when longtime supporter Dennis Poster died last year. His wife Joan Poster remains involved, and helps the program thrive.

There are 3 types of scholarships, all worth $2,000. The Wilbur is awarded to Westport Police officers’ children who have done community service, and have a GPA of at least 3.0.

The Deputy Chief John Anastasia Scholarship is given to Staples High School seniors who will focus on criminal justice, and have done community service.  Caleigh Coughlin received that grant this year.

The Chief Bill Stefan Scholarship goes to a Staples High School senior who will focus on criminal justice, and participated in sports teams and activities. Olivia Stubbs earned that award this year.

PBA Scholarship honorees. Top row (left to right): Zachary Benson, Brandon Benson, Jonathan Wolf, Samuel Wolf, Zoe Koskinas, Madison Hayes. Bottom: Caleigh Coughlin, Jaden Aliberti, Ella Simpson, Gabrielle Hayes, Ann Restieri. Bot pictured: Olivia Biagiotti, April Nowinski, Joseph Sabin, Sara Sabin, Emma Simpson, Brandon Smith, Olivia Stubbs, Meghan Velky


It’s tough to come up with an original fundraising idea.

Unless you’re Lauren and David Sussman.

On June 16, the Westport couple will do a “marathon walk-a-thon” — 26.2 miles — around town. “Steps_4life” will raise funds for United Hatzalah. The Israeli organization of 6,000 volunteer first responders — EMTs, paramedics and doctors — have responded to hundreds of thousands of medical emergencies, in rapid time, regardless of race or religion.

An “ambucycle” – equipped with supplies and equipment like an ambulance — can zip through traffic quicker than most ambulances.

They’ve been training hard. Before each practice walk they map out their route on Instagram (Steps_4life), inviting friends (and stranger) to join them for a bit.

For more information, and to help with the Sussmans’ campaign, click here(Hat tip: Liz Kaner)

David and Lauren Sussman.


Four local teen bands highlight the first “Weston Woodstock.”

Fittingly, it’s a benefit for music.

Weston High School junior and musician Sophie Levy created and designed the event as a fundraiser for KEYS. The organization supports music lessons and performances for under-resourced Bridgeport youth.

The June 24 event runs from 5 to 8 p.m., on the Weston History & Culture Center lawn.

Tickets are $15 adults, $30 per family (purchase at the door). Follow @WestonWoodstock on Instagram to keep up to date.

Sophie realized the importance of music education when a girl at School of Rock quit for financial reasons. Researching ways to help, she found KEYS, a non-profit.

Her goal for the event is $5,000, through tickets and sponsorships. For more information, contact Sophie:; 475-470-9666.


Registration is now open for the CT Challenge. The July 29 bike ride — with distances of 10, 25, 40, 62, 100 and virtual — raises funds for the local non-profit Mission. They help 16.9 million cancer survivors in Connecticut and throughout the US rebuild, improve and prolong their lives through exercise, nutrition, mind-body health and community-building support programs.

Click here to register. Click here for more information on the CT Challenge.



On Friday, “06880” noted the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County Arts & Culture Empowerment (ACE) Award, which will be presented to Clea Newman on behalf of her parents, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The breakfast is June 21, at Norwalk Shore & Country Club.

Another Westporter will receive an ACE Award that day too.

Jenny Nelson has been a theatre and music educator for over 20 years. A former professor at City College of New York’s Graduate Program for Theatre Educators, she has worked with Long Wharf, The Shubert and Yale Rep, among many theaters.

Jenny also built the arts education program for the Westport Country Playhouse.

Jenny Nelson


Nearly every time she walks, Johanna Keyser Rossi spots something unexpected.

Often, it ends up as a “Westport … Naturally” photo.

Here’s her image from the other day, by the Saugatuck River:

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … Redd Holt, a jazz drummer who played on several catchy, popular  hits, died recently in Chicago. He was 91, and suffered from lung cancer.

His biggest songs came in 1965, with the Ramsey Lewis Trio:

And 3 years later, with Young-Holt Unlimited:

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Roundup: Luke Rosenberg, Hiro Wyatt, Rebecca Schussheim …

Staples High School choral director Luke Rosenberg is leaving Westport.

The much-admired, multi-talented musician has taken a position at Greenwich High School.

He told “06880”: “I am incredibly thankful to Westport for the last 11 years. Shortly before I was hired at Staples, I thought my career as a choral director was over.

“But Westport took a chance on a young teacher, and I was able to continue doing what I love. I will forever be thankful for all that Westport has given me.”

Luke Rosenberg, at the 2019 Pops Concert.


Hiro is a hero.

Hiro Wyatt — one of the stars of Staples High School’s baseball team — has been named Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Player of the Year.

The honor recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field. Wyatt is now a candidate for National Gatorade Player of the Year.

The 6-1, 190-pound senior right-handed pitcher and designated hitter posted a 7-0 record with a 0.67 ERA and 90 strikeouts (and just 10 walks) in 41.2 innings pitched. He allowed no runs in 31.1 innings leading into the state “LL” (extra large schools) state tournament.

The Wreckers — seeded 3rd in the state tournament — host #6 South Windsor in today’s quarterfinals (1 p.m.).

Perfect Game’s Number 1 state prospect in the Class of 2023 also hit .359 with 3  home runs, 15 RBI, 18 runs scored and a 1.025 OPS through 20 games.

Wyatt has volunteered with Special Olympics and helped fundraise for the St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

He has a 3.63 weighted GPA in the classroom. He has signed a mational letter of intent to play on scholarship at the University of Southern California this fall.

Previous Gatorade Athlete of the Year honorees include Chad Knight (2019) and Ben Casparius (2017) in baseball, and Kyle Martino (national winner) in soccer, in 1999. (Hat tip: Vince Kelly)

Hiro Wyatt.


Still at Staples:

Rebecca Schussheim was honored last week, as winner of the Key. It is the high school’s highest honor.

The Class of 2023 salutatorian is co-president of Staples’ Sikorsky STEM challenge team, principal cellist in the Chamber Symphonic Orchestra, and co-captain of the squash team.

She did an Independent Learning Experience in astrophysics, examining galaxy images with a Yale University graduate student. She presented her findings at the International Science Youth Forum in Singapore in January.

The 2 other finalists for the award were musician/actor/youth volunteer James Dobin-Smith, and political activist/club founder Spencer Yim.

Rebecca Schussheim


And we haven’t left Staples yet:

The jazz combo plays an hour-long set this Monday (June 5, 7 p.m., Westport Library). The event is sponsored by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

Band director Phil Giampietro will talk about the Staples jazz program, and answer questions.

The Staples High School Jazz Ensemble, with director Phil Giampietro (front right).


Speaking of the Y’s Men: If it seems like they’re everywhere, it’s because they are.

Molly Alger joined several members of the very active social group yesterday, on an in-town hike near Winslow Park. She photographed them crossing the bridge over Deadman Brook, by Evergreen Cemetery.

Very wisely for walking in Westport, they wore very visible bright colors.

From left: Jay Dirnberger, Peter Donovan, Baxter Urist, Joel Wasserman, Dick Sallick, Larry Lich. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas headed to New Haven on Thursday.

He joined a small group of Connecticut Police Chiefs who met Attorney General Merrick Garland and Connecticut US Attorney Vanessa Avery. The discussion included crime trends, fentanyl deaths, addressing juvenile offenders and resources at the federal level.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland (front row, 3rd from left), Connecticut US Attorney Vanessa Avery (front row, 4th from left) and Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas (back row, far right).


Speaking of law enforcement:

The man accused of illegally squatting at Cobb’s Mill Inn is in jail, on an unrelated charge.

Connecticut Insider reports that Anthony Villano was ordered locked up by a judge in Milford Superior court, for violating conditions of release for not fully complying with random drug tests. He also allegedly removed his GPS anklet.

Eight charges against Villano include drunken driving, trying to fraudulently sell a Post Road property, and stealing a vehicle he once owned from the Milford Police Department impound lot.

Click here for the full story.

Cobb’s Mill Inn.


Westport’s newest landmark — the Pride crosswalk at Taylor Place and Jesup Road — has drawn raves since it was installed early Thursday morning.

Here’s how it looks from a drone:

(Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Westporters can see it from ground level tomorrow (Sunday, June 4, noon to 4 p.m.). The 3rd annual Pride festival at Jesup Green includes music, speakers, kids’ activities and more. The public is invited, and welcome.


The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics made its way through Westport yesterday afternoon.

Police officers from several towns took part, before the opening of the Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games. The “Flame of Hope” was passed along at each town line in the area.

The run ended at Fairfield University, where the Summer Games opening ceremony will take place.

Special Olympics Torch Run on the Post Road, at the Sherwood Island Connector. (Photo/Dan Woog)


The Westport Book Shop’s June Artist of the Month is Sally VanDevanter Her colorful abstract and figurative acrylic and oil paintings, done with cold wax, are on display throughout June.

VanDevanter has a background in advertising, working as an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi, and in art book production management for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

She studied at the Art Students League of New York, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and the Cocoran School of Art in Washington.  She holds an MA in organizational psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and a BA in art history and psychology from the University of Virginia. 

All pieces on display are available for purchase.

Sally VanDevanter


Peonies and daisies decorate Tracy Porosoff’s driveway on Compo Parkway.

Today’s forecast is for much cooler and cloudier weather than yesterday. Her “Westport … Naturally” image brightens our weekend considerably.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)


And finally … Cynthia Weil died Thursday in Beverly Hills, She was 82.

With her writing partner and husband, Barry Mann, she wrote some of the most memorable songs of the rock and pop era. One — the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin'” — was cited by BMI as the most played song on radio and television of the 20th century,

Click here for a full obituary. Click below for a few of her songwriting classics.

(From Staples High School to downtown — and everywhere else in Westport and Weston — “06880” has you covered. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: High Honors, Restaurant News, Playhouse Tours …

As graduation nears, every night brings a different celebration.

All are special. But the High Honors dinner at Staples last night was particularly meaningful.

Nearly 2 dozen students — the top 4% of the Class of 2023 — were honored for their achievements.

Each invited one teacher. Each educator spoke for a few minutes about “their” student.

Bonds between the teachers and teenagers were strong and deep. A wide variety of disciplines was represented: English, social studies, science, math and music.

There were stories of STEM students who found loves for literature and government; of conversations about life before and after school that transcended classrooms; of challenges made and surpassed.

Each student thanked their teachers — and their parents — for getting them where they are today.

There are many reasons to be fearful about the future of our world. Last night offered 21 reasons to be very, very optimistic.

High Honors students, front row (from left): Ryan Salik, Kyle Ambrose, Krishna Reddy, Matthew Shackelford, Tom Zhang, Jaden Mello, Eva Simonte, Quinn Mulvey, Meredith Mulhern, Sharmila Green, Lucia Wang, Rebecca Schussheim, Lilly Weisz. Rear:
Witt Lindau, Colin Morgeson, Nikhil Kanthan, Jet Tober, Katherine Valante, Reilly McCaffrey, Julia Herlyn, Janna Harrison Moore.


Two bits of culinary news, both from Bill Taibe:

Kawa Ni’s rooftop now offers cocktails, wine, beer, sake bombs and snacks “up top” on Fridays and Saturdays (5 to 9 p.m.). Seating is first-come, first-served.

The rooftop is available all other nights for private events. Email

Meanwhile, Don Memo offers music every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. on, at the patio in front of the Post Road restaurant. (Westport’s original Town Hall, for those who remember.)

(Speaking of dining: Don’t forget our “Restaurants” tab at the top of the “06880” home page (and here). It’s a handy link to our sponsors — including one-click menus.)

Music at Don Memo. (Photo/JC Martin)


The taping was not until 11 a.m. And it was not a Westport story.

But an NBC camera crew was at Staples High School’s Laddie Lawrence track before 9 a.m. yesterday. They were setting up for a few shots of Craig Melvin — the anchor who lives in Westport — as part of a “Today” show piece on a father-son track coaching duo.

They’re from Pittsburgh. But who’ll notice?

NBC’s “Today” camera crew at Staples. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Briggs)


Also yesterday morning:

A Metro-North employee handed out computer and smartphone screen wipe cloths to commuters.

It was part of a “safety reminder initiative.”

On the back of the cloths is information about suicide prevention, including a phone number (800-273-TALK) and text (NEXT2U, to 741741) for people in crisis to use.

At the Westport train station yesterday. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


Have you ever wanted to go backstage at the Westport Country Playhouse?

On Saturday, June 10 (1 to 4 p.m.), you can do that for free. See where sets and costumes are made. Hang out in the green room downstairs, and peek in the dressing rooms where Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman and so many other stars once dressed.

The day includes kids’ activities, music, food trucks and beer tastings.

The box office will be open too, for special ticket discounts.

Former Playhouse company manager Bruce Miller, with some of the 500 head shots near the dressing rooms, underneath the stage.


Westport Police made 2 custodial arrests between May 24-30.

An investigation following a mail theft led to an arrest for illegal possession of personal ID, identify theft, and illegal trafficking in personal identification.

An investigation following complaint that a check with stolen, altered and deposited led to an arrest for larceny, identity theft and forgery.

Police also issued the following citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 2 citations
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Distracted driving, not cellphone: 1
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations: 1
  • Failure to comply with federal regulations for a flotation device: 1
  • Failure to comply with federal regulations for a distress signal: 1
  • Operating a boat without certification: 1
  • Operating an unregistered vessel: 1

    Boats are like cars: They must be registered! (Photo/Daniel Rosenkranz)


Yesterday’s early June weather was gorgeous. Sunset was early-June late; only 3 weeks remain until the days start getting shorter.

The sign at Hook’d said they’re open until 7:30 p.m. That’s part of their contract with the town.

But a few minutes after 7, this was the scene:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Looks like another summer of uncertainty for the beach concessionaire.

And another summer of big business at Old Mill Grocery & Deli, just down the road.


The Westport Library Adult Summer Reading Challenge returns for its 7th year. There’s a fresh set of categories, to keep readers involved from now through the end of August.

There are 25 challenges: Read a book about an antihero, or one that should be a movie, or one with a neuro=diverse protagonist … you get the idea. Click here, then scroll down for the challenges.

After reading a book, fill out this form. There’s a leaderboard, to track your progress (and see what others are reading).

There are only 2 rules: Each category may be filled only once. And each book can be used for only 1 category.

Happy reading!


Speaking of the Library:

Don’t forget tomorrow’s (Saturday, June 3, 7 p.m.) record release party. Verso Studios has produced the first vinyl record ever recorded, produced and released by a public library.

Tomorrow’s event features live performances from The Problem With Kids Today (New Haven), indie rock mainstay Ports of Spain (New Haven), Lulu Lewis duo Dylan Hundley & Pablo Martin (New York), and folk/Americana artist Kierstin Sieser.

The release party is free. A $25 ticket option includes a copy of Verso Records: Volume One (and a free drink). No record player? A digital copy will be available for $10.

Click here for more details about the record, and the release party.


The Verso Records release party is not the only entertainment in town tomorrow. In fact, it’s not the only one at that parking lot.

Grammy-winning Gen Z jazz artist Samara Joy takes the Levitt Pavilion stage for a 7:30 p.m. show. This is a ticketed event; click here for tickets, and more information.

Samara Joy


The spotlight still shines on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County will honor the longtime Westporters with a special President’s Award. It recognizes their “significant impact on arts, culture, children’s education and illness and environmental preservation” in the county.

The Daniel E. Offutt III Arts and Culture Empowerment (ACE) Awards breakfast is set for June 21, at Norwalk Shore & Country Club. Over 200 arts and culture leaders, legislators, artists and others will attend. Clea Newman will accept the honor.

Over the years, Newman and Woodward actively supported many organizations, including the Westport Library, Westport Historical Society and Westport Country Playhouse. They also dedicated themselves to land preservation in Connecticut, including  the Newman-Poses Preserve near their Coleytown home.

Paul founded, with A.E. Hotchner, the Newman’s Own Foundation. Since 1982, it has given more than $600 million to worthy causes. Paul’s interest in helping children with serious illnesses lead to the establishment of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

The breakfast will also honor Jenny Nelson of Westport. She’ll receive the Educator Award, for her work in Fairfield County.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.


The Westport Community Gardens — and “06880”‘s “Westport … Naturally” feature — proudly announce the birth of 4 killdeer chicks:

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … on this day in 1835, PT Barnum — the future mayor of Bridgeport -and his circus started their first tour of the US.

(Quit clowning around! Please click here to support “06880.” Thank you!)

Pics Of The Day #2233

The start of today’s Memorial Day parade … (Photo/Michael Chait)

… and the end. (Photo/Harris Falk)

Memorial Day Parade: The Route, The Marchers, The Full Drill

If you’ve been in town a while, you know the Memorial Day parade is one of the best community events of the year.

If you moved here recently — or for some reason have never seen the parade — don’t miss this one.

It’s a uniquely Westport, genuinely American event. First responders, marching bands and fife and drum corps are joined by just about every organization in town. (Including, of course, nearly every kid in town.)

But the focus is on the day’s honorees: our veterans.

Navy veteran Rick Benson (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

A few from World War II — the last representatives of The Greatest Generation — will ride proudly. This year’s grand marshal — 99-year-old Ben Pepper — won a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge.

They’ll be joined by soldiers, sailors, pilots and nurses from the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The applause they earn is just a small measure of our respect for them.

Floats honor the veterans too. The Y’s Men are (as always) odds-on favorites to win. But every other group creates their floats with creativity and flair too.

The Y’s Men’s float won the 2021 contest — as usual. 

The parade begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Monday), at Saugatuck Elementary School.

It travels north on Riverside Avenue; takes a right onto Post Road East, over the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, and continues to Myrtle Avenue.

It turns left on Myrtle, heads past the reviewing stand in front of Town Hall, then snakes around to Main Street before ending in Parker Harding Plaza. (It does not stop at Town Hall!)

Everyone is invited then to Veterans Green across from Town Hall, for a brief but meaningful ceremony. It begins around 10:30. There are a couple of short speeches; a 21-gun salute; the laying of a memorial wreath, and music from the Staples High School band.

Honoring our veterans, on Veterans Green. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

The parade and ceremony are Westport at its best.

The entire town should be there to salute all who served and sacrificed, making it possible for us to be there.

Then, in the afternoon, the welcome-summer parties can begin.

Here’s the line-up for tomorrow’s parade:


1. Connecticut  Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps
2. Westport Police Department
3. Westport Volunteer EMS
4. Westport-Weston CERT
5. Grand Marshal Ben Pepper, U.S. Army World War II

Police and firefighters salute. (Photo/Nico Eisenberger)


6. Dignitaries – Selectwomen, RTM members
7. Westport Community Band
8. Connecticut Veterans Honor Guard
9. August Matthias Post 63 – American Legion
10. Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 – Veterans of Foreign Wars; VFW Auxiliary 399

RTM members proudly marched last year.


11. Nash Drum Corps
12. Westport Fire Department
13. Y’s Men of Westport & Weston
14. Westport Little League
15. Remarkable Theater
16. Staples High School marching band
17. Staples High School cheerleaders
18. Staples Tuition Grants
19. Westport Library
20. Westport Soccer Association
21. Westport PAL
22. Coleytown/Bedford combined middle school bands
23. Westport Woman’s Club
24. St. Paul Christian School

Tons of kids; lots of music. This was the combined Bedford and Coleytown Middle School bands, in 2019. (Photo/Sarah Tamm)


25. Knights of Columbus – Westport
26. Suzuki Music School
27. Girl Scouts/Cub Scouts of America
28. Builders Beyond Boarders
29. Sister Cities/Lyman, Ukraine
30. Circle of Friends
31. Westport Sunrise Rotary
32. Col. John Chester Fife & Drum Corps
33. Boy Scouts of Connecticut – Westport
34. Masonic Lodge
35. United Methodist Church of Westport-Weston
36. Westport Weston Family YMCA
37. My Team Triumph
38. Westport Rotary Club
39. League of Women Voters of Westport
40. Junior Colonial Fife & Drum Corps of Westbrook

Yankee Doodle dandies. (Photo/Maria Mastriacovo)


Roundup: STEM Journal, Rainbow Crosswalk, Pop-up Art …

STEM Journal features an intriguing and diverse array of science-related articles. Topics include the space station, Alzheimer’s, impulsivity, molecular medicine, Conway’s Game of Life, neuromodulation and gene therapy, spina bifida, the philosophical and psychological impacts of music in America, the water crisis and forever chemicals.

Impressive stuff.

Even more impressive: It’s the Staples STEM Journal.

Led by editor-in-chief Will Boberski, layout editor Sam Zwick-Lavinsky and faculty advisor Amy Parent, the publication is completely researched and written by students.

The spring issue is online. Click here to see the remarkable scope and breadth of these teenagers’ work.

But the Staples STEM Journal does not stop there.

They recently hosted a series of presentations by scientific researchers throughout the state. Topics ranged from deer population management to quantum physics and genomic sequencing.

They’re always looking for interesting contacts. So, “06880” readers: If you work in STEM and want to speak with the Journal students this fall, email Will  ( or Amy at (


Speaking of Staples: Students Ryan Sunjka, Jack Schwartz, Jackson Tracey and Lucy Barney are members of the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital junior board.

Last week, they organized a fundraising competition at Row House. Teams of 3 vied to row the farthest on erg machines, in 30 minutes. The goal was $10,000.

The teens blew past that mark. They raised $15,000 for Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.

They thank all who helped. And “06880” thanks Ryan, Jack, Jackson and Lucy, for all they do to help others.

From left: Jackson Tracey, Jack Schwartz, Elijah de Brito (competitor), Ryan Sunjka, Henry Hoeffner (behind Ryan; Weston High School and board member); Blake O’Looney (Pierrepont School and board member); Lucy Barney.


Westport Police report 1 custodial arrest between May 17 and 24. A man was charged with disorderly conduct, violation of a standing criminal protective order, and threatening (2nd degree), following a domestic violence incident.

Police also gave the following citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 13 citations
  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations: 11
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 3
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 2
  • Operating a motor vehicle without minimum insurance: 2
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Improper turn: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without tint inspection: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 1
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 1
  • Improper use of markers: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic control signals: 1
  • Failure to register commercial vehicle: 1.

Each window in Connecticut that has tint applied (other than factory- tinted) must have a certification label in the lower left corner. Who knew?


Westport’s downtown is about to get a bit more colorful.

The Board of Selectwomen voted 3-0 yesterday to approve a rainbow crosswalk at Taylor Place and Jesup Road, by Green & Tonic. Avisual celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, it will be installed adjacent to Jesup Green, where Westport’s Pride celebration takes place June 4 (1 to 3 p.m.).

The design will incorporate the colors of the Pride flag. It’s planned to be in place all month. Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich will review it after the first week, to ensure the materials are holding up.

At the Board of Selectwomen meeting yesterday, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker expressed hope that the rainbow crosswalk could become permanent, as part of the refurbishment of downtown.

Westport joins a host of North American cities and towns with rainbow crosswalks, including Ames, Iowa; Athens, Georgia; Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; Bozeman, Montana; Colorado Springs; Covington, Kentuckyl Cupertino, California; Dallas; Great Barrington, Massachusetts; Juneau, Alaska; Key West, Florida; Lethbridge, Alberta; Long Beach, California; Memphis; Miami Beach; Minneapolis; Newport, Rhode Island; Ottawa; Philadelphia; Plymouth, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Provincetown, Massachusetts; Salmon Arm, British Columbia; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Vancouver; Swift Current, Saskatchewan; West Hollywood, California; Westfield, New Jersey; Windsor, Ontario and Woburn, Massachusetts.

Rainbow crosswalk in Kennebunkport, Maine.


They’re b-a-a-a-c-k!

Five lifeguard chairs have been moved from winter storage to the Compo Beach sand.

Lifeguard service begins Memorial Day (Monday, May 29), and continues through Labor Day. A guard will be at Burying Hill Beach too.

One more sign that — the still-60s temperatures notwithstanding — summer is almost here.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


The Art Collective of Westport’s pop-up shows are always fun.

At the next one — in addition to food, wine, and great conversation with the 11 artists — you can also win an original painting by Kat Evans (value: $900).

Just leave your name and email at the opening reception (June 6, 6 to 8 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse barn), or from June 7-10 (6 to 10 p.m.). There is also an artists’ talk Sunday, June 10 at 4:30.

Besides Evans, artists participating in the show are Sue Benton, Zvi Goldman, MaryEllen Hendricks, Judy Katz, Niki Ketchman, Michael Ledner, Jane Lubin, Katherine Ross, Greg Ziebell and Florence Zolan.


Update on the l-o-o-o-n-g odyssey of the Bayberry Lane bridge project.

Yesterday, Westport Department of Public Works engineer Keith Wilberg sent this email to “Bayberry Lane Bridge residents”:

“The contractor installing the guide rail has hit ledge when installing a few of the posts. We need approvals from the sttate Department of Transportation to revise the installation procedure of the few posts, as they are paying the bulk of the construction costs.

“I find this infuriating, as I have been promising you that the bridge and road will be opening up as of April. Needless to say, I am not happy with the contractor.

“In the meantime the contractor, having little work to do to complete the project, has not scheduled or sent any workers to the site, as there is little (short of the guiderail) left to do. So you are correct that there has been no activity on site for far too many days.

“The town has proposed a solution to the contractor whereby they will install concrete jersey barriers behind the guiderail in the areas where they are having problems with the posts, thus enabling us to open the road to traffic by Friday afternoon. They have agreed to this.

There will be some small amount of incidental clean up to do, but in short, this should get the road open by Friday and finalize the project.

“I appreciate your patience with all of this, and please know that no one wants this bridge open more than I do.”

Bayberry Lane bridge, last November. (Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)


Four days after the fun-filled Day of Champions, donations for Experience Camps continue to roll in.

The tally raised so far is over $244,000. That will fund summer camp for over 1,200 youngsters, who have lost a parent or sibling.

Congratulations to the QBack Kings. They led all 20 teams in fundraising, with a whopping total of $39,510!

Seen Sunday, at the Day of Champions.


Run — don’t walk — to Weston’s 29th annual Memorial Day Weekend 5K.

Sponsored by the Weston High School PTO, it’s the only USATF-certified road race course in the town.

Runners of every category are joined by joggers, walkers and baby strollers. There are trophies, a Kids’ Fun Run, obstacle course, food truck and more.

Click here to register, and for more information.


Longtime Westport resident Janice Dean died yesterday. She was 88.

She and her husband Evan Dean moved from Alton, Illinois to Rochester, New York, and then Westport while raising 8 children.

At age 46, Janice decided to pursue higher education at Sacred Heart University. She earned a bachelor of science in business administration, graduating magna cum laude in 1983.

She obtained her real estate license, and managed Scott Associates in Darien for many years. She proudly led them in the transition to computerization.

In retirement, Janice and Evan traveled extensively, frequented New York City, and played golf and bridge. Janice achieved Bronze Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League in 2016.

At 85 Janice took up chess. She displayed her competitive spirit by effortlessly defeating her children and grandchildren.

Janice Dean was predeceased by her husband of 63 years, Evan, and her daughter Jennifer Dean Burke. She is survived by her childrenMark (Jaime), Christopher (Carline), Jayne (Gaetano Albani), Eric, Mary Ann (Mark Lindwall), David and Thomas (Andrea), 19 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday (May 26, 10 a.m., Assumption Church). Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery on Greens Farms Road. Click here to leave condolences.

Janice Dean


This bicycle isn’t going anywhere, from its spot on Sylvan Road South.

But it — and its flowers — caught the eye of Anne Bernier. It’s a well-composed, colorful, and very intriguing “Westport … Naturally” shot.

(Photo/Anne Bernier)


And finally … Tina Turner died yesterday, at her home in Switzerland. She was 83, and had suffered from complications of a stroke and kidney disease.

But in her prime, she was amazing. The New York Times — not a source for hyperbole — called her “the earthshaking soul singer whose rasping vocals, sexual magnetism and explosive energy made her an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time.” (Click here for a full obituary.)

That was all on display one spring weekend, when I saw her at Brown University. She was still with Ike (she left her abusive, cocaine-addicted husband in 1976 with, the Times says,”36 cents and a Mobil gasoline card in her pocket”). I have never forgotten that night.

(It’s hard to keep up with everything in town. But “06880” tries. If you like what we do, please support us with a contribution. Click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Pops Concert, Pink Aid, Pequot Library …

One of Westport’s newest — but quick-selling-out — traditions is the Westport Public Schools’ Pops Concert.

The Levitt Pavilion event — featuring the Staples High School Symphonic Orchestra and Band, Jazz Ensemble, Choralaires and other small ensembles — returns Friday, June 9 (7 p.m.). The host is Westport’s own music and media maestro, David Pogue.

Tickets will be available at beginning at 9 a.m. on May 31. They’re first-come, first-served — and free! (A donation of $15 per ticket is suggested, to help offset the concert’s production costs.)

The Levitt lawn opens at 5:30 p.m. BYO chair — but food trucks will be there for picnickers.

2022 Pops Concert. (Photo/Allison Ginzburg)


The use of automated cameras to enforce speed limit and red light violations in Connecticut moved closer to reality yesterday.

The House voted 104-46 in favor. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Enforcement would be limited to school zones, pedestrian safety zones and other locations approved by the Office of State Traffic Administration. Speeders would have to go at least 10 miles per hour over the limit to get an automated ticket.

Fines would not surpass $50 for a first offense, $75 for a second offense. Revenues would go to municipalities, to be used for traffic-related expenses.

Click here for the full story, on Connecticut Mirror.

Red light traffic camera.


Pulitzer Prize finalist Nicholas Dawidoff is the main attraction tomorrow night at the Westport Library

He’ll join former Assistant US Attorney Althea Seaborn to talk about his book The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City (Thursday, May 25, 7 p.m.).

He will be in conversation with Norwalk Community College Professor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Althea Seaborn.

Dawidoff spent 8 years researching and writing in his hometown of New Haven. Urban decay, white flight and redlining helped contribute to the transformation of Newhallville. Dawidoff makes these symptoms of “racist neglect” vividly clear.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Nicholas Dawidoff


Breast cancer is no laughing matter.

But Pink Aid — the organization offering support and financial assistance to patients during treatment, and their families — will benefit from a night of comedy next month.

The event is June 1 (7 p.m., Chabad of Westport). Featured comedians include Cody Marino, Beau McDowell, Andrew Ginsburg and Nick Scopoletti. Tickets ($75 each) include 2 drinks, popcorn and candy. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Twenty soon-to-graduate high school rowers were honored for their hard work, persistence and commitment Monday, by the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Nine live in Westport.

Saugatuck Rowing Club seniors from Staples High School (from left): Elisabeth Chadwick, Janna Moore, Dylan Halky, Wyatt Dodge, Jesse Herman, Luke Miller, Cooper Weyers, and Vincent Penna all attend Staples. Andrew Bacro (not pictured) attends the Pierrepont School,

The seniors and other teammates competed last weekend to qualify for Young Nationals in Sarasota, Florida in June.


First Five Guys closed (for renovations?).

Now there’s a “For Lease” sign in front of Shake Shack.

Maybe Big Top or Chubby Lane’s can come back …

(Hat tip: Bruce Schneider)


Robin Tauck returned to the University of Vermont on Sunday. This time, the 1977 graduate gave the commencement address at graduation ceremonies for the Grossman School of Business.

Robin is a longtime Westporter. She is a 3rd-generation oo-owner and former president and CEO of Tauck Inc., the luxury travel company started by her grandfather in 1925, and headquartered for many years here.

She is a business graduate of UVM, Stanford University’s Executive Business Program, and the University of Cambridge Leaders Sustainability Program.

She was recently honored at the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in Hartford, for her career in “Global Impact.”

Robin Tauck


The Pequot Library is not actually in Westport.

But with so many local connections, it might as well be.

For example, Westporter Coke Anne Wilcox is president of the board of trustees. Caroline Calder serves as vice president, while Belinda Shepard and Richard “Deej” Webb are both trustees.

Westport poet laureate/Westport Writers’ Workshop instructor Jessie McEntee handles marketing and communications at Pequot.

Alex Heekin works in development. Jane Manners is the beloved children’s Librarian. Leslie Mahtani, also a librarian, works at the circulation desk.

Though the Pequot Library receives 20% of its annual funding from the town of Fairfield, it must raise the other 80% on its own.

One method: an annual Southport Garden Stroll. This year’s event — a behind-closed-gates peek at 8 stunning outdoor space — is June 2. Click here for tickets, and more information.

One more Westport tie-in: TV host/author/lifestyle expert/realtor Mar Jennings hosts the June 1 Champagne & Canapé kickoff party.

Pequot Library.


A new farm dinner — an “intimate, bourbon-inspired” event — has been added to the Wakeman Town Farm menu.

It’s July 12. But, WTF notes, it makes a great Fathers Day gift.

Chef Lamour Workman promises that each course will be paired with a specialty bourbon, created by Bridgeport’s Fifth State Distillery.

Tickets are $125 each. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Longtime Westporter Sophia Makowski, most recently of Wallingford, died peacefully on Saturday.

The 9th child of 10, and a “second mother” to several family members, Sophie is remembered for her “incredible endurance, priceless humor, sharp wit, and unending support of her loved ones.” Loved by all who met her.

Sophia’s funeral is tomorrow (Thursday, May 25, 11 a.m., Assumption Church). Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Greens Farms Road.

Click here to leave online condolences. Contributions in Sophia’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Sophia Makowski


Thanksgiving is a solid 6 months away.

So this turkey figured it was safe to strut his stuff.

Luisa Francoeur took his “Westport … Naturally” photo on Broadview Road, during her morning walk.

(Photo/Luisa Francoeur)


And finally … Linda Lewis died earlier this month, near London. She was 72.

I never heard of her. But the New York Times took note. She was “a critically acclaimed soul singer and songwriter whose pyrotechnic voice propelled four Top 10 singles as a solo artist in her native Britain and led to work as a backup vocalist on acclaimed albums by stars like David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Rod Stewart.”

The newspaper added: “Ms. Lewis drew raves for her soaring five-octave vocal range and impressed listeners with her genre-hopping instincts, drawing from folk, R&B, rock, reggae, pop and — with more than a nudge from label executives — disco.”

Click here for the full obituary. And enjoy (as I did) this sampling of her work:

(If you get a ticket to the Westport Pops Concert, thank “06880.” You can say thanks with a contribution, too — just click here. Thank you!)