Category Archives: Police

Roundup: Catch A Lift, Wynston Browne, Railroad Bridge …

For the past decade, Westport has had a special relationship with Catch A Lift Fund. The national non-profit provides gym memberships and home gym equipment to help wounded post-9/11 service members heal physically and mentally, through physical fitness.

Westporters have donated funds, welcomed veterans, and joined in workouts at venues like the police station, VFW, beach and Birchwood Country Club. The vets give plenty back in return — as inspiration, and  serving as “angels” for children, teens and adults with disabilities through myTeamTriumph.

This year, Westport organizers invite our Fairfield neighbors to join us. Our first-ever Catch a Lift Golf & Tennis Outing is set for September 12, at the Patterson Club.

Click here for the many ways to participate, through golf, tennis, the cocktail party, and as sponsors.

And — because the vets are naturally competitive, in the gym and in life — this golf and tennis event involves a bit of competition too.

Check out the video below, to see the challenges between the Westport and Fairfield police chiefs and 1st selectwomen.

Because this is “06880,” not “06430,” I’m putting my money squarely on Foti and Jen.

 

=======================================================

Speaking of special people: Wynston Browne’s story inspired many “06880” readers last month. The rising Staples High School sophomore is non-speaking autistic, but he is highly intelligent. He’s made spectacular strides recently using a communication device.

Today (Wednesday, August 10, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Wynston will “speak” (via his letter board) with interested residents at The Porch @ Christie’s.

He looks forward to sharing and learning more about everyone who stops by.

Wynston and his communication partner Elisa Feinman, at work with his spelling board.

=====================================================

Elise Zimmerman asks: “Did you (and your readers know) that the tracks at the Westport train station flip up — like a draw bridge — for big boats?

“I witnessed this engineering feat today, and was very impressed. The train was delayed only a few minutes.”

I can’t speak for any other readers, but I sure knew.

In an amazing coincidence though, just 2 hours earlier Seth Schachter had sent me a collector’s postcard. It shows the same scene, from a different angle.

And from about 100 years earlier:

(Postcard courtesy of Seth Schachter)

Elise adds: “Do any of the other bridges on the Saugatuck River open up? If not, where is the boat going?!”

Have a seat, Elise. Let me tell you about the William F. Cribari Bridge …

=======================================================

Bass master Brian Torff headlines tomorrow’s Jazz at the Post.

That’s the special Thursday night jazz series at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399. Sets begin at 7 and 8:30 p.m.; dinner from 6:30, from chef Derek Furino.

The cover is just $10. Reservations are strongly recommended; email JazzatThePost@gmail.com.

Plan ahead:

  • August 18, David Morgan Trio
  • August 25: Ben Williams Jazz All-Stars
  • September 1: Rob Henke’s Cook County Stompers.

======================================================

Everything you ever wanted to know about telescopes, but didn’t even know to ask.

That’s the subject of the next Westport Astronomical Society’s lecture (August 16, 8 p.m.). Observatory director Bob Meadows is back from the 86tn Convention of Amateur Telescope Makers in Vermont, and will dish on the latest innovations.

Click here for the Zoom link; click here to watch on YouTube.

The Westport Observatory has a very impressive telescope. (Photo/Frank Rosen)

=======================================================

Amy Simon Fine Art’s next exhibition (August 13 to September 17) is “Never-Ending Stories.” Featured artists are Clara Fialho and Ayse Wilson.

The gallery is at 123 Post Road East.

“Walking Through a Rose Garden Naked” (Clara Fialho)

======================================================

Wendy Van Wie sends along a “Westport … Naturally” challenge: Can you find the 3 goldfinches hiding in the sunflowers?

(Photo/Wendy Van Wie)

=======================================================

And finally … Lamont Dozier died Monday in Arizona. He was 81.

I love many genres of music. But Motown is at the top of my list.

And for many of us who grew up listening to it, the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland was Motown.

They crafted an astonishing 80-plus Top 40 pop or R&B hits. An amazing 15 went to #1 — including 10 by the Supremes.

Click here for a full obituary. Click here for a list of all their songs. Then click “Comments” below to share your favorites.

It’s tough. My top 5 are here:

Officials Respond To Racist Graffiti

Late last evening, Parks & Recreation Department employees discovered racist graffiti on the Compo Beach basketball courts.

They contacted their supervisor, and the Westport Police Department. Officers opened an investigation, which continues.

The graffiti was removed, nd the courts cleaned.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker says, “In my short term in office, I have repeatedly talked about ensuring that Westport is a community where everyone feels like they belong. This incident runs completely contrary to that goal and is inexcusable.

“I am grateful to the Parks & Recreation Department employees and the Police Department for the swift action they took to address the situation professionally and respectfully.”

Anyone with information about the incident should call t the Police Department: 203-341-6000.

The site of racist graffiti. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

 

Roundup: Parks & Rec, Julia Marino, Twiddle …

Westport Parks & Recreation Department seasonal employees do it all.

Lifeguards keep everyone safe at our beaches and pools, handle first aid and medical concerns, and answer countless questions (over and over again).

Guest Services staffers collect daily fees, organize parking, keep the beaches and lots clean, and answer countless questions (over and over again).

Tennis clerks greet customers, schedule reservations, collect fees, and maintain the courts and surroundings.

Dock attendants assist boaters n docking, sell gasoline and ice, and oversee the marinas at Compo and Longshore.

Those are thankless jobs. So of course, most of us never say “thanks.”

On August 8, Parks & Rec operations manager Carmen Roda and waterfront foreman Michael Giunta will.

They (and guest services supervisor Donny Christopher, and tennis supervisors Jamie Boone and Matthew Schwartz) are treating those employees — well, the ones who won’t be working, anyway — to a “thank you” picnic.

It’s a welcome gesture. These (mostly) young men and women help make our summers rock. 

Meanwhile, the next time you see a lifeguard, beach or dock attendant, or tennis employee, say “thank you” too.

Westport Parks & Rec staff help the summer run smoothly.

======================================================

Over the past few years, the dingy pedestrian tunnel underneath the Westport railroad station tracks has been transformed into a much more welcoming space.

A partnership between the Westport Police Department — they’re in charge of railroad parking — and the Westport Arts Center, with gifts from Bill Scheffler and his wife Ann Sheffer, Robin Tauck, the late Gordon Joseloff and others, turned the sometimes-scary passageway into a stunning art gallery.

Westport native and noted artist Miggs Burroughs created 16 LED-lit lightboxes. Each continued a lenticular image that combined one from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport’s past, with a current shot of the same scene. Compo Beach, Longshore, the station itself — all are represented.

This spring, a new lightbox was added, on the station wall itself. You don’t have to descend into the tunnel to see another handsome lenticular, with scenes of the cannons and downtown. This one actually says “Welcome to Westport!”

Now there’s a new one, with a modern twist. It honors Olympic snowboarding silver medalist (and Westport native) Julia Marino.

It’s another great lenticular image by Miggs. Unveiled yesterday morning, it will be displayed for the next year.

One view of MIggs Burroughs’ lenticular image …

… and the other.

At the unveiling yesterday (from left): 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Julia Marino, Deputy Chief Sam Arciola, Julia’s father John (hidden), Miggs Burroughs.

=======================================================

Twiddle fans are all a-flutter for this Friday and Saturday’s special Levitt Pavilion shows (click here for details, and tickets).

An added bonus (besides the Vermont-based jam band, plus Mihail and The Nth Power):

The White Light Foundation supports causes and organizations important to Twiddle and its fans. They receive $1 from every ticket sold, then donate it back into each community where the band plays.

For their Westport shows, White Light has selected Earthplace and Project Return.

Great choices! The science/conservation/education group, and the empowerment program for homeless young women, both do wonderful work.

No wonder this weekend’s headliners have such a devoted following. They — and their fans — truly care about others. And they walk the talk.

They don’t just sit around twiddling their thumbs.

Twiddle. ©Jay Blakesberg

=======================================================

Speaking of the Levitt Pavilion: Sunday’s Sweet Remains concert was a smash. A full house loved the sweet-sounding group, an annual Levitt Pavilion favorite.

But you didn’t have to haul a lawn chair to the grass to enjoy the show.

Dylan Germishuys has a different idea. He writes:

“I line up Sunday concerts with higher tides, then get some people on our boat to go up the Saugatuck River and listen  from the best seats ‘in’ the house.

“There was a perfect incoming tide for the Sweet Remains. We took a slow trip, found our spot, and had a picnic during the concert. The sound was great.

“At lower tides you have fewer options as to where you anchor, and have to be a little more cautious coming up this far. If the river was dredged, that might create more space.

“At higher tides , the Cribari (Bridge Street) bridge is a challenge for bigger boats. We only had a foot or two clearance on the way out.

“There’s enough room for quite a few more boats to do the same. You have to test your Bridge Street clearance at high tide before venturing up at low though, and being stuck for a tide cycle!”

Boating by the Levitt. (Photo/Dylan Germishuys)

=======================================================

Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted the (aaaaargh!) holiday music at the Bridge Square Dunkin’ Donuts.

Halloween is a lot closer than Christmas: only 97 days away.

So hurry on down to HomeGoods, which has already stocked all your costume needs.

(Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

That area of town is quickly cornering the Halloween market. Just moments after Sandy Rothenberg sent her (aaaaargh!) HomeGoods report, Jack Krayson noted that Spooky Town — across from Stop & Shop, by Bulkley Avenue North — is open for business too.

No sign of pumpkins yet though, at either store.

Slackers.

=======================================================

Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican parties have primaries on Tuesday, August 9.

Unaffiliated voters cannot vote in primary elections — unless they change their registration to either party. Unaffiliated voters have until noon on August 8 to change, and register with either party. Click here for the link, to make the change online.

In other August 9 primary news: The town needs poll workers.

Poll workers must be registered voters in Connecticut. They must take part in a training session, for which they are paid $25.

Pay for the August 9 election day: A full day is $200, with a $40 food allowance;  a half=day shift is $100, with a $20 for food allowance.

Election Day work starts at 5:45 a.m. (polls open at 6 a.m. sharp) and concludes at 8:15 p.m. (polls close at 8 p.m. sharp).

For more information, email dgreenberg@westportct.gov.

Voting machines and poll workers, at the Westport Library.

=======================================================

From time to time, “auction” signs pop up around Westport. Recently, we’ve been overridden with these:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Alert reader Matt Murray writes:

“I called this number. Just for laughs. I wanted to see where they were located. It had been disconnected. Gee, do you think you could have been a scam?”

I’m not a betting man, Matt. But I’d bet my Patek Philippe, Rolex or Lamborghini on it.

=======================================================

Dream Spa & Salon is turning 22 years old.

To celebrate, they’ve hired an ice cream truck to treat their clients (and anyone else who wanders by).

It’s August 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. (1220 Post Road East — the funky house in front of Crate & Barrel).

Happy birthday, Dream!

=====================================================

We head inside for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — a cool image of Dusty Smith’s colorful zinnias.

(Phoro/Dusty Smith)

=======================================================

And finally … if you’re intrigued by Twiddle (see story above), but have never heard of the band (or even if you have), give a listen:

(“06880” is your blog. Please click here to help support this online community.)

Roundup: Jackie O’s Piano, Backpacks, Boxing …

Frank Mastrone returned to the Levitt Pavilion last night, for another standout evening of Broadway, Frank Sinatra (and Tom Jones, Adele and Michael Bublé) tunes.

Frank Mastrone and Westport’s own Terry Eldh. (Photo/Dan Woog)

But there was another star on stage too: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ baby grand piano.

It was there, white and beautiful and sounding great, courtesy of Yury Feygin Amadeus Piano, the Levitt’s piano partner.

Jackie Kennedy’s piano, before the audience arrives.

“All my pianos are special,” he says. “But this is my personal one. It has been with me since my dad bought it for my first piano lesson.”

The piano debuted Thursday, for the Pete Muller & the Kindred Souls show. Mastrone and his friends — including Westport’s own Terry Eldh — put it to great use last night, before an appreciative (and very full) audience.

=======================================================

Children who live in the Domestic Violence Crisis Center safe houses need many things. Among them: school supplies.

Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, July 19), and running through next Tuesday, you can donate:

  • New backpacks
  • Notebooks
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters an dcrayons
  • New lunch boxes
  • Graphing calculators.

They can be left in a collection bin in the Westport Police Department headquarters lobby (50 Jesup Road).

For more information on the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force, click here.

=======================================================

Three-time light heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson was in Westport yesterday. He was part of a fundraiser at Rich Dean’s Boxinf & Fitness.

Dean is raising money Westport Police Department’s Mike Ruttenber who will be running the NYC marathon for St. Jude’s. (Hat tip: Kevin Carroll)  ‘

Chad Dawson (right) instructs.

=======================================================

Carol Longmuir Meier died peacefully on Tuesday, with her son Douglas and his wife Valerie by her side. The former Westport resident was 80 years old.

Growing up in Westport, she became active with Girl Scouts. That led her to the Mariner Scouts, where she developed a love for sailing.

Her family was also active with the United Methodist Church of Westport, where she attended youth group meetings. It was there that she met Frederick Meier Jr.

They were grade school sweethearts, and were married for 33 years. Fred died in 1994, age 52. Carol loved him until the day she died.

After graduating from Staples High School, Carol entered Yale’s Grace New Haven School of Nursing.  Growing up she became active with the girl scouts that led her to the Mariner Scouts where she developed a deep love for sailing.  Her family was also active with the United Methodist Church of Westport where she attended the Methodist Youth Group Meetings.

Fred’s career with the American Diabetes Association included several moves. Carol to hold nursing licenses in several states.

She started out in general nursing, which led to pediatrics. She became  infectious disease coordinator for Holy Redeemer Hospital outside of Philadelphia.

She moved on to the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, as head nurse and then director of nursing. In Virginia she joined a visiting nursing service. Her final nursing shifts in New Jersey began with her as a visiting nurse. At the age of 60 she went back to school to earn a degree as a certified diabetic educator.

In New Jersey she was active with the Whitehouse United Methodist Church, participating in bible study and book club.

She enjoyed hiking, bird watching, reading and trips to Nana’s beach.

She loved spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. They include Kelly Arciola, her husband Sam III and their sons Sam IV and Dominic;  Megan Meier and William Bodie, BBF and grand dog Yager; John Meier, his wife Lauren and their children Adrianna, Harper and Jack; Nana’s twins Lillian and Brieanna;  Sean O’Shea, Robert O’Shea and his son Michael. Carol is also survived by her brother Robert Longmuir and his children. The family thanks Sandy Hack, who was Carol’s caregiver and dear friend.

he family will receive friends tomorrow (Tuesday, July 19, 4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral is set for Wednesday (July 20, 11 a.m., United Methodist Church of Westport). Interment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery.

Memorial donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association. Click here to leave online condolences.

Carol Meier

===================================================

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature features a couple of bunnies.

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago. Based on what everyone knows about bunnies, I wonder how many there are now.

(Photo/Carol Cederbaum)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of yesterday’s appearance of a world champion here:

(“06880” is completely reader-supported. Please click here to help.)

Remembering Tony Giunta

Flags are flying at half-staff in Westport in honor of Tony Giunta.

The Westport native, Staples High School graduate, longtime Police Department officer and detective, civic volunteer and all-around great guy, died Saturday. He was 77. His family says:

Anthony P. Giunta, Jr., son of Anthony P. Giunta Sr. and Maria Rose Giunta, was born March 2, 1945.

Tony was a life-long resident of Westport. He graduated from Staples High School in 1964. He graduated from New England College in 1969, with a BA in English. In 1975 he earned a masters of science degree in law enforcement from the University of New Haven.

Tony lived a life dedicated to his family and to the service of others.  Tony loved God, his family and his country.

In the US Army, he reached the rank of E-5. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion.

Tony Giunta

Tony joined the Westport Police Department as a patrolman in 1971. and retired as a sergeant in 2006. He served as Policemen’s Benevolent Association president for 2 years, and community outreach program chair for 8 years.

In 1982 he joined the Kiwanis Club of Westport, and became president 2 years later. Tony started the Staples High School Kiwanis Key Club in 1985, and served as its advisor through 2021.

Tony joined Boy Scouts of America in 1989 as an adult leader in Troop 39. His many leadership roles included scoutmaster and Eagle Scout coordinator. He received numerous awards, including Silver Beaver Award from the Connecticut Yankee Council and, through Masonic Scouters, the Daniel Carter Beard Award.

Tony served on committees of the American Red Cross and the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

In 1996 he was selected as an Olympic torch relay runner in Westport, recognition of being a Westport Community Hero.

He was a member of Temple Lodge #65 in Westport, and became Worshipful Master in 2014.

As a kidney transplant recipient in 2011, Tony understood the gift of life. He became a supporter of Donate Life, which encourages organ donation. He cared deeply about the program.

Besides his wife Frances, to whom he was married for 49 years, Tony is survived by his daughter Kirsten (Devin Middleditch), her husband, Devon Middleditch, son David and his partner Elizabeth; granddaughter Maria; sister Carol (Michael) Axley of California, and many other relatives.

Calling hours are Friday, July 22 (4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral mass is set for Saturday, July 23 (10 a.m., St. Luke Church). Interment will follow at Willowbrook Cemetery.  Click here to leave condolences for the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the National Kidney Foundation, American Heart Association or Donate Life America.

Roundup: Affordable Housing; Car Thefts, Traffic, Tax …

The Planning and Zoning Commission adopted a 5-year affordable housing plan last night. The bipartisan vote was 5-0, with 2 abstentions.

Highlights include:

Creating a new affordable community designed specifically for families.

• The formation of a town-funded Affordable Housing Trust Fund to direct resources towards future development of affordable housing.

• The immediate development of location specific plans for town-owned land to meaningfully expand and/or renovate existing rental housing/structures to create affordable housing, and potentially partner with nonprofits engaged in this work.

• Allocation of the approximately $1,700,000 in the town’s Real Property Fund to acquire land for future development of affordable housing.

• The deed restriction of existing town-owned rental properties so that they are affordable and remain affordable to renters.

• The adoption of a new zoning district at Powell Place to ensure that existing deeply affordable housing (40% State Median Income or less) can be more intensively redeveloped with flexible parking requirements reflecting the availability of public lots nearby.

There is much more in the 5-year plan. Click here for a full “06880” report.

Part of the 5-year affordable housing plan envisions a “model pocket neighborhood/cottage commons” design. (Courtesy of Ross Chapin AIA)

=======================================================

You’d think by now everyone would have gotten the message.

Nope. Here’s the latest Groundhog Day news from the Westport Police Department:

On Saturday, several cars were broken into. All were unlocked. Go figure.

This often happens at night. However, these crimes occurred in late afternoon and early evening.

The WPD once again reminds Westporters to lock your cars and bring your keys or fobs inside. And never leave valuables — cash purses, wallets, electronics — in your car.

====================================================

The Police Department also offers this advice, for the June 30th fireworks:

Spectators should arrive early. Traffic delays are inevitable.

Compo Beach closes at 4 p.m. Only vehicles with fireworks passes can remain.  Parks & Recreation staff will collect passes. The beach should reopen to ticket holders by 5 p.m.

Vehicles with tickets can access the beach through South Compo Road only. Hillspoint Road south of Greens Farms Road will be open to residents who live south of that intersection.

Firework attendees should display their ticket prominently on the dashboard. It will be collected at the parking gate.

All ticket holders must be inside Compo Beach by 9 p.m.  No beach traffic will be allowed south of the Minute Man monument after that time.

Vehicles without tickets will not be allowed any further toward Compo Beach than the Minute Man.

Uber, Lyft or taxi users will be directed straight past the Minute Man, on Compo Road South. They can be dropped off at Soundview Drive. Return service will not be available until after 11 p.m., due to 1-way traffic leaving the beach.

When the fireworks end, there will be 2 lanes of 1-way traffic only on Compo Beach Road and South Compo, to the intersection of Greens Farms Road. Residents of that area returning from elsewhere should expect a delay of 1 hour or so.

=======================================================

The fun doesn’t end with the fireworks. On Saturday, July 9, Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns. There’s a new location — Jesup Green — but the same family fun.

The day begins with a 10 a.m. Fun Fair in the Westport Library parking lot. Activities include a Nerdy Derby, face painting and bubble machines.

At 1 p.m. on Jesup Green, 3,000 plastic ducks will slide down a 160-foot sluice course. Each wears a number, matching a $20 raffle ticket. The first 10 ducks down the course win money for their ticket holders. First place is $5,000. Second place wins $1,000. The next 8 finishers get $500 each.

The event is a major Sunrise Rotary fundraiser. Proceeds support charitable endeavors in this area, the state and around the world.

Click here for tickets, and to learn more about Sunrise Rotary. 

=======================================================

When Dick Lowenstein received his 2022-23 tax bill yesterday, he was surprised to see that the gross assessment had risen on his 2 vehicles. The dollar amounts were not huge, but the percentages were: 29% higher for his 2002 Lexus, 11% for his 2014 Honda CRV.

He called tax assessor Paul Friia. The immediate response: Gross assessment is based on standard information provided to the assessor. “Presumably, because of supply shortages, new car production has been delayed. Many people are instead buying used cars, which has driven up their value,” Dick reports.

I wonder what this Maserati will be assessed at next year. (Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

=======================================================

Yesterday’s rain postponed the Remarkable Theater showing of “Caddyshack.” The new date is Monday, July 11 (8:30 p.m.; gates open at 7:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

=================================================

Our “Westport … Naturally” feature is open to everyone. We run photos of anything “natural” in town: animals, birds, flowers, trees — you name it. If it lives, we want to showcase it.

We are especially interested in images from young readers. Today we welcome 15-year-old Benji Porosoff, who captured this scene:

(Photo/Benji Porosoff)

======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1969, the Stonewall riots began in New York. The uprising — sparked by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar — is considered the start of the LGBTQ rights movement.

Ten years later, Diana Ross commissioned Chic founder (and current Westporter) Nile Rodgers to create material for her new album. One song was inspired after he saw drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a New York club. It is now considered an anthem of the LGBTQ community.

(“06880” is supported solely by readers. Please click here to contribute.)

Roundup: Parker Harding Driving, Burying Hill Jetty …

Sure, the traffic pattern in Parker Harding Plaza is odd. But it’s almost entirely one-way. There are signs, and the angles and directions of parked cars offer a pretty clue as to what direction to drive.

Not to everyone, though. Diane Lowman reports a recent epidemic of wrong-way drivers.

Several times this week, she has seen cars enter from Main Street by GG & Joe’s, and drive all the way — the wrong way — toward Starbucks.

Someone else drove the wrong way on the narrow road that hugs the river.

Just when you think you’ve seen or heard everything …

It’s kind of hard to drive the wrong way here. But people try. (The police in this file photo are responding to a different issue than that.)

======================================================

The Burying Hill jetty replacement project is nearing completion.

Final work must be done when the tide is low. The parking lot will need some attention too. But the ARPA job is looking good — just in time for summer.

(Photo/Peter Swift)

======================================================

Country/folk music comes to MoCA Westport this Saturday. A Tale of Two perform their songs of revenge, murder, stealing and drinking at 7 p.m. on the outdoor stage. Former Barrage8 violinist Kyle Pudenz joins the fun.

Guests should bring their own lawn chairs. Chicken, steak, shrimp and corn skewers will be available for purchase.

The next day (Sunday, June 26, 1 p.m.). A Tale of Two leads a free workshop, on how new artists can break into the music business. Click here to register.

A Tale of Two

=======================================================

The Westport Library hosts noted artist Eric Chiang next Wednesday (June 29).

A 6:30 p.m. reception for “Musical Planet” — a selection of his paintings, will be followed at 7 p.m. by an interview on the Forum stage. Artists Collective of Westport co-founder Miggs Burroughs will lead the chat, as Eric’s artwork is projected on the large screen. Click here for more information.

“Coral Lyrics” — oil on canvas.(Eric Chiang)

======================================================

A memorial gathering for Dr. David Beck — the highly respected, longtime Westport Police Department physician — is set for this Sunday (June 26, 11 a.m., Beth Israel Chabad, 40 King Street, Norwalk). A full buffet brunch follows.

RSVP: info@bethisraelchabad.org.

Dr. David Beck

=======================================================

The word is out: Old Mill Beach is the place to be.

At least, for a “Westport … Naturally” photo …

(Photo/Rick Benson)

=====================================================

And finally … James Rado died Tuesday in New York. He was 90.

The New York Times described his legacy well: He “jolted Broadway into the Age of Aquarius as a co-creator of ‘Hair,’ the show, billed as an ‘American tribal love-rock musical’ that transfigured musical theater tradition with radical ’60s iconoclasm and rock ’n’ roll.” Click here for “Hair”‘s fascinating back story.

(“06880” relies on donations from readers like you. Click here to support your local blog.)

Unsung Hero #243

“06880” reader and RTM member Lisa Newman writes:

The other evening, the mother of a friend had a serious fall at home while caring for her grandchildren, ages 6 and 9.

My friend rushed home to find her mother sitting on the floor with multiple injuries, and the children shaken and teary.

She called 911 for an ambulance. I arrived shortly after to stay with the children, so my friend could accompany her mother to the hospital.

The ambulance was coming from Fairfield, so it took 30+ minutes to arrive. While we waited, Westport Police officer Shawn Booth responded to the call.

Westport Police Officer Shawn Booth

Officer Booth calmly and efficiently assessed the situation. He also provided interim first aid to my friend’s mother, sat with her for nearly the entire time we waited for EMS, engaged us all in light conversation (no easy feat – we were all upset), and managed to delight 2 very frightened, teary eyed children by bringing them badge stickers and showing photos of his (adorable) dog on his phone.

To top it all off, as he was leaving Officer Booth told the children he’d return the next day with plastic badges for them.

I assumed there was little chance he’d recall saying this; the evening was chaotic, and surely he’d have another busy day serving our community.

However, a few moments ago my friend texted that Officer Booth showed up at her house as promised, with plastic badges for the kids. She said that he was “amazing,” and she was “blown away by his kindness.”

I am too. We are lucky to have someone like Officer Booth in our police department.

(This is not Officer Booth’s first nomination as Unsung Hero. He was also cited in 2020. Click here to read. If you know an Unsung Hero, email 06880blog@gmail.com)

(“06880” is entirely reader-funded. To contribute, click here.)

July 4th Fireworks Return — On June 30!

It’s been waaaay too long.

After a 2-year COVID-induced absence, Westport’s Independence Day fireworks — the biggest, best party in town — are back.

They’re a bit before the big day, though: June 30. That’s a Thursday. It’s a great way to blast off the holiday weekend. (July 4th is the following Monday.)

The event is a fundraiser for the Westport Police Athletic League. It’s run by our Parks & Recreation Department, with great help from the Westport Police and Fire Departments, and Emergency Medical Services.

The 2019 fireworks — the last time Westporters enjoyed the show. (Photo/David Squires)

Long time Westport residents Melissa and Doug Bernstein will once again sponsor and underwrite the fireworks. They say, “We’re beyond thrilled to partner again with PAL  to bring this amazing celebration back to Westport. We can’t wait to see our incredible community celebrating together again at Compo Beach on June 30th!”

If you’ve been to the fireworks, you know what’s in store: thousands of people picnicking at Compo, and strolling from Soundview to South Beach; music, a marching band, and a “block party” with a great, neighborly vibe.

In a few hours, all those chairs will be filled with people. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

If you’ve never been: Be sure to get a ticket. That’s the only way to park at Compo.

Ticket sales begin tomorrow (Friday, June 3, at Police headquarters (50 Jesup Road) and the Parks & Rec office at Longshore (near the 1st tee). The cost is $40 per vehicle.

Tickets are limited, and first-come, first-served. When they sell out, shuttle passes will be available from Longshore.

Westport PAL president Craig Bergamo (2nd from left) presents fireworks ticket #1 to Doug and Melissa Bernstein. Also shown (from left): Police Chief Foti Koskinas, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Parks & Recreation director Jennifer Fava, Deputy Police Chief Sam Arciola.

Roundup: TikTok Teen Arrests, Water Main Break, Wall That Heals …

Last Saturday night, the Westport Police Department received several calls from locations around town. All concerned a group of youths in a vehicle, shooting projectiles at pedestrians. One victim was struck in the eye.

Callers provide a detailed description of the vehicle. Officers found and stopped it near Greens Farms Road and Compo Road South.

All 3 occupants were juveniles. Police found toy air guns that fired gel-like projectiles at high speed.

The teens were participating in TikTok’s viral “Orbeez Challenge.”

The 3 juveniles were charged with multiple counts of assault 3rd degree, reckless endangerment 2nd Degree, and breach of peace 2nd degree. They were released to their parents.

Victims from that evening are encouraged to report the incidents to the Westport Police Department.

Gun and pellets used in the Orbeez Challenge.

=======================================================

A photo contest for the cover of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce 2022-23 Visitors/Membership Guide is now open.

In 2015 and ’17, the Chamber received over 1,000 pictures from dozens of photographers, amateur and professional. Westport residents Mark Litvinoff and William Scalzi won, with their shots of the Levitt Pavilion and a serene dock setting respectively.

Scores of runner-up photos were used inside the 68-page booklet and map guide. Every winner received credit in the publication.

Any resident or businessperson from Westport or Weston may submit what they believe is the “quintessential” photo that represents our community. Use Dropbox, Google or an email attachment to send one or more photos to matthew@westportwestonchamber.com; use the subject line “Photo Contest.”

The deadline is June 19.  Be sure to have a full resolution of the photo for printing, but email a lower resolution for greatest efficiency.

Questions? Use the email above, or call 203-227-9234.

The 2017 guide.

======================================================

An “06880” reader reports that on Sunday, a number of homes in his Long Lots neighborhood lost water.

He called Aquarion, and was told there was a water break somewhere on Long Lots Road. That’s a first for him, in over 30 years here.

The break — apparently near Fairfield County Hunt Club — was fixed a few hours later. However, brown water persisted at least through yesterday.

What’s particularly distressing to him is that Aquarion never called him — either about the break, its cause or its resolution. There was a notice briefly on the water company’s website, he says, but it was soon gone.

====================================================

As Rev. Alison Patton heads to her sabbatical, visiting minister Rev. Dr. Jim Antal hits the ground — and Saugatuck Congregational Church — running.

The climate activist delivers a public lecture on June 9 (7:30 p.m.): “Let’s Makek our Coastal Community a Climate Leader!” The event is co-sponsored by Wakeman Town Farm and Sustainable Westport.

The lecture is followed by a community conversation about the topic.

In addition to his public talk, Rev. Antal will share a 3-sermon series, “Responding Faithfully to the Climate Crisis,” at Saugatuck Church on the first 3 Sundays in June.

Drawing from his activism and his book “Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change,” Antal will challenge attendees to see their place in the work of climate justice.

The 10 a.m. topics are:

  • June 5: “Welcoming the Fullest Truth”
  • June 12: “Attenting to the Source”
  • June 19″ Living Into a New Story.”

The public is welcome to attend those services too.

===================================================

Terrence Dunn was sworn in as Westport’s new fire marshal yesterday. He replaces Nate Gibbons, who has retired.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker calls Dunn “a genuine and humble leader who has the skills and experience necessary to ensure that the Fire Department continues to provide exceptional service to the community.”

He was hired as a Westport firefighter in 2003, and promoted to fire inspector in 2009. He graduated from the University of New Haven with a major in arson investigation and a minor in criminal justice.

Along with state certification as a fire marshal, Dunn is licensed as an assistant building official. He is first vice president of the Connecticut Fire Marshal’s Association, a member of the Fairfield/New Haven County Fire Marshal’s Association, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and District 8 Building Official’s Association.

A formal pinning ceremony on June 21 (5 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Church) will celebrate the department’s promotions and medals.

Fire marshal Terry Dunn

====================================================

“The Wall That Heals” is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Since its dedication in 1996, it has been displayed at nearly 700 communities across the country.

From tomorrow (June 2) through June 5, it will occupy a place of honor at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Norwalk.

Yesterday, the Westport Police and Fire Departments helped escort it from its staging area at Sherwood Island State Park to the park. Click here for details of the exhibit.

The staging area at Sherwood Island. (Photo and hat tip/Chris Swan)

=======================================================

Anthony LoFrisco is a Westport motorcycle rider. He’s organized a series of rides.

But they’re not just rev-up-the-engines-and-make-loud-noises jaunts. Starting last Sunday, and continuing each month through August, they deliver donated items to food pantries throughout Fairfield County.

The first was to the Gillespie Center in Westport, from Grace Community Church in New Canaan. Parishioners provided cereal, peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce, canned goods and other items.

The weather was beautiful. The riders — on 4 BMWs and 1 Harley — met at the Westport train station, headed to the church, then returned here for the drop-off.

The next deliveries will be in Stamford, Bridgeport, and then the Gillespie Center again. Anthony invites everyone to drop off non-perishable food items at 11:15 a.m. on June 26, July 31 and August 28 — and/or join the motorcycle riders.

For more information, email anthony@lofrisco.com.

Motorcycle gang at the Gillespie Center.

=======================================================

This weekend, celebrate Connecticut Trails Day (actually, 2 days). The event draws thousands of people of all backgrounds, ages, abilities and interests, across the state. 

Friends of Sherwood Island State Park will host 4 hikes:

Saturday, June 4: Butterfly Walk (10 a.m.): Explore the gardens and natural areas around the park’s Nature Center, searching for caterpillars, skippers, moths and butterflies. Bring binoculars and a camera or smartphone. You’ll learn how to report your findings on iNaturalist, so scientists everywhere can see how these insects are doing.

Saturday, June 4: Kayak Paddle (1 p.m.): See Sherwood Island from the water. Explore the park’s shoreline. Bring your own kayak, canoe or other paddle craft, and a pump/bailer. A life vest and whistle/horn are required by state boating regulations.

Sunday, June 5: Archaeology Walk (1 p.m.): See interesting terrain, and examine traces of past inhabitants, from 1000 B.C. to the 1940s. Learn about recent excavations, including Native American, early settlers, and onion farmers.

Sunday, June 5: Nature Walk (2 p.m.): Go beach to beach  along Long Island Sound. Discover habitats, inhabitants, birding locations, viewing platforms, a purple martin enclave, and other special features of this waterfront park. Other points of interest include Connecticut’s 9/11 Memorial, model aircraft airport, trail heads, wetlands, and a pine forest.

Click here for more details. For questions, and to register (recommended, but not required), email cece@historicalperspectives.org, or call 203-984-1488.

Sherwood Island State Park is a natural wonderland. (Elena Nasereddin)

==================================================

1999 Staples High School graduate Kyle Martino has been the National High School Soccer Player of the Year, MLS Rookie of the Year, a US men’s national team athlete, and a highly regarded analyst on NBC Sports.

Now he’s the founder of the Over Under Initiative. The non-profit increases access to sports in urban neighborhoods, by converting basketball courts and other blacktops to multi-sport spaces. Martino designed the innovative and elegantly simple conversion process himself.

On June 13 (5:30 p.m., Autostrada, 499 Post Road East), Martino joins Westporters Dan Donovan, Mark Kirby and friends for a fundraiser. Tickets are $250 each. To attend and for more information, email rsvp@overunderinitiative.com.

Youngsters play at Cesar Batalla School’s new multi-sport court. The soccer goal can be pulled out of the ground, then sunk back into the ground, with ease. (Photo/Dan Woog)

=======================================================

Lou Weinberg sends along this gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” image of a Lansdowne song sparrow — and adds a link to its equally beautiful song:

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

======================================================

And finally … Happy Connecticut Trails Day!