Category Archives: Police

Scarice Offers Update On Cheshire Football Game Bias Allegations

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice provides this update on allegations of antisemitism and racism at last Friday’s Staples High School football game, at Cheshire High: 

As the community is aware, there were allegations made on social media Friday evening including: antisemitic and racist comments made in the stands, the presence of a Confederate flag, and the waving of an Israeli flag. Since that time,  the voices of individual students throughout this investigation have given us a clearer picture of events and a constructive plan to move forward.

School administrators and law enforcement from both Cheshire and Westport immediately commenced investigations. From the outset the Anti-Defamation League, through Connecticut Regional Director Steve Ginsburg, offered and provided their support to both communities.

Over the past 5 days the town’s respective athletic directors, high school principals, first selectmen and police chiefs communicated directly with each other. I have spoken to the Cheshire Superintendent nearly every day since Friday.

The Cheshire Public Schools administration and police departments have shared their findings with our administration as a result of their interviews with eyewitnesses, including the 2 students who brought the Israeli flag to the game. Seven Staples cheer team students were interviewed by Staples principal Stafford Thomas, as well as a student of color who was the recipient of disgusting racial slurs via social media.

Screen shot of the Israeli flag, in the Cheshire High School student section. It was later removed.

Along with Chief Foti Koskinas, First Selectman Jim Marpe and Steve Ginsburg, I had the opportunity to meet with Westport area rabbis and Jewish communal leaders on Monday, as well as a group of Westport community Black leaders yesterday. This proved to be critically important, as Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of The Conservative Synagogue followed up by speaking directly to Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Scolnic of Temple Beth Shalom in Hamden, who knows the students who brought and waved the Israeli flag.

Finally, the time between last Friday night and today provided Westport community members the opportunity to share any eyewitness accounts, as well as their thoughts and concerns.

From the beginning, the Westport Public Schools fully committed to finishing our investigation by speaking with every student or community member personally impacted by these events. The process was thorough and comprehensive. I am confident that we have clarity on what happened Friday night, as well as a constructive plan to move forward.

An Israeli flag was waved throughout much of the game Friday night by 2 Cheshire students, particularly when Cheshire scored or Staples committed a penalty. After halftime, members of our cheer team approached the Cheshire Police to ask that the Israeli flag be taken down. Although the Cheshire Police and administration confirm they directed the students to take the flag down, there are Staples student reports of the flag waving later in the game.

After the game the social media account, “Wreckers SuperFans,” and the Staples cheer team, posted an image on Instagram of the Israeli flag waving in the Cheshire student section with a message about anti-Semitic and racist remarks and insulting chants throughout the game, as well as the waving of the Confederate flag.

Staples Superfans waved a banner in 2018.

Both school administrations confirmed that chants of “Daddy’s money” were directed at Staples students and players.  This was not done in unison with the waving of the Israeli flag. Racist or antisemitic chants were not corroborated.  There is no corroboration of the presence or sighting of a Confederate flag.

The Staples and Cheshire “SuperFans” respectfully communicated late Friday evening through social media, and the “Wreckers SuperFans” took down the post following that discussion.  The cheer team post was taken down following a communication with the Staples cheer coach.

Saturday morning, a Staples student of color who was not at the game posted a comment on a friend’s Instagram responding to the earlier post about the game.  He posted, “The audacity.” What transpired in response was a series of horrific and unspeakable racial slurs directed towards this Staples student. The source of the slurs was an untraceable “burner” account, which is a social media account used to post anonymously to avoid having posts traced. This is most disturbing, and we offered to provide support for this student.

In the investigation, the Cheshire administration shared that the 2 students who waved the Israeli flag are Jewish. and that they brought the flag to the game because it was a school spirit “Red, White & Blue Nite” in the student section. In response to doubts about this claim, in my meeting with the Westport area rabbis and Jewish communal leaders on Monday, Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of The Conservative Synagogue offered to speak directly to the Rabbi of Temple Beth David in Cheshire to offer his services in resolving this matter.

Rabbi Wiederhorn was referred to Temple Beth Shalom in Hamden, where the 2 boys worship, and spoke directly to Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Scolnic. Rabbi Scolnic shared that he has known the boys their entire lives, that he knows them very well, that they are not mean-spirited,  and that they are very proud Jews. Rabbi Scolnic is completely confident that there was no malice or antisemitism intended, and that unfortunately these accusations have mischaracterized the 2 boys.

Based on feedback from the Cheshire administration, the Cheshire police department, the Westport area rabbis and Jewish communal leaders, Rabbi Scolnic, and our partners with the ADL, I have no reason to question these conclusions.

High school sporting events can be raucous and intense. The school spirit from these events can be palpable. However, for visiting teams, these types of events can be intimidating. Traditionally in high school sports, the goal of the fan section is to vigorously cheer for the home team, while at times taunting and making the visiting team uncomfortable.

Some members of our community have questioned the intent of the waving of the Israeli flag. In fairness, our Staples athletes and fans have experienced antisemitism at athletic events in the past. Westport has a considerable Jewish community, and approximately one-third of the cheer team is Jewish.

The waving of the Israeli flag at a high school sporting event played against a town with a considerable Jewish population is peculiar. It is not necessarily right or wrong, but in my 25+ years in education, I have never witnessed the Israeli flag, or any other national flag except the U.S. flag, waved at a high school sports event.

The series of events, the history of antisemitism directed towards our students, the peculiarity of the waving of the Israeli flag at a football game, along with the intensity of the night, contributed to a considerable sense of threat on the part of Staples students. It is critically important to affirm the impact of the night on our students and to support them as we constructively move forward, and to meaningfully learn from these events.

Again, I have no reason to question the conclusions of the Cheshire administration, the Cheshire police department, the Westport area rabbis and Jewish communal leaders, Rabbi Scolnic of Temple Beth Shalom, and our partners with the ADL.

However, it is important to note again that heinous, racist, untraceable messages were indeed sent through social media to a Staples student of color in the aftermath of this game. These messages have been turned over to the police, and we will continue to offer support to this student.

In discussions with Cheshire Superintendent Dr. Jeff Solan, and with valuable feedback from the Staples cheer team parents and Connecticut Regional Director of the ADL Steve Ginsburg, Dr. Solan and I will offer an invitation to the Cheshire and Staples students involved to convene, facilitated by the ADL, so that amends can be made and appropriate closure can be provided to both groups of students. In dealing with young adults, there are opportunities for learning experiences in events such as these.

Finally, we invite all of the students involved to participate together in the “Walk Against Hate” on October 10 in Hartford.

The administration is committed to encouraging and supporting students who come forward with concerns about how they, or others, are treated.  Going forward, the district will clarify the reporting process for students with concerns at athletic events and extracurricular activities.

Again, it is critical that the community understands the level of transparency and thoroughness that we have taken to address this matter. We remain committed to fighting antisemitism and racism in any form.

Roundup: Saugatuck El, Sustainable Westport, Screenings …

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Over the past week, 15 COVID cases have been identified at Saugatuck Elementary School.

Superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says, “Although there appears to be very limited transmission within the school as new cases span multiple grades and classrooms, by definition, a sudden rise in the number of cases at this rate constitutes an outbreak.”

Officials asked the state Department of Public Health to review the cases, and the school district’s mitigating measures. Scarice said, “This discussion affirmed that community transmission (i.e. after school activities, large community social events, etc.) has likely contributed to the recent rise in cases at SES. As a result, it appears that in-school mitigating measures have been effective. “

The DPH recommended a round of surveillance testing for all students and staff at SES. Testing is set for tomorrow (Friday, October 1). 

Saugatuck Elementary School

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Once again, the Westport Police Department will do its part to help.

The color of the town seal will change from black and gold to pink.

In addition, many officers will wear pink patches, and pink ribbon pins. It’s all part of a campaign to raise awareness of the deadly disease.

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Sustainable Westport has taken a giant step forward, with the appointment of 2 new co-directors.

Gately Ross has dedicated her career to the health and conservation of wild and domestic animals, and the health of the environment. She combines a deep understanding of ecology and human impact on populations and ecosystems with clinical practice, team leadership and training experience in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine.  

She has an undergraduate degree in biology from the College of Charleston, a masters of science from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tufts University. A Westport resident since 2007, Gately lives in Greens Farms with her husband, 3 boys and rescue dog.

Johanna Martell has over 15 years experience as a legal and business advisor, with a focus on commercial real estate, corporate, tax and estate planning. She holds an undergraduate degree in political economy from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. A Westport resident since 2013, she also lives in Greens Farms with her husband and 3 sons.

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The Remarkable Theater continues its remarkable fall run. A few tickets remain for some intriguing upcoming screenings at the Imperial Avenue drive-in:

  • “Soul” (tonight, Thursday, September 30)
  • “Footloose” (tomorrow, Friday, October 1)
  • “Coco” (Saturday,  October 2)
  • “The Stepford Wives” (filmed partly in Westport! — Tuesday, October 5)
  • “Clueless” (Thursday, October 7)
  • “Togo” (Saturday, October 9).

Click here for tickets, show times and more information.

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There’s a new program on the youth basketball scene.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA is introducing a basketball program for grades K-4. The program will introduce fundamentals in a fun way. Light competition begins for the 3rd graders.

The program is run by Mike Evans. The Weston High School all-state selection played at Hamilton College, then in Belfast and as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard. He’s been a shooting instructor for NBA professionals too

High school students will help out.

Kindergartners through 2nd graders will have clinics on Saturdays, in November and December.

Third and fourth graders will have Saturday clinics, plus one weekday practice. They’ll play intrasquad games, and perhaps face an outside opponent too.

Click here for more information, and to register.

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Lewis Grossman is a Staples High School graduate, and professor of law and history at American University. He specializes in food, drug and health law. His new book — Choose Your Medicine: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in America — examines that topic from the Revolutionary War to the Trump presidency.

He’ll be at the Westport Library on October 12 (7 p.m.) to discuss his findings. The event is both in-person and livestreamed. To register for a seat or watch from home — and purchase a signed copy of the book — click here.

Lewis Grossman

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MaryLou Roels describes her photo — today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — as “the little things in life.”

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

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And finally … in honor of tomorrow’s film at the Remarkable Theater:

 

 

Arrest Made In Outpost Pizza Crash

Last summer, Outpost Pizza became a drive-through.

At 3:30 a.m. on June 27, a pickup truck crashed into the side of the building. The driver, 21-year-old Jacob Teto of Shelton, came eastbound on Canal Street, taking out a significant portion of the restaurant across from Hudson Malone.

Outpost Pizza, after the crash. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

The investigating officer said Teto showed signs of intoxication, including slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. A toxicology report showed blood alcohol content over the legal limit.

An arrest warrant was obtained. Last night, Teto turned himself in at police headquarters. He was charged with operating under the influence of drugs/alcohol, and failure to drive in the proper lane.

He posted a $1,000 bond, and will be arraigned at Stamford Superior Court on October 6.

Thank You, Foti & Sam

The bad news: Police Chief Foti Koskinas is retiring, effective Thursday. So is his right hand man, Deputy Chief Sam Arciola.

The good news: Both will be retained under contract. Koskinas will serve  through October 22, 2024. Arciola serves through December 31, 2022.

The two men — whose steady, passionate and compassionate leadership has earned praise and trust, at a time when police departments nationwide face enormous criticism — will receive full retirement benefits. Koskinas became eligible in July; Arciola has been eligible since 2016.

However, says 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, “at this sensitive time in the evolution of police accountability and responsibilities at the national and local levels,” a change in leadership could be disruptive.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas (center), Deputy Chief Sam Arciola (right) and officer Ned Batlin, at a Staples High School “Dodge-a-Cop” event. Police officers and Staples students played dodgeball, with and against each other.

He notes that while members of the WPD leadership team are “well on theier way to stepping into the chief and deputy chief roles,” they need more time to develop “the full range of skills and community relationships” to be successful.

The contract relationship, Marpe says, will benefit Westport from a continuity standpoint, and financially.

Koskinas began his Westport police career in 1996, 6 years after Arciola. They were promoted to their current positions in 2016.

Koskinas calls himself “honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with and for the town of Westport. Aside from my family, the last 27 years have been some of the most exciting and gratifying times of my life, while serving and working alongside members of this community. I am confident that we will have continued successes as we navigate through some difficult times in our country, and certainly in law enforcement.”

At the 2017 July 4th fireworks, Police Chief Foti Koskinas gave Ben Kiev a seat on his motorcycle.

He has had several offers, from the public and private sectors. However, he notes, “I never pictured or imagined myself wearing a uniform other than that of the Westport Police Department. I sincerely look forward to the opportunity to continue serving Westport for another 3 years.”

Both Koskinas and Arciola love their work. They have made the Westport Police Department stronger and more effective — and by doing so, have made Westport a better place.

Full disclosure: I have known Koskinas since he was a Long Lots Junior High School student, newly arrived from Greece and knowing no English.

I’ve known Arciola — and his extended family — even longer. The Arciola name is revered in Saugatuck.

I watched both with pride and gratitude over the past year. The two men — and others on the force — worked with Black Lives Matter leaders to make sure that last summer’s protests were safe and respectful. At the same time, they did not shy away from acknowledging that police departments everywhere have work to do.

Similarly, Koskinas and Arciola ensured that other rallies — for Asian Americans, the LGBTQ community and, most recently, housing fairness — were peaceful yet powerful.

Chief Foti Koskinas with Black Lives Matter protesters, last June. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Much of their work takes place in the public eye. Much also takes place far from it. Here’s one story that demonstrates how Foti Koskinas and Sam Arciola operate.

A few months ago, a memorial bench went missing from Compo Beach. Relatives of the man the bench honored were distraught.

Two days later, Koskinas called to tell me it had been recovered, I asked who the officers were, so I could thank them publicly. He said — reluctantly — that he and Arciola were involved.

However, he asked that I keep their names out of it. He wanted the entire force to be recognized.

Sure, the chief asked not to be mentioned. But that’s the kind of men Foti Koskinas and Sam Arciola are: caring, hard-working, genuinely dedicated to their community.

Besides, what’s he going to do? Arrest me?

Scarice Updates Community On Alleged Bias Incidents

Last night, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice provided an update on Friday’s allegations of antisemitic and racist behavior in Cheshire, at the Staples High School football game. He wrote:

As the community is aware, there were allegations made on social media Friday evening, including: antisemitic and racist comments made in the stands, the presence of a Confederate flag, and the waving of an Israeli flag. School administrators and law enforcement from both Cheshire and Westport immediately commenced investigations.

Because of the rise in reports of antisemitic and racist incidents, we also immediately sought input from the Anti-Defamation League office in Connecticut. ADL works with schools and law enforcement to help ensure incidents are addressed appropriately.

The Cheshire Public Schools administration and the Cheshire Police Department have been  most collaborative and in constant communication with our administration and police department, sharing information and supporting each other’s investigation.  We are most grateful for this cooperation.

Today, we were informed by Cheshire Superintendent Jeff Solan and Chief of Police Neil Dryfe that their investigation has determined that the Israeli flag was not intended to intimidate Jewish people or motivated by antisemitism. Police reports indicate that the students who brought and waved the flag are Jewish, and have shared that they brought the flag to the game because it was a school spirit “Red, White & Blue Nite” in the student section.

Screen shot of the Israeli flag, in the Cheshire High School student section. It was later removed. (Photo/Jenny Bradshaw for Inklings)

At this point in the ongoing investigation — which includes the review of photos, video, and interviews with numerous students, staff, and police officers – there is no corroborating evidence to substantiate the presence of a Confederate flag.

Additionally, we were informed by the Cheshire Superintendent and Police Chief  that when Staples High School cheerleaders observed students in the stands waving an Israeli flag, and made a complaint to a Cheshire police officer, the officer informed the Cheshire High School administration and an administrator directed the students holding the Israeli flag to put it away. Fortunately the use of police body cams have confirmed this finding.

That said, the Westport Public Schools is fully committed to finishing our investigation by speaking with every student or community member personally impacted by these events. We will listen to each first person eyewitness account of these events and will reserve actions before concluding our investigation. Receiving this information from our Cheshire colleagues is helpful, yet we must fulfill our obligations to listen to each and every account. The administration will continue these efforts and provide ongoing updates to the community.

It is critical that the community understands the level of transparency and thoroughness that we have taken.

The Westport Public Schools and ADL, along with the Cheshire Public Schools, remain committed to fighting antisemitism and racism in any form and remain united in that effort. School administrators will be available to discuss this situation with any students who wish to do so. We are continuing to gather facts from eyewitnesses, so please allow us the time needed to fully assess what occurred and determine the appropriate response. Please contact us if you have relevant information.

Police And Schools: Traffic Enforcement, Safety Are Key Goals

After this morning’s report that a Westport police officer will be assigned to patrol our 5 elementary and 2 middle schools (one is already assigned to Staples High), a reader wondered about the officer’s role.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas explains that that main objective is “better safety,” particularly “significant traffic enforcement around school zones.” That includes roadways near schools, parking lots and buses.

The officer will check each school daily. He or she will also work with the WPD’s Public Safety division, to study and make suggestions for better signage near school zones.

The officer’s primary duty is not to enter the schools. “That’s a very limited role,” Koskinas notes.

However, the officer will have specialized training, similar to Staples’ School Resource Officer. He or she will be able to see any issues involving students through the entire process, from beginning to end.

During COVID last year, a student decorated a rock for the Westport Police Department. (Photo/Amy Berkin)

Board Of Ed: Police Patrols, New Roofs

A police officer will monitor the Westport schools. And he or she will do so in buildings with new roofs, and more staff.

Those were some of the decisions made at last night’s Board of Education meeting.

Brian Fullenbaum reports that the Westport Police Department plans to assign an officer to patrol outside the 7 elementary and middle schools. The officer could go inside as needed, offering a chance for students to see the police in a good positive light.

The board will vote on more specific policy regarding this topic in the near future.

The Staples High School roof replacement project will begin immediately after graduation. The total project budget is $5,577,512.

Funding of $1,519,000 was approved for the Saugatuck Elementary School roof project. It will be completed next summer.

The Board of Finance is in the process of approving soft costs, and securing funding.

Board of Ed members also saw a 5-year proposed capital forecast. Including multiple projects and other expenses, the total for the fiscal year 2021-22 was $7,243,707.

Since the spring, the Westport Public Schools have hired 4 new administrators, 39 teachers and 35 non-certified staff members. That’s up 13 teachers and 17 non-certified staff, compared to last year. Interviews were once again done live.

A heath report showed that there were 10 COVID cases last week in the Westport schools. That brings the total since the start of the school year to 34. However, there has been little to no transmission within the schools, said supervisor of health services Suzanne Levasseur.

A new roof is coming soon for Kings HIghway Elementary School,

 

Roundup: Railroad Bridge, Rims & Tires …

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The first time you see the William F. Cribari Bridge swing into action — it opens laterally, and is the last of its kind in the state — it’s fun.

The second through 99th times, it’s less fun. That’s because you’re stuck in traffic, on either side of the Saugatuck River.

It’s far less common to see the railroad bridge — a few yards downriver — open up.

And unless you’re sitting on a train, it’s a view to enjoy. Here’s a shot from yesterday, courtesy of Judith Katz.

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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Remember the “06880” photo in July of a car at the Westport train station, with all 4 tires and rims removed? Or a similar one 2 days earlier, at the Wilton Road parking garage?

Thee was a similar theft nearby.

Both occurred in broad daylight. But thanks to collaborative work with area law enforcement agencies experiencing similar crimes, on Thursday Westport Police arrested Shawn Oliphant, 39, of Greenwich.

He was charged with larceny in the 3rd and 4th degrees, and held on a $50,000 bond.

Westport train station theft. (Photo/Frank Rosen)

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We can’t always see nature’s wondrous, beautiful ways. Thankfully, we have Michelle Harmon — and today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Michelle Harmon)

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And finally … Jimi Hendrix died on this date in 1970. The groundbreaking guitarist was 27 years old — the same age as Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse when they died.

Roundup: Auto Thefts, Christian Siriano, Kids Are Talking …

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A rash of auto thefts has rattled Westport.

Yesterday, the Police Department said it’s joining law enforcement agencies from Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Monroe and Newtown in a regional motor vehicle theft task force.  They’ll develop a comprehensive effort to deter auto theft and arrest those responsible.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says that by “sharing resources and information with other communities that are also experiencing a large number of motor vehicle thefts, our ability to solve these crimes increases exponentially. While the theft of cars may seem like a youthful indiscretion to some, it is important to keep in mind that these stolen vehicles are often used in the commission of very serious crimes such as robberies and shootings.”

In almost every case, stolen vehicles are unlocked with the keys or key fob inside.  So even with the task force and extra officers on patrol, Westport Police urge (again and again): Keep your f—ing cars locked! (Expletive is mine.)

Please steal my car!

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Since moving to Westport, Christian Siriano has kept a relatively low profile.

But last night, the world got a glimpse of his digs.

MTV Cribs featured the world renowned fashion designer. A few days earlier, People magazine previewed the show.

They noted that his bedroom is “definitely bigger” than his New York apartment.

“The spacious room, which is decorated in neutral tones, features a large set of wide glass doors opening to a deck that overlooks the Project Runway alum’s sprawling yard,” People wrote.

Siriano said: “What I love about it is that you wake up every single morning to crazy, natural sunlight every day. We have no curtains, which is kind of wild. You have to be very comfortable being naked. Luckily there’s no neighbors around.”

(Click here for the full People story. Hat tip: Tracy Porosoff)

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What do Senator Elizabeth Warren, Fannie Mae chair Sheila Bair and Westonite Amy Weisman have in common?

All were just named to Forbes’ “50 Over 50” in finance list. They’re “shaping the future of finance, fueling high-growth businesses and forging a more innovative and inclusive financial future.”

In 2017, Weisman — then 53 years old, and managing director of business development for Sterling Investment Partners — co-founded Exponent Women, a membership network for senior women in private equity. After 30 years working in finance (while caring for her children and parents), she wanted to do more to support female dealmakers.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal named Weisman one of “10 Women to Watch in Private Equity.” She began her career as an analyst at Smith Barney.

Click here for the full Forbes list.

Amy Weisman

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Westport psychologist Dr. Don Cohen’s upcoming livestream focuses on an important topic. Titled “Kids Are Talking: Antisemitism — What Jewish Teens Want You to Know,” it’s set for September 23 (7 p.m.), in partnership with the ADL.

The new livestream format on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube has previously covered topics including body image, modern gender and sexuality; drug
use and abuse; romantic and sexual relationships; social misinformation, and mental health challenges.

Videos are found at http://kidsaretalking.live, youtube.com/kidsaretalking, facebook.com/kidsaretalking, and twitch.tv/kidsaretalking.

A retro poster.

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Attention “left-leaning, like-minded political activists”: ReSisters & Misters) is meeting Sunday (September 19, 1 p.m.) for painting, postcarding, Afghan refugee action, socializing and more. Contact msheinus@yahoo.com for information.

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Speaking of politics: A rally for women’s reproductive rights is set for October 2 (1 p.m., Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge). Click here for more information.

A rally earlier this month on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge featured signs like these.

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Heartlent — the local social strategy and creative content agency — just celebrated its 1st anniversary.

Among the highlights, they:

  • Created unique concept and content for Clemson Football’s social feeds celebrating their first ever #1 Overall NFL Draft Pick, Trevor Lawrence
  • Won 11 awards with their Rock the Vote “Hoopers Vote” campaign
  • Worked with Denver Nuggets sponsor Western Union to create unique content celebrating star center Nikola Jokic’s MVP honors
  • Created the opening day #MLSisBack graphic
  • Supported Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign with creative, digital and social assets
  • Designed the shirt worn by New York Knick Immanuel Quickley at Madison Square Garden
  • Launched “Remotely Renee”, where Atlanta Dreams co-owner Renee Montgomery announced her retirement from the WNBA
  • Partnered with Opendorse to provide social strategy and content for student athletes and universities in advance of NIL (name, image, likeness).

That’s quite a list for one year. Congratulations to managing partner (and Westporter) Elliot Gerard, and all!

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“06880” has featured Gloria — the late Alan Sterling’s weather-beaten oyster boat — often. But today marks its first appearance as a “Westport … Naturally” feature. It sits in Gray’s Creek, deteriorating but surrounded by plenty of life.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … today is my sister Laurie’s birthday. She shares a name with the title of one of the creepiest songs ever recorded.

The dead-teen genre was (ahem) alive and well in the 1950s and ’60s. Who can forget “Teen Angel,” “Tell Laura I Love Her,” “Last Kiss” or “Leader of the Pack”?

But for sheer, sad weirdness, nothing beats Dickey Lee’s tear-jerker.

Roundup: Officer Honors, American Relay, Rach’s Hope …

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Congratulations to Mark Heinmiller: Westport Police Department’s Officer of the Year.

The detective received the honor last night, in a family ceremony at the Remarkable Theater.

A WPD press release called him “an incredibly accomplished and effective investigator who successfully closed a number of complicated cases over the last year. Heinmiller’s knowledge and dedication to his investigations has undoubtedly improved the safety and quality of life for all of Westport’s residents and visitors.”

Other awards included unit citations, certificates of recognition, meritorious service awards, investigator ribbons and life-saving awards.

Marc Heinmiller and K-9 dog Lola at work.

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Bacharach Community — Homes with Hope‘s supportive housing program for formerly homeless families — needs new roofs for its 3 homes.

They hope Westport has it covered.

“We’ve Got You Covered” — the clever name for the project — is reaching out to local businesses. They can redirect their 2021 state tax dollars for a 100% one-to-one tax credit, through the Neighborhood Assistance Act program.

“We’ve Got You Covered” is less than $25,000 away from its goal. To help sponsor the Bacharach Community roof project (minimum contribution: $250), click here.

The program deadline is October 1. However, payment is not due until December 31. For more information, email Janet Zamparo: jzamparo@hwhct.org

Homes in the Bacharach Community.

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When Nancy Wilson saw an “06880” post announcing the Great American Relay — a relay race fundraiser for first responders and military personnel, beginning September 11 in Boston and ending 38 days later in Santa Monica, California — she set out to find a team.

On Wednesday, her crew — Nancy, Jason Lucas, Kelly Konstanty, Lisa Goldstein, Karla Cohen, Lauren Leppla, Kenji Ogawa and Ken Gallagher — arrived in town. They handed their baton to Barbara Campbell, Elizabeth Hofmann and Jeffrey Wollman, who ran to Darien.

To learn more about the Great American Relay, click here.

Westport Fire Department personnel with runners (from left): Barb Campbell, Jeff Wollman, Ken Gallagher, Jason Lucas, Lauren Leppla, Nancy Wilson, Kelly Konstanty, Lisa Slow Goldstein, Karla Cohen Fisher.

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As Gold’s prepares for Yom Kippur, the longtime, always popular delicatessen wants its customers to know what’s going on.

Here are a few signs:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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One coming-of-age film, and another about what happens years later, highlight this weekend’s Remarkable Theater offerings.

The drive-in on Imperial Avenue screens “The Big Chill” — the still very relevant 1983 classic — on Friday, September 17 (7:30 p.m.).

The next night’s feature (Saturday, September 18, 6:45 p.m.) is “Luca,” a 2021 release about 2 boys experiencing an unforgettable summer.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Three years ago, Rachel Doran — a rising senior at Cornell University, National Merit Commended Scholar, talented Players costume designer, and founder of “Rachel’s Rags,” a company that makes intricate cotton and fleece pajama tops and bottoms — died following a rare reaction to common medications.

Her family now has a mission: to support families with critically ill children. To help, they’ve organized an outdoor, family-friendly event for October 2 (4 p.m., Compo Beach).

Rachel’s grandfather “Pa” pledged to walk 1,000 miles in his 80th year to honor Rachel, and raise money for Rach’s Hope. He’s almost there. He plans to finish at the upcoming event — nicknamed “Walk the Extra Mile with Pa and Team Rach’s Hope.”

At the end of the mile walk, everyone will gather to celebrate Pa’s feat with a pizza truck, live music by Ellis Island, and beverages.

PJs are optional, but encouraged!

Click here for more information, and to register or donate.

Rachel Doran’s grandfather gets ready to walk. You can too!

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The Westport Tree Board in partnership with Earthplace present Call of the FOREST.

The science and enchantment of the global forest provides us with answers to modern dilemmas.

‘Call Of The Forest – The Forgotten Wisdom Of Trees’ is a documentary featuring scientist and acclaimed author Diana Beresford-Kroeger. The film follows Diana as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Her global journey explores the science, folklore, and restoration challenges of this essential eco-system.

Beresford-Kroeger explores the most beautiful forests in the Northern Hemisphere from the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan to the great boreal forest of Canada. She shares the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet.

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You could call it a “rain forest.”

“Call of the Forest” — a movie co-sponsored by the Westport Tree Board and Earthplace — was rained out in July.

The new date is September 22 (6:30 p.m., Earthplace outdoor amphitheater; indoor if rain).

The coumentary features scientist/author Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Her global journey explores the science, folklore and restoration challenges of this essential ecosystem.

Click here for more information.

In other Tree Board news, they’re joining with the Westport Library for a children’s “Oaktober oaktivity on Jesup Green (October 23, 11 a.m.)

Oak seedlings — courtesy of Bartlett Tree — will be available at both events (while supplies last).

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Today’s very serene “Westport … Naturally” scene comes courtesy of Lauri Weiser:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … Lauri Weiser’s image above leads (naturallyto: