Category Archives: religion

06880 (Dan) And 06883 (Jose) Wish You…

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And one more present to unwrap this morning.

In 2021, those of us lucky enough to be at Darlene Love’s benefit concert for the Levitt Pavilion enjoyed a stunning show.

Just days before her 80th birthday, the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famer gave a concert for the ages.

She’s been doing it all her life. Including this still-talked about appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” 7 years ago.

So crank up the speakers. Hit it, Darlene! (Hat tip: Les Dinkin)

 

Roundup: Lyman Donations, Amazon Fresh, Saugatuck Church …

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the White House and speech before Congress yesterday reminded Americans that Ukraine’s war against Russian occupation continues, even as media attention has waned.

Westporters don’t need that reminder.

Since we announced our “Building Bridges” campaign with our new sister city of Lyman on Monday, residents (and their families and friends) have raised $105,909. That’s an outstanding outpouring of generosity!

We need less than $145,000 more to reach our goal of $250,000. That will provide 150 homes ruined during the Russian occupation with new roofs, windows and more — plus a generator for every one. And a water filtration system for the entire devastated town.

We hope to reach that goal by Christmas (Sunday). Thanks to our partnership with Ukraine Aid International — a non-profit founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — all material can be delivered 3 days later.

Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

Support for the effort comes from Rabbi Michael  Friedman of Temple Israel. He says:

“We are all inundated with requests for charitable contributions at this season of the year. Yet a personal call to help specific people in a specific city — even if it is very far away — gives our heartstrings a special tug. What a fabulous way to directly aid fellow human beings in dire need.”

Rabbi Michael Friedman, Temple Israel

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At least once a week, someone asks “06880”: What’s up with the Amazon Fresh store that was supposed to replace Barnes & Noble? Nothing has happened there for months.

We’re not the only town left in — literally — the dark.

An answer comes from The Real Deal. The New York real estate website says that since September, Amazon has not opened a new Fresh store. At least 7 locations appear to be completely built out, but unopened. Another 26 locations are like ours, with development halted.

There are “zombie stores” in several states.

The Real Deal explains:

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It’s cheaper for the company to keep the stores in place while not operating, rather than ditch the stores altogether. While the company is on the hook for rent, maintenance and taxes, shutting down a store could also force Amazon to pay a fee for a lease withdrawal or severance to hired employees.

Click here for the full story. In the meantime, if you want to give Amazon money for groceries, go to Whole Foods. They have not yet closed that part of their operations yet. (Hat tip: John McCarthy)

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Yesterday’s innovative “Holiday Card” — actually, a series of large images projected on the front of Saugatuck Congregational Church, thanks to the AV team of Craig Patton and Mark Mathias — was even more stunning that anyone expected.

(Photo/Richard Hyman)

The show will be repeated tonight and tomorrow (weather permitting), from 5 to 8 p.m. The best viewing spot is probably the Colonial Green parking lot, across the street.

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Jarret Liotta has many memories from his time in Los Angeles. Once, he attended a Passover Seder with Mel Brooks. The 1983 Staples High graduate quipped, “I didn’t know you were Jewish!”

Now — as Hanukkah collides with Christmas — Liotta is “proud to re-present a shot, low-quality video” he made back in those days.

He thinks Mel Brooks would have appreciated it.

Liotta’s latest film, “Small Town Movie,” is “a light comedy that explores racism, gun violence and the cancel culture.”

He calls this Christmas vs. Hanukkah piece “probably more controversial.”

You be the judge.

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The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the December 14-21 period.

Five people were detained in custody. The charges for each:

  • Conspiracy to commit larceny, interfering with a police officer, assault on public safety personnel.
  • Reckless driving, disobeying the signal of an officer, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance.
  • Burglary, threatening, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief.
  • Possession of burglar tools, conspiracy to commit larceny, criminal attempt to commit larceny, disobeying the signal of an officer, misuse of plates, reckless driving, failure to signal properly.
  • Manufacture or possession of burglar tools, conspiracy to commit larceny, attempt to commit larceny.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 12
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 5
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 5
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation: 4
  • Stop sign violation: 3
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 3
  • Insurance coverage fails minimum requirements: 2
  • Disorderly conduct: 1
  • Traveling too fast for conditions:1
  • Cell phone, 1st offense: 1
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian: 1
  • Tinting windows: 1
  • Failure to keep plates readable: 1
  • Misuse of plates: 1
  • Failure to display lights: 1

One citation was issued last week for overly tinted windows.

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Speaking of the police:

The license plate on this car may signal “Never Guilty.”

But that looks an awful like a ticket on the windshield.

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At first glance, this looks like a “holiday lights” photo:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A closer look, though, shows it’s traffic clogging Charles Street yesterday afternoon, coming off I-95.

Eventually of course, everyone got through. It’s just late on a holiday afternoon — and, probably, a bit of Waze action too.

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The photo above provides a great segue to this item: Wheels2U is growing every day. Last month, the door-to-door ride service provided rides for over 2,300 people directly from their homes and offices, to and from the train station.

The service will take 2 brief holidays — December 26 and January 2 — before resuming full steam ahead.

For more information about Wheels2U, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.

Santa ditches his sleigh for Wheels2U.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image was spotted yesterday at Sherwood Island State Park, by John Kantor:

(Photo/John Kantor)

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And finally … on this day in 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven conducted and performed in Vienna, with the premiere of his 5th and 6th Symphonies, 4th Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy.

It must have been quite a show.

 

 

Roundup: Lyman Logo, Saugatuck Church Card, Joan Walsh Anglund …

Westport’s drive to raise $250,000 for our new sister city in Lyman, Ukraine now has a logo.

Miggs Burroughs — the native Westporter/graphic artist/creator of lenticular exhibits at the downtown and train station pedestrian tunnels/designer of the Westport town flag/Westport Artists’ Collective co-founder — has once again donated his talents for a great cause.

His design — in Ukraine’s famous blue and yellow colors — shows Lyman nestled under the bridge being built by both Westport and Marigny-le-Louzon, the French town we adopted after World War II, and helped rebuild. They’re joining us now, to aid another devastated place.

Our goal is to raise $250,000 —  by Christmas. That would provide materials to build 150 homes, with a generator for every one, plus a water filtration system for the Donetsk region town. Thanks to our partner on the ground, it can all be delivered within 3 days.

As of last night — 2 days after announcing our drive — we had over $85,000. Just $165,000 left to raise!

To help, click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.) You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

Ukraine Aid International is a non-profit organization. It was co-founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer. Click here for more information on our sister city, Lyman.

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Tonight, Saugatuck Congregational Church unveils a big gift for the community.

That’s not an exaggeration. It’s a giant video Christmas card.

From 5 to 8 p.m. today (Wednesday), Craig Patton and Mark Mathias — creators of the “card,” and leaders of the church’s audio-visual team — will be on the Great Lawn on the Post Road near Myrtle Avenue, projecting a video greeting on the front of the building. It will be augmented by an audio broadcast on 89.3 FM.

Look for the enormous holiday card on the front of the Saugatuck Church as you drive by. Better yet, stop and share some holiday cheer with Craig and Mark.

If the weather allows, the greeting card will be presented again tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday, also from 5 to 8 p.m.

Happy holidays!

Sneak peek at the Saugatuck Church holiday card.

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Back in the day, Joan Walsh Anglund was a world-popular illustrator.

And a Westport resident.

In the 1960s and ’70s, nearly every child had at least one of her books, prints or dolls. Her characters all bore big heads and eyes, with no mouth.

The other day, Elizabeth DeVoll sent a few images from Anglund’s Christmas books.

For generations of Westporters, they — and their author — evoke fond memories. For younger parents and kids: Seek them out. They’re timeless.

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Last week, students in Alyssa Carroll’s 2nd grade Coleytown Elementary School class made over 50 bagged lunches for Homes with Hope.

They proudly learned what it means to give back to their community. What a great idea for other classes throughout Westport to follow!

Coleytown Elementary School students, with lunches they made for Homes with Hope.

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Terry, Eamon and Seamus Brannigan are part of a band that plays often at Littlel Barn. Their next gig is Friday (December 23), at 8:30 p.m.

They’re great. They play plenty of classic (and other) rock.

They’ve got a typical band name: Hibachi Dinner.

But they go by another name too — one that’s spectacularly clever, given that the 3 brothers are now, or once were, on the Staples wrestling team.

Just call them The Sing-lets.

Hibachi Dinner (aka The Sing-lets) from left: Seamus Brannigan, Maddy Cerito, Terry Brannigan, Eamon Brannigan, Dylan Curran. (Photo/Terry Brannigan)

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On Sunday, Westport Troop 100 held an Eagle Court of Honor at VFW Post 399. They presented Eagle Scout awards, and celebrated the outstanding achievement of 4 Scouts:

  • 2021 Staples High School graduate PJ Shaum, who coordinated a musical instruments drive for Bridgeport Schools’ Music program.
  • Purdue Polytechnic University freshman Maxim Zotkin Williams, who created an outdoor picnic area for St. Mary’s Holy Assumption Church in Stamford.
  • Staples High School senior and fencing team captain Gleb Syomichev, who helped clean and repaint the parking lot at VFW Post 399.
  • Staples High senior and fencing team member Jack Martens, who helped to clean up and paint the kitchen at VFW Post 399.

Troop 100 has a 54-year history in Westport — and, now, 90 Eagle Scouts. Congratulations to all!

Troop 100 Eagle Scouts, clockwise from top left: PJ Shaum, Maxim Zotkin Williams, Jack Martens, Gleb Syomichev,

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Staples High School Class of 2013 graduate Shira Helena Gitlin is directing a new production of “Indecent,” by Massachusetts’ Concord Players.

Shira was involved with another Players group — the Staples ones — on the tech side, in high school. They also sang with the Orphenians. Shira is now building a career as a theater maker, in the Boston area.

Click here for a video about “Indecent.” They talk about its relevance today, beginning at 5:01.

Shira Helena Gitlin

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From sneakers to New Year’s resolutions to a backstage look at the Candlelight Concert, Staples’ December “On the Wreckord” TV broadcast has it all.

Click below to watch the well-produced, clever and wide-ranging high school show:

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There’s plenty of natural beauty — and some nice man-made stuff too — in today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

It’s a view from the footbridge over Deadman Brook, on the north side of Winslow Park.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

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And finally … winter arrives today at 4:48 p.m.

Only 89 days until spring!

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Roundup: Ukraine Aid, NYU Scam, All-State Football …

The first day of Westport’s drive to raise $250,000 for our new sister city of Lyman, Ukraine went well.

As of last night, over $73,000 had been donated. That’s nearly 1/3 of the way to repair 150 homes destroyed by Russian forces, give generators to all, and provide a water filtration system to the town.

Thanks to a partnership with Brian and Marshall Mayer — the Westporters who founded the non-profit Ukraine Aid International — the supplies can be delivered to the desperate town within 3 days.

As noted yesterday, the goal of $250,000 — by Christmas — is certainly reachable. It’s only $10 for every resident of Westport.

Of course, not everyone can afford that. If you can, please consider a donation for those who cannot.

To donate to the non-profit, just click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.) You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

“06880” reader Jamie Klein has a great idea. She sent yesterday’s story to neighbors and friends, with this note:

This is one example of what is special about living in this town. What a great gift for someone in your family, or as a thoughtful hostess gift for one of the parties you may be attending.

As we enter the holiday season the message of miracles and hope are a theme across all faiths, and from our small place on this earth, we can make a miracle happen.

Thanks for all who have contributed to help rebuild Lyman, and all who will do so. Let’s double that $73,000 by tonight!

Christmas in Lyman. 150  out of 240 homes have been destroyed — including this one.

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Meanwhile, another local drive for Ukrainian aid bore fantastic fruit.

When Mark Yurkiw learned there was space in a container leaving in 10 days, he acted fast.

He put out the word on “06880.” In just over a week, readers delivered 8 whole house generators, 8 gas chain saws, 8 phone power banks, 20 sleeping bags, 20 flashlights, 2 kerosene heaters, plus boxes of rechargeable batteries, winter blankets, pillows, and children’s warm winter clothing, to his door.

All those items are now on their way to that embattled nation. Each one can help change lives.

“Thank you, Westport!” Mark says. “It takes a village.”

Ukrainians Ross Voytovych (now of Ridgefield) and Dima Dovgan (Redding) move equipment to be loaded on to a tractor trailer.

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Westport’s downtown Hanukkah menorah is back.

It will be lit tomorrow (Wednesday, December 21) at 5:30 p.m., in front of Anthropologie on the Post Road at Church Lane. The entire community is invited, with jelly doughnuts and chocolate gelt for all.

Bill Mitchell of Mitchells — long involved in interfaith efforts — will have the honor of lighting the candles.

This menorah and lighting is a joint effort of Beit Chaverim, Chabad of Westport, Temple Israel, and The Conservative Synagogue.

The downtown menorah, in 2020. (Photo/Arlene Yolles)

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Who knew so many Westporters read the New York Post?

A dozen or so readers sent links yesterday to the tabloid’s story that began:

A former New York University director of finance allegedly siphoned $3.5 million meant for minority and women-owned businesses and blew some of the cash on herself — including on an $80,000 pool for her Connecticut home, prosecutors said Monday.

Cindy Tappe, 57, was charged with diverting funds from New York State Education Department grants into shell companies that she created over a six-year scheme that was discovered in 2018, when she left NYU, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Some of the embezzled money went to expenses related to the grants or employee reimbursements — but at least $660,000 ended up in Tappe’s own pockets, according to the indictment.

She allegedly spent the dough on personal expenses, including the pool and renovations on her her home in Westport, Connecticut.

The scam started with a $23 million grant awarded to NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and Transformation, where Tappe worked, with the cash meant to go to state programs to help special education students and those learning English.

Though the press release from the New York State Comptroller lists her as a Westport residence, no one here has verified that.

And the Post’s photo shows the house below. According to Peter Blau, it’s at 87 Juniper Lane, New Canaan.

Sure looks like Westport.

Or New Canaan.

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The good news is: Staples High School has two All-State first team selections — out of only 26 in all of Connecticut. Congratulations, Caleb Smith and Tyler Clark!

The interesting twist: They’re longtime friends — and grew up on the same small street.

There are only 9 homes on Twin Falls Lane. So more than 20% of them are the homes of All-State football players!

PS: Congrats too to James Hillhouse, who made the All-LL/L (large schools) all-state squad.

(From left): Tyler Clark, Caleb Smith, James Hillhouse.

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All you ever wanted to know about white oaks is now on a video starring Westport Tree Board member Dick Stein.

Produced by fellow member Frank Rosen, the 8-minute piece covers their distinguishing features, history in Westport (the Bedford family helped with acorns), and more.

It was filmed in familiar places, like Sherwood Island State Park. Click below to learn about those ubiquitous (and handsome) species.

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Yesterday’s Roundup included an item about a car crash on Riverside Avenue.

An “06880” reader who lives on that street calls it “the lawless road of Westport.”

His car was parked legally. But a driver took the turn by Destination Haus too fast, and slammed in to the side of his car.

That was the 4th time a car has been hit in that area this year — and the second time for the reader.

The first time, he lost a mirror and the car suffered some scratches. This time, his vehicle was not as lucky:

“The owners at Destination Haus, and people working at 50 Riverside, are too scared to pull out,” the reader says.

It’s so bad that when Destination Haus has events, they have to hire police officers. But the last 3 times, the officer says he was nearly hit.

Several times.

Slow down! Even if you don’t care about anyone else, just think how much time it takes out of your day after you smack into someone.

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Speaking of traffic: Everyone (except the speeders themselves) is looking for a way to slow drivers down.

Peter Gold spotted one possible solution yesterday, on Thomas Road:

(Photo/Peter Gold)

Hanukkah began Sunday night. So — as this “tasteful” photo shows — there are “0 Days” left.

(Photo/Pam Kessselman)

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Speaking of Hanukkah etc. … The Jazz at the Post folks say: “It’s that time of year again. Why have our favorite holiday tunes been relegated to lifeless background music, advertising jingles or Muzak?

“In the hands of inspired musicians, the holiday repertoire makes for a fine opportunity for a night of hard swinging jazz.

“Name your holiday: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, even Festivus (for the rest of us) — we got it covered!”

This Thursday (December 22), Jazz at the Post (VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399) hosts a “Holiday Swingfest.” The lineup includes pianist Dave Childs, drummer Greg Burrows, bassist Joe Fitzgerald, and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

“Special guests and elves are sure to drop by” too, they say.

Shows are 7:30 and 8:45 p.m., with dinner beginning at 7:30. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

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And speaking (still) of the holidays:

Cecily Anderson is a talented art teacher.

How talented? Check out this great holiday installation piece. It’s drawing stares — and raves — at its pop-up location, right there at BMS. (Hat tip: Kerry Long)

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No, it’s not a sad little Christmas tree.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows — according to photographer Molly Alger — a “brand new tiny tree at the top of Baron’s South walking path.”

It was the only one like it she saw.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … in honor of the Tree Board’s white oak tree video (story above):

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to help support our work. Thank you!)

 

 

Roundup: Hamlet At Saugatuck; Blumenthal At Library; Menorah At Trader Joe’s …

It took 5 hours.

But 4 months after developers presented a text amendment allowing a retail/residential/hotel complex in Saugatuck, the Planning & Zoning Commission voted 5-1 to approve it.

The decision — which came after changes in height, setbacks and floor area coverage — is a key step in the redevelopment of the train station neighborhood. ROAN Ventures can now apply for a site plan approval of its Hamlet at Saugatuck project.

P&Z approval requires that 20% of the slips at any new marina be available for free public use, and that there be paddleboard and kayak tie-ups; design standards beyond those required for a typical special permit including maintaining the New England coastal village aesthetic reflected in the most recent renderings, and no extra height without significant public outdoor areas along the river.

The text amendment includes the rectangle between Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place, Franklin Street and Charles Street, plus land on Riverside Avenue, and the private parking lot above Luciano Park now used for boat storage.

ROAN envisions The Hamlet as an economic engine for residents and visitors, and a gateway to the rest of the town. The concept includes:

  • A boutique hotel with rooms, condo-type residences, pools, and underground parking.
  • New shops and restaurants, featuring local artisans.
  • A year-round gourmet market on the now-private railroad parking lot, with local vendors.
  • A marina.
  • A boardwalk along the river similar to Bartaco’s, with the goal of connecting  Saugatuck and Westport via waterway.
  • Re-skinning and beautification of the 21 Charles Street office building — often called “the ugliest” in Westport.

Part of the proposed Hamlet at Saugatuck marina.

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Senator Richard Blumenthal is the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston’s guest this Friday (December 16, 10 a.m., Westport Library). The event is open to the public.

The senator will discuss a range of topics. Afterward, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe will lead a Q-and-A.

Senator Richard, last March in Westport. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Why schlep all the way to Stew Leonard’s for a menorah lighting?

We’ve got one right here in Westport!

The 2nd night of Hanukkah will be celebrated next Monday (December 19, 7 p.m.), outside Trader Joe’s

The lighting will be led by Rabbis Levi Stone (director of the Chabad Schneerson Center) and Yehoshua Hecht (Beth Israel Chabad(.

The ceremony includes live music. Chanukah gelt and cookies, doughnuts and dreidels will be distributed to all. For more information, call 203-635-4118.

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The Town of Westport posted this photo on social media:

It shows local and store officials celebrating Lux Bond & Green’s just-in-time-for-the-holidays renovation. Congratulations, of course!

But I am sure every downtown shopper — and every other merchant in Brooks Corner — joins me in asking: “Can you please get rid of those 3 valuable parking spots marked (ridiculously and archaically) ‘Reserved parking Lux Bond & Green curbside pickup’?”

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Aztec Tw0-Step 2.0 — featuring Westporters Rex Fowler, Dodie Pettit and friends — headlines a December 16 (7:45 p.m.) show at Fairfield Theater.

Click here for tickets, and more information on these folk/rock legends.

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From folk-rock to jazz: Harvie S. — an award-winning bassist, educator, composer, arranger, and producer — stars at this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, December 15, shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m.).

He’s joined by drummer Jason Tiemann, Norwalk native and keyboardist Rob Aries, and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

There’s a $15 cover. Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzattthePost@gmail.com.

Harvie S.

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Tom Kretsch celebrates his birthday this Saturday (December 17, 4 to 6 p.m.) with an art opening.

Gordon Fine Arts (1701 Post Road East) hosts the talented Westport photographer and his new exhibit “The Color of Water: Capturing the Sound and Beyond.”

Tom invites everyone to see his serene images, enjoy cake, and meet interesting people. For more on his work, click here.

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)

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Congratulations to  Barry Beattie. The Staples High School girls soccer coach has been named New England region Coach of the Year by United Soccer Coaches, the 30,000-member group of professional, college, high school and club coaches. He is now in contention for national Coach of the Year honors, to be announced at the organization’s annual banquet next month in Philadelphia.

This fall, Beattie led the Wreckers to their 2nd straight state championship. With a strong core of returning players, the future looks very bright for both Beattie and his team.

Coach Barry Beattie (to the right of the scoreboard, and the 2022 state champion Staples High School girls soccer team. (Photo/David G. Whitham, courtesy of The Ruden Report)

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Today’s fascinating “Westport … Naturally” close-up of a working spider web comes from Matt Murray:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … in honor of the great photo above:

Roundup: Dance Party, Menorah, Yuki Kitchen …

I’m an idiot.

I posted yesterday’s Roundup story about the Hackett family’s used sports equipment drive — it benefits Leveling the Playing Field, a non-profit that helps youngsters in need — without including where to drop the cleats, balls and more off.

They’ll be at the Granola Bar this Saturday and Sunday (December 10 and 11), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Click here for a list of items you can donate. You know you’ve got some of it lying unused all around your house!

From left: Max Levitt (Founder of Leveling The Playing Field), Alex Hackett, Daisy Hackett, Chloe Hackett

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Before COVID, Julie Whamond hosted a dance party every year. It was her gift to friends — a way to let off steam during the stressful holiday season.

This year, it’s back.

And it’s better than ever. Julie is using the festivities to raise donations for Westport’s Warm-Up Fund.

The Fund — an initiative of Westport’s Department of Human Services — helps income-qualified residents with their home heating expenses.

The date is next Wednesday (December 14, 7 to 10 p.m.). Julie secured Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall. She hired a DJ.

Now she just needs even more folks to attend. Whether you know Julie or not: You’re invited!

Venmo a $30 (or more) donation: @Julie-Whamond. Wear festive attire. Bring a drink or snack to share. Then party down for the Warm-Up Fund.

Questions? Email Whamondjoy@gmail.com.

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The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the December 1-7 period.

Two people were detained in custody. One was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to obey traffic control signal, and failure to drive in the proper lane.

The other custodial arrest was for conspiracy to commit burglary; oeperating a motor vehicle without a license; failure to renew registration; misuse of plates, and insurance coverage fails to meet minimum requirements.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 18
  • Stop sign violation: 4
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation: 3
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Failure to display plates: 2
  • Misuse of license plates: 1
  • Insurance coverage fails to meet minimum requirements: 2
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Failure to renew registration: 1

Not a suggestion. A command.

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Longtime ESPN reporter, E60 host Jeremy Schaap — a 1988 Staples High School graduate, and current Westport resident — never shies away from important issues.

He is the lead reporter and narrator of a new film, “The  Survivor.” The documentary examines the 1972 Munich Massacre. That September, terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletics at the Summer Olympics.

Schapp will screen the film at the Westport Library on Monday (December 12, 7 p.m.). Immediately afterward, the 11-time Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist will host a talkback

Schaap traveled to Israel and Germany to tell the story through the eyes of 86-year-old Israeli race walker Shaul Ladany. He survived the massacre — as he had World War II and the Holocaust, when he was a child.

“In his long life, Shaul Ladany has seen up close the worst of humanity,” says Schaap. “Not only has he survived, he has pressed forward, constantly, to lead a life of achievement. The lessons of his life are valuable to us all. I was honored to be part of the team that told the story of what he endured and what he witnessed. Ladany’s story is not so well-known here in the United States — but it should be.”

The Munich Massacre was the first terrorist attack broadcast live on television around the world. “The Survivor” breaks down the tragedy through archival video and news reports, along with new interviews and reporting.

Jeremy Schaap

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Open Rice — the Chinese food takeout place between Sherwood Diner and Earth Animal — closed in June.

It’s been replaced by Yuki Kitchen. The Japanese food takeout place features sushi, bento boxes, noodles and more. Click here for the menu.

Yuki Kitchen (Photo/Dan Woog)

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What will you do with over 500 pairs of shoes?

If you’re Soles4Souls — the non-profit that collects new and gently used shoes — you’ll distribute them to people in need.

And you’ll do it with Westporters’ help.

This holiday season, Ken Bernhard and Ted Freedman led a drive that collected all those 500-plus shoes here. Collection boxes were placed at Town Hall, police headquarters and the Senior Center.

Ken and Ted thank all who contributed. It’s one small step — now, in proper shoes — to help break the cycle of poverty.

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An outdoor menorah will be lit on December 20 — and everyone is invited.

The event — on the 3rd night of Hanukkah — is set for Weston Center, at 6:15 p.m.

Doing the honors are Rabbi Levi & Chanie Stone, co-directors of the Chabad Schneerson Center. There’s live music too.

Hanukkah gelt and cookies, doughnuts and dreidels will be distributed to all.

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The Westport Rotary Club presented its annual Community Service and Public Protection Awards on Tuesday.

Recipients included artist and homeless advocate Nina Bentley; former Westport 1st Selectman Jim Marpe; RTM veteran Velma Heller; the Westport chapter of the National Charity League (represented by member Lisa Price), and Builders Beyond Borders executive director Amy Schroeder-Riggio.

Firefighter Rob Lenois and police officer Kevin Smith also earned awards for individual acts of heroism.

Nina Bentley receives her Westport Rotary Club award from Karl Mergenthaler and Leslie Roberts. (Photo/Jeff Wieser)

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These women don’t need shoes. Flip-flops are fine.

All year long.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

They swim every Friday and Sunday — yes, even now.

The water temperature these days is 50 degrees. The air temperature is lower.

It will get a lot lower soon. But they promise to be in the water, when the rest of us are sitting lazily by a fire.

To each her own.

And congrats!

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A concerned reader emailed this photo yesterday:

It shows oil on the Saugatuck River, just below the Cribari Bridge.

“I don’t know where it’s coming from,” he says. “But it’s been there all day.”

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George Billis Gallery is moving again.

After opening on Main Street in late 2020 — in the midst of COVID, the 3rd outpost after New York and Los Angeles — the exhibit space moved to Post Road East.

Next stop: Fairfield. The 1700 Post Road location opens January 1.

“I love Westport. But the rent it too high for permanent space,” owner George Billis says.

He looks forward to welcoming customers to his new gallery. And hopes they’ll stop by before he relocates, for the moving sale going on now.

The first site of George Billis gallery, on Main Street.

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The moon sets every morning. That gets less love from “06880” photographers than when it rises, and hangs high in the sky.

And a lot less love than sunrises and sunsets.

So today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shines a light on the moonset. It was taken this morning by Matt Murray, and shows Sherwood Mill Pond, looking west toward Hillspoint Road.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … Joyce Bryant died recently, in Los Angeles. She was 95, and suffered from Alzheimer’s.

I’d never heard of her. But according to her New York Times obituary, she was :a sultry singer of the 1940s and ’50s who broke racial barriers in nightclubs and raised the hackles of radio censors before setting aside her show business career in favor of missionary work, then reinventing herself as a classical and opera singer,”

Click here for her fascinating life story. Click below to hear a bit of her work:

(Obscure nightclub singers, police reports, menorah lightings, new Japanese restaurants — “06880” brings you all the Roundup news, every day. If you enjoy our work, please click here to contribute. Thank you!)

Pic Of The Day #2059

Assumption Church sunrise (Photo/Karen Como)

Roundup: Tree Lightings, World Cup, Staples Football …

‘Tis the season to be … tree-lighting.

Twin ceremonies take place this week.

The “official” town event is Thursday (December 1, 5 p.m., Town Hall). The evergreen by Myrtle Avenue will glow, and Staples High School’s Orphenians will sing.

The next night (Friday, December 2, 4:30 p.m.), it’s Wakeman Town Farm’s turn. This one features treats from The Porch, hot chocolate from The Granola Bar, a bonfire and local musicians.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker does the honors at both. She’ll be joined at WTF by Wakeman family member Bill Constantino.

The Christmas tree at Town Hall, following a lighting ceremony.

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The huge Trefz Forum screen at the Westport Library is not just for author talks and music concerts.

Today (Tuesday) at 2 p.m., they’ll show the equally huge US-Iran World Cup first round match.

How huge? If we win, we advance to the round of 16. If we tie or lose, we’re out.

You don’t need to be a soccer fan to enjoy this one. Everyone is welcome.

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Are you a fan of the other football, but didn’t get a chance to see the Staples High School football team’s dramatic 39-38 win over archrival Greenwich on Thanksgiving Day?

Click below, for a very cool highlight video. It was produced and edited by senior Daniel Burgin, with video shot by junior Charlie Scott.

The win vaulted the Wreckers into tonight’s state “LL” quarterfinal playoff game against Fairfield Prep (6:30 p.m., Staples’ Paul Lane Field). It’s the blue-and-whites’ first post-season appearance in 7 years.

Can’t make that one either? Click here for the livestream.

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“Fine jewelry” and “rescue animals” may never have appeared in the same sentence.

Thanks to JL Rocks, they do now.

The high-end Post Road East retailer partnered with designer Peggy Reiner, for a new collection of whimsical animal-inspired pieces. Proceeds benefit PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) in Norwalk and 4LittlePaws rescue in Southport.

“It’s a great gift that gives back to pets in need,” says JL Rocks founder/owner Jamie Camche. “Animals have given us so much. We want to give back to them.”

The collection features 3 diamond-studded designs: petite 14K gold pawprint earrings, 14K gold chains with diamond pave dog bone, and paw charms. It’s  available at JL Rocks’ Westport and Greenwich stores, and online.

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Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?” debuted on Netflix this month. The docuseries is about the Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. court case — you know, the one where the college kid thought he found a loophole in a Pepsi promotion, and sued them to win a fighter plane. Reviews were good.

The “06880” connection: 2007 Staples High School graduate Nick Boak is an executive producer.

Spoiler alert: The guy never got his jet. (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

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Face painter alert!

We need a face painter for this weekend’s Holiday Stroll (Saturday, December 3, 5 to 7 p.m., Main Street and environs).

If you (or your daughter or son) are available to help with this great kids’ activity, please email 06880blog@gmail.com.

For more details on the Holiday Stroll — co-sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association — including the nearly 40 participating retailers and restaurants — click here.

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The weekend weather report is good. But Bedford Middle School will be “Frozen.”

On December 2, 3 and 4, Bedford Acting Group takes the stage in “Frozen Jr.”

The 7th and 8th grade actors were toddlers when the movie hit theaters in 2013 (!),  Yet they know its characters and songs well. At last, they can perform it.

The curtain rises Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (3 and 7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). Click here for the few remaining tickets.

The Bedford Acting Group cast and crew of “Frozen Jr.”

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What has the Greens Farms Garden Club been up to?

Every year they design and maintain the Atrium Garden at Earthplace in Westport, and the Victorian Cottage on Fairfield’s Town Green.

They provide horticultural therapy events at STAR in Norwalk, and make flower arrangements for the Pequot Library Art Show.

The Greens Farms Garden Club also manages 3 “Growing for Good” gardens:  Prospect Garden and Wakeman Town Farm in Westport, and St. Timothy’s Church Garden in Fairfield.

They were planted and cared for throughout spring, summer and fall, with over 180 buckets of fresh organic produce harvested and donated to help with food insecurity at Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center in Bridgeport.

A highlight of the year came at the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut 93rd annual awards luncheon. Wynn Herrmann — a 30-year veteran — was recognized for Civic Development. Dina Schmidt and Jude earned Certificates of Merit for the club’s monthly newsletters and website, respectively.

For more information about the Greens Farms Garden Club, including events and membership, click here.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (seated, from left): Chris Supernaw, Wynn Herrmann, Judy Reynolds, Ann Watkins. Standing: Kate Carroll, president Kathy Mitchell, Carol Shear, Jude Smith, vice president Maybette Waldron.

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Fewer than 5% of rainbows occur in the morning (according to Google). And the ones that do are most often seen in summer (ditto).

But yesterday — driving to work on the Merritt Parkway — this is what Larry Bartimer saw:

(Photo/Larry Bartimer)

We could probably blame the same culprit as everything else. (No, not Joe Biden — climate change.)

Nah. Just chill, and enjoy this very rare late November scene.

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Melissa Newman headlines a cool evening of hot jazz this Thursday, at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

Westport’s own vocal star is joined for Jazz at the Post by guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Bobby Leonard,

There are 2 shows: 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Melissa Newman

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“A Charlie Brown Christmas” — Vince Guaraldi’s timeless, feel-good music — gets the jazz treatment on Saturday (December 3).

The Heather Pierson Trio comes to the Westport Unitarian Church’s Voices Café at 4 p.m., for an in-person and livestreamed holiday concert.

Show-goers can bring snacks and beverages. Groups of 4 or more can reserve tables. For more information and tickets, click here.

Voices Café and its artists are committed to social justice. A portion of the proceeds benefit the battle against food insecurity, through Mercy Learning Center.

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It’s late November. But the leaves on a few trees are still hanging on.

Fred Cantor photographed one of them at Old Mill Beach. Its a vivid reminder of the “Westport … Naturally” beauty that surrounds us everywhere we look.

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … in honor of today’s crucial World Cup clash between the US and Iran (story above), here is the greatest pump-up soccer song ever. Crank the volume up to Spinal Tap 11, and enjoy!

(Wave that flag for “06880”! Please click here to  support our work.)

250 Turkeys

Today, Westporters sit down to holiday meals. We’ll give thanks for all we have.

A few miles away, dozens of others will enjoy a holiday meal too. They can thank a lucky decision, a few phone calls, and some very generous men and women.

A couple of weeks ago, Gillian Anderson drove her husband to Bridgeport Hospital for a pre-op test.

As she waited, she had an idea: call nearby Summerfield Methodist Church to say hi.

The United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston often partners with Summerfield, with donations of clothing and food. Gerry Nelson — the administrative assistant to Pastor Herron Gaston — told Gillian that their annual Thanksgiving meal offering to the community was in jeopardy. They were 80 turkeys short of their 200 target.

Gillian contacted members of both her church and club: Westport Rotary. Quickly, they made plans to provide the birds.

Just as quickly, promises of turkey donations — and Venmo cash — to buy more poured in, from United Methodist church members and Rotarians.

Gillian Anderson and turkeys, at United Methodist Church.

Gillian headed to Stop & Shop. In the checkout line with a dozen turkeys, she chatted with the man ahead, and his young daughter. Inspired, he paid for 3 turkeys.

A Rotary friend was in line behind Gillian. She bought 4. The spontaneous generosity allowed Gillian to buy more.

By Sunday 50 turkeys had been donated or bought, and put in the fridge.

The next morning, the number grew. Gillian, fellow Rotarians and congregants soon delivered 72 turkeys — plus 80 servings of stuffing mix and rice — to Summerfield Methodist Church.

Gerry Nelson, with some of Summerfield’s turkey dinners …

Meanwhile, indefatigable organizer Gerry Nelson was working her own magic. Thanks to her diligence, and that of Gillian and her crew, Summerfield far surpassed their goal.

Today, 250 Bridgeport families will enjoy a hearty holiday meal. Thanks to all who helped!

… and Summerfield church members, helping out.

Roundup: SHS Girls, GFA Boys Soccer Champs; 3 Pastors, Arline Gertzoff …

A year ago, the Staples girls soccer team won the state championship — and were disappointed.

It was actually a shared title, after a 0-0 draw with Wilton.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) changed the rule this year, adding penalty kicks if the final was tied after regulation.

The Wreckers had no need for that. Annabel Edwards’ true hat trick — 3 straight goals — in just 6:36 at the start of the 2nd half broke open a 1-0 game yesterday. The blue-and-whites cruised to their 2nd consecutive state “LL” (extra large schools) title, and 3rd in their history, yesterday at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford. The #3-seeded Westporters slammed #1-ranked Cheshire, 4-1.

Staples finishes the season 12-6-4. The loss was the first for the Rams (21-1-1), who got their lone goal with 9 minutes remaining.

Edwards’ selection as Most Valuable Player of the Match was a no-brainer.

She had plenty of help though. Natalie Chudowsky — who missed part of the season with US national U-15 team duty — scored the first goal. Her sister Evelyn assisted on 2 of Edwards’ strikes

Coach Barry Beattie has built a dynasty. And it looks like it will continue: Edwards is just a sophomore. Evelyn Chudowsky is a junior. And Natalie Chudowsky is only a freshman.

Congratulations to all of Staples’ newest state champs!

2022 state champion Staples High School girls soccer team. (Photo/David G. Whitham, courtesy of The Ruden Report)

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The Staples girls were not the only soccer champions crowned yesterday.

Greens Farms Academy captured the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council New championship yesterday in their division. The #7 Dragons handed #1-ranked Vermont Academy only their second loss of the season, in Lancaster, Massachusetts.

The match was tied 1-1 after overtime, and went to penalty kicks. Keeper Matt Maged saved 2 shots, clinching the win.

It was an equally dramatic season for coach Chris Mira’s GFA side. Ten games in, they were 4-6. They turned it around, finishing 11-7-2.

Maged is one of 6 Westport players on the championship squad. Others are Jared Buckman, Aidan Spellacy, Aneesh Roy and Oscar Nelson. Andrew Salem is from Weston.

Congratulations to all the Dragons!

Greens Farms Academy, NESPAC champs. (Photo/Amy Buckman)

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Three ministers — an Episcopalian, a Methodist and a Congregationalist — walk into a high school auditorium to see a play about saving gamblers’ souls …

No, it’s not a joke. It happened Saturday night.

John Betit (Christ & Holy Trinity), Heather Sinclair (United Methodist) and Alison Patton (Saugatuck Church) were all at the final performance of Staples Players’ (fantastic) production of “Guys & Dolls.”

They were not there to see whether the sisters at the Save a Soul Mission succeed. (Spoiler alert: They do.)

The pastors were there for personal — not professional — reasons. All 3 have at least 1 son or daughter in the show.

After final bows, the clergy trio went on stage. They memorialized the show, their kids — and their work — with a classic photo:

From left: Rev. John Betit, Rev. Heather Sinclair, Rev. Alison Patton. (Photo/Kerry Long)

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The very moving and very personal memorial service for Arline Gertzoff — the United Nations and Democratic Party activist, Representative Town Meeting member and proud Staples High School graduate who died in September — is now online.

The event was held earlier this month, at Town Hall. Click below to honor Arline. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

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Noelle Anastasia of Fairfield, formerly of Westport, died unexpectedly last week. She was 32 years old.

Born on on Christmas Day in 1989, she grew up in Westport.

She sang in the Bedford Middle School choir, and was an altar server at Assumption Church. Throughout her life, Noelle kept her faith close to her heart. She also loved to cook.

She studied at Norwalk Community College, and planned to return to school.

Her family says, “Noelle had a kind soul and a deeply loving heart. More than anything, she loved her daughters Isabella, 5, and Ella, 3. They were the lights and loves of her life. She loved her stepson, Jesus, and was proud of all he accomplished. Her family was the cornerstone of her life, but Noelle also cared for those who needed it. She gave freely of herself, of her time and energy, to help when help was needed. This generosity of spirit extend to animals. Noelle took in kittens that needed a home.”

In addition to her children Noelle is survived by her parents, David and Michellel her husband Jesus; sisters Denise and Nicole; brother Steven; nieces Michayla, Dianna, Marissa, Danniella and Briannal nephews Matthew, Tyler and Jace, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Mass of Christian burial is set for tomorrow (Tuesday November 22, 11 a.m., Assumption Church).

Noelle Anastasia

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Mud is as much a part of “Westport … Naturally” as anything else.

Jonathan Prager captured a lot of it, in this photo with an autumn sun.

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … Danny Kalb, a guitarist with the under-appreciated Blues Project band — died Saturday in Brooklyn. He was 80, and had battled cancer for 3 years.

As Mark Smollin notes in his book “The Real Rock & Roll High School,” the Blues Project first played in Westport in 1966. The setting was the Staples High School cafeteria — for the junior prom.

A year later, they were booked for two 50-minute sets in the Staples auditorium. with an intermission. But when they were detained in New York — finishing up a recording session — promoter (and Staples student) Dick Sandhaus talked theier manager, Sid Bernstein (of early Beatles fame) into sending Richie Havens to open the show.

After an hour, Havens was running out of material. So Bernstein had Jeremy Steig & the Satyrs drive up — at his own expense — to do a very long set until the Blues Project arrived.

At 11:30 the Blues Project finally took the stage. Half an hour later they were shut down, by a midnight curfew. Click here for a full obituary.