State Senator Will Haskell offers this COVID-19 update:
Connecticut this week received 39,000 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in addition to the thousands of Moderna and Pfizer doses already being distributed on a regular basis. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe, effective, and requires only 1 injection, so we’ll be able to accelerate the rate of immunization significantly in the coming weeks and months.
Currently, 74 percent of state residents over the age of 75 have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine; 59 percent between 65 and 74 have received at least 1 dose, and 17 percent between 55 and 64 have received at least 1 dose. I’m proud that we’ve administered over 1 million vaccine doses.
In light of our vaccination success and the overall decline of COVID-19 cases, Governor Lamont has also announced the rollback of certain social distancing restrictions beginning March 19th, including the full capacity reopening of indoor restaurants.
These new restrictions reflect that we’re moving closer to a fully reopened economy. In the meantime, it is important that all employees and customers continue to wear masks, stay 6feet apart, and wash their hands frequently. The more we do those things, the more likely it is that we will be able to fully reopen and put this pandemic behind us in the near future.
On Thursday, March 11, the Planning & Zoning Commission holds a public hearing. They’ll consider a text amendment that would continue outdoor dining for over 80 restaurants — which would otherwise expire March 31 — until further notice.
The text amendment would also be expanded to include certain retail businesses.
The last Farmers’ Market of the winter is an important one.
On Thursday, March 11 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the Market partners with Sustainable Westport to replenish 2 food pantries: Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center, and Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Both are running low.
Non-perishable items (canned goods, rice, beans, pasta, jams, sauces, etc.) can be dropped off at Farmers’ Market (Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Road).
It’s rare to see canned food at the Westport Farmers’ Market. A week from tomorrow, it will be a very lovely sight.
Actually, a proud great-great-grandson. His great-great-grandfather, James Barnes Sr., was the first tender for what is now called the William F. Cribari Bridge.
Seth has followed the debate over the 133-year-old bridge’s future closely. So when he saw a photo of an innovative solution — a road in the Netherlands goes under the water, so boats can sail above it — he thought of us.
(Photo courtesy of @alic3lik)
That’s thinking waaaaay outside the bridge — er, the box.
A reader was excited by “06880” stories on the new restaurants that have opened recently in Westport, and others that are coming soon.
She says: “We look forward to trying them all as soon as we get our second COVID shot. Can you suggest to the new places that they offer incentives to those of us who have had both shots to come inside and celebrate — maybe a new kind of Early Bird Special?”
Done! And not just for new restaurants, either. As we emerge from the depths of the pandemic, perhaps some special promotions will encourage diners to go back inside.
At the same time, with the weather slowly getting better (though not today): Don’t forget about all the outside dining options too too.
In fact, on March 11 the Planning & Zoning Commission will consider continuing its temporary outdoor dining regulations.
Outdoor dining on and around Church Lane, last summer. (Photo/Dan Woog)
In the past couple of years Westporters have voted for their favorite pizzas, burgers and soups.
Next up: sandwiches.
The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Great Sandwich Contest runs throughout March. It’s dedicated to the memory of longtime A&S Fine Foods owner chef Albert Pizzirusso. The longtime Chamber supporter died earlier this month.
I have no idea what this sandwich is, or who made it. I found it on the internet. You didn’t think I’d play favorites, did you?
So far, 19 sandwich-making restaurants have signed up:
A&S Fine Foods
Grammie’s Donuts & Biscuits
Match Burger Lobster
The Granola Bar
Winfield Street Deli.
They’ll compete in 10 categories:
Best chicken sandwich
Best steak sandwich
Best vegetarian sandwich
Best combo sandwich
Best New York deli
Best pressed sandwich
Best breakfast sandwich
Best wrap sandwich
Best fish/seafood sandwich.
Judges — that’s all of us — have the month of March to visit the venues and enjoy the offerings. Then click here to vote. To post on social media, use the hashtag #greatwestportsandwich.
The winning restaurants and/or markets will receive plaques. Contest sponsor is the Berchem Moses law firm.
Turns out, they’re just the advance party. The cavalry is coming soon.
Mrs. London’s Boutique Bakery- for 20 years a fixture in Saratoga Springs, New York — replaces Aux Delices on Church Lane, at the foot of Elm Street.
They (she?) feature pastries, baguettes, croissants, grilled sandwiches, paninis, salads, quiches, soups, “decadent desserts,” espressos and teas. Ingredients are organic, locally grown and sourced.
Click here for Mrs. London’s website, and lick your lips.
Mrs. London’s desserts.
There’s more! Il Pastificio of Greenwich will open on the Post Road next to Nefaire Spa — just a couple of doors from Capuli.
They offer individual pastas and antipastos, salads, focaccias and desserts; pasta and ravioli trays, plus fresh, uncooked pasta and ravioli by the pound (and sauce!). There’s free delivery for orders over $60.
What’s better than one gelato shop opening on Main Street?
Hot on the heels of news of Cold Fusion moving into the former Papaya Papyrus space next to Chase Bank in May, a sign in what was once Lucky Brand — across the street, and closer to the Post Road — announced the arrival “soon” of La Fenice.
Like its sister locations in Greenwich and Rye, it will serve gelato, crepes, pastries and coffee. Click below for a look at the Rye shop:
It’s not quite like the days when there was a frozen yogurt store on every Westport corner.
It’s not just New York Times readers who appreciate Tyler Hicks’ work.
The 1988 Staples High School graduate just won 1st place in a new category — COVID-19 coverage — from Pictures of the Year International. It’s the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism program and competition in the world. This year’s awards were the 78th annual.
MoCA Westport and Up|Next Teens are partnering to present a Winter Lights Festival at MoCA. It’s set for this Saturday (February 27, noon to 6 p.m.).
The Festival features a maker and crafts space in a large outdoor tent, with supplies and step-by-step instructions for families to work together to create winter-themed decorations. The decorations will be incorporated into a walk-through Light Path, to be lit at sun down. The public can view the experience through the following weekend.
Also planned: live performances by high school musicians, food from The Melt truck, and hot cocoa.
The Festival includes free entry to MoCA ’s exhibition “Hindsight is 2020,” showcasing nearly 200 high school student artists from across the region.
And finally … Today is the 41st anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice.” The US Olympic men’s hockey team came from behind to beat the overwhelmingly favored Soviet team 4-3, at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Al Michaels memorialized the moment on ABC: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!!!!”
That game was not, however, the final. Two days later the Americans clinched gold, with a win over Finland.
Westport connection: After a disappointing NHL career, goaltender Jim Craig worked for a marketing firm on Riverside Avenue.
Quietly, lovingly and deliciously, the small Post Road restaurant across from Design With Reach serves some of the most flavorful, authentic cuisine in town.
Or anywhere else this side of Thailand.
Through blizzards, hurricanes — and the pandemic — owner Pook and her staff are there. They serve their many loyal customers (and anyone else who wanders by, or orders online) with love. And without dumbing down their menu for the American palate.
Pook uses “correct” herbs. She pays a bit more to import brands from Thailand. It’s certainly worth it.
Jeera Thai is a Westport gem. Here’s to the next 5 years — and many more after that.
Former Westporter Arthur Powers Jr. died Monday. The 60-year-old struck a tree while skiing at Stowe Mountain in Vermont.
He moved to Easton in 2019, after many years on Spicer Road. The Easton Courier wrote:
Known for having a comedic actor’s sense of humor and drama, Art was an inventor and manufacturer of state-of-the-art outdoor speakers who designed music systems for 40 years. He also played drums in numerous bands in a career as a musician.
Art’s many hobbies included music, motorcycles, and mountain biking. He was an automotive enthusiast who raced cars and motorcycles. He loved being in the mountains, in the woods, and on the beach, and was an accomplished biker and skier.
In addition to his life partner of 20 years, Dr. Patricia Hart, he is survived by his daughter Kelly Poweers Bluien; parents Arthur Sr. and Evelyn; siblings Kenny, David and Corrine Powers Barton, many cousins, nieces and nephews, and a menagerie of dogs, cats and goats.
A celebration of Art’s life will be held in late summer.
1st Selectman Jim Marpe has issued a correction about the state Department of Transportation’s plans for the William F. Cribari Bridge. He says that deputy commissioner Mark Rolfe has not yet reached a final decision on the 5 alternatives under consideration. In addition, the draft Environmental Assessment will not be released mid-March. It is at least a few months away.
Rolfe says, “The DOT seeks to continue the dialogue with stakeholders regarding this project. One potential solution is for the DOT to restore the existing bridge to a state of good repair and then transfer ownership of the bridge and a segment of Route 136 to the Town of Westport.”
Marpe noted that any DOT recommendation — when it occurs — will be subject to further review and approval.
William F. Cribari Bridge (Drone photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)
Charlie Capalbo — the 22-year-old Fairfield hockey player and grandson of Westport writer Ina Chadwick — has been diagnosed with leukemia.
The local Two Oh Three team is helping him, in his 3rd cancer battle.
The Westport-based firm has designed a line of products to raise both funds and awareness. Charlie has collaborated on the design process — a welcome distraction has he undergoes treatment.
The collection — #CapalboStrong — features products that help the community show Charlie that they’re all in this fight with him. Funds from products sold are assist Capalbo’s medical and travel expenses, while at Boston Children’s Hospital.
The collection was launched Sunday, to his network of friends. Hundreds of orders poured in. The Two Oh Three has now launched the custom designs on their full website.
Charlie says, “Seeing people ordering gear with my Capalbo Strong logo makes me feel connected to the outside world– like I know my army of friends and family are with me, even though I can’t see them now due to COVID-19. I’m so excited for this!”
“Our daily FaceTime calls with Charlie have been rewarding beyond words,” says Two Oh Three co-founder and Staples High School graduate Roscoe Brown.
“Constantly updating him on the number products we’ve sold helps remind him just how many people he has fighting along side him.”
Click here for the Two Oh Three #CapalboStrong Collection.
The Staples boys basketball team opened its home season yesterday with a victory over Westhill.
The only way to watch the win was on the livestream. Spectators are prohibited from gyms this winter, in all high school sports.
But the stands were “filled” — with fatheads. That’s the name for cardboard figures of fans. It’s a way to make the gym a little less lonely. It’s also a great fundraiser for the Staples Boys Basketball Association.
How many folks do you recognize in the photo below? Besides (of course) me — directly underneath the “E.”
Alison Milwe Grace — one of Fairfield County’s favorite chefs — has already planned her mid-March menu. She features tempting appetizers; corned beef and cabbage with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots and horseradish mustard, and Guinness Shepherd’s Pie.
For dessert: cupcakes with Irish cream frosting; Irish bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce; Irish coffee crème brûlée, and Bailey’s chocolate mousse.
Of course, if it’s St. Paddy’s Day, Passover and Easter are not far behind.
Alison has menus for those too. Click here to see.
Speaking of reading: Westport author Christian Hunter’s new book has just been published.
“Influence” is the story of a young woman’s journey from Venezuela to the United States, where she and her family come to grips with the disappearance of her father. Her mission is to find him, and become what she has always dreamed of: a celebrity.
You may not have known his name. But if you saw James Brown perform, you probably saw “the hardest-working man in show business” being led away after putting everything into a song. Then he threw away his cape, returned to the stage, and gave the audience even more. Over and over again.
Danny Ray was that man. He was also the man who introduced the Godfather of Soul at his concerts.
When James Brown died in 2006, Danny Ray spoke at his funeral. “Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for star time?” he asked. Then he draped a cape over the open coffin.
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Thanks!)