Category Archives: Saugatuck

Gault Unfolds New Umbrella, Announces New Name

At 163 years old, Gault is still nimble.

This morning, the company — Westport’s oldest business (by about a century) — announced a major corporate rebranding. And a new corporate umbrella.

Plus a modern new logo.

Gault's new logo (and name).

Gault’s new logo (and name).

Gault Energy & Stone will now be called Gault Family Companies. Three rebranded lines of business — Energy & Home Solutions, Stone & Landscape Supplies, and Properties & Development — will operate under it.

Sam Gault is the 5th generation to head the family firm. He and his marketing team began the process 3 years ago, soon after the company’s 150th anniversary. They were assisted by Westport-based The Visual Brand.

Sam Gault says the new logo and expanded corporate structure “capture our rich history, and reveal our ambitious plans for the future.

“From our humble beginnings as a hauling business with a single horse and wagon, the company has continued to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of the communities we serve, always focusing on delivering exceptional personalized service.”

Horses hauling coal in front of the company's 19 Riverside Avenue building (1905-08).

Horses hauling coal in front of the company’s 19 Riverside Avenue building (1905-08).

During its 16 decades, Gault has morphed from hauling into coal, sand, oil and, most recently, energy solutions.

Adding “Home Solutions” to its energy brand will help the company showcase its many services — such as providing bioheat and propane delivery, low cost-electricity, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment insulation, standby generator installation, and maintenance and repair.

The stone and masonry supply business provides a full range of interior and exterior services. Adding “landscape” to the brand signals a growing partnership with homeowners.

Hamilton Development — Gault’s real estate arm — is best known for its award-winning mixed-use Saugatuck Center development. But the real estate footprint also includes many other commercial and real estate properties. Sam Gault says the brand focuses on “best practices when it comes to design-build, livability, energy efficiency and stone and masonry work.”

The logo that Gault retired today.

The logo that Gault retired today.

As for the new “G” logo: Its swoop gives a nod to the company’s history, but in a modern way.

Gault has been a strong, steady presence in Westport since the Lincoln administration. The company has always supported the town, in ways big and small (and often anonymously).

May Gault Family Companies — and the Gault family — thrive for at least another 163 years.

(To learn more about Gault’s 1st 150 years, click here.)

The 1914 logo...

The 1914 logo…

...and one from the 1960s.

…and one from the 1960s.


Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Mersene’s “06880” Merchandise

If I were smart, I’d sell “06880”-themed stuff on “06880.”

But I’m not. So whenever anyone asks where they can buy something that screams “Westport,” I send ’em to the Westport Historical Society (books, tote bags, note cards).

Or Joey’s by the Shore (hoodies, towels, beach stuff).

Now there’s another option. Mersene — the spectacularly creative, super-friendly and amazingly wonderful owner of Indulge by Mersene, on Railroad Place across from the train station — has added a number of local items to her eclectic, intriguing and ever-changing stock of unique finds.

A Westport t-shirt.

A Westport t-shirt.

Some of them say “Westport.” Others (even better!) actually show “06880.”

An "06880" pillow.

An “06880” pillow.

Mersene has a wonderful eye, not only for what looks good but how to present it. (Check out her gift baskets!) Her Westport merchandise is fun and funky. No kitsch or schlock at all.

This silver tray is engraved "06880."

This silver tray is engraved “06880.”

She’ll ship anywhere. But if you live nearby — or are just traveling through — Mersene and her store really should be seen in person.

She puts the “oh!” in “06880.”

This pendant features a Westport navigation chart.

This pendant features a Westport map…

...while this blanket shows Westport's latitude and longitude.

…while this blanket shows Westport’s latitude and longitude.

Long May She Wave

I sure screwed up yesterday’s post about a “missing” AED. (It wasn’t stolen from Winslow Park at all – it had never been installed. I also misidentified the donor — it’s the Gudis Family Foundation and Norwalk Hospital, not the Adam Greenlee Foundation. Click here to see how many times I could be wrong in one post.)

This one is on the money.

A year ago, Tarantino owner John Paul Marchetti installed an American flag outside his Railroad Place restaurant.

He’s a proud Marine Corps Reserves veteran — he served in Iraq — and was honored to fly it 24/7.

Tarantino flag

Yesterday, he and his brothers — co-owners of the popular Saugatuck spot — noticed the flag was gone.

Marchetti was angry. “This country gave my immigrant parents everything,” he said. “The flag is a symbol of freedom. Someone stole that symbol.”

I told Marchetti I would post the story on “06880.” We’d ask the thief to return the flag, no questions asked.

Meanwhile, Marchetti posted a photo on social media.

Westport Hardware Store owner Richie Velez saw it. He promised to bring a replacement over, as soon as he got off work.

So, if you’re the flag thief, do the right thing. Hand it off to someone who can fly it as proudly as Marchetti, and cares as much as Velez.

(Hat tip: Johnny Carrier)

Hiawatha Lane Sewer Denied; Scenic Highway Approved

Two big decisions — both of which could impact the future of Saugatuck — were made yesterday.

The Planning & Zoning Commission denied the request for a sewer line from Davenport Avenue to Hiawatha Lane. The proposal was crucial to approval of a larger project: the construction of 155 rental units on Hiawatha Lane Extension.

The vote was 4-0, with 1 abstention 5-0. The reason, P&Z commissioners said, was that other Westport sewers — including a pump that runs underneath the Saugatuck River — cannot handle the increased flow.

This was the 5th request from developer Felix Charney to build multi-family housing in the already dense area off Saugatuck Avenue. Right now, many of the units there command some of the lowest resale and rental prices in Westport.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

Earlier in the day, the Westport Preservation Alliance announced that the state Department of Transportation has agreed to designate part of Route 136 — specifically Compo Road South, Bridge Street and the William F. Cribari (aka Bridge Street) swing bridge — a “state scenic highway.”

The WPA says the designation “adds an additional level of protection for this important area of our town. Any proposed changes to the bridge must be reviewed by the State Scenic Highway Advisory Committee. Effectively, this allows a different set of state officials, who may be more sympathetic to scenic beauty and preservation, to weigh in on the DOT’s plans.”

The William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge.

The William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge.

Plans for multi-family housing on Hiawatha Lane, and for major changes to the bridge, are not yet dead.

But neither are they as healthy as they were yesterday.

More Saugatuck News: Railroad Parking Lot Closed Beginning Monday

It’s official: Construction begins this Monday (July 11) on railroad station Lot 1 — the one across the street from the former Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow. The projected completion date is after Labor Day (September 5).

Alternate parking locations have been created at both the Saugatuck and Greens Farms stations. Commuters should figure on an additional 5-10 minutes on Monday to get used to the new setup.

Saugatuck railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Saugatuck railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Commuters are encourage to use the shuttle service from the Imperial Avenue parking lot to Saugatuck train. The link to the schedule for the shuttle is listed below. Shuttle service may be expanded, depending on need. Click here for more information, including schedules.

For more information on railroad parking, click here.

Greens Farms railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Greens Farms railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Carolanne Curry: Don’t Turn Hiawatha Community Into A Commodity

Alert — and worried — “06880” reader Carolanne Curry writes:

I am trying to understand how the strong and resilient community of Old Saugatuck finds itself under siege for the 5th time, by a developer who wants to build a building he shouldn’t be building, in a residential area he should be building in, and (as a topper) he wants the Town of Westport to give him public sewer access for his proposed 155 apartments on Hiawatha Lane Extension.

All this building on a nondescript street carved out of wetlands and swamps, bounded by roads, railroads and highways, so that a natural cocoon of 8 streets slowly shaped this community.

Hiawatha Lane is a narrow street, filled with homes that are modest by Westport standards. It's accessible only via West Ferry Lane off Saugatuck Avenue, next to the I-95 eastbound entrance/exit ramp.

Hiawatha Lane is a narrow street, filled with homes that are modest by Westport standards. It’s accessible only via West Ferry Lane off Saugatuck Avenue, next to the I-95 eastbound entrance/exit ramp.

Felix Charney of Summit Saugatuck LLC is the developer with this fixation to build on Hiawatha Lane Extension. Surprisingly, despite his failed efforts, he is making his 5th request for public sewer access before the Planning and Zoning Commission tomorrow (Thursday, July 7, 7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium). This time, he is appearing with the active encouragement of the 1st and 2nd selectmen.

I’m curious how Charney and Westport Housing Authority chair David Newberg got to be “building” partners on Hiawatha Lane Extension? When in 2015 did the town, through the offices of the 1st and 2nd selectman, invite and encourage the formation of a Charney/WHA partnership? Why would WHA accept such a contentious role in further alienating residents of Old Saugatuck?

Why would the 1st and 2nd selectmen resurrect such a poorly conceived proposal for 155 apartments? It comes with the same problems that existed in 2005. There is no sewer. Has anything changed?

And why make WHA complicit in the destruction of a community that is an authentic model of affordable, workforce housing, exactly the kind of housing for which WHA advocates? Housing in Old Saugatuck is the direct result of its history with the railroad, the Saugatuck River and the construction of I-95.

Old Saugatuck is a community. Felix Charney would make it a commodity.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

A rendering of the proposed Hiawatha Lane development.

On an even more critical note, when did our Town Hall leaders plan to tell the residents of Old Saugatuck that they were no longer on the side of preserving the precious heritage and homes of the community, but had given their allegiance to Felix Charney? Was this what voters and taxpayers had in mind from their leaders?

In the David and Goliath scenario that will play out tomorrow, before the P&Z with this developer once again, the residents of Old Saugatuck call out to their neighbors, friends and supporters to come to Town Hall. Be a presence and a voice with us, and for us.

——————————————

1st Selectman Jim Marpe replies:

Felix Charney put forth a sewer extension request last year related to his proposed development that received a negative recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Earlier this year, Mr. Charney presented a pre-application proposal for his Hiawatha Lane properties that differed from the previous year by incorporating a joint venture with the Westport Housing Authority.

Westport sealHe has now presented another sewer extension request related to that latest proposal. Because that request is in process, I cannot comment on the merits of this proposal outside of public session. The sewer extension request and rationale will be discussed following the town’s standard policies and procedures tomorrow in public session. That will be the time for the public to hear more about the proposed plans, to comment, and to have an open dialogue with the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The sewer extension request will ultimately be heard by the Town’s Water Pollution Control Authority in public session, which will afford another opportunity for dialogue. Because I am a member of the WPCA that will hear this sewer application, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this proposal outside of the WPCA public hearing process.


I offered the Westport Housing Authority a chance to reply. They declined to comment at this time.

Grana Pastificio: Pasta Just Like Nonna Made!

Back in the day, Saugatuck was a real Italian neighborhood. That meant real Italian stores — and real Italian food.

The neighborhood has changed — several times. But down by the train station, a new store with old-world roots promises to link the Saugatucks of yesterday and today.

Grana Pastificio nestles in a corner of Winfield Street Italian Deli (which earlier this year took over the Cocoa Michelle/Bonjo site).

The name means “small grain pasta factory.” The tiny shop fills a niche left when Villarina’s closed last fall. But it’s much more than a chain store in a shopping mall.

Grana Pastificio's entrance on Railroad Place.

Grana Pastificio’s entrance on Railroad Place.

Grana Pastificio fronts the train station. Commuters are its main customers — and, of course, the railroad was built by Italians.

Owners Eni Jimenez and Thomas Tenaglia are brothers. In 1935, their great-grandfather opened a macaroni shop in Stamford. Their grandmother worked there. Starting at age 10, they received a doctorate in pasta from her.

Eni studied to be a physician’s assistant. Thomas went to HVAC school. But they’d always had restaurant jobs, and a year ago they started researching the retail market for pasta.

When they met the Winfield Deli owner, they struck gold.

“We love old world traditions,” Eni says. That’s not idle talk. The brothers hand roll, hand cut and hand knead everything. They do their own cheeses, and mill their own grains. The only machinery is a refrigerator.

Emi Jimenez (left) and Thomas Tenaglia, hard at work.

Eni Jimenez (left) and Thomas Tenaglia, hard at work. A mural will soon replace the bare wall behind them.

In the morning, commuters pick up order sheets. They check their choices — hand cut pappardelle, spaghetti alla Chitarra, fettucine, tagliatelle, garganelli, lasagna sheets. bucatini, rigatoni, lumache, gemelli, macaroni, shells and much more — and can opt for whole wheat, squid ink, red pepper or teff.

There’s also ravioli, cappelletti, tortellini, agnolotti and mezzeluna, stuffed with ricotta, beef, port, shrooms, ruffle Ricotta or burrata — plus cavatelli and gnocchi. Sauces include bolognese, tomato and pesto.

Customers select their pick-up time that evening. (All Eni and Thomas really need is an hour or two.)

The brothers pair their pasta with wines at nearby Saugatuck Grain and Grape. They also recommend cheeses.

Coming soon: imported olive oil, and weekly pasta-making classes.

A few of the many pastas at Grana Pastificio.

A few of the many pastas at Grana Pastificio.

The idea is for commuters to make fresh pasta at home — easily and quickly. Because it’s so fresh (with no preservatives), the pasta takes just 5 minutes to boil in salted water.

The brothers deliver excess food to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

“We’re bringing back old-world traditions — and old-style types of pasta,” Eni says. “We take pride in what we do.”

Longtime Saugatuck residents will take pride in Grana Pastificio.

The many Westport newcomers, too.

(For more information email info@granapastificio.com, or call 203-557-3855.)

Ed Baer: Westport’s Record-Setting Good Guy

Ed Baer is a good guy.

Back in the day though, he was really a Good Guy.

A young Mick Jagger sports a WMCA Good Guy sweatshirt.

A young Mick Jagger sports a WMCA Good Guy sweatshirt.

If you grew up in the tri-state area in the 1960s, you remember the name. Ed Baer was a WMCA disc jockey. He and his colleagues — Joe O’Brien, Harry Harrison, Dan Daniel*, B. Mitchel Reid, Gary Stevens and the rest — were the Good Guys.

They battled WABC (the All-Americans: Dan Ingram, Cousin Brucie…) for radio supremacy. It was a legendary time in music history, and Ed Baer was part of some of its most exciting moments.

WMCA was a New York station, but he grew up in Westport — and lived there when he was a Good Guy.

Ed lived here after WMCA went all-talk too. He then worked at WHN, WHUD, WYNY, WCBS-FM. He broadcast 2 shows — 7 days a week — from his home studio, for Sirius.

He’s still here. Still as sharp and smooth-talking as ever. And still active.

Ed’s latest project takes shape in that home studio. With his 3 teenage grandsons — Kyle, Ryan and Trevor Baer — he’s selling his entire record collection. There are astonishing LPs, 45s and 78s, with amazing stories.

Trevor, Kyle and Ryan Baer with their grandparents, Ed and Pearl Baer.

Trevor, Ryan and Kyle Baer with their grandparents, Ed and Pearl Baer. A photo of Ed — from his WMCA days — hangs on the wall.

But before you hear them, here’s the back story.

Ed’s parents moved here in 1945, when he was 9. His dad opened a candy store and soda fountain at Desi’s Corner, across from the train station. Ed worked there before graduating from Staples High School in 1954. CBS newsman Douglas Edwards — a Weston resident — was a regular customer.

Ed wandered into radio broadcasting at the University of Connecticut. When his father had a heart attack, Ed transferred to the University of Bridgeport. Westporter Win Elliot — the New York Rangers announcer — helped him grow.

When he served at Ft. Dix, his radio background helped. A sergeant who liked music allowed Ed to travel home Thursdays through Sundays. He brought the latest records back to base, thanks to a friend who worked at Columbia Records’ pressing plant in Bridgeport.

After discharge, Ed worked at 50,000-watt KRAK in Sacramento. He returned home after his father died. Dan Ingram — his former WICC colleague now at WABC — helped “Running Bear” land a job at rival WMCA.

The rest is history. Ed was there as the station moved from Paul Anka and Bobby Darin to the Beatles, Stones, Supremes and Doors.

They were wonderful years. When the Beatles played Shea Stadium, Ed sat in the broadcast booth and played the same records the Fab Four were singing. It sounded better than the concert. He’s got the only existing reel-to-reel (now CD) copy of that night.

Ed Baer still has this 78 from 1952. It's the Staples Band -- directed by John Ohanian -- playing "American Folk Rhapsody."

Ed Baer still has this 78 from 1952. It’s the Staples Band — directed by John Ohanian — playing “American Folk Rhapsody.”

One day, he saw John Ohanian at Oscar’s. Westport’s legendary music director had taught Ed clarinet in 4th grade (he later switched to tenor sax).

“I hear you’re playing all that rock ‘n’ roll,” Ohanian said. “I thought I taught you better than that.”

He paused. “But I hear the money’s great.”

There’s so much more to Ed’s career: The concerts he hosted. Calling OTB races, and picking horses (very well) for the New York Post. Those Sirius shows (5 days of ’50s and ’60s music; weekends were country).

Which brings us back to Ed Baer’s vinyl collection.

He has no idea how many records he’s amassed, in his long career. His grandson Kyle — a civil engineering major at Duke University — estimates 10,000.

They line the walls of the studio. There are never-opened LPs by Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. Bing Crosby singing Stephen Foster. Show tunes. Comedy. Many are rare DJ promotional editions, or have never been opened.

And so many come from the WMCA days.

Ryan — who graduated the other day from Staples, and heads to the University of Southern California this fall — casually picks up a Beatles record.

Ed Baer's unpeeled copy of "Yesterday and Today." The letters "PROM" -- for "promotional copy" -- can be seen in the upper right corner.

Ed Baer’s unpeeled copy of “Yesterday and Today.” The letters “PROM” — for “promotional copy” — can be seen in the upper right corner.

It’s “Yesterday and Today.” The original cover showed the band dressed in butcher smocks, surrounded by decapitated baby dolls and pieces of meat. After protests, it was quickly recalled. A simpler photo — the Beatles in steamer trunks — was pasted over it.

Most owners peeled off the top, ruining both covers. Ed has not 1, but 2, of the very rare, unpeeled versions.

Kyle, Ryan and Trevor (a rising junior at Hamden Hall) are hearing stories like this as they help their grandfather sell his collection. They’re learning music history (who was Harry Belafonte? the Four Seasons? What was Motown?) and radio history too (what was the deal with transistor radios?).

The teenagers always knew their grandfather was a good guy.

Now they understand exactly how much of a Good Guy he really was.

(Kyle, Ryan and Trevor have set up a website: www.westportrecords.com. They add new records daily, and handle all shipping too. For questions or offers, email westportrecords@gmail.com)

Ed Baer, relaxing in his home studio. A WMCA poster hangs on the wall. A few of his many records line the shelves.

Ed Baer, relaxing in his home studio. A WMCA poster hangs on the wall. A few of his many records line the shelves.

* Dan Daniel died last week. Click here for his obituary.

July 1 Deadline Looms For Cribari Bridge Comments

Everyone has an opinion — or 3 — on what to do with the William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge.

But the only ones that matter right now are those that are submitted to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The deadline is Friday, July 1.

Planning and Zoning Committee chair/state representative candidate Catherine Walsh writes:

Catherine Walsh

Catherine Walsh

At Thursday’s P&Z meeting, we received a formal presentation by the Westport Historic District Commission asking for our support of their study of the significance of the bridge. As we have done in the past, we elected to support their findings, and will be writing a letter of support.

We will also draft our own letter to the DOT which will highlight other areas of concern to the P&Z regarding traffic, water, etc.

July 1 is the deadline for written testimony to be submitted into the public record. Comments concerning historic preservation, traffic increase into Saugatuck, semi trucks using Greens Farms Road as an I-95 bypass and water are all important, and should be the focus of communications with DOT.

To comment, write:

Mark W Alexander
Transportation assistant planning director
Conn Department of Transportation Bureau of Policy and Planning
2800 Berlin Turnpike
Newington, CT 06131

Or email: Dot.environmentalplanning@ct.gov.

For more information, click here.

3 Hours Of Cribari Bridge Talk

If you missed Wednesday night’s meeting at Town Hall — the one at which the Department of Transportation heard input from Westporters about the future of the William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge — hey, no problem!

The entire 3-hour, 21-minute affair has been posted on the town website.

Just click here. Then sit back and enjoy!

The historic and controversial Bridge Street (William F. Cribari) Bridge. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

The historic and controversial Bridge Street (William F. Cribari) Bridge. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)