Category Archives: Sports

Roundup: Compo Cleanup, Weston Fest, Horace Lewis …

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It was a sparkling day at Compo Beach yesterday. We’re hanging on to great weather as long as we can!

(Photo/Maggie Rahe)

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Meanwhile, elsewhere by the water, a Coastal Cleanup crew from Staples High School was hard at work.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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Saturday’s International Market and Festival at Lachat Town Farm yesterday was a huge success.

Global cultures was celebrated through food trucks, world music, dance troupes, artisanal vendors, kids’ activities, and (of course) a German beer garden.

If you weren’t there, this photo will have to suffice.

(Photo courtesy of Dick Wingate)

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Westporters continue to help Horace Lewis, Staples High School’s head custodian who suffered a major stroke just 5 months after retiring last summer.

The latest update from his family:

“He is making small gains with his therapies. He can hear us, and makes sounds verbally in response. It takes a lot of energy for him to do. We continue to pray for God’s will to be done for Horace’s healing.

“We ask for your support to help with his long-term rehabilitation journey. To find a safe place of comprehensive rehabilitation for brain injury as close to home would be what he would have liked. His family, friends and all involved are so thankful for your help.”

Click here for Horace’s GoFundMe page.

Horace Lewis

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Two requests, from an organizer of a December holiday event: “Do you know someone who could be a Santa Claus? And anyone with a boat still in the water who could decorate it with holiday lights, to be admired by the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge?”

If you can help, email dwoog@optonline.net. Thanks!

Looking for a Santa — and a boat. Two separate items, despite this photo.

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With all eyes on the Staples High School boys soccer team, as it roars into the post-season with a 9-1-4 record, here’s a reminder of some players who grew up here before taking their talents elsewhere.

The Hopkins private school varsity team is captained by Max Gordon. They’re having a great season, having beaten longtime powerhouses Avon Old Farms and Kent.

Max is joined by fellow Westport Soccer Association graduates Liam Spellacy and Albert Yang. Good luck as they begin the Fairchester league playoffs next month — seeded first.

Max Gordon

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Rowene Weems describes the back story to today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, taken on the boardwalk by Bartaco:

“I did not use a zoom. The gull waited patiently while I got closer and closer, seemingly expecting a treat. He bolted, when he realized all I had was a camera.”

(Photo/Rowene Weems)

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And finally … happy 296th birthday to composer Johann Strauss!

 

 

Take care, Rowene

Roundup: Bagels, Nasdaq, Charles Barkley …

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It’s one thing for “06880” to announce that Popup Bagels won the Brooklyn Bagelfest contest.

It’s another for Nasdaq to trumpet the victory to the world.

But hat was the scene in Times Square this week:

“Several high-level executives at Nasdaq are @PopUpBagels fanatics and regular customers,” says founder Adam Goldberg.

“They felt it was important to acknowledge our victory.  i guess they see a future for us!”

They, and hundreds of thousands of visitors who now know that the best Brooklyn bagels are baked right here, in Westport.

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Annual reports are usually ho-hum affairs. Whether they come from your favorite non-profit or a business you don’t even know is part of your portfolio, odds are you toss them without opening. What a waste, for all the work done by top executives on down to interns.

You will not throw away the Westport Library’s annual report.

For one thing, it’s digital. For another, it’s fantastic. Dense, filled with numbers, they

In 20 video testimonials, users speak passionately about what the library means to them. The children’s section, research, pleasure reading, events — it’s all there, all recorded in the facility’s own Verso Studios.

The Westport Library is the gift that keeps on giving. This unique annual report is one more reason you should give back even more. (Click here to see.)

Screen shot of the Westport Library’s annual report. Each thumbnail links to a different short video.

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Westport has 2 new deputy chiefs.

Captains David Farrell and Ryan Paulsson were promoted this week, at a Town Hall ceremony. Chief Foti Koskinas praised their outstanding worth ethic, high character and strong commitment to the town.

Farrell served as a crisis negotiator with the Southwest Regional Emergency Response Team, and is a former member of the department’s Honor Guard.  He was vice president of the Westport police union and Police Benevolent Association, and worked closely with Special Olympics organizing charity torch runs and fundraisers.

Farrell holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Connecticut. He lives in Fairfield with his wife and 2 daughters.

Paulsson  — a Staples High School graduate — was hired as a patrol officer in 2000. Since rising to captain in 2017,  Paulsson has commanded the Professional Standards Division. He is currently in charge of the Operations Division, and the Westport Police/Fire Dive Rescue Team.

He is a former K-9 handler and team leader for the Southwest Regional Emergency Response Team. He is a certified law enforcement instructor.

Paulsson holds a bachelor’s degree in justice and law administration from Western Connecticut State University, and is pursuing his master’s degree in criminal justice at Sacred Heart University.  He lives in Milford with his wife and 2 daughters.

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Since opening this summer, La Plage — the new Inn at Longshore restaurant — has become a go-to destination. The food equals the always stunning view.

La Plage is run by Greenwich Hospitality Group — operators of the wildly popular Delamar Hotels and and Artisan Restaurants. Now, they’ll take over catering at the Inn too.

The Inn’s culinary team is led by Frederic Kieffer, executive chef of La Plage. He also  oversees food service for Artisan restaurants in Southport, West Hartford and Traverse City, Michigan.

The Inn at Longshore

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A longtime,, now retired, Westporter writes:

“I keep myself busy by walking around the Longshore golf course. In the course of my walks I pick up stray golf balls. I now have over 1,000.

“I want to give them away. Ideally, I would like to donate them to a youth group involved with golf. Local high schools are not interested. Can you come up with some clever ideas to help me direct this gift? Maybe an organization that can raffle them off?”

I’m not sure — but I’m sure our readers will tee up on this one. If you have any ideas of where our friend can donate over 1,000 golf balls, click “Comments” below. Fore!

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Speaking of sports:

The National Basketball Association is 75 years old. The NBA Retired Players Association is 3o. Heartlent is one.

But the Westport-based  digitial, social strategy and creative content team has teamed up with those 2 organizations to refresh their visual identity. Heartlent created a new logo, and a series of custom animations based on untold stories from hoop legends. The first features Charles Barkley (below)

You can review stills from the first animation as well as the logo here. to check out those stills. Access the full video via NBRPA Twitter.

The animation has tons of easter eggs. How many can you find?

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Jacque and Bill O’Brien were working in their yard this week. They sensed they were being watched. They looked up — and they were.

(Photo/Jacque O’Brien)

Besides posing for a “Westport … Naturally” photo, these deer were no doubt scoping out their next garden meal.

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And finally … speaking of Sir Charles:

 

 

Roundup: UN, Paul Lane Field, Mushrooms …

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The UN is 76 years young.

To mark the occasion, Westport’s International Hospitality Committee and the UN Association of Southwestern Connecticut are hosting a ceremony on the Town Hall front steps. It’s set for next Monday (October 25, 3:30 p.m.).

UNASWCT president and International Hospitality Committee member Bill Hass will read a message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Aye Aye Thant — a Westport resident, and daughter of former UN Secretary-General U Thant — is the guest speaker.

Flags of UN countries will fly on the Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen Memorial Bridge.

For more information, call Bill Hass (203-454-7685).

Happy UN Day! (Photo/Jeff Simon)

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Paul Lane Field — the new name for Staples High School’s football stadium — will be dedicated officially on Friday, November 12.

A host of former players will be on hand, including Matt MacVane, Bill During, John Bolger, Buzz Leavitt and Lance Lonergan, as well as relatives of the longtime Wrecker coach. Festivities include a tailgate in the north parking lot before the 7 p.m. kickoff against Ridgefield High, and a halftime ceremony.

The original date for the dedication was this Friday (October 22). Instead, that’s Homecoming.

There’s plenty of action in what’s known — now and forever — as Paul Lane Field.

Paul Lane (center) flanked by his sons Peter (left) and Skip. Both played for him.

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It was a tough call. But MoCA Westport canceled this fall’s in-person fundraiser due to COVID concerns.

Of course, like any museum they still need support. They’ve pivoted to an online auction., to help with exhibitions and music, community events and outreach to the underserved.

The auction features over 50 items, including original artwork (like art by Devon Troy Strother and a Joel Sternfeld photo from the 1980s), one-of-a kind experiences (an NBA VIP draft experience), and curated products from local businesses (Stephen Kempson London, Stacy Bass Photography, JL Rocks, Pure Barre and Imperial Dental Associates, among others).

The auction begins November 1, and ends November 15. To pre-register, click here. For more information, click here.

MoCA Westport’s Newtown Avenue building is unique. Its online auction is special too.

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Speaking of artistry: The Flower Basket is more than just fantastic floral arrangements.

This Sunday (October 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 995 Post Road East), the wonderful shop near Stiles Market hosts an exhibit of abstract and contemporary art by Romeo. Flower and art lovers are invited.

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TAP is dedicated toward fitness and preventive care in all forms.

Including mushrooms.

On Tuesday (October 26, 7 p.m., 180 Post Road East) they host author Adam Piore. He’s the author of a recent Newsweek cover story on clinical trials using psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” to treat depression. He’ll talk about neuroscience, research and stories shared by patients.

To register and for more information, email Nancy@tapstrength.com.

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Wasps — or at least, a paper wasp nest — makes an initial appearance in our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

Patricia Carey spotted it. She writes: “I think it’s really pretty (especially since there was no wasp activity!).”

(Photo/Patricia Carey)

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And finally … in honor of TAP Strength Lab’s upcoming event (see above):

 

 

Roundup: Suzuki Music, Suicide Prevention, Camp Gallery …

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Suzuki Music Schools is a scary place.

Well, at least the parking lot at 246 Post Road East will be, this Sunday, October 24.

Kids are invited to dress up in Halloween costumes, for the annual Spooky Suzuki Concert & Carnival. The 3 p.m. concert is followed by refreshments, activities and games. Game tickets must be purchased in advance. Click here for more information.

Participants can also donate to the “Color a Positive Thought” fundraiser, for underserved Bridgeport neighborhoods.

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Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-to-24-year-olds, and the second leading cause of death among college students. Earlier this year Kevin Kuczo, 17, of Fairfield lost his battle with depression. Before playing sports at Fairfield Warde High School, he was a proud member of the Fairfield County Football League’s Wildcats. Westport PAL is a member of the FCFL.

The league wants all youngsters to know that they are not alone during their darkest times — and to instill the importance for athletes to give back.

They’re collecting funds now for suicide prevention research and educational programs. They hope to ease the stigma surrounding suicide and its causes, and encourage those suffering from mental illness to seek treatment.

Donations — made out to FCFL — can be sent to 25 Thistle Road Norwalk, CT 06851. For more information, call Carmen Roda of Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department: 203-640-8085.

Kevin Kuczko

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The Camp Gallery hosts a special night this Friday (October 22, 6 to 8 p.m., 190 Main Street). The featured artist is German-born Dominik Schmitt; there’s live music too with Chris Coogan and Linda Couturas.

Artwork by Dominik Schmitt

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Debby Ury died Sunday at Norwalk Hospital, after a brief illness. She was 68 years old.

She grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts. Debby graduated in 1974 from Simmons College in Boston with a B.S. degree in nursing, then Boston University with a Master’s Degree in education.

She and her husband Frederic Ury moved to Westport in 1977. She began working at Danbury Hospital. She had a long career in the medical field, and ended her career teaching various medical courses at Norwalk Community College.

Debby was an avid fan of any sports team from Boston, and enjoyed watching her beloved Boston Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots play every year, whether they won or lost. She loved the Adirondack Mountains, and spent much of the last 35 years at the family’s log home in Lake Luzerne, NY.

Debby is survived by her husband Frederic S. Ury; children Jennifer (Jeff) Gornbein and Robert Ury; grandchildren Jacob and Benjamin Gornbein; brothers Bryce Conner and Justin St. James; sister-in-law Linda Ury Greenberg and her husband Ned Greenberg, and their children Captain Michael Greenberg and Amanda Pinkston.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 23 (Saugatuck Congregational Church, 10 a.m.). There will be an opportunity to greet the family prior to the service. at 9:15 a.m. Burial at Willowbrook Cemetery will immediately follow the service. Click here to leave online condolences.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Debby H. Ury Scholarship Fund, c/o Lake Luzerne Music Camp. 203 Lake Tour Rd., Lake Luzerne, NY 12846.

Debby Ury

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Hazel Saviano of Westport died peacefully last Thursday, surrounded by loved ones, at the Roseville Road home she was born in. She was 94 years old.

Hazel was the daughter of Martha Mills and George Lewis Sr. The family’s roots in Westport stretched back to the mid-1800’s. Hazel remembered trolley cars traversing Westport streets.

She was a school bus driver in Westport for over 35 years. When she retired in 2003 at the age of 76, she had safely delivered thousands of Westport children to and from school.

Her family says, “Her heart was big and her smile was infectious. All who knew her loved and adored her.”

Hazel was predeceased by her husband, retired Westport Police lieutenant John J. Saviano Jr.; sons John J. Saviano III and Lawrence Saviano, and siblings Edna Call, Vera Lewis and George Lewis, Jr.

She is survived by her daughters Marie Richards (Robert), Melinda Bonin (Glen), Cheryl Petrone (Tom); daughter-in-law, Debra Saviano; grandchildren Robert L. Richards Jr. (Dawn), Melissa Bailey (Ethan) and Michelle Saviano; great-grandchildren Dylan and Violet Bailey, and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Hazel’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Hazel Saviano

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“Westport … Naturally” often features creatures like praying mantises and deer. Today we go to the dogs.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … today in 1803, the US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

 

Roundup: Halloween Parade, Jeera Thai, Pickleball …

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In the winter of 2020. Jeff Manchester emailed “06880.” He was concerned about the “incredibly dumb placement” of a utility pole at the southwest corner of the Post Road West/Riverside Avenue intersection.  He sent this photo:

(Photo/Jeff Manchester)

Jeff warned: “It will surely result in a wedged tractor trailer at the intersection (trying to get back to I-95), or worse yet a fatality into the pole.”

There’s been no fatality yet. But yesterday, Jeff saw a bad accident right there. The pole leaned precariously against the building, as police and utility workers were figuring out what to do.

Moving forward, it’s a state road. The decision — to move the pole, or do something to the road — is in the Department of Transportation’s hands.

Don’t hold your breath.

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Get those costumes ready!

Westport’s annual Children’s Halloween Parade returns — after a year’s COVID absence — on Wednesday, October 27. Kids and parents meet on the Post Road at Main Street at 3:30 p.m.

The vent — for all children (“especially those 8 and under”) heads up Main Street, right on Avery Place, left on Myrtle Avenue, and ends at Town Hall and Veterans Green.

Children may trick or treat along Main Street, and in front of Town Hall. Entertainment, refreshments and a small gift will be provided n Veterans Green at 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Westport Parks and Recreation Department, the Downtown Merchants Association and Westport PAL.

Seen at a previous Halloween parade.

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Speaking of downtown: It has a new look.

On Saturday afternoon, 5 paintings were unveiled in the walkway to Bedford Square off Main Street. “Westport Illustrated” portrays the history — and future — of Westport.

The mural project is a collaboration between the Westport Arts Advisory Committee, David Adam Realty and Charter Realty & Development, with support from the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center.

From right to left: Eric Chiang, “A Vibrant New Community Unfurls”; Iyaba Ibo Mandigo, “The Ground Beneath Their Feet”; Hernan Garcia, “The Tides of Change”‘ Jana Ireijo,. “Keeping Memories Alive”; Rebecca Ross (Westport) “Westport of the Future: Circa 2070.”

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Alert “06880” readers know that Jeera Thai is one of my favorite restaurants. The fresh ingredients, wonderful spices and special flavors — all lovingly prepared — make every meal a treat.

Now my go-to spot is open 7 days a week.

They’ve announced 3 new weekly specials, too:
• Prawn phat phong karee กุ้งผัดผงกระหรี่
• Basil fried rice ข้าวผัดกระเพาะกุ้ง
• Panang curry with chicken แพนงไก่

Jeera Thai — across from Design Within Reach, next to Finalmente — is easy to overlook. But you shouldn’t!

Jeera Thai, nestled in a small space off the Post Road.

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A “Roundup” item last week about the Westport Astronomical Society‘s observance of Observe the Moon Night impelled Paul Delano to head to the observatory on Bayberry Lane.

He reports: “Everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. Quite a few people were checking out the view. It was a beautiful sky and great to use the telescopes to see the planets. It’s at the highest point in Westport, so it has a great view of the sky. That night the moon, Jupiter and Saturn were the brightest.

“I got a new camera and telephoto lens recently that I wanted to try out. They let me set up my tripod and camera. I was surprised I could see so much more than the naked eye.”

Paul sent along a couple of photos:

Westport Astronomical Observatory, and the moon. (Photo/Paul Delano)

Moon, from the observatory. (Photo/Paul Delano)

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The 2 pickleball courts at Compo Beach get plenty of action.

And when the pickleball players finish, they often hang around and chat. It’s a great sport — and a very social one.

The other day, the pickleballers outdid themselves. Here’s their feast:

To learn more about pickleball in Westport, email Tom Lowrie: tlowrie123@gmail.com.

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A first-ever International Market & Festival is set this Saturday (October 23, noon to 5 p.m.) at Lachat Town Farm in Weston.

It features include vendors representing various countries, cultural music and dance, and markets with food from countries like Italy, France, Kenya, Pakistan, Brazil, Peru, India, Japan, Romania and Mexico. Children will receive a “passport” they can fill up as they visit each exhibit.

Tickets are $20 per family. Click here for more information.

Westport celebrates jUNe Day. This Saturday, Weston hosts its own International & Festival. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

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Westport artist Kelly Rossetti is a featured artist at the Norwalk Art Space’s next exhibition (October 28 through December 2).

An opening reception on October 28 (6 to 9 p.m.) includes a DJ, dance performances, and the indie pop and folk duo East River. Click here for more information.

Kelly Rossetti

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is all about dogwood berries. Scott Smith writes:

“We all get festive celebrating the blossoming of our lovely native dogwood trees early each spring. But Cornus florida deserves a special shoutout this fall.

“The profusion of red berries is the most vibrant I can recall. Whether it’s the summer that just won’t quit or the autumn that can’t get started, I don’t know, but I’m enjoying it.

“So too are the many birds that flock to this windfall of nutrient-rich berries. Robins in particular squabble over the berry-laden dogwood in my yard, even though there’s more than enough to go around. Let’s hope the birds spread the seeds of these treats far and wide.”

(Photo/Scott Smith)

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And finally … Peter Tosh was born today in 1944. From 1963 to 1976 he, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer were the heart of the reggae band the Wailers. He then became a successful solo artist. He was killed in 1987 during a home invasion, at age 42.

Roundup: Community Garden, Dog Fest, More Marathon …

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The Westport Community Gardens are one of our town’s true hidden gems.

Located just south of Long Lots Elementary School, they’re more than a place to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers — though the dozens of plots are great for that.

It’s also (as the name says) a true community. Gardeners trade tips, bounty and gossip. They socialize, and throw parties. They nurture the soil, and friendships.

A few openings may come up soon. Some more may be available next spring. Westport residents and Westport town employees are eligible. To get on the waitlist, click here.

Remember: The early bird gets the worm.

Taking a quick break at the Westport Community Gardens.

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Among the winners at yesterday’s Dog Festival: Oliver, with best trick. He did a few sits, downs and shakes. His grand finale was a “big baby”: He jumped into owner Scott Martin’s arms.

Afterward, he posed (below) with Scott Martin, and kids Cody and Emrys Martin.

Missed all the action? What a bitch!

But the next Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Dog Fest is less than a year away. In 2022, it returns to its regular spring slot.

(Photo/Kelsey Martin)

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Yesterday’s Roundup highlighted Todd Suchotliff. A newcomer to town, he’ll be running during next Sunday’s New York Marathon — through Westport. It’s a fundraiser for his mother, who died of leukemia 9 years ago tomorrow.

He created a Google Sheet — with mile markers and approximate times — for people to sign up to run or cheer for each mile along the route. He will start at 9 a.m., and plans to run an 8:42 mile pace.

For more information, email coachtoddwestport@gmail.com. To donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, click here.

Todd Suchotliff and his kids.

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Bamboo grows wild — and rapidly — in Westport.

I wrote about it in 2013. It continues today, as this “Westport … Naturally” photo from Narrow Rocks Road, off South Compo, shows.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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And finally … happy 74th birthday to Laura Nyro. The singer/songwriter made many great recordings. But she’s best known for the many artists that had great success covering her tunes.

JC Martin adds: “Laura lived in Danbury for many years, and recorded some of her last material in a studio she built on her property. It was one of the first studios to have a separate floor for the drummer, detached from the rest of the band. For ‘Mother’s Spiritual’ she brought in Todd Rundgren to help produce some of those songs, along with her friend and Danbury neighbor Felix Cavaliere.

“She died of ovarian cancer in Danbury in 1997, at 49. Her ashes were scattered beneath a maple tree on the grounds of her house.”

Roundup: Car Robbery, NY Marathon, Election Debate …

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The weather was great — and crowds large — for yesterday’s Westoberfest.

It wasn’t just about the craft beers. Among the scenes at the Westport Downtown Association-sponsored event: fun for kids.

(Photo/JC Martin)

A Post Road West business owner writes:

A technician was in my store Thursday evening, fixing our Wifi network and cameras.

Around 10 p.m. he saw a guy trying to break into his car, which was parked in front. He banged on the window to get him to stop. He didn’t want to step outside, because the man had a backpack. My network guy didn’t know if there was a weapon inside.

My guy called the police. The cops arrived very quickly.

Incredibly, while waiting for the police, my guy started praying for a safe resolution. When he looked outside, the robber stopped trying to break into the car. He started sobbing and praying as well.

My guy said that somehow his prayer had something to do with the change of heart of the would-be robber.

The police took him in without incident. But they said that was the third call of a car break-in that night.

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Todd Suchotliff moved to Westport this summer. He’s enjoyed running through town. Next Sunday (October 24) he’ll run the New York Marathon — right here.

He encourages his new neighbors (and strangers!) to cheer him on, or join him for part of the route.

It’s his 9th straight NYC Marathon — and the 2nd virtual one. He runs in memory of his mother, who died of chronic lymphocytic leukemia 9 years ago this Tuesday. It’s his way of keeping her fighting spirit alive (and supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — click here to help).

Todd has been training with his kids, and been motivated by the beauty of Westport.

His long runs start at his home on River Lane. He goes down Wilton Road, across the Saugatuck, up Cross Highway to Sturges Highway, down across Post Road to Greens Farms Road, turning at Hillspoint Road to Compo and through Longshore, then back across the Saugatuck on Bridge Street, up to Wilton Road and home.

“I realize it looks crazy, written out like that,” todd says. “But that’s more or less (actually more) the marathon route.”

His shorter runs, with his kids, include Compo and Longshore. They finish at the beach playground, and top the day off with donuts from Coffee An’ on the way home.

Todd Suchotliff and his kids.

Todd’s “NYC Marathon” route through Westport.

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As the days dwindle before the election, the League of Women Voters Westport is gearing up for a pair of debates. They’re set for Monday and Tuesday, October 25 and 26 (7 to 9 p.m.).

The first debate includes candidates for first and second selectmen, and the Boards of Finance and Assessment Appeals.

The second is for the Board of Education, and Planning & Zoning Commission.

Candidates will be in Town Hall, but there is no live audience. The debates can be watched on Cablevision Channel 79, or livestreamed from the town website.

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There must be a reason this driver chose this parking spot at Long Lots Elementary School.

But I sure don’t know what it is.

Guesses are welcome. Click “Comments” below.

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In the midst of COVID, Staples High School Class of 2002 graduate Sarah Kesselman and her boyfriend Hermes Arriola filmed a series for YouTube. it features snacks from other countries.

It was a hit. Viewers soon sent in their own snacks,. Sarah likes the sweet ones; Hermes, the salty ones. Hence the name: “Salty and Sweet.”

Click here for the channel. below to enjoy “Oreos from Around the the World.” Who knew?

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Halloween comes early to the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Nest Saturday (October 23, 5 to 6:30 p.m.) — 8 days before the holiday — they’re sponsoring a “Spooktacular,” for children 10 and under.

Events include costumes, cookie decorating, Halloween crafts, face painting, ring toss, bean bag throw, and free play in the gym.

The cost is $5 per child. A parent or caregiver must attend. Click here to register.

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Speaking of the Y: Collette Winn took today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo at the parking lot there.

I wonder: “Y” did these 2 birds choose that particular car?

(Photo/Collette Winn)

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And finally … happy 79th birthday to Gary Puckett!

 

Roundup: WWPT, Afghan Refugees, Dog Festival …

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They might have to rename the John Drury Awards “The WWPT Awards.”

For the squintillionth year in a row, Staples’ FM radio station cleaned up in the annual high school broadcast competition.

The station — 90.3 on your dial! — won 4 categories earlier this month:

  • Best Radio Drama — Original or Adaptation (“The Wizard of Oz,” with Staples Players)
  • Best Sportscast (Zach Brody)
  • Best Sports Talk Program (“Bold Predictions,” with Rory Tarsy, Max Udell and Caleb Tobias)
  • Best Sports Play-by-Play (FCIAC lacrosse championship, Staples vs. Darien, with Cam Manna and Max Dorsey).

Radio is alive and well. Congratulations to all, and of course to instructor Geno Heiter.

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Westporters have responded generous to a call to help Afghan refugees resettling in the area.

A final collection of needed items is set for this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17, 12 to 3 p.m.).

Men’s and women’s coats; teen and children warm clothes; boots, scarves, warm hats and umbrellas; backpacks filled with school supplies, and household toiletries, towels and cleaning supplies can all be dropped off at  Greens Farms Congregational Church.

Backpacks and school supplies are among the items needed for Afghan refugees.

 

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The weather looks great for tomorrow’s oft-postponed Dog Festival.

The event is set for Sunday (October 17, Winslow Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS, it features demonstrations, fun competitions, police K-9 presentations, kids’ activities, vendors, food trucks, a special appearance by Piglet (the blind and deaf chihuahua) and more.

Tickets are $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4. Dogs go free. Proceeds benefit non-profit organizations.

Dog owners can register for the competitions online or at the festival.

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Interested in the kind of world today’s students will inherit? Do you have ideas how our schools can prepare them for it?

The Westport Public Schools invites all Westporters to an Education Summit next Wednesday (October 20, 6 to 8 p.m., Bedford Middle School auditorium).

Futurist Michael Weiss offers a keynote address, then lead an interactive discussion. It’s part of superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice’s Strategic Plan, aimed at taking our district into the next decade and beyond.

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Three residents of the Gillespie Center are moving on to permanent supportive housing.

Homes with Hope is proud of the success of these formerly homeless men. And they’re asking Westporters to help them succeed.

They’ve created a Signup Genius for donations of bedding, household items, furniture and gift cards. Click here to help.

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Fred Cantor is many things: an attorney, off-Broadway and documentary producer, longtime Westporter and avid “06880” reader.

he’s also the author of “Fred from Fresh Meadows,” a memoir of his many years as a New York Knicks fan.

Now the NBA team has repaid the honor.

A 15-second commercial spot featuring Fred, his brother’s older son and brother’s almost 3-year-old grandson premiered last night, during a Knicks preseason game.

It’s part of an MSG Network promotional campaign spotlighting diehard fans. Fred’s spot focuses on his book, and his 6 decades of fandom.

It was filmed earlier this month in the schoolyard behind his former elementary school in Queens.

Fred Cantor (right), being filmed with his nephew Sam and great-nephew Brody.

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It’s been a while since we ran an osprey update. The other day, Franco Fellah spotted this young bird in the trees over the Saugatuck River, opposite his office on Riverside Avenue. Ospreys epitomize “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

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And finally … on this date in 1875, Brigham Young University was founded in Provo, Utah.

Roundup: Supply Chain, Air-Cooled Autos, Entitled Cars …

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David Pogue’s “CBS Sunday Morning” reports are always entertaining — and informative. If you’re not a regular viewer — you should be.

Yesterday’s was particularly educational. It was also quite local.

Our Westport neighbor explained the supply chain crisis — why so many goods are not on shelves, despite gluts — with an opening and closing at the Southport Diner.

Owner Tony Pertesis explains — in clear, direct diner-speak exactly why his customers can’t always count on things as basic as Gatorade and whipped butter. Pogue adds the rest.

Bottom line: Toilet paper hoarding is back. Just in time for the holidays. Click below to see:

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Air-cooled cars stopped traffic along Myrtle Avenue yesterday. They vehicles were parked — and exhibited — on Veterans Green. Sponsored by the Small Car Company, the show raised money for Person-to-Person in Norwalk.

Westport-based Small Car Company — a club for air-cool aficionados — is loosely connected to the car dealership of the same name. It was located on Post Road West, diagonally across from Kings Highway Elementary School. Today we know it as Carvana.

Seen at Veteran’s Green. (Photo/Sarathi Roy)

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Speaking of cars downtown: “06880’s” Entitled Parking feature has very high standards. We now only post photos of cars that take up 3 spaces (or more). Two spots is waaaaay too common.

But today is an exception. This is a true “2-fer”: a pair of cars, each hogging two parkin spaces in the Baldwin lot.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Not too bad, you say?

Look at it this way. If everyone parked like that, the lot would have exactly half the capacity it does now.

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It’s always important to give blood. Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., VFW, 465 Riverside Avenue) you can donate in honor of a Westporter.

The Charley with a Y Foundation is sponsoring the event. “Charley” was Marine LCPL Charles Rochlin. The 2003 Staples High School graduate spent 7 months in Iraq. He was on leave in Westport when he died in an automobile accident.

Click here for an appointment (use sponsor code VFWWestport), or call 1-800-733-2767.

LCPL Charley Rochlin

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Genevieve Bouchard — owner of Scout & Molly’s, the women’s clothing boutique in Playhouse Square — recently lost her mother, Chantal Haskew.

At her death, the frequent Westport visitor and talented artist was one of the longest living liver transplant patients in the US. She lived one-third of her life because in 1995 a stranger donated organs. Thanks to her liver, Chantal enjoyed the weddings of her 5 children, and the joys of her 8 grandchildren.

In honor of her mom — and all the organ donors out there — Scout & Molly’s is hosting a special shopping day. This Thursday (October 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), a portion of all sales will be donated to Donate Life America.

Transplant recipients will be there, telling stories of their second chances at life.

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A few tickets remain for this Friday’s (October 15, Fairfield Theater Company) “Evening of Motown” benefit for CLASP Homes.

Band Central — “music with a purpose” — will perform America’s favorite hits. Proceeds support CLASP’s work. The Westport non-profit supports adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities, through group homes and enrichment programs.

$40 tickets include a pre-party with lite bites. Art by CLASP residents will be on display. Click here to purchase.

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Congratulations to the Westport Soccer Association’s U-11 blue team. They played 4 games in one day, and won the Bethel Columbus Day tournament.

Top row (left to right): head coach Bardhl Limani, James Tansley, Luke Shiel, John Walker, Peter Shakos, Lochlann Treanor, Nicolas Barreto, assistant coach Jeffery Holl, Bottom: Mason Holl, Atticus Lavergne, Andrew Floto, Matthew Alfaro, Zylan Wang.

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Nearly every holiday, “06880” runs a photo of Jolantha the Pig. For 20 years, the figure has sat — visibly and beloved — on Weston’s Kellogg Hill Road.

Of course, there’s a great back story. To learn more, click below:

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It’s juniper berry season. Peter Gold captured this shot on Old Road, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” series.

(Photo/Peter Gold)

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And finally … in honor of junipers:

 

Roundup: Candidates, Chores, Irene Backalenick …

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A sure sign of fall: Our yards and traffic islands sprout dozens of signs for political candidates.

If you’d like to base your chose on more than placards, pencil in next Tuesday (October 12, noon, Westport Library and streaming). The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Library team up for a debate between the candidates vying for 1st selectman and 2nd selectmen: Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore (Republicans), Jonathan Steinberg and Candi Savin (Democrats), and TJ Elgin and Louis D’Onofrio (independents). Chamber director Matthew Mandell will moderate.

Click here for in-person tickets, and more information. It’s available on Cablevision Channel 79, and will also be archived.

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Another sign of autumn: As leaves fall and Westporters prepare for winter, many senior citizens need help.

The Department of Human Services hopes that seniors (in high school) — and juniors, sophomores and freshmen, plus middle schoolers — can help.

The DHS is compiling a list of students willing to help with outdoor chores. The suggested rate is $12 an hour.

Students interested in helping seniors (and earning money) should call 203-341-1050, or email humansrv@westportct.gov. Seniors needing assistance should also call 203-341-1050.

Need help bagging leaves? Human Services have kids for hire.

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Irene Backalenick turned 100 in August.

The former New York Times theater critic celebrated by publishing 143 of her reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

The collection spans the last 11 years of her career (2004 to 2015). Her final Broadway review was “Hamilton.”

Click here to order “In the Theater World.”

Irene Backalenick

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Caryl Beatus is one of “06880”‘s most avid readers — and frequent, insightful contributors.

She’s also a longtime golfer. Yesterday the Longshore Women’s Golf Association honored the founding (and 61-year) member, at the annual event named for her.

Caryl hit the ceremonial first shot. Fore!

Caryl Beatus was — as the golf cart says — Longshore’s “Queen for a Day.” (Photo/Mark Farrell)

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Bill Taibe is CRAzy.

Or at least, the owner of The Whelk, Don Memo and Kawa Ni is the 2021 Restaurateur of the Year, according to the Connecticut Restaurant Association. The organization — “CRA” — will present it’s “CRAzy Award” on December 6.

Taibe was chosen by a panel of more than 2 dozen food writers, critics, social media influencers and bloggers.

Meanwhile, the public can vote for other honors. Among the nominees: Taibe’s own Don Memo (Newcomer of the Year), and OKO (Restaurant of the Year, Fairfield and Litchfield Counties). Click here to see all nominations, and cast a ballot.

Bill Taibe

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For the second time this year, a Staples High School swim and dive team record fell.

The meet with Westhill came down to the final event. The 400 meter freestyle relay would determine the outcome. The Wreckers won in 4:10.46, earning the very tight 93-92 win.

The record-setting swim came from freshman Annam Olasewere. Her 26.15 time in the 50 meter free beat her previous record of 26.48, set just last week. She also won the 100 meter free.

The Wreckers are now 3-2. They’re in action next on Friday, vs. Greenwich (4 p.m., Staples).

Annam Olasewere (far left) earlier this month, with her 400 meter freestyle relay team (from left): Ayaan Olasewere , Ella Alpert, Jessica Qi,

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Susan Fehlinger is the Westport Book Shop’s guest artist this month. She’s an oil painter. The exhibit includes 12 coastal paintings. It’s open during business hours, at the popular used bookstore on Jesup Green.

Susan Fehlinger, at the Westport Book Shop.

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Halloween comes a day early to the Westport Country Playhouse.

The historic theater presents “Spectres and Spirits” — an original, 30-minute radio play – on October 30 (12 p.m., WSHU-FM).

It’s the work of frequent Playhouse collaborator (and macabre-minded) Richard R. Henry. John Gromada contributes clever sound design. To learn more and listen, click here.

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The other day, “Westport … Naturally” featured a monarch butterfly being eaten by a praying mantis.

Here’s one that lived:

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … Long before Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, Millie Small put Jamaica on the musical map. She was born today in 1947. She died May 5, 2020, at 72.