Category Archives: Sports

Roundup: Flags, Trash, Blood …

Westport just celebrated our annual, wonderful. warm and welcoming jUNe Day.

So let’s start the week with a jUNe Day complaint.

A reader sends this photo —

— and writes:

“I noticed that the Russian flag is flying on the bridge — next to the American flag.

“Shouldn’t that flag come done while we are boycotting and protesting Russia’s invasion of sovereign Ukraine? Additionally, the Russian flag is right at the center of the bridge, next to the American flag — certainly a special spot. Can the town change the flags to reflect the current state of affairs?”

Well!

I’ve always been told the flags fly in alphabetical order. Right now, 193 countries are members of the UN. I did not count the flags this year. Besides, I’m no flags-of-the-world expert, so I can’t answer whether they are in alphabetical order or not.

(I would have contacted the Department of Public Works, which sets up and removes the flags each year, but they were closed for the weekend.)

My next thought: Maybe Russia still goes by its former name — the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That would, amazingly, put it smack next to the United States.

I checked the UN website. Nope: It’s “Russian Federation.”

Then I wondered if the DPW simply uses the same list year after year. The wheels of municipal government grind slowly, but I can’t imagine they’d use a list from the last century without anyone noticing.

Finally, I wondered: What are those other flags next to Russia?

The one on its right seems to be Romania  — which, alphabetically, comes right before Russia.

The one on the left — interrupted by the US — appears to be Rwanda. Bingo!

Perhaps the American flag is placed smack in the middle of the bridge because, hey, this is our country — and Russia just happens, ironically, to be where it is by the luck of the alphabet.

At any rate, there’s no reason to remove the Russian flag, even if the country is an international pariah.

This was jUNe Day, after all.

хорошего дня!

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But wait!

The photo above was taken yesterday, during the reproductive rights rally.

The day before, Joel Treisman took a video of the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. It showed a different arrangement of flags flanking ours:

What’s going on?

Sounds like a case for Interpol!

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A flag kerfuffle and looming constitutional crisis notwithstanding, this was a perfect weekend for a walk at the beach.

My path took me along Bradley Street. I spotted this subtle — but hopefully strong — reminder to dog owners: Their lawn is not a canine crapper.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

I also noticed an astonishing amount of trash left on the tables outside the Hook’d concession stand, under the brick pavilion roof, and on South Beach.

How difficult is it to take your trash 5 steps to the nearby receptacle?

Westporters love to say, “This is our beach.”

Let’s treat it that way!

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The need for blood is constant.

Kick off the holiday weekend by doing something for others. VFW Post 399 hosts its 24th straight monthly Red Cross blood drive this Friday (July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 465 Riverside Avenue).

Click here for an appointment.

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Cheese Fries & Froot Loops” — the true, moving and humorous one-man show written and performed by Weston native Chris Fuller about his attempt to make it to the PGA Tour while struggling with bipolar mental illness — debuted at Fairfield Theater Company last month.

It led to an invitation to perform at the United Solo Theater Festival in New York this fall.

First though, Fuller plans 2 shows here, to benefit the Artists Collective of Westport: July 23 and 24, 8 p.m. at the Westport Woman’s Club.

The suggestion donation is $15 a tickets, and includes complimentary wine and cheese.. Funds raised will help provide art supplies and activities to those in need. For reservations, email aspetuck@optonline.net or call 203-349-8786

Fuller — son of famed author John G. Fuller and playwright Elizabeth Fuller — will give away copies of his book “Goodnight, Golf!” after an on-stage putting contest during the show.

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Dennis Poster died at home, surrounded by his family. on Friday. He was 82.

The Syracuse native, and Syracuse University graduate ran specialist books on the New York Mercantile Exchange and American Stock Exchange. He later managed D.B. Poster Associates, working from Connecticut to be closer to his family.

He was on the Executive Committee of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Dean Council, was emeritus chair of the JHE Foundation, and served on the boards of The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund, Save our Strays and The Compass Fund. He was also a trustee for The Aronson Family Foundation, which supports education, the arts, healthcare, and animal rescue charities.

Dennis loved golf, Pepe’s Pizza, DQ Blizzards, blackjack, backgammon, Shark Tank, watching CNBC, his cat Shadow, feeding the surrounding wildlife by his home, and most importantly, his family.

He had a near 50-year Father’s Day tradition of mini-golfing with his daughters, and then his grandchildren. He played semi-pro golf, and often joined pro-am golf tournaments with friends. He once shot a 66 at Winged Foot.

Dennis had a big heart, a warm soul and was fiercely loyal to his family and friends. We will miss his contagious chuckle, generosity, sage advice and especially his love.

Dennis is survived by his wife, Joan of 57 years; daughters Meredith and Cindy (David) of Westport; grandchildren Hannah, Lillie, Matthew, Max, Jack and Sam; brother Greg and sister Wendy.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and Let’s Win Pancreatic Cancer.

Dennis Poster

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It took 4 years of nursing — inside her house, and on her deck — but Wendy Levy finally got her passionflower to bloom.

What a colorful way to start our “Westport … Naturally” week!

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … today is National Orange Blossom Day. How will you celebrate?

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Jean Louisa Kelly: “Anything Can Happen”

“Anything can happen,” Jean Louisa Kelly says.

And in her life, just about anything has.

Soloing in her 2nd grade Christmas play in a Worcester suburb ignited an interest in performing. She took ballet, tap, jazz dance and voice lessons. A teacher encouraged her to audition for “Annie,” at Rhode Island’s Theater by the Sea.

At 11 years old, she landed the role.

The next summer, she was Annie at the Candlewood Playhouse. Regional theater followed; then came a New York talent competition, an agent, and a role in the original 1987 Broadway production of “Into the Woods.” Her movie debut followed 2 years later, as Tia in “Uncle Buck.”

Jean Louisa Kelly, in “Annie” …

After Columbia University, Kelly’s career continued to flourish, with “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”

… and as Rowena Morgan in “Mr. Holland’s Opus” …

She met Jimmy Pitaro right after college. They married; she was booked for a new NBC series, “Cold Feet,” to be filmed in Vancouver.

They sold their New York apartment. Pitaro quit his law firm. They moved to Canada, where she filmed 8 episodes. Four were shown; suddenly, it was canceled.

Kelly and Pitaro drove south, and settled in Los Angeles. He got a job with a start-up; she got a job with CBS. For 6 years, she played Kim on “Yes, Dear.”

… and Kim Warner in “Yes, Dear.”

After their first child was born, Kelly pulled back a bit from acting. Pitaro’s career — he was now at Disney — took off.

In March of 2018, Pitaro was named chairman of ESPN. She wrapped up shooting for “Top Gun: Maverick.” Then the family — including their kids Sean and Josy — moved east.

They’d been intrigued by Westport for years, ever since visiting a college friend of Kelly’s here. The location — midway between ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut headquarters and its New York City office — made it a perfect choice.

They’ve loved Westport. After a bit of adjustment, their children thrived. Sean makes music, boxes with Rich Dean and works out with Lynroy Henry; Josy performs with Staples Players, and works with Cynthia Gibb’s Triple Threat Academy.

Kelly — who learned to audition from home during COVID, and landed roles in “Call of the Wild” and “Malignant” — began thinking of returning to the stage.

“I was living in the same town as Kelli O’Hara!” she laughs. “So it was time to go back to class.”

Jean Louisa Kelly

She studied in New York with Richard Sabellico — the man who had directed her in “Annie” at 11 years old. He encouraged her to create her own show.

She did. And on Saturday, July 9 she’ll debut “Anything Can Happen” — the title comes from that quote about her life — at Norwalk’s Music Theater of Connecticut. It’s a musical look at her life, and it promises to be great.

Encouraged by her screenwriter friend Gigi New, and with tweaks after a small March performance, Kelly has crafted an intriguing and inspirational look at her theatrical life.

Her musical director and pianist is Weston’s Emmy and Grammy-winning Paul Bogaev. His film credits include “Chicago,” “Nine,” “Dreamgirls,” “Across the Universe,” “Mulan” and “The Lion King”; he’s worked on Broadway shows like “Aida,” “Tarzan,” Sunset Boulevard” and “Les Miserables,” and TV productions of “Cinderella,” “South Pacific” — and “Annie.”

Kelly is no slouch as a musician herself. She’s released 2 EPs of original songs, one of standards, and a children’s album.

Anything can happen. For Jean Louisa Kelly, on July 9 everything will.

(Click here for tickets to the 8 p.m. performance on July 9 of “Anything Can Happen.”)

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Staples’ Newest Team: The Wranglers

When COVID hit and most kids went stir crazy, a few Bedford Middle School students went (socially distanced) fishing.

With YouTube videos, Google Earth and language arts teacher/avid fisherman Steve Rexford as guides, the 8th graders learned all they could about many kinds of fishing. Fly, saltwater, freshwater, night, ice fishing — they did it all.

At a private pond in Norwalk, they met Stamford firefighter Dave Bocchetta. Rather than kicking them out, he became their mentor.

Dave told the boys — by then, they were Staples High School freshmen — about a high school bass fishing competition.

To enter, they formed Staples’ first bass fishing team.

(From left): Dave Bocchetta, Josh Ginsburg, Preston Siroka and friends.

Throughout the spring, Josh Ginsburg and Preston Siroka have gotten up on Saturday mornings at — are you sitting down? — 4 a.m. They meet Dave, and competed in tournaments.

After the first 3 meets, Staples is in 7th place, out of 19 teams. Not bad for a bunch of rookies.

Also not bad: their name.

Josh and Preston call themselves the Wranglers — a combination of “Wreckers” and “anglers.”

With that persistence and creativity, this group will go places.

Like, wherever the bass are biting.

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Title IX: 50 Years Of Girls Sports Progress

In 1964, coach Jinny Parker’s 440 relay team– Joy Wassell, Mary Gail Horelick, Susan Tefft and Donna Jackson — set a national record: 53.7 seconds.

They were all Staples High School students. But they were a club team, not a varsity sport. Back then, the only official track team was for boys.

Girls had just 3 interscholastic options: field hockey in fall, basketball in winter (6-vs.-6; 3 players on each side of the court, to minimize running and sweating), softball in the spring.

Staples’ 1954-55 girls basketball team.

That’s ancient history, it seems. Today, Staples fields more girls teams than boys. Many — including soccer and field hockey — are perennial state title contenders. They draw large crowds, including proud fathers and young girls who aspire to one day be Wreckers themselves.

Staples’ girls soccer team is the defending state champion. (Photo/JC Martin)

But the growth of girls sports is relatively new. It was kick-started exactly 50 years ago — on June 23, 1972 — when President Nixon signed into law Title IX.*

The federal civil rights statute — really, just 37 words tucked inside much broader education legislation — prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

(Interestingly, the words “sports,” “athletics” and “physical education” appear nowhere in the text.)

In 1970-71, coach Marianne Harrison’s girls basketball team played its first official FCIAC season. The rules had changed the previous year to be similar to the boys game — but they still wore bloomers.

Girls sports have evolved enormously over 5 decades. Staples now offers 19  interscholastic sports for girls, 18 for boys. Sailing is co-ed.

(Wrestling is listed as a boys sport, and competitive and sideline cheerleading for girls. Both genders are eligible to try out for those teams, though the number is small.)

There are nearly 2,000 students at Staples, in grades 9 through 12. More than half — 1,018 — played at least one interscholastic sport this year, at the varsity, junior varsity or reserve level.

There are more male athletes (573) than female (445). But that’s a lot more than the few dozen girls who competed when Title IX was enacted.

Staples’ Marisa Shorrock and a Greenwich High player fight for a loose ball in 2020. Coach Paco Fabian’s team had just won their state quarterfinal game, and were favorites to win the state title, when COVID ended the season.

So, “06880” wants to know: How has Title IX impacted your sports life?

Women: What opportunities has it offered you — or what did you miss?

Girls: Are there any differences between your sports experiences today, and those of your brothers and male friends?

Men: Are your daughters’ athletic careers any different from your sisters’, female friends — or mothers’?

Tell us your stories! Click “Comments” below.

And then raise a stein to Title IX.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

*The Watergate break-in took place on June 17, 1972 — just 6 days earlier. Less than a week separated one of the highs of President Nixon’s administration, and one of its lows.

Staples had very few girls sports before Title IX. But in the 1930s, they did have a girls rifle team. (The boys had one too.) This 1936 yearbook photo, with coach Walter Stevenson, called them “Annie Oakleys.”

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Remembering Tom Hofstetter

Longtime Westporter Tom Hofstetter — whose civic involvement in Westport included Sunrise Rotary, sports, the arts, his church and more —  died peacefully last week in Aiken, South Carolina. He was 90.

The Baltimore native majored in history at Washington College, then attended the University of Maryland Law School. After training at the Army Intelligence School, he served as an undercover CIC agent in Japan and Korea, at the end of the Korean War.

Back in the US, he obtained credentials from a small Maryland newspaper, and traveled to Cuba to report on the revolution there. He endured a restaurant bombing, and had weapons pointed in his face.

Returning to Baltimore, Tom worked in sales with Dun & Bradstreet, then transitioned into the brokerage business with Merrill Lynch. He became Walston & Company’s Northeastern sales manager, while completing courses at the University of Pennsylvania’s Investment Banking Institute.

Tom proposed to his wife Sally the first day he met her, at a Sunday morning church service.

He worked closely with Maryland’s governor and Baltimore’s mayor on many civic initiatives. He held leadership positions on the Baltimore Jail Board, Airport Planning Commission, Jaycees and Tourism Commission, and Fort McHenry. In 1964 he ran as the Republican candidate for Maryland’s 7th US Congressional District.

After moving to Westport in 1969, Tom served as vice president at Walston’s New York headquarters, and was active at the New York Stock Exchange. He led their first national marketing conference, and was pivotal in the exchange’s expansion into insurance and annuity sales.

ThomasHofstetter

After Wall Street, he opened Westport’s first brokerage branch. He built an extensive brokerage presence in Fairfield County, as Salomon Smith Barney’s vice president of investments.

He also traveled throughout Europe, in Hungary and Slovenia prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain. He sailed extensively too, on his sailboat moored at Compo Beach.

In Westport Tom founded the Sunrise Rotary Club, and served as president of Little League. He was also chief of the Tanka Tiki Indians – YMCA Indian Guides; board member of the Westport-Weston Foundation; board member of the Westport Historical Society; deacon of Greens Farms Congregational Church; 2-term master of Masonic Lodge #65; president of the Norwalk Symphonic Orchestra, and chairman of the board of Ashlar of Newtown, a skilled nursing facility.

In retirement Tom spent time at his Vermont cabin of 30 years, exploring the back country. He and Sally also traveled through the Caribbean, Russia, the Cape of Good Hope and the Arctic. He became a scholar of Arctic history and a collector of Inuit art, traveling extensively by light aircraft and Russian icebreaker to the far reaches of the area.

Relocating to Aiken in 1998, Tom promoted the arts. He served as president of the Augusta Opera, co-founder and past chairman of the Aiken Symphony, founder of the Aiken Opera Society, and trustee of Friends of Hopelands and Rye Patch, Inc.

He also created Aiken Performing Arts, which introduced the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra to the area in 2005. He brought in world-class artists, while creating outreach opportunities through master classes and more.

Tom is survived by Sally, his wife of 62 year; son Thomas C. Hofstetter III, daughter Kimberly Dracon, 5 grandsons and sister Joyce May.

Funeral services are set for Saturday, June 25 in Aiken. Tom will be laid to rest on Thursday, June 30 in Westport, at a private family burial.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, 262 East Gate Drive #440, Aiken, SC 29803.

Pic Of The Day #1889

Stand-up paddleboards for rent on the Saugatuck (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

Roundup: Staples Basketball, Starbucks Accident, Strange Sign …

The new boys basketball coach at Staples High School is a familiar face.

Assistant coach Dave Goldshore replaces head coach Colin Devine. The 15-year veteran stepped down, to pursue administrative opportunities.

Goldshore — a former basketball star and quarterback at Horace Greeley High in Chappaqua, New York — got the coaching bug as University of Michigan student manager during the “Fab Five” era.

He cites the influence of his own high school coaches, for helping shape his values. “It’s an honor to give back,” says Goldshore, who began assisting Devine in 2017.

“I have big shoes to fill,” he notes. His goal is to “continue building a program that prides itself on class, competitive spirit and community.”

Goldshore has been Staples’ defensive coordinator. Offensively, his philosophy is to “empower kids to pay to their strengths.” He also calls himself “a big culture guy,” in areas like spirit and accountability.

A Westport resident since 2004, nd president of a technology staffing firm, Goldshore calls it “an honor and privilege to represent Staples basketball in my town.”

Dave Goldshore

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The line of cars waiting on the Post Road to turn into the Starbucks drive-thru has been described as “an accident waiting to happen.”

There was one yesterday. It involved only a single vehicle:

I’m not quite sure how this happened. Yet if I had to go out on a limb (or a boulder), I’d bet my house on: texting.

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Speaking of bad parking:

Sure, the “06880” bar for “entitled parking” photos is usually high: 3 spaces or more.

But I’m posting this. with “only” 2 spots today because it is so breathtakingly selfish.

“06880” readers can’t make their usual excuses, like “maybe it was a medical emergency” or “what if the brakes failed?”

Parking is tight in Brooks Corner. Merchants there deserve all the help they can get.

And no, police can’t ticket this Very Important Driver. It’s a private lot.

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For a while, a homemade anti-Biden sign greeted visitors coming off Merritt Parkway Exit 42, at the entrance to a driveway on Main Street, between St. George Place and Wassell Lane.

Now there’s a newer, more aggressive one:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

It’s clear the homeowner doesn’t like our president.

I wonder who he voted for, though. Once the January 6 hearings are over, I’ll try to figure out who that “guy that put America first” could possibly be.

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Seen at last night’s Yankee Doodle Fair: the Westport 9U district travel baseball team.

(Photo/Stephanie Mastocciolo)

The fair continues tonight (Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.), tomorrow (Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m.), and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.), at the Westport Woman’s Club grounds by the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

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A new store is coming to 46-48 Post Road East, next to Tiffany.

Blue & Cream is a “fashion-forward boutique brand operating in the Hamptons and NYC.” No word on when it will open.

The new home of Blue & Cream (left).

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There’s a new way to get to Sherwood Island this summer.

Wheels2UWestport’s Park Connect service provides free weekend rides to and from anywhere in its service area to Connecticut’s first state park.

Riders can use the same Wheels2U app they use for rides to and from Westport’s 2 train stations.  Click here for more information.

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Saugatuck Rowing Club had a successful week at the USRowing National Youth Championships in Sarasota, Florida.

The U17 4+ squad (Madeline Casano) Anne Cuesta, Ella Hecker, Hannah Makmale, Maddiel Speller) defender the club’s national title.

The U17 8+ (Rosie Lundberg, Victoria Bazarko, Claudia Chadwick, Alexandra Cowan, Maia Freeman, Leighton Davis, Mia Kirkorsky, Phoebe Bryan and Charlotte Seymour) took bronze, while the girls’ first and second varsity 8s placed 7th and 8th, respectively.

The boys’ first varsity 8 finished 6th. The U16 8+ was 6th, the 2V 8+ took 7th, and U17 4+ 7th, and the U17 4x 17th.

Saugatuck Rowing Club’s national champion U17 4+ team (from left): Maddie Speller, Anna Cuesta, Hannah Makmale, Ella Hecker, Madeline Casano.

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It’s a gray morning. But Jonathan Prager’s “Westport … Naturally” Owenoke Park rose photo will brighten this — or any — day.

(Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … in honor of the Westport Woman’s Club’s signature fundraiser, running tonight through Sunday (story above), here are 2 very different tunes:

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Roundup: Yankee Doodle’s Logo, Compo Men’s Hoops, Felicia’s Salon …

The Yankee Doodle Fair is back.

The event — a decades-long herald of the end of school — was missing from the June calendar for 2 years, due to COVID.

It returned last September. Now it’s back in its familiar slot: This Thursday and Friday (6 to 10 p.m.), Saturday (1 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.), at the Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue.

Also familiar: the Yankee Doodle Fair logo.

What most Westporters don’t know is that the carousel horse was designed more than 30 years ago by Angela Mata. Her mother chaired the event, for the sponsoring Westport Woman’s Club.

Growing up here, she was an avid fairgoer. She graduated from Staples High School, returned here, brought her own children — and is now a well-respected art teacher, at her alma mater.

Like the carousel on Angela’s logo, whatever goes around, comes around.

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Also back, after a pandemic break: Westport Parks & Recreation’s men’s summer basketball league, at Compo Beach.

The popular weeknight event runs for 8 weeks (June 20 to August 16). Teams can have a maximum of 15 players.

Games are Mondays and Tuesdays, at 7 and 8 p.m. The fee is $900 per team. To register or for more details, email mrobbins@westportct.gov.

Compo Beach basketball court. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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Speaking of (much younger) sports:

The Twins won the Westport Baseball “A” League (3rd grade) championship last weekend. Congrats, guys!

The “A” League champion Twins.

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in 2019, Felicia Catale — a long-time hair stylist in Westport (Tony’s, Karen & Frank’s, Austin Rolfe) — opened her own salon in Nash’s Plaza on Post Road West.

That first year was busy. She worked long hours, on hair and also the business end.

Then came COVID. She scrambled to serve customers, and keep her salon alive.

Finally, the pandemic is easing. She’s back welcoming customers.

Finally too, she had a chance for an official “grand opening.”

A small ceremony — with the big, official ribbon-cutting scissors — was held yesterday. She welcomed her guests — and then, in another long-delayed event, she threw a party for last fall’s Staples High School boys soccer team.

“06880” would say “welcome to Westport,” Felicia. But you’ve been here all along.

Cutting the ribbon at Salon Nash (from left): business consultant Ganesh Gupta, owner Felicia Catale, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, Staples High School soccer tri-captain Bruno Guiduli.

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included a photo of “Rev. Hezekiah Ripley.” The long-ago, long-serving Green’s Farms Church pastor showed up (looking very much like a 21st-century Westporter wearing a costume) at Sunday’s rededication service. The 1789 church on Hillandale Road has undergone an extensive renovation.

Rev. Ripley was not the only dignitary taking part in the festivities. Senator Richard Blumenthal was there too, watching former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe cut the ceremonial ribbon. A Green’s Farms parishioner, he was standing in for 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, who was out of town.

From left: Capital campaign co-chair Tony Menchaca, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, capital campaign co-chair Diane Parrish, Senior Minister Jeff Rider. (Photo/Regina Madwed, Capitol Photo).

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Also this past weekend: Norwalk’s Copps Island Oysters was the place to be. A sold-out event raised important funds for Harbor Watch, the clean water research program of Earthplace.

Scientists provide data and field expertise to safeguard Connecticut waterways, educate residents about watershed issues, and train volunteers and student interns through hands-on research.

Plus, the oysters were delicious!

The Earthplace team, hanging out at the Harbor Watch fundraiser (from left): LaWanza Holder, Brenna Felt, Marisa Olavarria, Mary Donato, Nikki Spiller, Sophie Pollmann, Jess Mantzaris, Kasey Tietz, executive director Tony McDowell,

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Temple Israel’s first “Shabbat on the Beach” of the season is also the synagogue’s “Pride Shabbat.”

Temple officials say: “Together, we will send our clear message of love and acceptance for ‘kol yoshvei tevel’ — all who dwell on earth. BYO beach chairs and rainbows!”

A Westport beach pass is not necessary. Tell the gate attendant you’re part of the  Temple Israel service.

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Speaking of Pride Month: The lineup is set for this Friday’s Pride Cabaret at the Westport Library.

Comedian/activist Mina Hartong hosts Marvin Pittman, Sarah Ferro, Julie Loyd, Danielle Poyser and Staples High School senior Ellery Bodell.

Doors open on June 17 at 6:15 p.m. for cocktails, and mingling with local LGBTQ+ organization. The show begins at 7 p.m.

The cabaret is free. To register, click here. For more information, click here.

Cabaret emcee Mina Hartong.

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Sure, bunnies are supposed to hop (and reproduce).

But this one stood still long enough for Jamie Walsh to snap a great “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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And finally … today is Flag Day. Long may she wave, proudly and brave!

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Roundup: Staples Lacrosse, Levitt Kids, Rev. Hezekiah Ripley …

In a seismic performance that rocked the state, the Staples boys lacrosse team stunned perennial powerhouse Darien 12-3 yesterday. It was the Wreckers’ first-ever state L (large schools) championship.

The game, played before a large crowd at Sacred Heart University, was even more one-sided than that. Staples led 9-1 at halftime, and never looked back.

Though the Westporters were seeded #2, and the Blue Wave #1, the only people not surprised by the overpowering win were the winners themselves.

Coach Will Koshansky and his staff prepared their squad well. The game plan — hold on to the ball on each possession, frustrating Darien’s offense and defense — worked to perfection.

Staples was led by Mason Schaefer (first goal, 1:23 into the game), Gavin Rothenberg (4 goals), Charlie Howard (3 goals, adding to his career-record total), Derek Sale (2 goals, 1 assist), Ryan Thompson (3 assists), and faceoff specialist Henry Dodge, who took away one of the Wavers’ most potent weapons.

Darien came back from a 9-7 deficit to win the regular season game, 15-10. There was no comeback yesterday — only an ever-lengthening Wrecker lead, and soon the state crown.

Congratulations to Coach Koshansky, his staff, and the entire Staples boys lacrosse program!

The state champion Staples High School boys lacrosse team.

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The Levitt Pavilion’s popular Children’s Series returns next week. It begins June 22, and runs every Wednesday at 7 p.m. through August 24. All 10 shows are free, with a ticket. Member online access began yesterday; public access begins today (Monday) at noon. Click here to reserve a ticket.

The Children’s Series kicks off with Josh Lovelace, whose new release is a modern pop-infused take on his trademark family-style Americana music.

Other performers include:

  • June 29: Falu (2022 Grammy Award-winner, Best Children’s Album)
  • July 6: Joanie Leeds (2021 Grammy winner, Best Children’s Music Album)
  • July 13: The Hall Family (beloved annual tradition)
  • July 20: Brady Rymer & the Little Band That Could (3 Grammy nominations)
  • July 27: Smity + Yarn (reggae funk, folk, country and roots)
  • August 3: Lucy Kalantari & the Jazz Cats (2 Grammy nominations)
  • August 10: Elena Moon Park & Friends (folk and children’s songs from Asia)
  • August 17: Divinity Roxx (Grammy nominated)
  • August 24: Tim Kubart & the Space Cadets (2016 Grammy winner, Best Children’s album).

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Speaking of the Levitt: Fleetwood Mac tribute band Tusk entertained a large crowd there last night. The summer has begun!

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Yesterday’s rededication of the newly restored Green’s Farms Church included the usual: speeches, a ribbon-cutting, refreshments.

It also included the unusual: a visit from Rev. Hezekiah Ripley, one of the most noted pastors in the 311-year-old church’s history. He served from 1762 to 1821; Martha Washington honored him with a gift of pewter.

Rev. Hezekiah Ripley in the Green’s Farms Church cemetery,, yesterday. (Photo/Tom Lowrie)

Green’s Farms Church began in 1711 as the parish’s religious, educational and social center, at what is now the corner of the I-95 Exit 18 parking lot, near the Sherwood Island Connector and Greens Farms Road.

It moved to its current Hillandale Road location in 1789. The current building dates to 1853. Click here for more details of this remarkable institution.

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Robert Braczyk sends a photo …

… and writes:

“We discovered this pattern in our Cross Highway back yard a week ago. It is 3 28-inch singed squares of grass in a roughly equilateral triangle, approximately 13 feet on each side.

“We have owned our house since 1968, and know there is nothing under the ground in that area.

“We consulted our lawn service, pool service and an arborist, who had been over the area 2 months earlier. We’ve asked our adjoining neighbors to look at it.

“People have suggested it could be grubs, a hot barbecue grill on the grass, spilled weed killer, a prank, and a couple of others ideas. None of those explanations are possible. We were at home throughout the time that it developed. I wonder if anyone else in Westport has seen anything like this.”

So, “06880” readers: What’s up (or down)? If you have an idea, click “Comments” below.

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“Westport … Naturally” kicks off the week with a beautiful photo.

(Photo … Elisabeth Lewey)

Beautiful, that is, unless she’s in your garden, or leaping in front of your car.

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And finally … in honor of the Staples boys lacrosse team’s huge state championship win yesterday: Sure, it’s a trite musical selection. But this song says it all.

Roundup: New England & State Champs, Sherwood Island Friends …

One of Staples High School’s most accomplished athletes has gotten very little recognition this year.

Yesterday, junior Francine Stevens represented her girls track and field team at the New England Championship, in New Britain. She finished 4th at 400 meters, with a time of 57.85.

Francine holds 7 school record. Last week she broke her own, at the state open meet.

Next weekend she heads to Greensboro, North Carolina. She’ll compete against the nation’s best in 100, 200 and 400 meters, at the Adidas Nationals.

Francine Stevens, with her New England medal.

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Congrats too to Luke Brodsky and Alex Gudarrama. They won the state invitational doubles tennis championship, with a 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 defeat of a Darien duo.

Tighe Brunetti reached the finals too, but fell to Tighe Brunetti fought hard but fell to Fairfield Warde 6-4, 6-2.

Luke Brodsky and Alex Guadarrama.

Staples has one more individual state champion: Anna Lemcke.

The senior broke 80 for the first time in her golfing career, and tied for first place in the state open tournament at the Black Hal Club in Old Lyme.

It’s a remarkable achievement: In last year’s open, she finished second to las.

Anna’s choice of college is perfect for a golfer: the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland. (Hat tip: Valerie Smith-Malin)

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One final sports note: Yesterday, the Angels won the Little League championship.

But for Pell Schmeisser, that honor paled beside another: He was named the winner of the Perrin Delorey Sportsmanship Award. Perrin, a Little Leaguer, died in an automobile accident in 2018, after a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Previous winners include Jack Hanlon and Dylan Burdeshaw. (Hat tip: Lauren MacNeill)

The Little League champion Angels. Perrin Delorey Sportsmanship Award winner Pell Schmeiser is in the bottom row, far left.

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In most homes, graduation is a big deal. For a few days at least, a boy or girl feels like the most important person in a family.

In one Country Road home though, the honor must be shared 3 ways. Movin’ on up, indeed!

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

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Friends of Sherwood Island’s annual meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. today (Sunday, June 12), in the state park’s main pavilion. All are welcome.

Guest speaker Juliana Barrett will speak on “Climate Change and Connecticut’s Coastal Forests.” She is an educator with the Institute for Climate Resilience and Adaptation, part of the University of Connecticut’s Sea Grant program. 

The meeting includes a tribute to the Nature Center’s architect and benefactor, Westporter Peter Wormser.

Click here for more information.

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Meg Kirby — co-owner and namesake of Peggy’s Cottage, the popular all-things-Irish store across from Stop & Shop — died Friday afternoon. She had battled illness, but passed peacefully.

Her husband, Brian Ellard, says: “She loved her little shop, and put her heart and soul into filling it with special things. Heading off to work every morning and looking forward to seeing everyone for a chat put a big smile on her face. I thank everyone for their love and support over the last few years, especially the last few months.”

Brian Ellard and Meg Kirby, in Peggy’s Cottage.

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Chris Grimm spotted this white squirrel at MoCA.

It’s not an albino — the technical term is leucistic, for “reduced pigmentation” — but it’s a fascinating subject for “Westport … Naturally” nonetheless.

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

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And finally … on this day in 1817, the earliest form of a bicycle was driven by Karl von Drais. It had no pedals; the rider straddled a wooden frame supported by two wheels, and pushed the vehicle along with his feet while steering the front wheel.

The bicycle’s original name: “dandy horse.”

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