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DISCLAIMERThis blog is personal opinion, and is not representative of the views of the Westport School District or Board of Education.
Category Archives: Sports
The pandemic has prevented live gatherings for the “Get Growing” kids’ program at Westport Farmers’ Market.
No problem! WFM has launched “Get Growing to Go!,” a craft kit of activities youngsters can do at home. The brainchild of Mae Farrell, it includes a free package parents and caregivers pick up at the Cross Highway farm.
Each week Mae announces the craft for the following week on Instagram and Facebook, and children and parents through the week’s activity — on their own schedule.
“’Get Growing’ is dear to my heart,” says WFM executive director Lori Cochran-Dougal.
“Mae has taken it to a whole new level, both in person and now virtually with the craft kits. Families are a big part of our market. We won’t let the pandemic prevent us from helping the next generation appreciate nature, farmers, and importance of a local food community.”
Parents can pre-order craft kits for pick up at WFM between Sunday and Tuesday by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The first pickup is Thursday, August 13, and each Thursday thereafter from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. WARNING: Only 30 craft kits are available each week.
Among the recipients of the Westport Woman’s Club’s 2020 community grants: Filling in the Blanks.
The Fairfield and Westchester Counties non-profit says: “Because of you, we delivered 11,014 meal bags in the month of May. That is 44,056 individual meals for children who otherwise would not have had enough to eat. We added students in New Canaan and Norwalk last month, and will add more in Greenwich this month. Thank you from all of us at Filling in the Blanks for making it possible for us to provide this basic nutrition when it is needed most.”
The 2020 Staples High School baseball team did not get a chance to defend their state championship this spring. COVID took care of that.
But the Wrecker baseball family gathered yesterday for a ceremony today honoring the 2019 state and FCIAC champions — and the team’s unanimous #1 ranking in Connecticut.
The turnout was great. The memories were wonderful. Now the plaques will serve as an inspiration for the 2021 squad — and all that follow.
And finally … hard to believe I haven’t used this “Monday” song before. But I haven’t.
The other day, WFUV’s “Mixed Bag” host/longtime Mets fans Don McGee celebrated the return of baseball by playing “Stay at Home for the Ballgame.”
It’s a new song by Aztec Two-Step’s Rex Fowler and his wife, Dodie Pettit.
Though married only 2 years, they have known each other for decades. Nearly 40 years ago, she played guitar and sang on Aztec’s 5th album. Dodie went on to a long Broadway career.
She and Rex now perform as “Aztec Two-Step 2.0.”
I loved the COVID-safe message, and asked Dodie for a link to post on “06880.” The song is so new though, that none is yet available.
But there is other Aztec Two-Step news. “Words” — released in April — dates back to 2017. Rex started writing it after his musical partner Neal Shulman’s wife died of cancer.
During the COVID lockdown, Rex and Dodie finished it. They recorded it at their Westport home, with bandmates coming in individually (wearing masks).
“We thought it would be a song of comfort,” Dodie says. She’s lived with her own tragedy: Her husband, Staples High School graduate and Broadway actor Kevin Gray, died of a heart attack in 2013 at age 55.
Dodie adds, “We wanted to do a real grown-up, thoughtful statement of how hard the aftermath is — without using any of the standard, patronizing fare.”
They’ve performed it on Facebook, for a traumatic brain injury group.
Their next song — a mash-up of Neil Young’s “Down by the River,” focused on Black Lives Matter — will be released soon.
Meanwhile, enjoy the “Words” video below.
And keep your ears open for “Stay at Home for the Ballgame.’
While many states around the nation canceled high school fall sports season — or pushed them back to the spring — officials here waited.
Today, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced its plan. There will still be a fall season for public school sports. But it won’t look completely the same.
First practice dates remain the same (August 17 for football, August 27 for cross country, field hockey, boys and girls soccer, girls swimming and girls volleyball). Howcwee, there’s a progression, beginning with conditioning in cohorts of small groups.
That conditioning will gradually increase. Start dates for the regular season have been pushed back; the number of games has decreased, and “tournament experiences (format TBD)” have replaced state tournament.
Schools will now compete on a “regional” basis (based on the 10 closest schools), rather than by league, to mitigate potential spread and maximize contact tracing capability.
Each school will determine spectator policies — in other words, whether to allow fans or not.
There is much more in the document. And of course, CIAC administrators say, the plan is “fluid and in a perpetual state of evaluation.”
Starting today, the Old Mill Beach parking lot is fully re-opened.
That means a reversion to previous rules: Parking is available for vehicles with beach emblems or hang tags, on a space available basis.
As in the past, Parks and Recreation Department staff will strictly enforce all parking regulations.
Greens Farms Academy has announced plans for in-person, on-campus instruction, 5 days a week, beginning September 1.
The private school on Beachside Avenue has spent the summer making numerous preparations — everything from changing physical spaces and furniture, to mandating one-way building pathways, to delivering lunch to assigned spaces.
One more change; There will be no formal uniform at GFA this year.
Meanwhile, the fall sports season will look different this year. The Fairchester Athletic Association has canceled all regular season games and tournaments. The league cited “differing return-to- school plans and academic models” for its member schools, in light of COVID-19, as the reason.
However, GFA says, the league’s announcement does not preclude the school from scheduling interscholastic opportunities between and among like schools, if able.
The Senior Center is sponsoring 3 interesting events this month.
Next Thursday, August 6 (10 a.m., Zoom meeting), a Westport Weston Health District panel will discuss COVID-19 in Connecticut. Viewers can ask questions too. Click here for the link.
A Caregiver Support Group meets on Wednesdays (August 5 and 19, September 2 and 16, 10 a.m.). Positive Directons’ Terry Giegengack will facilitate the sessions. For more information, call Holly Betts (203-341-5096) or email email@example.com.
Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities hosts a free summer concert series in August and September. The stars are local musicians. First up (August 14, 1:30 p.m.): pianist Mathew Graybil, who has played around the world. He’ll feature works by Chopin, Schubert and Brahms. Click here for the Zoom link.
At Staples High School, 2004 alum Charlie Stoebe was a soccer and track star (and captain). He graduated from Dartmouth College, and is now working with NBC Sports.
Charlie is multi-talented. In his spare COVID-related time, he created a new party game.
“What Was the Question?” tests how well you know your friends and family. But unlike most getting-to-know-you games, it starts not with a question, but an answer. Players must figure out the question. After each reveal there are fun discussions on the answer the player gave, and the predictions everyone else made.
“What Was the Question?” is now in Kickstarter mode. To help get it to market — and help out a really great Staples grad — click here.
And finally … Danish pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre died yesterday at 95. You may know him as Bent Fabric. Or maybe you just know his most famous song:
Everyone needs a mask — a good one. But just a few miles from here, plenty of kids can’t afford one.
In one of the most brilliant partnerships since the pandemic struck, the Bedford Middle School PTA and Westport Masks has teamed up to help the Read School in Bridgeport, which serves 800 youngsters in pre-K through 8.
The PTA is selling masks (and gaiters). For every one sold, two will be donated to Read. The program launched less than a week ago, yet enough orders have already been received to supply 250 masks to Read.
Westport Masks’ team volunteers hand-create each donation mask. The PTA sourced a 2-ply, 100% cotton style mask with a filter pocket. The design is a royal blue and white bandanna print, with 2 layers of 100% cotton and reinforced stitched nose for a comfortable fit. There are adjustable ear straps; another strap allows the mask to hang from the neck. There is no logo. Sizes are teen and adult.
As for gaiters: They are less likely than masks to be lost, can be easily pulled up and down as needed (for drinking water, eating lunch and outside during PE), and are comfortable. Designs include blue camo, blue and white shibori tie-dye, and micro-stripe/blue fade (the only one with the BMS bear logo). One size fits all.
Both styles are washable.
The cost is $20 for the gaiters (1 for your child or yourself, 2 others donated), $14 for the masks. The PTA notes that sales are not restricted to Bedford; everyone can (and should!) buy the face coverings.
To order, click here. To arrange pickup (a week before school begins) or for questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To help WestportMasks with sewing or fabric cutting, email email@example.com.
Heather Grahame has been an athlete all her life. In 1972 she captained Staples High School’s field hockey team. She played 2 more years at Mount Holyoke College, then transferred to Stanford University.
During college summers she leveraged her experience as a Compo Beach lifeguard to teach swimming, water safety and first aid in rural Aleut villages. The state of Alaska funded the program, to combat a high drowning rate.
After graduating from the University of Oregon law school, Grahame headed to Anchorage to practice public utility law. In 2010 she moved to Montana.
She’s on the road a lot. But she finds time to train for triathlons. Though she began when she was 56, it’s a natural for her.
In the 1980s Grahame competed in bicycle racing on the US Women’s Circuit. She placed 6th at the 1988 Olympic team time trials.
She and her family then became competitive sled dog racers. Her top international finish — 6th — came at the 2000 Women’s World Championships.
As for triathlons — well, okay. Grahame actually did a full Ironman. That’s a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.
The other day, she was a guest on the Purple Patch Fitness podcast. Host Matt Dixon is a top fitness and triathlon coach. She’s lived most of her life out west, but Grahame talked quite a bit about Westport and Staples sports. Click here for a very entertaining hour.
And finally … tonight the Remarkable Theater screens “Elf.” It’s “Christmas in July” — and drive-in moviegoers are encouraged to dress (and decorate their cars) appropriately.
And because we need a little Christmas (right this very minute), here’s “06880”s contribution. Starring, of course, our talented and beloved former neighbor, Eartha Kitt.
The latest reopening is a big one: the Compo Beach playground.
Everyone — except those under 2 — must wear a mask. Social distancing must be observed.
Other than that: Have fun!
The Neowise comet got plenty of publicity when it first arrived.
It’s still visible — all the way through August 15. In fact, says Elyse Heise — who took the great photo below, at Saugatuck Elementary School — it just hit peak brightness yesterday.
The view tonight should be as bright as the day this past week, when she took this shot.
Three downtown galleries — Amy Simon, Pop’TArt and Sorelle — are sponsoring an art walk this Thursday (July 30, 5 to 8 p.m.). There’s live music and refreshments (masks required, of course).
If this one goes well, more are planned for future Thursdays.
For decades — and very quietly — Westport PAL has impacted thousands of lives.
In addition to organizing 10 sports for 2,000 kids each year, supporting Staples High School sports, helping with field enhancements, organizing the 4th of July fireworks and Main Street Halloween parade, PAL awards college scholarships. Since 2003, they’ve handed out $400,000 in aid.
Their fundraisers are low-key. Unfortunately, their biggest — the fireworks — was canceled this year.
But the 58th annual Chief Samuel Luciano Golf Tournament is still on. Set for September 14 at Longshore, it’s more important — and fun — than ever. Click here to register, and for more details.
In these tough COVID times, EnergizeCT has expanded their rebates and incentives. The popular — and free — Home Energy Solutions program helps state residents save on bills by reducing waste.
Virtual visits (“pre-assessments”) offer a look into a home’s energy efficiency situation, so experts can make suggestions and explain how the rebates work.
There is no co-pay, regardless of how the home is heated. And the insulation rebate rate is now $2.20 per square foot — more than twice the previous $1 rate.
For more information, click here or call 877-947-3873.
This week’s #FridayFlowers — courtesy, as always, of the Westport Garden Club — adorn the entrance to Longshore.
And finally … play ball! Baseball is back! There’s new grass on the field …
Yesterday, the Board of Selectmen approved the Westport Downtown Merchants Association request for the closure of lower Church Lane throughout August.
That will allow “European-style” dining on the street, at Spotted Horse, Amis and the very new Manna Toast.
Stores will plan fun outdoor activities too.
Church Lane remains open from Myrtle Avenue to Elm Street; it’s only the short stretch leading to the Post Road that’s closed.
On Thursday nights, MoCA Westport offers “Sunset Sketch & Paint.”
Now they’ve made this great art therapy class — a great way to relieve stress and anxiety — free to nurses and first responders,
The class is also open to any 15 and over, and includes a free glass of wine for those 21 and up. Click here for more information.
MoCA also announced a fun fundraiser. They’ve partnered with local artists to create limited edition cross-body messenger bags.
Artists so far include Amy Kaplan, Jay Petrow, Dale Najarian, Yvonne Claveloux, Trace Burroughs, Jana Ireijo, Fruma Markowitz, Susan Leggitt and Bethany Czarnecki. More will be announced soon.
The bags are available for purchase later this month through the MoCA Westport Museum Shop (in person and online). Follow @mocawestport on social media to learn more.
The Westport Library is exploring all options for Camp Explore.
The next guest for the “virtual” youngsters’ program is former New York Knick forward Charles Smith. The Bridgeport native joins the group next Wednesday (July 29, 4 p.m.).
He’ll talk about his experiences as an athlete, business consultant, entrepreneur and civic leader.
Click here for more information, and registration,
And finally … at a time when many tempers are fraying, the Rembrandts say: