Category Archives: Sports

Roundup: Remarkable Bookcycle, MoCA Art, More


Sure, the Westport Library is open now by appointment only.

But — just like the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like, at the Remarkable Bookcycle.

Westport’s favorite mobile library (named for our favorite former bookstore) has been parked recently on Church Lane, at Bedford Square.

Check it out! And if you’ve got any books to give as well as receive — well, bring ’em on.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


“Hindsight is 2020” — the high school student art show opening January 23 at MoCA Westport — has extended its submission deadline. The final date for entries is now next Monday (January 11).

The show is open to all high schoolers. It’s a great opportunity to have their work reviewed by noted Westport artist Amy Kaplan and dealer/gallerist Paul Efstathiou — and have it showcased at the museum.

It’s also a chance to earn cash prizes of $500, $300 or $100.

We know students have had a challenging year. Art and creative expression have helped many students with coping and resilience,” museum officials say.

A wide variety of entries have alrady come from across Connecticut and Westchester County.

Click here for submission deadlines.



Fleet Feet Run Club’s winter session starts this Saturday (January 9).

The Sconset Square store’s coaches can help everyone reach their goals. It can be  running a marathon — or running down the block.

For details, stop in the shop or call 203-557-3608.


And finally … the 1972 disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure” had an all-star cast: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters, and Red Buttons.

Also starring on the tsunami-struck ship was Pamela Sue Martin. She earned more fame later, as Nancy Drew on the ABC-TVseries, and Fallon Carrington Colby on Dynasty.

Well, Pamela Sue — or “Pam,” as I knew her as a classmate at Long Lots Junior High and Staples High — celebrates her birthday today.

“06880” celebrates with the most famous song from “Poseidon Adventure.” It was nominated for an Academy Award, then became a hit the next year for Maureen McGovern. Happy birthday, Pam!

 

 

Staples Mourns Death Of Timari Rivera

Timari Rivera, a senior at Staples High School, died suddenly from a previously existing medical condition.

A 6-7 native of Bridgeport, he was a member of the Wreckers’ basketball program. Tryouts for this year’s team have been postponed by COVID, to January 19.

A scouting report on social media said he had “the unteachables in D1 size and strength and a soft touch….an excellent target and a scoring threat.”

School officials are providing support to Timari’s friends and classmates, and to the Rivera family.

No further information is available at this time.

Timari Rivera, on the sideline …

… and the court.

 

 

Remembering Marty Mellin

Longtime Westport resident Martin Mellin died on December 22, 9 days before his 68th birthday. He contracted COVID-19 while recovering from knee surgery in the hospital.

His son Ethan wrote this tribute:

Dad, I love you so much. Whether it was school, sports, music — anything — you were my #1 fan. You gave me everything I could ever need in life and more, just because you cared and to show me you loved me.

Marty Mellin and his young son Ethan.

By high school, when my friends thought of you the first image that came to mind was your lawn chair on the sideline of one of my sports games. It was a running joke, but I see now that you took pride in your reputation, because it signified how present you were for every moment in my life.

Marty Mellin and Ethan, at Staples High School baseball team’s Senior Day in 2014.

As a kid, you were in that lawn chair for every baseball, football and basketball game since I could walk. You would beg to read my school essays — no matter how boring — just because you were proud.

As an adult, you always called me just to ask about my day, work, the stock market, Yankees, Giants, Kelsi, Lyla — it didn’t matter what we talked about.

“Just tell me what’s going on,” you would say. All you wanted in life was to see Jedd, Julia, and me be happy and be loved, because at the end of the day our family brought you more joy than anything else in the world.

I think that is the hardest part about losing you. There are so many beautiful things in our lives left to look forward to that I know would have made you so freaking happy. Julia’s high school graduation; the start of Jedd’s law career; retiring and growing old with Mom now that us kids are all grown up, Kelsi’s and my wedding. becoming a grandfather…

Marty Mellin with his family.

It’s hard to imagine a life where you aren’t around for these things, and it’s going to feel pretty empty for a while. But I know that we will all carry you deep in our hearts for the rest of our lives. So while it crushes my soul that we won’t have any more moments together in person, I have to remember that you will still be watching and loving on us every single day. I love you, Dad.

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To “06880” readers:

Just as we thought he was better and days from coming home after knee surgery, things rapidly took a turn for the worse.

On December 16 my dad was placed on a ventilator. That night was the last time I got to hear his voice.

Six days later he passed, suffering no physical pain.

In the US, 3,238 other lives were cut short by this pandemic the same day as my dad. Like him, each of those numbers is a person — someone with a story, a family, friends, a future they will no longer see.

Marty Mellin with Jedd and Ethan.

It breaks my heart. We are so close to the end of this awful year, but we can’t become complacent and give up on the things that we know will save lives — that will prevent even just one more story like this one.

Wear a mask. Social distance. Be with family if you can do so safely, but don’t let the pain of missing your loved ones today potentially lead to a lifetime without them.

I would sacrifice anything in the world to have one more day with my dad.

What would you sacrifice to be with yours?

Marty Mellin is survived by his wife Nisa, sons Jedd (Staples High School Class of 2012) and Ethan (Staples ’14), and daughter Julia (Staples ’21).

(Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

Marty Mellin and friend.

 

Sean Gallagher Supports Small Businesses — With A Marine Corps Twist

US Naval Academy and 2011 Staples High School grad Sean Gallagher transitioned out of the Marine Corps in May, after 5 years as an infantry officer.

The Marines taught him how to handle adversity — and the importance of leaning on teammates in tough times.

These are tough times for small businesses, he says. All across the country, COVID means they need help.

Gallagher and his wife Emma are helping. To draw attention — and raise funds — he’ll run a marathon. It’s set for February 6, around Central Park’s outer loop (4+ full laps).

But that’s too easy for the former Staples soccer and track star. So he’ll do it wearing a 35-pound Marine Corps “ruck” (backpack).

Sean Gallagher, leading his troops.

“Rucks teach Marines how to handle adversity with grit and determination — the same qualities necessary for small businesses to survive,” Gallagher says.

He’s set up a GoFundMe page. All funds will go to small businesses through the Barstool Sports Fund. Click here to donate.

Now fill a backpack with 35 pounds of rocks (or anything else). Then imagine running a marathon with it strapped to your back.

You’ll probably donate a lot more.

Roundup: Churches, Safety App, GFA Athletes, More


For many years, Saugatuck Church collected baby gifts during their 5 p.m. Christmas Eve pageant. They were donated to women and children, through the Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk.

Tonight, that worship is online. However, the church continues its tradition of gathering gifts to benefit women and children in crisis. And you don’t have to be a parishioner to help!

Just stop at the white church downtown (245 Post Road East) between 4 and 5 p.m. today. Pop your trunk; a volunteer will retrieve your gift.

This has been a very tough year, for women, children and the DVCC itself. Items needed include supplies and pajamas for babies, as well as crafts for older children.


Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted that Tony Award-winner Kelli O’Hara is starring in a PBS holiday special.

She also did a much more local performance, at (and for) Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. (Her daughter Charlotte is a junior chorister there.)

You can enjoy Kelli — and many others — starting at 6 p.m. tonight. Just click on the CHT YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Kelli O’Hara at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.


M13 has led a $1.8M seed round in Prepared, a company building technology to keep school campuses safer. It was co-founded at Yale University by Staples graduates Dylan Gleicher and Neil Soni.

Prepared’s 1-touch mobile alert system enables administrators to instantaneously alert both the entire campus and 911 dispatchers to an emergency. Click here for a full story.

Neil Soni and Dylan Gleicher


Three Greens Farms Academy student-athletes from Westport have committed to colleges, to continue their academic and sports careers.

Connor McDonald will play tennis at Boston College; Piper Melnick plans to row at the University of California-Berkeley, and Mark Roszkowski heads off to Tufts University’s baseball team.

Congratulations to all 3 Dragons!

From left: Connor McDonald, Piper Melnick and Mark Roszkowski.


And finally … as always, The Band is there:

Roundup: COVID Testing, Cortez Refuse, Cross Country Skis, More


This was the scene yesterday at St. Vincent’s Health Services on Long Lots Road.

With COVID cases rising — locally, statewide and nationally — and the holidays near, demand for testing increases too.

(Photo/Randy Ford)


The after this season’s first snowfall, Katherine Calise found “an absolute angel.”

The path to her trash can had not yet been shoveled. Her recyclables were far away. Yet her collector — Chino Cortez, of Cortez Refuse — took out a shovel, and cleared a path to her cans.

“He is the kindest person — all around, the nicest person you could meet,” she says. “In the summer he sprays the garbage cans so you will not get sick.”

Others agree. On social media, they say he takes away Christmas trees, makes sure the cans are safely stored in the wind, and texts customers if they forget to put the trash out.

Chino also does cleanups and dump runs. You can email him at cortezrefuseservice@yahoo.com, or call 203-522-1250.


Among its many charms, Westport offers many spots for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Longshore is a particular favorite.

While most snowshoers make parallel tracks to those laid down by cross country skiers, some don’t. Rick Yu reminds all to stay in their own lanes!

Down to the sea, by snowshoe and ski. (Photo/John Kantor)


And finally … the other day I posted the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy’s Christmas” song, and wondered why I haven’t heard it this year.

Here’s another lost classic that deserves to stay in the rotation. It’s from 1958 — but it never gets old.

 

 

Roundup: Bowtie Cinema, Leveling The Field, Melissa & Doug, More


Movie theaters — remember them?! — are back.

The Bow Tie “Ultimate Royale” multiplex on US 1 — just over the border in Norwalk — reopens tomorrow. Features include “Monster Hunter,” “The Croods,” “Wild Mountain Thyme,” “Elf,” The Midnight Sky,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Honest Thief” and “Tenet.”

The experience will be different than in pre-pandemic days. For example:

  • 100% reserved seating …
  • … but only 50% capacity
  • A temporary waiver of all advanced ticketing fees
  • Selling seats in an alternating pattern so each customer has an empty seat on either side
  • Contact-free purchasing of tickets and concession items
  • Mandatory face masks (unless eating or drinking at your seat)
  • Plexiglas barriers at box office and concession
  • Frequent cleaning
  • Limitations on restroom and lobby capacities.

You can also book a private movie party” for up to 20 guests.

No word on whether you will still pay $22 for a 10-pound box of Jujubes. (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)


Christmas caroling — remember that?! — returns to the Unitarian Church this Saturday (December 19, 3 to 4 p.m.).

It’s COVID-conscious of course: in the large parking lot, with masks and social distancing required.

In Unitarian spirit, there will be a mix of secular songs and Christmas carols. Everyone will use phone flashlights to sing “Silent Night” at dusk. Feel free to bring an instrument too!.

In the holiday spirit, if you want to join but don’t want to actually join people, email events@uuwestport.org for the Zoom link.

Not quite the Unitarian Church parking lot, but you get the idea.


Chloe Hackett is a Staples High School sophomore. She’s an athlete too.

As she and her family searched for a way to help others during the pandemic, they found Leveling the Playing Field. The non-profit seemed perfect.

It collect new and gently used sports and playground equipment, then distribute it to needy youth organizations. And it was founded by Syracuse University alums — Chloe’s parents’ alma mater.

“My sisters and I play field hockey, ice hockey and softball year round,” Chloe says.

“Sports have taught us teamwork, discipline, commitment, determination and how to compete. They’ve given us an after-school outlet, and the opportunity to make friends. We are fortunate to live in an amazing town with so many opportunities, access to a wide variety of sports and the equipment to play them.”

This weekend (Saturday and Sunday, December 19-20, 10 a.m. to noon, at The Granola Bar), the Hacketts are collecting donations.

Cleats, field hockey sticks, lacrosse equipment, bats, hockey skates, footballs, softball gloves — it will all make a difference. Click here for a full list of acceptable and non-acceptable items.

If you can’t make it this weekend, the Hacketts have your back. They’ll leave a box in front of the restaurant, and make pickups daily.

The Hackett girls already have donations! From left: Alex, Chloe, Daisy. (Photo/Julianne Mulvey)


Melissa & Doug — the international toy company, and the Westport couple named the Bernsteins behind it — keep a low profile.

The company (and the couple) do many good things, out of the limelight. Here’s one that deserves notice.

They’ve partnered with the Whole Foods, selling toys in stores and online. Between December 20-24, 1% of sales at Whole Foods will support Whole Kids Foundation’s child nutrition programs.

Stock up on good food and great toys. And help children eat well. Melissa & Doug — and kids you’ll never know — will thank you. (Hat tip: Johanna Rossi)


Westport abstract expressionist painter David Stephen Johnson made his European debut earlier this year.

To share in his good fortune — and do his part to help local first responders — from now through mid-January, he is donating all proceeds of his Works on Paper sales to Norwalk Hospital.

Click here for some of the Works on Paper that make original, thoughtful holiday gifts (and support the community).

More of Johnson’s pieces can be viewed at his Compo Beach studio, by (socially distanced) appointment. Email studio@davidstephenjohnson.com, or call 970- 376-5058.

To see other works, click here or follow hisInstagram page: @david.stephen.johnson.art.

David Stephen Johnson


And finally … on this date in 1865, Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” premiered. The composer died nearly 40 years earlier, from either typhoid fever or syphilis. Just 31, he had composed more than 600 vocal works, 7 complete symphonies, sacred music and operas, along with piano and chamber music.

Remembering John Hendrickson

Rotarians are active, outgoing people.

And no Rotarian was more active or outgoing than John Hendrickson.

The longtime Westport Sunrise Rotary Club member — and former president == died last month, after a struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.

John Hendrickson

For many years, John chaired the Sunrise Rotary’s annual wine tasting fundraiser. When he asked you to help — or buy a ticket — it was impossible to resist.

He served as treasurer of the club’s 21st Century Foundation. He was also Area 2 assistant governor and district governor coordinator.

John was a Paul Harris Society Member and Fellow, among the highest Rotary International honors.

John was also involved in Westport soccer. He was particularly proud of his sons Jon and Matthew’s Staples High School careers.

John — a Brooklyn native who moved to Norwalk, after many years in Westport — is survived by Carole, his wife of 44 years; his sons; his daughter-in-law Dagmara, and his grandchild Maisie. He was predeceased by his brother Bryan Matthew Hendrickson.

A celebration of John’s life will take place at a later date.

Roundup: Food Drive, All-American, More


Two important organizations (Homes with Hope and the Norwalk NAACP) will benefit from a drive sponsored by 2 important department (Westport Police and Human Services), and an important business (Mental Grit Fitness).

This Friday (December 18, 12 noon to 4:30 p.m., Imperial Avenue parking lot), you can drop off non-perishable foods, toiletries and cleaning supplies.

You can help another way too: by volunteering at the drive. Click here to sign up.


Congratulations, Autumn Smith! The Staples High School senior soccer player has been named to United Soccer Coaches’ All-America team.

She scored 38 goals, and added 49 assists, in her stellar career (shortened this year by COVID). Due to the coronavirus too, there will not be an actual awards ceremony as in previous years.

That hardly diminishes Autumn’s accomplishment though. Well done!

Autumn Smith


Dan Hoffman writes about a pet peeve:

“When I make a local phone call with a 203 area code, I try to guess whether I need to use a prefix of ‘1’ or not.

“When I’m wrong, a program tells me either I need to use a 1 or I don’t need to use a 1.

“If the phone system knows the answer, why does it make me redial instead of just putting the call through? Always drives me nuts.”


They don’t call it JoyRide for nothing.

A new app — JoyRideGO — brings the popular Westport-based fitness community’s joy and energy to cyberspace.

It features on-demand and live fitness class to enJoy (ho ho) anywhere, any time. They include the signature JoyRide cycle classes; popular JoyX Strength, Pilates, barre and yoga classes, and hybrids like Cycle + Strength, Cycle + Pilates, Abs + Arms, and Abs + Glutes. All are taught by JoyRide instructors.

Classes range from 15 to 50 minutes. A 14-day free trial is available on the App Store and Google Play. Questions? Email joyridego@joyridestudio.com.


No one likes waiting in traffic.

Unless you’re by Playhouse Square, in front of Winslow Park Animal Hospital.

They always manage to amuse drives. Here’s their latest holiday tableau.

PS: Enjoy it now. Tomorrow it may be covered by snow.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Speaking of traffic: How’s this for a great photo of Westport’s worst intersection?

Taken this way by Rowene Weems, it looks almost magical.

(Photo/Rowene Weems)


As COVID cases rise, the Pequot in Southport — Westporters’ 2nd favorite library — has temporarily suspended browsing hours. Curbside pickup is still available.

The Pequot Library.

And finally … in honor of today:

Amy France: Fitness Is Now More Important Than Ever

Looking around, it’s easy to see the casualties of COVID. At the height of the holiday season, stores and restaurants lack the familiar buzz. Its been that way for months.

Less visible — but no less dramatic — are the economic effects on others.

Like personal trainers.

Before the pandemic, Amy France had a thriving business. A competitive runner growing up in Ridgefield and an elite racer who also spent 15 years as a senior executive assistant for hedge funds, she pivoted in 2008 to a career in fitness.

After certification, she worked as a Saugatuck Rowing Club trainer for 4 years, then moved to the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Before the pandemic, Amy France (center, blue shirt) ran a popular Run Club at the Westport Y.

Before COVID, she had up to 70 clients. Young female athletes, men and women in their 80s, and everyone in between — all enjoyed personalized sessions.

The Y closed in March. France taught herself Zoom, and trained clients remotely. Some lacked home weights, so she took some from her basement gym, and put them in her mailbox for pickup.

When the Y reopened, only half her clients returned. She trained them in person; others. via Zoom.

When the weather was nice, Amy France trained clients outdoors.

The Y follows strict protocols. Everyone entering the building is screened. There are strict limits on numbers; appropriate distance is maintained; masks must always be worn, and training equipment is constantly cleaned.

Adhering to all those protocols — and moving between live and Zoom sessions — is physically and mentally exhausting.

Yet her work is important, France says. Deprived of regular workouts, clients have gained up to 30 pounds. Emotionally, they’re depressed.

As the number of cases continues to rise, physical and mental health are more important than ever, she notes.

“You can’t store up fitness to be called on later. Somehow we have to persevere and maintain fitness, no matter the obstacles.”

Amy France, with a Westport Y client.