Category Archives: Sports

Roundup: Re-opening Phase 2; Epidemiology; Lifeguards; Hemp; More


Phase 1 of reopening Connecticut is underway. So far, so good. 

Next Wednesday (June 17), Phase 2 begins.

Restaurants, libraries, sports and fitness facilities, hotels, museums, zoos, aquariums, indoor recreation centers personal services and “outdoor events” will now be allowed to open.

Of course, that does not mean all will. “06880” will report on local re-openings as we hear of them (send info to dwoog@optonline.net).

For details on what Phase 2 means around the state, click here.

When the Westport Library reopens, it won’t be with scenes like this.


On Thursday, Tallula Goldberg graduates from Staples High School. This fall she heads to the University of Rochester, to study epidemiology.

It’s not a new interest. This fall — long before anyone heard of the coronavirus — she created an Independent Learning Experience (self-directed course) on the topic.

For her final project, she wrote a children’s book. It breaks down the key aspects of public health and epidemiology in a way kids 10 and older can understand.

Though not specific to COVID-19, it provides an explanation of how diseases are spread, and suggestions to keep safe. Tallula is sharing it now, “in hopes of making sense of the crazy world we live in.”

Click here — then learn!


The weather is warm. Gatherings of 25 are now permitted. If you’ve got a pool, you’re pretty popular.

But as we come out of COVID, safety is still important. What to do? Contact WeLifeguard.com.

Run by 16-year-old Daria Maya — a certified open water lifeguard with Advanced Lifesaving, CPR and AED certifications — it’s a simple way to connect pool owners with guards.

Just click here to request a Red Cross Certified lifeguard, or swimming lessons. You set the rate directly with the guard. WeLifeguard does not profit from the service, and does not charge a fee. The goal is to keep everyone safe.

Everyone into the pool!

Daria Maya


Manna Toast opened the other day in Bedford Square. Now it’s joined by another new business.

Franny’s Farmacy grand opening is set for June 18, 19 and 20. Owner Griff Conti calls his store “a family-friendly destination for all things hemp.”

A Silvermine native with an entrepreneurial itch and a decade of experience as a recruiter in the oil, gas and cannabis industries, he originally planned to open Franny’s 8th franchise in Colorado. But the Church Lane location — across from Spotted Horse restaurant, near Savannah Bee Company — proved too hard to resist.

The “farm” in Franny’s Farmacy refers to its vertical integration: They cultivate, process, manufacture and distribute all their own goods.

They offer a diverse selection of CBD products, from CBD oils and edibles to smokable hemp flower, vape products and topicals. There’s a product line for pets too.

Franny’s is a full-service shop, with a dispensing bar, curbside pickup and delivery. Private appointments are available too. Click here for more information on the Westport store.


And finally … Spanky & Our Gang’s long-forgotten plea, from 1968:

Roundup: Volleyball Court; “Big Dogs”; More


They saw a concrete slab at the site of what used to be Save the Children headquarters on Wilton Road.

So they — whoever “they” are — did the natural thing.

They put up a volleyball net.

Who needs the beach when you’ve got all this other space?!

(Photo/Tracy Yost)


It’s taken a few years. But Westport entertainment lawyer Alan Neigher is about to see “Big Dogs” — a project he helped create — reach millions of homes.

The 8-part series — about an elite team of New York City detectives and a ruthless European crime syndicate, based on a trilogy by Adam Dunn — debuts July 1 on Amazon Prime Direct.

IMDB describes the New York of the show: “Businesses are shuttered, crime is rampant, black markets thrive.”

Neigher was first involved when he helped Dunn get his books published, copywritten and distributed. When the pair realized they would make a great TV series, they formed a production company and got to work.

You could say Neigher had a “hand” in nearly every aspect of “Big Dogs.” A jazz pianist in his spare time, he wrote 2 pieces that are heard in the show.


And finally … “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written in 1900 as a poem by James Weldon Johnson. His brother John Rosamond Johnson put it to music in 1905. Today it is called “the black national anthem.” Many singers and choirs have recorded it. This version is one of my favorites.

 

Roundup: July 4th House Decorating Contest; #FridayFlowers; More


There will be no 4th of July fireworks this year. But you can still show your patriotism — and win tickets to the 2021 show.

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department and Westport PAL — the sponsors of what is usually our town’s biggest party — are collaborating on the first-ever “4th of July House Decorating Contest.”

They encourage residents to decorate the side of your house most visible from the street, showing off the themes of “patriotism” and “America.”

Click here to register, so your house can be judged (on July 2). There are 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes.

BONUS: The winning houses will be featured on “06880” too!

Showing the flag, on Hillspoint Road.


Surprise!

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association is honoring Staples High School’s graduating seniors with a special tribute: banners, flying high.

Every 12th grader’s name — all 443 — is on one of the 39 handsome, Staples-blue pennants. They were a surprise until yesterday. Now everyone can see them, on Main Street, Elm Street and Church Lane.

One more great reason to head downtown!

Nicole and Victoria Caiati, with “their” banner.


The Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers campaign brought them this week to St. Luke Church. There was special meaning for their volunteer efforts: The club’s monthly meetings — open to the public — are held in the church’s Community Room.


Westport Garden Club member Louise Demakis (left) with Sister Maureen in the garden at St. Luke Church. (Photo/ Kelle Ruden)


On Thursday, Aly Sivinski graduates from Staples High School. Since her first half-marathon 2 years ago, it was her dream to run in the New York City Marathon.

COVID-19 made that impossible this fall. But with time on her hands now, she decided to run her own half-marathon around here. She spent the past 8 weeks training, and will run her half on June 21.

Aly says, “Due to recent events in our society and the continued perpetuation of systemic racism, I have to decide to use my run to raise money for Black Lives Matter and the Connecticut Bail Fund.”

She hopes for either a flat donation of $13.10 (for the 13.1 miles), or a pledge of a any amount per mile. Click here to help.

Aly Sivinski


And finally … powerful, thought-provogking words from Depeche Mode:

COVID Roundup: ASF Helps Merchants; Half-Marathon; Sherwood Diner; Co-op Nursery School; More


The Westport Downtown Merchants Association and ASF are partnering to raise $10,000 for local businesses hit by COVID. They’re offering a unique Westport design, for hoodies, long-sleeve shirts, t-shirts and tank tops.

For each sale, $10 will be given to a WDMA-backed fund, and distributed ASAP.

But hurry — they’re only available through June 14!

Click here to order. (PS: They’ll ship anywhere!)


Ready for some exercise? Want to help frontline healthcare workers?

Thanks to Colby Kranz, you can do both.

The 2015 Staples High School graduate has designed a “Half Marathon from Home.” She posts a schedule that everyone follows, with playlists, daily tips and weekly motivational podcasts — but you choose the training routes (and final run, on July 25) that works best for you and your schedule.

Training has already begun, but anyone can jump in. When you do (click here), you’ve got the option to donate to NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 Relief efforts. The goal is $1,310 (because of the 13.1-mile final distance).

Colby — who has 6,000 Instagram followers, for her @livingpurely healthy recipe and lifestyle tips — says that dozens of people have already signed up for the half-marathon. They come from many different backgrounds. Some were training for a race that got canceled. Others have never run before.

All are welcome!

Colby Kranz is in national sales with iHeartMedia. During COVID, she’s working — and training — in Westport.


The latest restaurant to reopen — with new, socially distant outdoor tables — is the Sherwood Diner.

The menu is not as extensive as before. But the most popular items are all there. And 2 more umbrellas are coming soon.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


It’s not their biggest graduation of their lives. But every June, the Westport-Weston Co-op Nursery School celebrates its pre-K classes moving on to kindergarten next year with a a picnic on the Unitarian Church lawn, and an end-of-year video. Parents, grandparents and siblings join in.

For the first time in the school’s 65-year history, graduation was upended by a pandemic.

The videos were made by the Co-op’s Staples High School interns, and emailed to families. And instead of a picnic, there was a “car parade.”

But each youngster got a goody bag. There were “Co-op Class of 2020” t-shirts. And there were enough smiles all around to (almost) forget that there was a somber reason behind the new-style ceremony.

(Photo/Stacey Konowitz)


On April 8, Governor Lamont ordered all flags in Connecticut to fly at half-staff, mourning all the lives lost to COVID-19.

On May 19, he directed them all to return to full-staff.

The Westport Post Office has not yet gotten the message. The American and POW flags continue at half-staff.

Someone should write them a letter …

And finally … sing it, Sly!

COVID Roundup: Tennis, Golf, Fields News; Traffic Returns; Mexica Moves In; More


There’s plenty of good recreation news!

The tennis courts at Town Farm (North Compo Road) and Doubleday (behind Saugatuck Elementary School) open next Friday (June 5). Play is limited to singles, on only those courts with nets. For all tennis court rules and regulations, click here.

Beginning Monday (June 1), single rider and pull golf carts will be available at Longshore, through the 2 p.m. tee time. That ensures enough time for proper sanitation. Carts are limited, and available while supplies last. 

As of Friday (June 5), Longshore tee times begin at 7 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They remain at 8 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Play is extended daily; the last tee time is 7 p.m.

And — to the delight of young athletes throughout town, and runners of all ages — fields at Wakeman, Staples High School (including the outdoor track) and Kings Highway Elementary School open for individual use and exercise on Monday (June 1).

No organized, competitive, pick-up team play, practices or games are allowed.  Groups can include no more than 5 people, and social distancing must be followed. Non-compliance may result in field closures, Parks & Recreation officials say.

NOTE: Jinny Parker (field hockey) Field at Staples, and PJ Romano Field at Saugatuck Elementary will be closed for the summer, due to construction.

Wakeman athletic fields


Every day you seen, sense and feel it: More and more activity, all around town.

Including traffic.

This was the scene yesterday on Wilton Road. A long line at the Post Road light — it’s almost a welcome sight!

(Photo/David Waldman)


It takes a lot of cojones to open a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic

But that’s what the owners of Mexica are doing. The new spot — with similar cuisine — replaces Señor Salsa in the small Post Road West shopping center by Sylvan Lane.

Who doesn’t need a shot of tequila right now?!

(Photo/Cindy Mindell)

You know all those bottles and can you’ve been collecting since the coronavirus hit, and Stop & Shop closed their return center?

Bring ’em back. The doors are open once again.

Except 7 to 7:30 a.m., and 2 to 2:30 p.m. The room is closed then, for cleaning.


JL Rocks started at Bungalow. Now the luxury jeweler and home emporium are separate stores. But owners Jamie Camche and Wende Cohen still collaborate.

They’ve survived the Great Recession — and now, a retail apocalypse — by offering great quality, exemplary customer service, and a unique aesthetic.

Safe 1-on-1 appointments, FaceTime consultations, curbside pick-ups and shipping have kept their many loyal customers delighted.

Jamie and Wende are working together on a new project: the “City of Lights” collection. They created a series of slim, stackable rings, each highlighted with a stunning diamond. Available in 14K yellow, white and rose gold, the 5 rings are inspired by Parisian landmarks: the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles and Notre Dame.

So what if the coronavirus has canceled your European trip? It’s a lot less expensive to buy a beautiful ring. You’ll have it forever. And you’re helping 2 wonderful women, whose 2 stores — and close partnership — has brought joy to so many Westporters.

(The rings are available online at JL Rocks, and at Bungalow in Sconset Square.)

Jamie Camche and Wende Cohen .(Photo/Jen Goldberg for Private Portraits)


And finally … when Paul Simon wrote “America” in 1966, our nation was in the midst of convulsive change. Half a century later — battered by a pandemic, polarized by beliefs, ripped apart by race and class and so many other divisions — we’re still empty and aching. And we don’t know why.

COVID Roundup: No Camp? WTF!; Barbers; Playhouse Match; Senior Photos; More

How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm?

This summer at least, you can’t. Wakeman Town Farm announced that its popular Farm Camps will not run this summer. Officials cited the many restrictions put on camps by the state; the challenges of social distancing; the limited number of children who could be served, and “the unknowns related to pediatric reactions to the virus.”

WTF hopes to offer small tours and experiences, private family and corporate visits, outdoor curbside pizza pickups, volunteer opportunities and small-group apprentice programs. Details will be announced soon.


Barber shops can reopen on Monday (June 1). There are sure to be changes, in routine and personnel.

Three of Westport’s favorites — Chau Damico, Tony Esposito and Tina Cao — will be back at work. They’ve moved, though — but not far at all.

After decades at Compo Barber Shop, the trio can be found now at Westport Hair & Co. That’s the salon next to now-closed Olympia Sports, a few yards east in the same Compo Shopping Center.

They look forward to seeing the customers they’ve missed, and welcome their texts: Chau (203-278-0467), Tony (203-222-0303) and Tina (203-909-8781).


This morning, “06880” profiled the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s efforts to help front line workers, local restaurants, and club employees and members.

Now they’ve tweaked their logo. The goal of any crew team is to “pull together.” Saugatuck’s rowers may not be racing now. But every day since the pandemic began, that’s exactly what they’ve done.


The Westport Country Playhouse was hit hard by the coronavirus. All 2020 programs have been moved to 2021 (though a wide range of online content keeps audiences engaged). Financially, they’ve taken a huge hit.

Their “Survival Fund” goal is ambitious: $1.6 million. But it got a big boost this week, with a pledge from Edwin and Maureen Schloss. They’ll match every dollar raised — up to $250,000 — between now and July 4.

This would have been the Playhouse’s 90th season. Ed has been around for more than half of them. In 1969, he and his parents attended the world premiere of “Butterflies Are Free,” starring Blythe Danner and Keir Dullea. The show moved to Broadway, and Danner won a Tony there.

Tax deductible contributions may be made by clicking here, or texting WCPMATCH to 71777.


Staples High School’s seniors won’t get a traditional graduation next month. But they’ll be celebrated by Westport Lifestyle Magazine, in the August issue.

Hi-res photos — serious or fun — should be sent by June 5 to robin.chung@lifestylepubs.com. Include names, and a quote about summer plans or other positive thoughts.


Ariana Napier’s Bridgeport Rescue Mission food drive continues. Her goal is to collect 1,000 pounds of good each week.

Items most in need now: cereal; mac and cheese (box); jelly (no glass), and canned vegetables.

Fod and/or personal care items (diapers, wipes, sanitary pads, etc.) can be dropped in bins in Arianas driveway (14 Jennings Court, off Bayberry Lane). She will also pick up from your driveway. Email ariana.napier@gmail.com.


And finally … what has former Beach Boy Mike Love been up to these days?

God only knows. Well, YouTube does too:

 

Ssaugatuck Rowing Club Pulls Together In Pandemic

The boats are out of the water. The Boathouse restaurant has served only curbside and takeout meals. Yet despite the pandemic, the Saugatuck Rowing Club has been almost as busy as ever.

In true rise-to-the-challenge fashion, as soon as management realized closure was imminent, they reacted. They created website with a video library and daily livestream and Zoom classes.

Members had a choice: continue paying dues (if possible) for access to the “virtual club” site, or freezing their membership. Paying dues would allow the club to continue paying staff. Over 50 employees are being paid during the shudown, thanks to many members and owner Howard Winklevoss.

Saugatuck Rowing Club (Drone photo/Ward French)

US Rowing cancelled all regattas through June, which devastated dozens of young rowers. Parents had paid all racing fees in advance. But instead of requesting refunds, they donated the entire sum — $12,000 — to Feed the Frontline, a program that supports healthcare and other essential employees, while providing work to area restaurants.

Of course, like many restaurants The Boathouse at Saugatuck Rowing Club was  itself struggling. After reading an “06880” story about meal trains — SRC’s Diana Kuen had an idea: give food directly to Norwalk Hospital.

She sent an email to club members. In 3 days she raised over $8,500 — enabling The Boathouse to prepare 160 meals a week for the hospital.

Delivering Boathouse meals to Norwalk Hospital.

Kuen thanks the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s generous members — and the greater Westport community — for their contributions of over $20,000 to help feed healthcare workers, and keep local restaurants (including their own) afloat.

As for rowing itself: That’s continuing too (virtually). The 5-straight national champion junior girls and other teams are training on their own at home. Many have their own indoor machines. For those who do not, the club lent 65 ergometer rowing machines, and 12 erg bikes.

Ahead: next month’s online national event.

Meanwhile, with Connecticut restaurants reopening, The Boathouse offers outdoor dining. The view is great.

And — because privately owned boats are allowed on the water — you’ll see the welcome sight of rowers gracefully (and powerfully) plying the river once again.

The Saugatuck Rowing Club has weathered the pandemic. As always, everyone there is a winner.

(For a free 3-day pass to the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s online workout library and livestreams, click here. Questions? Email dkuen@saugatuckrowing.com)

A welcome sight. (Photo/Diana Kuen)

Peloton Bikers Ride Out The COVID Crisis

As Connecticut reopens, we can once again shop until we drop. (Or our mask falls off.) We can go to restaurants. (Sort of.)

Soon we can once again get our hair cut, styled and/or colored. And our nails done.

What we can’t do — at least for a while — is go to a gym. The Y, fitness centers, spin studios — all are too dangerous for our hot, sweaty, once-toned and possibly now-COVID-carrying bodies.

Westporters have adapted in a number of ways. We’ve livestreamed workout videos. We’ve jogged, walked and biked on suddenly empty streets. We’ve climbed walls. (Okay, that’s only figurative. But still…)

Those fortunate enough to have the foresight to already own a Peloton bike* were lucky. Those who suddenly realized they wanted one were out of luck. Thought there’s an actual store selling real bikes on Main Street, it closed in mid-March. Online orders were backed up for weeks.

It’s one thing to ride a Peloton bike at home. Sure, you’re linked up with an instructor and fellow bikers. But a group of Westport moms wanted more.

In the early days of the shutdown, Maria Mulvehill and a few friends — all with Pelotons — started texting. They wanted motivation and accountability to main their physical (and mental) health.

That text chain got many on the bike and moving even when they did not want to, Maria says.

Suzanne Slade — the mother of 4, all under the age of 7 — loves her Peloton group.

As friends pulled in friends, the texts also connected women who did not know each other. They cheer each other on, through messages and the leaderboard.

One woman will post that she’s doing a certain ride, at a certain time. Others join if they can. They see each other on screen. As they ride — sometimes racing, other times just keeping each other company — they “high-five.”

Later, they catch up by text.

The group branched out too. They shared stories about baking bread, coping with kids, and how they cry during rides when the instructor says something poignant or emotional.

Suzanne Slade is homeschooling 4 youngsters — all under 7. The Peloton community helped her maintain her health and fitness. “Knowing that I’m riding alongside other local mamas is motivating,” she says. “It would be easy to skip a ride. Knowing that others are showing up keeps me accountable.”

Julia Felleman calls her Peloton “a sanity saver. Thirty to 45 minutes to myself amidst 3 kids, homeschooling 2 of them, and a full-time job.”

Julie Felleman gets ready to rdie.

The best part? “I’ve gained a new text thread of 15 amazing moms. Some were strangers, but now I call them part of my mom-tribe. They motivate me (and my husband) to get on the bike and work out — even if it’s just to burn more calories for that extra cookie or cocktail. This crew of ladies is amazing!”

Vicky Powers adds that despite being apart, it feels like the group is together as they ride. She knew only a handful of the women when she started. “Now I have a whole new group of friends!”

Tally Jacobs says the group has given her things she was missing: “connection to friends, laughs at our group texts, scheduled exercise.”

It is also a chance to “make something positive out of this mess. When else would I get up to work out before my kids go to ‘school’?”

The leaderboard on a recent ride. Seven Westport women joined in.

Some of the moms have never actually met. “But we’ve been texting, sharing and riding together for 10 weeks,” Maria says. “One day we’ll all get together in person for a glass of wine!”

Though gyms and cycle studios may open soon, the women will continue their home Peloton rides — and their group texts.

They’d like to connect with other local riders. Use the hashtag #westportrideson with your Pelaton account. Questions? Email mariaffreeman@gmil.com.

* Peloton is an internet-connected stationary bike. Riders download classes — live, or on-demand — through a large touchscreen between the handlebars. 

Vicky Powers, in action.

Salons, Barber Shop Openings Delayed; Tennis Courts Open Soon

You’ve waited a long time for that haircut or coloring.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

The opening of those nearly essential (to many) businesses was set for this Wednesday (May 20).

Today Governor Ned Lamont announced t– with Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island — that those businesses will be pushed back to “early June.”

Lamont noted that after extensive discussions with owners and employees of these businesses, more time is needed.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from many owners and employees, and at this time I think the best approach is that we hit pause on the reopening of hair salons and barbershops, take a step back, and allow some more time as preparations continue to be made,” the governor said.

In other reopening news, Westport plans to open the Longshore and Staples High School tennis courts on May 27.

Play will be limited to singles, and allowed on courts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 at Longshore, and 2, 4 and 6 at Staples.

Longshore tennis courts (Photo/Cliona Becker)

Additional restrictions will be in place, and posted here. The Longshore courts will require advanced reservations, with payment by credit card only; no walk-ups permitted.

Work is now being done on the Town Farm and Doubleday courts. When that’s completed, those courts will be open with similar restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Longshore pool opening is delayed until further notice. So is staffing of lifeguards at Compo and Burying Hill beaches, as the town awaits further guidance from the state.

COVID Roundup: Pantry Help; Grocery Service; More


Homes With Hope needs plenty of help. Westporters have responded generously to requests for food for clients of the supportive housing agency, and supplies for the food pantry that serves many others.

But the Jesup Road facility needs another kind of help too: volunteers to sort and stack the donations that have come in.

Staples High School’s boys track team captains worked all day Friday, doing just that.

They and their team promise to be back soon — with more food, and more manpower to help put that food in order.

Staples boys track captains, at Homes With Hope.


Westporters love “Guys Helping” — the local teenagers (and not all male) who do shopping and other errands for those who can’t get out. (Just email GuysHelping@gmail.com. Include your name, address, and errand.)

But you don’t have to love in “06880” to enjoy a service like that. If you’re within 30 minutes of 48103 — that’s Ann Arbor, Michigan — you can request delivery of groceries, prescriptions and other essentials from a store of your choice. Like Westport’s Guys Helping, it’s contact-less — and free.

The “A2” service is provided by Kellen Smithson. A 2014 Staples High School graduate, she lost her job the pandemic. But she sure hasn’t lost her spirit, or her desire to help.

Kellen Smithson


And finally … after 3 days of the beach parking lots being reopened (and, at last, a bit of spring weather), Westport feels: