Category Archives: Teenagers

Roundup: Suzuki Music, Suicide Prevention, Camp Gallery …

=====================================================

Suzuki Music Schools is a scary place.

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

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

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

=======================================================

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

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

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

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

Kevin Kuczko

=======================================================

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

Artwork by Dominik Schmitt

=======================================================

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debby Ury

=======================================================

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hazel Saviano

====================================================

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

(Photo/JC Martin)

=======================================================

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

 

Colin Konstanty’s Senior Moment: “Trevor”

Like most Staples High School students, Colin Konstanty looked forward to senior year. Homecoming, Staples Players productions, the Candlelight Concert — all would be cap his Westport educational career.

Then “Trevor” came calling.

So instead of driving up North Avenue, Colin spends 6 days a week on Metro-North. He’s in the ensemble of the off-Broadway musical.

Though its not easy giving up so much of senior year, the talented actor is pursuing his passion.

And chasing his dream.

As a young child in England, Colin played sports. (His brother AJ is a tight end on the Cornell University football team.)

Colin Konstanty (right) and his brother AJ, last June.

He kept playing after moving to Westport. But in 2nd grade at Greens Farms Elementary School, Colin also started piano lessons and singing. He joined School of Rock in Fairfield, and got hooked on performing.

He had a small part in Bedford Middle School’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Yet sports were still a major focus.

The summer before 8th grade, Colin’s parents encouraged him to do Bedford’s summer musical. The decision changed his life.

He joined an 8th grade acting class. He’s been performing — and honing his craft — ever since.

Colin Konstanty rehearses his George Bailey role, in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The show was one of Staples Players’ radio productions, during COVID last year.

Colin loves “the energizing feeling of being on stage, in front of an audience.” He also enjoys the process of “putting up a play or musical, working together as a team with the cast and crew.”

As an actor, he appreciates the process of “finding a character, and doing my research and work to be as truthful and specific as I can.

“I love being in the moment, leaving myself alone, feeling as though I’m open, and connecting with another actor, the material, or even the audience on a level I maybe hadn’t before.”

He tried for professional work. In March 2020, just before COVID shut down theaters, he auditioned for “Trevor: The Musical.”

Last month — as the industry took steps to reopen — the creative team asked Colin to go straight to callbacks. The next day, he learned he was cast.

Colin Konstanty

“Being a part of the reopening of theater in New York is pretty amazing,” he says. “But to be working on a show that covers such important issues faced by young teens — especially LGBTQ+ teenagers — makes it all the more special.”

Though Colin now attends Staples only on Mondays — he and fellow actors are tutored the rest of the days — his teachers and administrators have been very supportive. So are his friends.

“I’m doing what I love, professionally, with an amazing creative team,” Colin says. “And I’m working with a phenomenally talented cast that is mostly kids my age.”

Colin is learning what it takes to be part of a large-scale production — especially one that creates an “inclusive, encouraging, uplifting environment.” He’s also learned to be a team player, and flexible.

But an actor’s life is precarious. Colin hopes to continue in the industry — either onstage, or as a writer, director or producer.

Right now — like many Staples seniors — Colin is applying to college. He hopes to study acting, producing and the entertainment business there.

That’s all in the future, of course. Right now, Colin Konstanty is focused on one thing: making “Trevor” the best show possible.

Performances begin October 25, at Stage 42.

(Click here for tickets, and more information.)

Roundup: Dog Festival, Banned Books, Social Anxiety,

=======================================================

Anne Lutz Fernandez is a former English teacher at Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools.

She’s also an author, and a contributing writer for NBC News’ “Think” website.

The other day, she started a “Think” essay this way:

“A few years ago, I was asked to phone a parent who wanted her high school senior to switch English classes. Her daughter had selected the class ‘Women in Fiction,’ but the mother wanted her to take my class instead to avoid books that would go against the family’s Christian beliefs.

“Her daughter would be welcome, I said, but warned that my course, ‘Literature of Suspense,’ might also prove problematic. The books include a lot of crime, some violent, I explained. That’s okay, she replied. Supernatural evil? Not a problem. Substance abuse? Fine. Death, demons, and drugs: all were judged inoffensive. This parent just didn’t want her daughter reading books in which characters have sex.

“Death, demons, and drugs: all were judged inoffensive. This parent just didn’t want her daughter reading books in which characters have sex.

“I’ve been pondering this exchange during Banned Books Week and as numerous states have passed legislation purportedly meant to protect America’s K-12 students from ‘discomfort’ when learning about history or contemporary issues.”

It’s a provocative, insightful essay. To read the rest, click here.

Anne Lutz Fernandez

================================================

Forget the dog days of autumn. This Sunday (October 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  Winslow Park) marks the return of the Westport Dog Festival.

The popular event was knocked out 2 springs in a row by COVID. But you can’t keep a good dog down.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS bring attendees — human and canine — a day filled with fun competitions, kids’ activities, demonstrations, police K9 presentations, giveaways, vendors, food trucks and more.

Piglet — the blind and deaf chihuahua — will be there. So will Earth Animal, presenting prizes for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds, and the dog that most looks like its owner.

Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse, and lots along Post Road East. Tickets are $10 per person; $25 for a family of 4. Proceeds benefit non-profit organizations.

To register for competitions, and more information, click here.

This guy loved the 2017 Dog Festival. (Photo/Dan Woog)

======================================================

With little fanfare, the Kings Highway North bridge by Canal Street has reopened to traffic.

In only slightly less time than it took to build the pyramids or create the NASA program that put a man on the moon, crews have completed work on a project that most Westporters never even realized was a bridge.

The new route to Wilton Road from Main Street should ease downtown traffic a bit. Fingers crossed …

A welcome sight, once again. (Photo courtesy of Google Street View)

======================================================

Eighteen months into the pandemic, Westport moms want to know as much about COVID as possible.

So tonight (Tuesday, October 5 (8 p.m.), Westport Moms is hosting an Instagram Live session with Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

The former FDA commissioner — and current local resident — will talk about vaccines, kids, and where we go from here.

Westport Moms is a multi-platform resource. Look for @WestportMoms for tonight’s IG Live event.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

=======================================================

Kids are talking about popularity and social anxiety.

And this week’s “Kids Are Talking” — the online, Westport-based, multi-platform show — tackles that fraught topic. 
This week’s show will be talking about popularity and Social Anxiety.

What does popularity mean to teenagers today? How does pressure to fit in affect self-esteem and confidence? Do the stresses of being popular come at a price, and how important is it?

Click here for the link.

=======================================================

An update on the GoFundMe drive for Horace Lewis, the beloved Staples High and Coleytown Middle School custodian who suffered a devastating stroke on his anniversary in July.

The goal of $50,000 has been surpassed. Grateful Westporters have donated $54,990 so far. But more is needed, for costs not covered by insurance. He receives physical and occupational therapy, and has still not returned home. Substantial renovations will be needed to make the house accessible for him.

Click here to help Horace. (Hat tip: Andrea Cross)

Horace Lewis

=====================================================

Three bits of art news:

The George Billis Gallery on Main Street hosts an opening reception this Friday (October 8, 4 to 7 p.m.) for its next exhibition. Artists include Nancy Bass, Paige Bradley, Steve Cosentino and Denise Petit.

On Saturday (October 9, 1 to 3:30 p.m.), One River School of Art + Design presents a solo exhibition of work by Chuck Webster. His mediums include painting, drawing, collage and printmaking. His works are on display through December 19.

And Westporter Steven Parton has been named a Signature Member by the  American Artists Professional League. That brings him one step closer to being recognized as a Living Master by the organization.

Steven Parton, with one of his works.

=======================================================

Builders Beyond Borders — the international service organization for teenagers — hosts an open house tomorrow (Wednesday, October 6, 66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk, 5:30 to 7 p.m.). Students and their parents are invited to learn more about programs and possibilities.

====================================================

As of last Friday, dogs are allowed back at Compo Beach.

Yesterday — right on cue — these pooches enjoyed their freedom. Tracy Porosoff was there to capture this iconic “Westport … Naturally” scene.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

=======================================================

And finally … Bob Moore, who played upright bass on hundreds of country music’s biggest hits, died last month in Nashville. He was 88.

The New York Times said: “Over 40 years Mr. Moore elevated the bass in country music from a subordinate timekeeper to an instrument capable of considerable tonal and emotional reach. By turns restrained and robust, his imaginative phrasing revealed a gift for seizing the dramatic moment within a recording or arrangement.” Click here for the full obituary.

Among his most noteworthy recordings:

Natalie Bandura: State Board Of Ed’s Youngest Member

Natalie Bandura — the daughter of Russian immigrants — entered kindergarten in Norwalk without knowing a word of English.

She learned quickly. Her parents moved to Westport, and as a Staples High School freshman she tutored Spanish-speaking elementary students in her former town. Last year, during COVID, she founded the Little Learners Club, a virtual project with another Norwalk elementary school.

Now Natalie advocates for students like those — and her Staples peers — all over the state. She is one of 2 high school members of the Connecticut Board of Education.

And although she and counterpart Rishabh Bandari of Wilton do not vote, they have voices. Their charge is to represent the perspectives of students, and show how educational decisions made by adults will impact youngsters.

Natalie Bandura in Hartford.

It’s an important role. But it’s not the only one Natalie has undertaken. The Staples senior is a member of the National Honor Society and Latin Honor Society, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper Inklings, math team captain, Link Crew mentor, creator of Masks That Matter and Top Hat tutor.

In her spare time, she is a Latin ballroom dancing competitor.

But the state Board of Education post is pretty cool. Natalie admits that when she first heard of the opportunity from assistant principal Chase Dunlap, she thought it was for the Westport Board of Ed.

She soon realized it was orders of magnitude larger. The application process included a personal statement. Natalie wrote about the discrepancies between the opportunities afforded students she knew through her Norwalk tutoring, and those she’d worked with at a Greenwich STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) camp.

She said she was used to working with schools and administrators, and mentioned another experience: attending the Youth Leader Summit last summer. (It’s usually in Singapore; because of COVID, this one was virtual.)

Natalie had 2 rounds of interviews, and another with an aide to Governor Lamont. She had a chance to meet the governor later — along with US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (a former Connecticut Commissioner of Education), and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.

Her first Board of Education meeting this month was a heady experience. She had an ID badge and a parking spot; in front of her seat was a microphone.

Natalie and Rishabh took the initiative to introduce themselves to other members, and ask about their backgrounds and goals.

Once the meeting began, Natalie spoke up about COVID contact tracing. She noted that although it works in classrooms, it breaks down in school cafeterias. She also jumped into a discussion about school funding and the learning gap, and diversity issues.

Other members thanked the two student representatives for their insights. “They want us to be vocal,” Natalie notes.

She knows the importance of using her voice to represent all Connecticut students. She knows too that Staples High School is different from most schools. She feels fortunate that living in Norwalk, and tutoring there, has given her different perspectives.

As a kindergartner who did not speak English, Natalie could never have imagined sitting on a statewide body.

But now that she’s there, the youngest member of the state Board of Education says, she’s eager to talk.

And act.

Dancing In The Dark

Forget Snapchat and TikTok. Go away, SAT tutors. No need to worry about COVID or climate change.

Last night, dozens of Staples High School students enjoyed a good old-fashioned dance-a-thon.

The dance-a-thon begins.

The back-to-the-’50s kids were Staples Players. From 8 p.m. till midnight, they filled the main courtyard for a fundraiser. Actors and tech crew solicited pledges, for each hour they danced.

And this was real dancing. No grinding allowed.

Highlights included the male ensemble performing “Greased Lightning” — twice. The DJ loved it so much, he wants tickets to the next show.

Which is, of course, “Grease.”

After 18 months away from a full mainstage production, Players enjoyed getting together to dance. They also hoped to raise $40,000, to cover the cost of sets, costumes and much more. With canceled shows — and limited audiences looming due to the Delta variant — the dance-a-thon was crucial. (Donations are still being accepted; click here.)

Show dates are November 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., and November 14 and 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets go on sale October 23 at www.StaplesPlayers.com. For more details, follow Players on Facebook and Instagram.

(All photos/Kerry Long)

 

Roundup: Pink Aid, Bagels, Pickleball …

=====================================================

Like many charities, Pink Aid CT has pivoted this year to a virtual event.

They’re calling it “virtuous.” Hundreds of items –will be auctioned off starting Tuesday (October 5, 9 a.m.). Among them:

  • A flight on Marc Lasry’s private jet to sit courtside and watch the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks
  • Private safari for 2 in Tanzania
  • VIP seating at Christian Siriano’s fall 2022 show, with backstage passes.

All funds raised benefit women with breast cancer in underserved communities.

A video about the event features the auction’s host, Westporter and “A Million Little Things” star Stephanie Szostak.

For auction tickets and more, click here.

=======================================================

Adam Goldberg’s pop-up bagel project at the Manna Hub kitchen has grown into a full-time operation. It’s packed on weekends, and a full-time store opens soon in Georgetown.

Now he’s going even bigger time. Adam was the only out-of-state vendor invited to compete at this weekend’s Brooklyn Bagelfest.

Can a little Westport bagel guy beat the big boys at their own game? Fingers crossed. Stay tuned!

Behind the scenes in the Don Memo kitchen. From left: Rachel Golan,.David Levinson
Jason Epstein, Adam Goldberg. (Photo/Ria Rueda)

=======================================================

Leonard Everett Fisher is a Westport icon. He’s a World War II veteran, a civic volunteer — and, for over 70 years, a nationally enowned illustrator, painter and designer.

He’s being honored through the end of the year by the Westport Library. An exhibit of his work — “A Life of Art” — is open at the Sheffer and South Galleries.

Fisher has written and illustrated hundreds of children’s books, and created over 700 paintings and 6000 scratch boards. The Library show features many original illustrations and acrylic paintings. 

It’s an exhibit not to be missed. Before you go, click here (then scroll down) for a virtual studio tour of this remarkable man.

Leonard Everett Fisher at Westport’s 2016 Memorial Day ceremonies.

=====================================================

The agenda for Wednesday’s Parks & Recreation Commission meeting (7:30 p.m., Zoom) includes a discussion of possible pickleball sites.

The meeting ID is 879 8059 1192. The passcode is 480909.

The Compo Beach pickleball courts get plenty of use.

=======================================================

Two great Nash’s Corner businesses are offering 20% off deals for new customers. You can combine them, or just take advantage of one.

Felicia’s Salon Nash — run by the wonderful Felicia Catale — provides cuts for women, men, girls and boys. with blowouts and coloring too. Call 203-747-9753 and 203-349-5814.

For 20% off 3D synthetic mink eyelashes — usually $180, now $144 — at Nash’s Lashes by Judy, call 203- 557-8964,

Felicia Catale

=======================================================

On October 1, 1961 — 60 years ago yesterday — Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.

A young Westporter named Robert Mull was there. It was the first Major League game he ever saw. His father captured all of Maris’ at-bats that day — including the shot off Tracy Stallard, his hat tip and more.

Now Mull has posted the video online. Click here to see. (Speaking of hat tips: thanks, Fred Cantor!)

Screenshot from the Roger Maris video.

=====================================================

The other day, Chris Grimm was scrolling through a site that sells t-shirts of defunct Connecticut businesses. (I didn’t ask for details.) He found this classic for Arnie’s Place, the video game arcade that is now Ulta:

======================================================

Next up for the Westport Astronomical Society: NASA astrophysicist Scott Guzewich discusses “Roving Mars with Curiosity and Perseverance.”

It’s a clever title, and is sure to be out of this world. Click on the October 19 (8 p.m.) links: Zoom and YouTube livestream.

=======================================================

The National Charity League’s Westport chapter invites 6th grade girls to apply for the 2022-23 year. NCL With over 275 members, the local group provides volunteer service for over 30 community organizations. Members are women and their daughters in grades 7-12.

The 6-year core program includes leadership development and cultural activities. For more information click here, or email lisa22607@gmail.com.

The National Charity League gang takes a break from volunteer work.

======================================================

The good news: Rebecca Schussheim, Lucia Wang and Tom Zhang  will represent Staples High School at the 8th annual Normandy International Youth Leadership Summit next month.. They were chosen because of their academic performance and interest in world affairs.

The bad news: This year’s event is virtual, so they don’t get to go to France.

But congratulations anyway, on a great achievement!

(From left): Rebecca Schussheim,Lucia Wang, Tom Zhang.

=======================================================

Samera Nasereddin describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“Two baby raccoons visited our garden, and delighted my cat and me. They were very curious, unafraid and non-aggressive. We sent a photo to a local expert, who told us they were healthy 3-4-month-olds, learning how to fend for themselves. I’m so grateful for their sweet visit. I hope that they continue to be safe and healthy, wherever they are now.”

(Photo/Samera Nasereddin)

=======================================================

And finally … It’s been a long time since I’ve thought of Roger Maris. But seeing his name — and the video of his 61st home run — made me think of other famous players.

And of course:

Katie McGillion-Moore: Westport’s Eagle Scout Pioneer

When an Earthplace official told Katie McGillion-Moore that refurbishing outdoor tables might not seem like a big deal, but would mean so much to the organization, she knew she’d found her Eagle Scout project.

Many families and youngsters enjoy Earthplace programs. For years, the tables were exposed to the elements. Katie sanded, stained and sealed them. She cleared weeds, then added a few tables too.

Katie McGillion-Moore with her Eagle Scout benches at Earthplace …

She did not work alone. Scouts and parents from Westport troops 139, 39 and 100 spent nearly 75 hours on site. They finished just in time for tomorrow’s Woodside Bash (Saturday, 7 p.m.) and Sunday’s Fall Festival (Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Katie is hardly the first Westporter to complete an Eagle project. But she is the first girl to do so.

She is a founding member of Troop 139, our town’s first Scout BSA troop for girls. She’s enjoyed her 2 1/2 years of intense activities, including camping, hiking, leadership and service.

Scouts from Troops139 and 39 (from left): Olivia Beckwith, Amelia Gura, Vanessa Overgard, Annabelle Lott, Jordan O’Brien, Katie McGillion-Moore, Charlie McGillion-Moore, Josephine Dumery.

They meet once a week. They go camping, hiking, biking or backpacking each month, and participate in community service projects throughout the year.

The troop holds a welcome campfire in the Christ & Holy Trinity Church courtyard next Friday (October 8, 7 p.m.). Girls in grades 6-12 who want to learn more about Scouts BSA are welcome.

Questions? Email kjobrien72@mac.com.

FUN FACT: Katie is Westport’s first female Eagle Scout — but not the first one in her family to achieve that prestigious rank. Her brother, Jake McGillion-Moore, earned his Eagle in 2020. He refurbished a playground and created a garden at Bridgeport’s Caroline House.

Staples Players Dance For Dollars

After 18 months of COVID, “Grease” is the perfect musical for Staples Players to stage.

And — after 18 months of COVID played havoc with their finances — a “Grease”-inspired dance-a-thon is the perfect way to raise funds.

When the pandemic knocked out the spring 2020 production of “Seussical” 24 hours before opening night — and then canceled 2 more fall and spring shows — the usually self-sufficient high school-but-really-much-more troupe was troubled.

Ticket sales from shows like “Mamma Mia!” and “West Side Story” traditionally fund expenses for all shows, all year. Costs include performance rights, costumes, sets, sound, lights, extra staff, and whatever else it takes to put on a play.

Shows like “Mamma Mia!” are spectacular. And expensive. (Photo/Kerry Long)

As COVID eased last spring, a production of “Words, Words, Words … And Music” gave Players a sense of normalcy. But with ticket sales limited to 1/3 of the house, it actually lost money.

This year, directors David Roth and Kerry Long went big. “Grease” is a great show, with broad appeal. Bu performance rights are expensive — and they’re based on a full house, even if ticket sales must be limited. (The number of seats will be determined closer to opening night.)

So the popular dance musical has spawned a dance-a-thon. This Friday, October 1 (8 p.m. to midnight), cast members and tech crew will dance in the Staples courtyard — 4 hours straight. Music will span many eras, from the ’50s on.

The public can pledge donations, by the hour or for the full night. Click here for details.

Young Shoots: Berries, Fruits, Farmers’ Roots

Everything about the Westport Farmers’ Market annual photo contest is special.

The name — “Young Shoots” — is quite clever.

The idea — inviting children and teenagers to honor food and farmers creatively, through fresh eyes — is important.

The setting for the awards ceremony — Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, the Market’s winter home — is both apt and beautiful.

This year’s recent evening showed off both the bounty of the Farmers’ Market, and the talent of our young local photographers.

First place winners received a cash prize, special swag and the opportunity to lead a food photo shoot with chef Bill Taibe. Second place winners earned $50. Judging was done by local artists, and the public.

First place in the 8-to-10-year-old category went to Kayla Stanley, for “Berries & Beyond.” Second place went to Juliette Newshel, for “Complementary.”

“Berries & Beyond” (Kayla Stanley)

“Complementary” (Juliette Newshel)

The 11-to-14 winner was Camille Mergenthaler (“Uniqueness of a Vegetable”). Sara Stanley placed second (“A Farmer’s Roots”).

“Uniqueness of a Vegetable” (Camille Mergenthaler)

“A Farmer’s Roots” (Sara Stanley)

There were plenty of entries in the 2 youngest categories. However, only one photographer entered the 15-to-18-year-old group. Dylan Kirsch was awarded the prize for “Scenes Around the Market.”

“Scenes Around the Market” (Dylan Kirsch)

Want to see more? Click here for all the entries.

(Young Shoots is a partnership between the Westport Farmers’ Market, the Artists Collective of Westport and the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center.)

Roundup: Auto Thefts, Christian Siriano, Kids Are Talking …

=====================================================

A rash of auto thefts has rattled Westport.

Yesterday, the Police Department said it’s joining law enforcement agencies from Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Monroe and Newtown in a regional motor vehicle theft task force.  They’ll develop a comprehensive effort to deter auto theft and arrest those responsible.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says that by “sharing resources and information with other communities that are also experiencing a large number of motor vehicle thefts, our ability to solve these crimes increases exponentially. While the theft of cars may seem like a youthful indiscretion to some, it is important to keep in mind that these stolen vehicles are often used in the commission of very serious crimes such as robberies and shootings.”

In almost every case, stolen vehicles are unlocked with the keys or key fob inside.  So even with the task force and extra officers on patrol, Westport Police urge (again and again): Keep your f—ing cars locked! (Expletive is mine.)

Please steal my car!

====================================================

Since moving to Westport, Christian Siriano has kept a relatively low profile.

But last night, the world got a glimpse of his digs.

MTV Cribs featured the world renowned fashion designer. A few days earlier, People magazine previewed the show.

They noted that his bedroom is “definitely bigger” than his New York apartment.

“The spacious room, which is decorated in neutral tones, features a large set of wide glass doors opening to a deck that overlooks the Project Runway alum’s sprawling yard,” People wrote.

Siriano said: “What I love about it is that you wake up every single morning to crazy, natural sunlight every day. We have no curtains, which is kind of wild. You have to be very comfortable being naked. Luckily there’s no neighbors around.”

(Click here for the full People story. Hat tip: Tracy Porosoff)

=======================================================

What do Senator Elizabeth Warren, Fannie Mae chair Sheila Bair and Westonite Amy Weisman have in common?

All were just named to Forbes’ “50 Over 50” in finance list. They’re “shaping the future of finance, fueling high-growth businesses and forging a more innovative and inclusive financial future.”

In 2017, Weisman — then 53 years old, and managing director of business development for Sterling Investment Partners — co-founded Exponent Women, a membership network for senior women in private equity. After 30 years working in finance (while caring for her children and parents), she wanted to do more to support female dealmakers.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal named Weisman one of “10 Women to Watch in Private Equity.” She began her career as an analyst at Smith Barney.

Click here for the full Forbes list.

Amy Weisman

=======================================================

Westport psychologist Dr. Don Cohen’s upcoming livestream focuses on an important topic. Titled “Kids Are Talking: Antisemitism — What Jewish Teens Want You to Know,” it’s set for September 23 (7 p.m.), in partnership with the ADL.

The new livestream format on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube has previously covered topics including body image, modern gender and sexuality; drug
use and abuse; romantic and sexual relationships; social misinformation, and mental health challenges.

Videos are found at http://kidsaretalking.live, youtube.com/kidsaretalking, facebook.com/kidsaretalking, and twitch.tv/kidsaretalking.

A retro poster.

======================================================

Attention “left-leaning, like-minded political activists”: ReSisters & Misters) is meeting Sunday (September 19, 1 p.m.) for painting, postcarding, Afghan refugee action, socializing and more. Contact msheinus@yahoo.com for information.

=======================================================

Speaking of politics: A rally for women’s reproductive rights is set for October 2 (1 p.m., Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge). Click here for more information.

A rally earlier this month on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge featured signs like these.

=====================================================

Heartlent — the local social strategy and creative content agency — just celebrated its 1st anniversary.

Among the highlights, they:

  • Created unique concept and content for Clemson Football’s social feeds celebrating their first ever #1 Overall NFL Draft Pick, Trevor Lawrence
  • Won 11 awards with their Rock the Vote “Hoopers Vote” campaign
  • Worked with Denver Nuggets sponsor Western Union to create unique content celebrating star center Nikola Jokic’s MVP honors
  • Created the opening day #MLSisBack graphic
  • Supported Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign with creative, digital and social assets
  • Designed the shirt worn by New York Knick Immanuel Quickley at Madison Square Garden
  • Launched “Remotely Renee”, where Atlanta Dreams co-owner Renee Montgomery announced her retirement from the WNBA
  • Partnered with Opendorse to provide social strategy and content for student athletes and universities in advance of NIL (name, image, likeness).

That’s quite a list for one year. Congratulations to managing partner (and Westporter) Elliot Gerard, and all!

=======================================================

“06880” has featured Gloria — the late Alan Sterling’s weather-beaten oyster boat — often. But today marks its first appearance as a “Westport … Naturally” feature. It sits in Gray’s Creek, deteriorating but surrounded by plenty of life.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

=======================================================

And finally … today is my sister Laurie’s birthday. She shares a name with the title of one of the creepiest songs ever recorded.

The dead-teen genre was (ahem) alive and well in the 1950s and ’60s. Who can forget “Teen Angel,” “Tell Laura I Love Her,” “Last Kiss” or “Leader of the Pack”?

But for sheer, sad weirdness, nothing beats Dickey Lee’s tear-jerker.