Category Archives: Totally random

“Westport Madness”: Semifinals Are Here!

Our “Westport Madness” tournament is racing to a close.

Who (actually, “what”) will be crowned the quintessential piece of our town?

Your quarterfinal votes are in.

You chose these semifinalists:

Compo Beach over Westport Library (80.3% to 19.7)

Westport train station over YMCA downtown (53.9 to 46.1)

Remarkable Book Shop over Grass fields (72.8 to 27.2)

Saugatuck over Gold’s (59.2 to 40.8).

Click here to vote. Polls are open through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 29.

On we go!

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

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“Westport Madness”: Quarterfinal Voting Is Live!

There were several blowouts in Round of 16 voting for “Westport Madness” — the “06880” contest to find the most quintessential element of our town.

Unlike its NCAA counterpart, there were no seedings.

These 8 winners advance to the quarterfinals:

  • Compo Beach over Angelina’s (94.4% to 5.6%)
  • Westport Library over Tennis (89.7 to 10.3)
  • Westport train station over Calise’s (73.8 to 26.2)
  • YMCA downtown over Bedford Middle School (64.5 to 35.5)
  • Remarkable Book Shop over Merritt Parkway (73.8 to 26.2)
  • Grass fields over “New” school start times (79.9 to 20.1)
  • Saugatuck over Greens Farms Academy (84.6 to 15.4)
  • Gold’s over MoCA Westport (73.8 to 26.2).

Quarterfinal voting is underway now. All “06880” readers are eligible. Click here to cast your ballot for the most Westport thing of all.

Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

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Westport Madness: Round Of 16 Voting Underway

Just like its March Madness counterpart, the first round of our Westport Madness tournament featured close match-ups, blowouts and surprises.

The search to find the most quintessential element of Westport included one-sided victories:

  • Compo Beach over Sherwood Island (83.8% to 16.2%)
  • Angelina’s over Planet Pizza (79.6 to 20.4)
  • Remarkable Book Shop over Arrow restaurant (90 to 10)
  • Grass fields over turf fields (86.3 to 13.8)
  • Greens Farms Academy over Fairfield Prep (81.2 to 18.8)
  • Gold’s over Rye Ridge (83.8 to 16.2)

Much closer:

  • Calise’s over Gaetano’s (52.1 to 47.9)
  • MoCA over the Artists Collective of Westport (52.3 to 47.7)

And, in what some may think of as upsets:

  • “New” school start times over “old” school start times (50.4 to 49.6)
  • YMCA downtown over YMCA Mahackeno property (57.5 to 42.5)

Other results:

  • Tennis over pickleball (61.7 to 38.3)
  • Westport Library over Levitt Pavilion (67.9 to 32.1)
  • Westport train station over Greens Farms train station (75 to 25)
  • BMS over CMS (60 to 40)
  • Merritt Parkway over I-95 (74.6 to 25.4)
  • Saugatuck over Greens Farms (72.9 to 21.7)

Voting for the Round of 16 is underway. Click here; scroll down for each bracket, then hit “Submit.”

Voting is open through 11:59 p.m. Monday. Game on!

(Graphic and ballots courtesy of Luca Caniato)

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Westport Madness: Let The Brackets Begin!

March Madness has begun.

For the next 3 weeks, America will watch 64 teams whittle down to 32, 16, an Elite 8, a Final 4, and then — at last — the NCAA Division I men’s basketball champion.

Billions of dollars will be wagered. Far less will be won.

But why root for Kansas, Duke or UConn (or Grand Canyon, Northern Kentucky or Vermont) when you can cheer for Compo Beach, Gold’s or the Remarkable Book Shop?

Welcome to “06880”‘s first-ever “Westport Madness.”

The goal is simple: find the most quintessential thing in our town.

And you — our readers — are the ones who will do it.

I came up with 16 pairings (unlike March Madness, there are no seedings). My trusty sidekick — Staples High School sophomore Luca Caniato — created the graphics, and a voting system that’s even more secure than Dominion.

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

To vote, just click here. Then scroll down for each match-up. (Don’t forget to click “Submit” at the end!)

Each round of voting lasts 48 hours. Winners, and an updated bracket, will be posted soon after voting ends.

So look over each bracket. Select the “most Westport” choice for each. Click here to vote.

Let the games begin!

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Pic Of The Day #2112

Seen today at Compo Beach. Photographer Jon Rosenoer writes: “I hope this ended with a yes.'”

Roundup: Traffic, Microgreens, Bagels …

Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast features 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker talking traffic.

In the bi-weekly series — produced by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston — she talks about Post Road intersection improvements, from Bulkley Avenue to Fresh Market; the Easton Road/Weston Road/Exit 42 clusterf***, and a study of Cross Highway, from North Avenue to Bayberry Lane.

Click below for the full podcast.


How bad are conditions in Lyman, Ukraine?

“06880” has reported on life Westport’s sister city. Now the BBC has taken note.

A long report on the British news service website reads like a horror story. Click here — and think about our new friends overseas.

Apartment building in Lyman, after missile strikes. (Photo courtesy of BBC)


Westport’s weekly volunteer trash pick-up continued on Saturday.

A dozen or so residents, members of Assumption Church and St. Francis Church of Weston joined in clearing litter on Greens Farms Road, near I-95 (and the Assumption Cemetery).

Interested in joining? Email Andrew Colabella:

Trash pick-up on Greens Farms Road.


Everyone is talking about (and eating) microgreens.

On March 13 (7 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farm offers “Microgreens 101: Grow Your Own!”

The evening covers urban farming, sustainable food systems, minimizing waste, rethinking food production and distribution, nutrition, and (of course) how to get started.

If you sign up by February 6, you can get a starter kit in time.

For more information and to register, click here.



Westport Country Playhouse’s Family Festivities presents “Woof Woof the Shadow Pup.” The February 12 (1 and 4 p.m.) shadow theater musical is one hour, and appropriate for grades pre-K and up and runs approximately one-hour in length.

“Woof Woof” illuminates the importance of understanding and acknowledging the emotional life of young children. This inspiring story is an invitation for families to experience the magical world of shadow theater.

Click here for details and tickets.

“Woof Woof the Shadow Pup,” at the Westport Country Playhouse.


Besides breaking national age group (85-89 years old) records on the track, Westporter Norma Minkowitz is also a prestigious artist.

“Body to Soul” — her solo exhibition at Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Galleries opens January 27. There’s an opening talk and reception January 26 (5 p.m.). Click here for more information. Click below for a video about Norma’s work.(Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)


Did you lose your bagels?

If so, Chris Grimm spotted them yesterday, near High Gate Road off South Maple:

(Photo/Chris Grimm)


Mark Shufro died peacefully at home in Brooklyn on October 16. He was 66, and had lived for more than a decade with spinocerebellar ataxia-13 and multiple-system atrophy.

Born in New York City, he soon moved with his family to Westport, and graduated from Staples High School. He discovered Ultimate Frisbee there, which was in its infancy at the time but became a lifelong passion.

In his teens Mark established his first business — Marco Sales — distributing swimming pool chemicals to neighbors and family friends. .

At Brown University Mark majored in math and French, studied abroad in France and Colombia, and continued to play Ultimate Frisbee. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1979.

Mark worked as an actuary for a year before being accepted into General Electric’s Financial Management Program. Mark earned an MBA from New York University while working at GE Credit and at several other firms. He started his own company, Greyrock Capital Group, in 2001.

Mark married Lisa Kerpen in 1985. After living in Manhattan and Irvington, New York, they settled back in Westport in 1992. There Mark pursued his hobbies of woodworking and tinkering, reading, traveling, skiing and Ultimate Frisbee while raising his family of 4 children

In 2017, as empty nesters, Mark and Lisa moved to Carroll Gardens. Mark continued to be involved with his company, advising and supporting younger members. He also took an active role in research into his illness, funding several important studies at Yale University. He was overjoyed to celebrate the wedding of his daughter Hannah to Roberto Ferdman, a few weeks before his death.

Besides his wife Lisa, daughter Hannah and son-in-law Roberto, Mark is survived by his mother, Edith Evans; sisters Cathy Shufro and Carol Shufro; son Paul; daughter-in-law Lydia Melamed Johnson; son Jacob, and his daughter Sophie. Mark’s father, Arnold Shufro, predeceased him in 2000.

Donations in Mark’s memory can be made to Common Cause. Lisa can be reached at

Mark Shufro


Cape Cod or the Hamptons?

No. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is from our own Sherwood Island State Park.

The amount of natural beauty here continues to astonish Connecticut residents.

And the few Westporters who appreciate this great resource, smack in the middle of our shoreline.

(Photo/Neal Radding)


And finally … on this day in 1986, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first  members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

Not a bad class!

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Pic Of The Day #2046

Seen in front of Izzo’s, on the Post Road near Southport (Photo/Ed Simek)

Dan Woog, Republican

There are 2 Dan Woogs in America.

One is a longtime Westporter. He’s a Staples High School and Brown University graduate; a former Staples soccer coach; a writer of more than a dozen books, and the founder and executive editor of “06880.” He is a registered Democrat. Hey — that’s me!

The other Dan Woog is former hockey player at Arizona State University. He’s a real estate broker in Erie, Colorado. He was elected to the state’s House of Representatives in 2020, and is running for re-election. He is a registered Republican. Voterly gave him a 4 rating (out of 5) on protecting gun rights. That is clearly not me.

There’s a lot of stuff on the internet we don’t trust. But we tend to trust Google. It’s the gold standard of search information.

Not so fast!

The other day, Evan Stein meant to type in my name for “06880” on his phone. By mistake, it turned into a Google search.

And this is what came up:

That’s my birthday.

And my school.

As for the rest: Well, Dan  Woog seems like a nice guy. He’s good looking, too.

But I wouldn’t vote for him.

Pic Of The Day #2001

Even in fall, sometimes there’s a really long wait for an empty picnic table at Compo. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Roundup: Staples ’71, Saturn, Dinosaur …

Staples High School reunion organizers often struggle to find the right venue.

Not many places in Westport can handle a large crowd, at a decent price. In just the past few weeks, events have been held at LaKota Oaks in Norwalk (Staples Class of 1980), Norwalk Inn (Class of 1970) and the Gaelic-American Club in Southport (’72).

Class of ’71 organizer Bonnie Erickson was determined to keep her COVID-delayed 50th (51st) reunion in Westport. When she found the Westport Woman’s Club, she realized it offered more than just an in-town location.

It was also well-remembered by many classmates, from their years at the WWC-sponsored Yankee Doodle Fair.

More importantly, the Woman’s Club uses the entire rental fee in its charitable efforts. Each year, they provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to worthy organizations — and in scholarships to Staples students.

The WWC’s Bedford Hall was packed last night with reunion-goers, thrilled to be back in their home town. They continue the festivities this afternoon, at Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina.

Many reunion-goers from Staples High School’s Class of 1971 wore ’70’s-themd garb.


After 5 years at 135 Main Street — and being closed the past 2 months — Marine Layer has moved closer to the Post Road.

The new, bigger location for the clothing shop named for an air mass in a temperature inversion is 51 Main Street. The “grand re-opening” was yesterday.


Wondering how and why NASA is sending Dragonfly — a car-sized relocatable rotorcraft lander equipped with instruments that can examine surfaces, interiors and atmospheres of galactic bodies — to Saturn’s’ moon, Titan?

Mark October 18 (8 p.m.), for the Westport Astronomical Society’s free online science lecture series.

Dr. Jani Radebaugh of Brigham Young University will tell you all you need to know. Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube link.


I’ve always gotten the essentials at Walgreens: toothpaste, batteries, beef jerky.

This was the scene the other day, in their parking lot.

(Photo/Phil Rubin)

Now I’ll know where to go the next time, for all my dinosaur needs.


Where do ospreys hang out, when they’re not in their nests?

This one likes the overhead wires just off of Park Lane, behind Trader Joe’s.

It showed off for today;s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Jan Van Arsdale)


And finally … happy 71st birthday, Sting!


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