A Friday Flashback in December showed a very cool magazine ad from 1964: a Pontiac Bonneville parked in the driveway by Chez Pierre (more recently, Tavern on Main).
Mark Mellor — whose dad was a noted illustrator, and whose stepmother Shirley Mellor owned Max’s Art Supplies — said the ad was drawn by Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, top car artists of the 1960s and ’70s.
Elaine Marino found 2 more examples of their work. These were done using the small shopping center just north of Parker Harding Plaza.
Today’s it’s primarily offices. But back in the days of muscle cars, it was home to thriving shops like Pack Roads, a men’s store.
Of course just like in 2021, people parked wherever they wanted.
BONUS FEATURE: Native Westporter Peter Barlow sent along this wonderful photo he took of Pack Roads from the same time.
This is Peter Gold’s report on the March Representative Town Meeting. He is an RTM member writing for himself, not in an official capacity.
Schools and sidewalks — including sidewalks to schools — were the subject of the March RTM meeting.
The RTM unanimously approved $467,927 for design costs for new roofs at Staples High School and Saugatuck Elementary Schools (actual construction costs will) follow, and $280,364 to install a replacement cooling tower at Greens Farms School. These projects will be completed this summer.
During the debate, school administrators noted they have identified approximately $60 million in capital projects over the next 5 years. Around $12 million will be spent on these projects in the next 2 years, in part to address deferred maintenance.
The RTM also approved $515,000 for 2 sidewalk projects. $350,000 will be used to replace 1.3 miles of the existing sidewalk on North Avenue from Cross Highway up to Coleytown Middle School, completing a walking path all the way from Long Lots School to Coleytown.
Construction last summer of the North Avenue sidewalk. (Photo/Michael Fleming)
The remaining $165,000 is for replacement of the existing sidewalk on Maple Avenue South, between Clapboard Hill Road and the Post Road. The state will reimburse the town $128,295 of this amount. Both projects are expected to be completed over the next 2 summers.
The Town has 23.4 miles of sidewalk, and repairs about 6.3 miles every year. Decisions on which sidewalks to repair are based on many factors, including proximity to schools, conditions of the sidewalks and pedestrian use. The town also prioritizes repairing existing sidewalks over building new ones.
Several RTM members suggested it would be prudent to fund a more proactive approach to planning, building and maintaining the sidewalk network.
Yesterday’s vaccine clinic in the Staples High School fieldhouse was a rousing success.
Over 500 educators from Westport, Weston and the Easton/Redding district received doses. The health professionals were on top of their game; our Community Emergence Response Team kept things running smoothly. Next Wednesday’s clinic should cover the first dose for the rest of the school staff who want it.
Within weeks, Westport Book Shop has established itself as the go-to place for the best in pre-owned novels, biographies, etc., etc., plus CDs and vinyl.
This month, Norm Siegel is featured at the Drew Friedman Art Place in the back of the Jesup Road spot.
Norm specializes in trompe l’oeil and photorealistic paintings. His paintings of famous and rare book editions are so realistic, you may try to turn the painted pages. Click here for a great interview with him.
Westport Book Shop — and the gallery — are open during new expanded hours: Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5.
Today’s New York Times obituary of Joe Duffy notes that “his antiwar campaign for the United States Senate from Connecticut in 1970 galvanized a generation of campus liberals…. (He) later served as a cultural arbiter in the Carter and Clinton administrations and presided over two major universities.” He was 88.
It mentions one of his key supporters in his political campaigns — Westporter Paul Newman — and (though it does not note that she lived here too), his 1974 marriage to Anne Wexler. She ran his 1970 campaign, became an aide to President Carter, and then a prominent Washington political operative and lobbyist.
Click here for a look at Duffey’s fascinating life.
Joe Duffey and Paul Newman at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (Photo courtesy of New York Times)
Positive Directions — Westport’s prevention and counseling center — is looking for a new executive director.
During COVID, the 49-year-old organization provided important mental health support to hundreds of residents. The prevention staff collaborated with town governments and other local partners, to help adolescents and families make healthy choices and decisions.
The search committee is looking for a leader with significant management experience and deep experience in the mental health. Resumes and cover letters are due by March 31 to: PositiveDirectionsEDSearch@gmail.com.
Dave Briggs’ fascinating InstagramLive discussions continue this afternoon (Thursday, March 4, 5:15).
His guest is Westport’s own Lindsay Czarniak. As “NFL on Fox sideline reporter Host of “The Athlete & The Artist,” she’s interviewed everyone from Brad Paisley and Danica Patrick to Alanis Morissette and (this week) Eddie Vedder. She’s also the wife of NBC’s Craig Melvin.
Search for @WestportMagazine on Instagram. Send questions any time by DM to @DaveBriggsTV.
On Thursday, March 11, the Planning & Zoning Commission holds a public hearing. They’ll consider a text amendment that would continue outdoor dining for over 80 restaurants — which would otherwise expire March 31 — until further notice.
The text amendment would also be expanded to include certain retail businesses.
The last Farmers’ Market of the winter is an important one.
On Thursday, March 11 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the Market partners with Sustainable Westport to replenish 2 food pantries: Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center, and Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Both are running low.
Non-perishable items (canned goods, rice, beans, pasta, jams, sauces, etc.) can be dropped off at Farmers’ Market (Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Road).
It’s rare to see canned food at the Westport Farmers’ Market. A week from tomorrow, it will be a very lovely sight.
Actually, a proud great-great-grandson. His great-great-grandfather, James Barnes Sr., was the first tender for what is now called the William F. Cribari Bridge.
Seth has followed the debate over the 133-year-old bridge’s future closely. So when he saw a photo of an innovative solution — a road in the Netherlands goes under the water, so boats can sail above it — he thought of us.
(Photo courtesy of @alic3lik)
That’s thinking waaaaay outside the bridge — er, the box.
The Historic District Commission meets on March 9 (7 p.m., Zoom). Among the agenda items, they’ll discuss demolition requests for 70 Compo Mill Cove.
From 1922 until his death in 2014, that was Allen Raymond’s home. A beloved civic volunteer who gave time, talent and money to Westport in countless ways, he paid a final visit there exactly a month before he died, age 91.
70 Compo Mill Cove
Also on the agenda are demolition requests for:
10 Scofield Place
32 Owenoke Park
19 Old Orchard Road,
In addition, the Historic District Commission will be asked to approve:
An application for exterior repairs, new windows and siding at 18 Post Road West (National Hall), in a National Historic District
Eligibility for a Historic Residential Structures Special Permit for 188 Cross Highway
Exterior repairs at 39 Cross Highway, a local history property.
Click here for the full agenda, including log-in information and details for public comment.
Everyone is talking about the William F. Cribari Bridge. It’s over 130 years old. Should it be renovated, or replaced?
No one is talking about the Saugatuck River railroad bridge. It’s 116 years old. It too is nearing the end of its useful life.
Metro-North railroad bridge, looking south toward Long Island Sound.
The Metro-North span is one of 8 movable train bridges in the state. If it is replaced by a fixed structure — a project that could cost $75 million — what will happen to businesses upriver, like marinas, that depend on it being opened?
And if it is unable to open, what does that mean for the equipment — tugboats, barges, piledrivers — needed to dredge the river?
Railroad bridge over the Saugatuck River. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
Speaking of which: When will the river be dredged?
The last major work was done in the 1950s. Before and after, barges traveling to and from the Gault oil tanks (around the site of what is now Saugatuck Sweets) sometimes scraped the bottom of the river. Those barges, and tugboats accompanying them, helped maintain the river.
The Gault oil tanks on Riverside Avenue, between the Cribari Bridge (left) and the railroad bridge, were not environmentally healthy for the Saugatuck River. But barge and tugboat traffic helped prevent buildup of silt on the bottom.
First Selectwoman Diane Farrell turned down funding for a dredging project, more than 20 years ago. Since then, the addition of businesses like kayak rentals and the Saugatuck Rowing Club has spurred an increased demand for recreational opportunities.
There are signs near the Levitt Pavilion that the river is becoming unnavigable. If a navigable channel is dry at low tide, it will no longer be maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Saugatuck River is becoming unnavigable at times far south of the Pavilion. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)
What will that do to the waterway that once drove commerce all the way from Saugatuck to downtown — and which figures prominently in plans for a revitalization of downtown, with ideas like docks and a floating restaurant?
The other day, the Army Corps took some river samples, tied to possible work on the railroad bridge. They’re likely to find contamination in the area of that span, and I-95. Decades of train travel, and cars and trucks driving on the nearby highway, must have had an impact on the river below.
The railroad and I-95 bridges. (Photo/Brandon Malin)
Westporters should consider — and be talking about — the futures of both the Saugatuck River from Long Island Sound up to the Post Road bridge, and the Saugatuck River railroad bridge near its mouth.
The Cribari Bridge is important. But its just one part of an entire marine and transportation ecosystem that impacts our entire town.
The Saugatuck River, near Rive Bistro (Photo/Lauri Weiser)
1st Selectman Jim Marpe has issued a correction about the state Department of Transportation’s plans for the William F. Cribari Bridge. He says that deputy commissioner Mark Rolfe has not yet reached a final decision on the 5 alternatives under consideration. In addition, the draft Environmental Assessment will not be released mid-March. It is at least a few months away.
Rolfe says, “The DOT seeks to continue the dialogue with stakeholders regarding this project. One potential solution is for the DOT to restore the existing bridge to a state of good repair and then transfer ownership of the bridge and a segment of Route 136 to the Town of Westport.”
Marpe noted that any DOT recommendation — when it occurs — will be subject to further review and approval.
William F. Cribari Bridge (Drone photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)
Charlie Capalbo — the 22-year-old Fairfield hockey player and grandson of Westport writer Ina Chadwick — has been diagnosed with leukemia.
The local Two Oh Three team is helping him, in his 3rd cancer battle.
The Westport-based firm has designed a line of products to raise both funds and awareness. Charlie has collaborated on the design process — a welcome distraction has he undergoes treatment.
The collection — #CapalboStrong — features products that help the community show Charlie that they’re all in this fight with him. Funds from products sold are assist Capalbo’s medical and travel expenses, while at Boston Children’s Hospital.
The collection was launched Sunday, to his network of friends. Hundreds of orders poured in. The Two Oh Three has now launched the custom designs on their full website.
Charlie says, “Seeing people ordering gear with my Capalbo Strong logo makes me feel connected to the outside world– like I know my army of friends and family are with me, even though I can’t see them now due to COVID-19. I’m so excited for this!”
“Our daily FaceTime calls with Charlie have been rewarding beyond words,” says Two Oh Three co-founder and Staples High School graduate Roscoe Brown.
“Constantly updating him on the number products we’ve sold helps remind him just how many people he has fighting along side him.”
Click here for the Two Oh Three #CapalboStrong Collection.
The Staples boys basketball team opened its home season yesterday with a victory over Westhill.
The only way to watch the win was on the livestream. Spectators are prohibited from gyms this winter, in all high school sports.
But the stands were “filled” — with fatheads. That’s the name for cardboard figures of fans. It’s a way to make the gym a little less lonely. It’s also a great fundraiser for the Staples Boys Basketball Association.
How many folks do you recognize in the photo below? Besides (of course) me — directly underneath the “E.”
Alison Milwe Grace — one of Fairfield County’s favorite chefs — has already planned her mid-March menu. She features tempting appetizers; corned beef and cabbage with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots and horseradish mustard, and Guinness Shepherd’s Pie.
For dessert: cupcakes with Irish cream frosting; Irish bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce; Irish coffee crème brûlée, and Bailey’s chocolate mousse.
Of course, if it’s St. Paddy’s Day, Passover and Easter are not far behind.
Alison has menus for those too. Click here to see.
Speaking of reading: Westport author Christian Hunter’s new book has just been published.
“Influence” is the story of a young woman’s journey from Venezuela to the United States, where she and her family come to grips with the disappearance of her father. Her mission is to find him, and become what she has always dreamed of: a celebrity.
You may not have known his name. But if you saw James Brown perform, you probably saw “the hardest-working man in show business” being led away after putting everything into a song. Then he threw away his cape, returned to the stage, and gave the audience even more. Over and over again.
Danny Ray was that man. He was also the man who introduced the Godfather of Soul at his concerts.
When James Brown died in 2006, Danny Ray spoke at his funeral. “Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for star time?” he asked. Then he draped a cape over the open coffin.
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