Category Archives: Weather

Strange Object Spotted In Sky

Westporters were stunned a few minutes ago, when they looked up and saw this:

Apparently, it is something called “the sun.”

Not to worry. A few minutes later, the sky was back to normal.

Pic Of The Day #393

5-year-old Brayden Levy sees his first rainbow, after tonight’s strong thunderstorm (Photo/Melissa Levy)

It Was A Dark And Stormy Evening …

… and it will continue. A severe thunderstorm watch — with possible winds up to 70 mph, and maybe even a tornado — is in effect until 11 p.m.

Meanwhile, this was the scene as the first storm rolled in, just an hour ago.

The day-old palm tree at Compo Beach. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

The Compo Beach neighborhood… (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

… and another view. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Jesup Green (Photo/Catherine Calise)

Pic Of The Day #389

Last night’s thunderstorm, looking south down the Saugatuck River from the Kings Highway North bridge. (Photo/Jose Villaluz)

Victoria Gouletas Update: She’s Strong, But Recovery Is Long

In March, “06880” told the heart-pounding tale of Victoria Gouletas.

The real estate attorney and Zoning Board of Appeals member was crushed by a large tree branch, during a howling nor’easter. It hit her head and back, fracturing several bones in her neck, scapula and sternum.

The tree limb also broke her back, paralyzing her from the chest down. She was told she will never walk again.

Help poured in for Victoria, her husband Troy Burk and their 3 young children. Westporters brought food, drove the kids, helped around the house and yard — and donated over $190,000 through a GoFundMe account.

Doctors assured Victoria that with intense physical therapy she can regain her daily independence, care for herself and her family, drive her children to school and return to work full time.

This week, she returned home for a brief visit. But another surgery — and more rehab — await. The road ahead remains long and difficult.

Victoria Gouletas (bottom row, 2nd from right) with friends (clockwise from left) Coleytown Elementary School PTA co-president Youn So Chao, Westport Human Services Department director Elaine Daignault, 3rd Selectman Melissa Kane, community organizer Marcy Sansolo and Victoria’s sister-in-law Suzanne Karpick.

Her spirit is strong. She and her family have been moved by the many friends — and strangers — who have contributed time and money to help.

Her husband will take another month off work to care for her and the kids. Meanwhile, the bills continue to mount.

Her friends hope Westporters will not forget Victoria.

We won’t. In fact, we’ll continue to be inspired by her.

(Click here to contribute through Victoria’s GoFundMe page.)

Pic Of The Day #368

Spring comes — slowly but surely — to Town Hall (Photo/Dan Woog)

Pic Of The Day #366

It rained the other day. Predictably, shoppers left their carts everywhere — including in the middle of 2 parking spots. Hey, it’s wet out — let these carts be someone else’s problem! (Photo/Marcy Sansolo)

Pics Of The Day #350

Yes, it really is April 2.

Compo Beach (Photo/Michelle Cardello)

Minute Man monument (Photo/Nicola Sharian)

Ned Dimes Marina (Photo/Michelle Cardello)

One lonely hummingbird (Photo/Chuck Greenlee)

A Compo Beach backyard (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Fore?!

The Longshore golf course was supposed to open today.

Not gonna happen.

This photo of the Longshore golf course was actually taken on February 18. The scene today does not look much different. Except that the sun is not out. And it’s still snowing. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Westport, this was the scene the day after April Fool’s Day:

Evergreen Avenue, looking toward town. (Photo/JP Vellotti)

 

Michael Martins’ College: The Last Frontier

Parents, teachers and counselors always tell teenagers: “Don’t worry. There’s a college for everyone. You’ll do fine.”

It’s true. Just ask Michael Martins.

You can find him at the University of Alaska.

At Staples High School, he served on the WWPT-FM board. For his Eagle Scout project he worked with alumni, bands and DJs to make the radio station’s 40th anniversary fundraiser a success.

But during his college search — ranging from upstate New York to the far west — there was no place he truly wanted to go.

“I love learning,” Michael says. ” I wanted to do college the right way.”

After graduating in 2016, he did not go directly to school. He kept searching, and found the Fairbanks campus online.

He’d never been to Alaska. He knew no one in the entire vast state. It was isolated, different and a challenge. Michael liked that.

The nation’s “northernmost land, sea and space grant university and international research center” is a global leader in studying climate change. Michael could use his math skills in Arctic research — in the Arctic itself.

And because his mother is a veteran, tuition in that military-friendly state is less than what he’d pay at the University of Connecticut, Michael says.

He’d seen photos of UAF online. But when he stepped off the plane, it finally hit him. “I’m in Alaska!” Michael thought.

Friends and family members have many misperceptions. They picture tundra and igloos. They ask if he has Wi-Fi.

Sure, the temperature reaches 40 below. But in many ways, UAF is a normal college campus.

Michael Martins on campus. “If it’s snowing, it can’t be that cold,” he says.

It has normal college problems. Like not enough pianos.

Michael has played for 3 years. He doesn’t take music courses — he’s a math major, and French minor — so he couldn’t just play whenever he wanted to.

He picked his residence — Bartlett Hall — because it was the only one with a piano. But the instrument was in an out-of-the-way place, and not well tuned.

So one of the first things Michael did after arriving was organize a piano fundraiser. He brought the piano into a common area. He asked musicians to play for an hour each night — with a tip jar. He set up online donations too.

Michael Martins, at the Bartlett Hall piano.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner picked up the story. Immediately, 6 people in Fairbanks — a city of 32,000 — called to donate pianos to residence halls.

The goal was $300. Michael raised twice that amount. The extra funds will go toward appraising, tuning and transporting the pianos.

But that’s not the only way Michael has reached out to others. For spring break he decided to help people he didn’t know, in (another) place he didn’t know.

So he spent a week in Houston, helping victims of Hurricane Harvey rebuild their lives. It was far from Alaska — and far from the wild spring break experiences of some college students.

Michael Martins doing mold prevention work in Houston.

Michael loved Houston. He was also glad to get back to Fairbanks.

“I’m thriving here,” he reports. “There’s a great attitude of ‘let’s make it happen.’ And tons of support.”

He calls himself lucky: to have gone to Staples, to have had the idea to apply to the University of Alaska, and now to go there. “I love where I am,” he says.

He has a message to Staples students: “There are a lot of places where you can feel important, and make a difference.”

It’s something parents, teachers and counselors say all the time here to teenagers.

Perhaps it will have impact coming from someone else who knows Westport well, now thriving thousands of miles away.

Michael Martins, in front of typical Inuit art. Over 20% of the more than 8,000 graduates are of Alaska Native or American Indian descent.