The shore was the place to be late this afternoon.
A spectacular rainbow appeared. And a ton of “06880” readers had the same idea.
The shore was the place to be late this afternoon.
A spectacular rainbow appeared. And a ton of “06880” readers had the same idea.
Rob Earley and his family are recent arrivals in Westport.
But he knows an Unsung Hero when he sees one.
Last week — the day after Hurricane Ida unleashed 7 inches of rain on his new town — he sent along this photo:
Rob writes: “My kids just started at Saugatuck Elementary School. Unfortunately I don’t know this man’s name. I am so grateful that he was out there, up to his knees in water clearing drains at the school.
“The facilities staff probably don’t always get recognition. But I immediately thought of your site, and the town’s Unsung Heroes that you profile.”
Thanks, Rob. You nailed it. So to the Saugatuck staff member — and all the other facilities folks who dealt with drains, leaks, floods, branches, debris, and everything else in Ida’s wake — thank you.
And thanks too for all you do every day, in so many other ways, for all of us!
(If you’ve got a favorite school facilities employee, share his or her story in the “Comments” below. And do you know an Unsung Hero? Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Westport Country Playhouse suffered significant damage last night. as Hurricane Ida swept through — smack in the middle of the “Stars on Stage” concerts, being record for national TV broadcast.
Dressing rooms, hallways, the production office, mechanical and boiler room, wardrobe, laundry and other spaces on the lower level and basement all experienced severe flooding.
It will be days before those areas are dry and sanitized.
The Playhouse seeks “any gift within your means” to help recover the costs associated with damage repair, and the additional expense of renting trailers and other temporary spaces for the artists coming for this evening’s concert with Brandon Victor Dixon. Click here to help.
Last night was crazy.
Yesterday afternoon, Dick Lowenstein stuck an empty pail outside his home.
This morning, it showed nearly 7 inches of rain.
But just a couple of hours after Hurricane Ida roared away, our beaches were calm.
If it weren’t for flooded basements, tree limbs on lawns and some ponds in places they shouldn’t be, it could seem like last night never happened.
Lost in last night’s weather news: The Parks & Recreation Commission approved a conceptual plan for a small area of active recreation (pickleball and bocce) on the Baron’s South property last night.
The vote was 3 for, 1 abstention.
In the plan below, one bocce court is just west (below) the Senior Center. The pickleball courts abut Imperial Avenue, on the lower left side of the plan. Click on or hover over to enlarge.
“Newcomers” groups are great — in theory. In reality, they often bring together only other newcomers.
Neighbors & Newcomers of Westport is different. The club is a mix of recent arrivals and more seasoned residents. It’s a perfect way for newcomers –and there are a ton — to immerse themselves in Westport, while meeting others in the same situation, and those who know the ropes.
N&N activities include a book club, beach walking, tennis, Girls Nights Out, meet-and-greet and other gatherings.
The new season begins with coffee at Compo Beach (September 14, 10 to 11 a.m.).
Click here for more information.
Congratulations to Jacob Troelstra. The 2015 Staples High School graduate — and 2020 graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point — completed Army Ranger School training.
Called the toughest combat leadership course in the world, t tests physical and mental endurance of soldiers under sleep and caloric deprivation for 62 days.
Jacob now heads to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a platoon leader.
The first 2 nights of “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse” are already wrapped.
The final two tapings — for a national television audience, after noted producer Andrew Wilk works his editorial magic — are tonight. There are 2 shows: 7 and 9 p.m. Brandon Victor Dixon (NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Hamilton) is the star.
A few tickets are still available. Click here for details.
Today at MoCA Westport, it’s double trouble: monthly Yappy Hour, plus the regular Happy Hour (5-7 p.m.).
It’s a great way to meet other people — and dogs — in the museum’s great outdoor space. You can also purchase cocktails from Bar MoCA (this week’s custom cocktail is Honey Lavender Bee’s Knees), and enjoy free admission to the new “Between the Ground and the Sky” exhibit.
All dogs must be leashed!
This Labor Day weekend should be remarkable — at least, Remarkable Theater-wise.
The schedule for the Imperial Avenue parking lot drive-in includes:
Click here for tickets and more information.
The Westport Weston Health District has a new director of clinical services.
Vanessa Hurta has worked in healthcare for over 17 years, including primary care and preventive cardiovascular medicine, clinical research and teaching. Her most recent position was nurse practitioner for Yale New Haven Health. She has lectured and written about hypertension and obesity.
In other WWHD news, travel and vaccination clinic operations are expected to resume by mid-September. Call 203-227-9571, ext. 224, for appointments.
The Levitt Pavilion is not quite finished.
They’ve added one more (great) show: Pete Muller and the Kindred Souls. The date for the intriguing instrumental/vocal quartet is September 26th (7 p.m.).
Click here for tickets, and more information.
Marla Cowden, Democratic Registrar of Voters, will leave office September 13. She has served as Democratic Registrar for 11 years.
The new Democratic Registrar is Deborah Greenberg.
The September/October issue of Westport Magazine includes a cover story on Kitt Shapiro.
The lively owner of WEST is the magazine’s face for its fall fashion feature. There are also interviews with Instagram stars Emily Rosnick, Zac Mathias and (the biggest) little Piglet.
Particularly timely: a chat with Rob Marciano about covering the weather.
The view from the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s fitness center is gorgeous — and ever changing. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over woods, water — and wildlife.
Treadmill, erg machine and elliptical users are used to seeing interesting things. But yesterday’s view was particularly intriguing. And worthy of inclusion for “Westport … Naturally.”
And finally … the great, versatile (R&B, rock, funk, soul, gospel) keyboardist Billy Preston was born today, in 1946. He played with Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, Rolling Stones, and Beatles — among others — and also achieved fame with solo recordings.
He died in 2006, age 59, from kidney and other ailments.
Hurricane Henri was a non-event here.
Less than 2 weeks later, the remnants of Hurricane Ida — far less hyped — were far more significant.
Only 201 customers lost power, Eversource says. There were no reported injuries (though authorities say 8 people died in the tri-state area).
But the pelting rain — up to 8 inches in the region — that began around 9 p.m. and lasted for several hours created plenty of worry.
Not to mention flooded basements, impassable roads from Greens Farms to downtown, and tree limbs all over the place.
Westport schools are on a 2-hour delay.
Longtime Westporter David Waldman reports that Deadman Creek was higher than he’d ever seen it. In fact, he says, “you could almost surf it.”
Meanwhile: Let’s not forget New Orleans, and all of Louisiana.
What we’re going through is a drop in the bucket, compared to there.
Yesterday’s “hurricane” was a dud. All that time spent hauling in patio furnitue, hauling boats out of the water, hauling ass around town for food, batteries and gas — what a waste!
Except it wasn’t.
Storms are capricious. We expected to be battered this time, but barely got a tap. Last summer, no one was worried about Isaias. It brought us to our knees.
It’s the same with winter weather. We’ve stripped Stop & Shop of all its eggs and milk, only to receive a few flakes. And we’ve been homebound for days after snow and ice we didn’t really expect.
So what’s the lesson? Should we ignore every warning, and just try to be prepared all the time?
No. The weatherpersons have gotten their forecasts right far more often than they’ve been wrong. Listen to the experts. It really is better to be safe than sorry.
Or put another way: It’s a lot better to be pleasantly surprised that Henri was a dud — in Westport, at least — than to broil in the dark, with no utility truck in sight for days, because of a storm we were not worried about.
After closing the town’s Emergency Operations Center yesterday afternoon, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe said:
“I want to thank our residents and businesses for heeding the instructions to remain at home and prepare for what could’ve been a major situation. I hope that for many Westporters, today was a day well spent with family, or at least a chance to test and improve your emergency preparedness.
Thank you also to the Westport Fire, Police, Public Health, Parks & Recreation, Public Works and Human Services Departments for their efforts to monitor and prepare to respond to the needs of our community.”
One last Henri photo.
In contrast to Saturday’s packed-all-day Merritt Parkway, yesterday was a breeze.
Maybe we should have hurricane warnings more often?
At Staples, Sam Wilkes was all music, nearly all the time. He played in the band, jazz band and orchestra. (He also took as many English courses as he could: 4 in senior year.) In high school, he says, “I learned how to learn.”
After graduating in 2009, Sam headed to the University of Southern California. He was in the 1st class of the new Popular Music Performance program.
He’s still playing — and living life on his own terms.
The August 23 issue of The New Yorker includes a piece about Sam and his musical partner, Sam Gendel. Kelefa Sanneh explores their 2018 jazz-and-more album “Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar,” one song of which was featured n the Netflix movie “Malcolm & Marie.””BOA” has been streamed nearly 2 million times on Spotify.
Wilkes is doing plenty of recording, including with Chaka Khan. Sanneh expresses surprise in The New Yorker that he and Gendels do not tour more, and describesthe quirky route to where the duo is today. He appreciates, though, their simplicity, ambience and texture.
Sanneh mentions a video Wilkes and Gendel filmed with the band KNOWER. They help the group “burn through a breakneck funk groove”; Wilkes, he says, “contributes a particularly tasty bass fill.”
it’s been viewed more than 5 million times. (Click here for the full story.)
Check out the new header (top photo) on “06880.” The great, wide shot of the Levitt Pavilion comes courtesy of Joel Treisman. Much appreciated!
Speaking of the Levitt: Here’s this week’s schedule.
Click here for times, and (free!) ticket information.
As summer workers head off to college, this retro Compo Beach Soundview parking lot sign may soon be hauled out of storage:
Robin Gusick ventured out to Fresh Market yesterday. She reports:
“The ice cream shelves were empty. But shoppers could start advance planning for Thanksgiving.
“They might even begin saving, to buy an $89.99 chocolate turkey.”
What?! Have we just skipped Halloween, and gone straight to “the holidays”?!
Spotted downtown: Support for a politician absolutely with no chance of winning.
These 2 Compo birds had no idea yesterday that a fierce hurricane was predicted. Or that it never arrived.
They didn’t even realize they were posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature. They just did their Compo thing.
Don Everly — the older of the duo, whose “fusion of Appalachian harmonies and a tighter, cleaner version of big-beat rock ’n’ roll made them harbingers of both folk-rock and country-rock” (according to the New York Times), died Saturday at his Nashville home. He was 84.
Click here for the full obituary.
Sure, it looks okay to venture out.
We’ve been cooped up all morning, watching with increasing confidence as Tropical Storm Henri leaves us alone, battering eastern New England instead.
But a large branch pierced Sara Kelly’s roof, off Long Lots Road.
The most recent weather report shows potential for rain around 3 p.m. Winds will be strongest then too.
Meanwhile, the downtown flood gates — and the less-than-expected storm surge — appear to be keeping Main Street stores safe.
At Compo, at least one swimmer was undeterred by the storm, or the lack of lifeguards:
We’re not inundated.
But, as noted earlier: We are not yet completely safe from Tropical Storm Henri’s impact.
As it targets Rhode Island, we’re expecting heavy rain between 2 and 6 p.m. Winds will blow more than they are now, though not likely at gale force.
Meanwhile, this was the scene a few moments ago at Old Mill Beach:
While Westporters frantically prepared for Hurricane Henri yesterday — stocking up on water and batteries, pumping gas and creating huge traffic messes from the Post Road to (inexplicably) Cross Highway and Easton Road — a rainbow appeared over Compo Beach.
Hopefully it was a good omen. Henri — downgraded now to a tropical storm, but still dangerous — veered sharply eastward. It now appears headed for landfall in Rhode Island. Our fingers are crossed for our many Ocean State friends.
Heavy rains could still head our way. Winds might not be as high as originally thought. But they may be.
And storm surges — especially around high tide at noon, during a full moon — could be dangerous.
We’re not yet out of the woods. But it appears the woods may not contain as many toppled trees as we feared when we went to bed last night.
Local to Market — the new Main Street shop across from Cold Fusion, offering food, drink and craft items — takes its “local” mandate seriously.
Founder Chris Marcocci is surveying Westporters, to learn which items they’d like him to carry. They’re ordering inventory, in hopes of opening the full store within the next 2 weeks, and don’t want to miss anything.
Click here for the survey.
The Joggers Club’s 41 weeks of running with friends begins Saturday, September 11 (8 a.m., Greens Farms train station).
There are new routes every week, hot coffee and post-run treats. The club also offers training runs, pace group, free races, and custom running shirts.
The fee is $50 for the entire season. Venmo @TheJoggersClub. Click here for more information.
Amid yesterday’s fevered hurricane preparations, June Rose Whittaker captured this serene Saugatuck River sight — “two benches, two birds” — for “Westport … Naturally”:
And finally … a search for songs with “Henri” in the title came up empty. But I did find “Henri’s Boogie”.
Pianist Henri John Pierre Herbert gave an impromptu performance at London’s St Pancras station, on a public piano: