Category Archives: Westport Country Playhouse

Playhouse Scales Back ’23 Season

COVID impacted every aspect of American society. Live theater was among the hardest hit.

No stage was immune. Locally, Westport Country Playhouse — the historic summer theater where everyone from Peter Fonda to Paul Newman performed (and Stephen Sondheim interned — canceled its entire 2020 schedule.

The 2021 season was all virtual. The Playhouse finally returned last year, with 5 well-produced, powerful shows.

Clay Singer and Mia Dillon starred in last summer’s “4000 Miles.” (Photo/Carol Rosegg)

But the effects of the virus still linger.

Yesterday, officials announced that the 2023 season will be pared down to 3 productions, from the previously announced 5.

“The change reflects the impact that COVID has had, and continues to have, on the Playhouse and the performing arts community nationwide,” said the board and leaders.

Though the Playhouse safely navigated the challenges of COVID — not one performance of the 4 plays and 1 musical was canceled due to illness — “audiences are coming back slowly,” said Gretchen Wright, director of development and interim managing director.

“We have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels of participation.”

The 92-year-old Westport Country Playhouse.

The Playhouse “finished with low ticket revenue and a significant deficit – a fate similar to many other theaters in Connecticut,” Wright said.

Even in the best of times, ticket sales cover only 40% of a show’s cost. And — despite eagerness among some theater-goers to return — last year was hardly the best of times.

“The board of trustees have been very engaged in supporting the theater and all the changes, proactively leading the Playhouse to brighter future,” said Anna Czekaj-Farber, chair of the Playhouse board.

“We are an agile organization, and we are trying to adjust to ensure the longevity and health of this important institution that has been a part of our community for more than 90 years.

“We are confident that we are making the prudent decision that would allow us to prosper as we have many exciting plans for the future of this wonderful theater.”

The historic Westport Country Playhouse. (Photo/Robert Benson)

 The revised 2023 season will include 3 previously announced productions, each running 3 weeks: “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (April 11 through April 29); “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” (July 11-July 29), and “School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play” (October 24 through November 11).

 The goal is to “focus on broadly appealing and revenue-positive programming, and on building deeper community partnerships,” the Playhouse said.

Additional events will be announced soon. For several years, special programming has augmented the main musical and play offerings.

Current 2023 season ticket holders have been contacted by the box office on how to claim the value of the canceled tickets by gift certificate, refund or donation.

Click here for more information on the Playhouse, and the 2023 season.

Roundup: 8-30g, Crime, Med Kits …

Connecticut’s 8-30g regulation may be in for a change.

House Republicans have proposed a “technical adjustment” to the affordable housing law that allows developers to bypass most local zoning restrictions for new developments. unless a municipality has at least 10% of its stock designated as “affordable” under strict guidelines.

Westport’s housing stock includes “affordable” units that were built before 1990, but are not included in the formula because that is the law’s start date.

The proposed adjustment would “put many Connecticut towns well over the threshold that exempts them from potential legal action if they deny developers’ proposals for certain affordable housing — without any new housing going up or changes to zoning policy,” the CT Mirror reports.

It would add would add properties that are not deed restricted, but are affordable to people whose income is up to 80% of the area median income.

Click here for the full CT Mirror story.

Westport’s approval of a 187-unit apartment complex on Hiawatha Lane was driven in large part by 8-30g factors.

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Westport Police made 5 custodial arrests during January 19-25.

One — for burglary, larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny and failure to appear — dated back to an April 11, 2020 burglary at a residence. Approximately $70,000 in jewelry and personal effects were taken.

Another arrest for larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny was connected to a January 25, 2022 incident in which checks worth over $28,000 from a local business were altered and fraudulently cashed.

A woman was arrested for third degree assault, following an incident on December 7, 2022 in which she bit the arm of someone in the Walgreens parking lot.

A man was arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol after he was seen speeding and driving erratically on Post Road West. When an officer caught up with him, he was driving extremely slowly in the left lane.

A man was charged with breach of peace after he took a neighbor’s cat.

Police also issued the following citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 5
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Speeding: 1
  • Improper passing: 1
  • Failure to obey control signal
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Criminal mischief: 1
  • Breach of peace: 1.

Not the stolen cat. But bad luck for the thief.

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Meanwhile, in related crime news:

On Tuesday, people got out of 2 vehicles in the Westport Weston Family YMCA parking lot, then smashed the windows of several cars and snatched laptops, credit cards and other items.

The Westport Police responded promptly, but no arrests have yet been made. The license plates on the vehicles were obscured; the thieves wore hoodies, and the car visors were down to further obscure their faces. They most likely made their getaway on the adjacent Merritt Parkway.

The Y offers this advice to members (but it applies to everyone):

Before you exit your vehicle, make sure:

  • Your personal items and valuables are out of sight – including phone, cash, laptop/laptop bag, small electronic devices, briefcase, shopping bags, etc. Items visible on the seat, dashboard, floor may elicit unnecessary interest.
  • You always lock your doors and close windows (including sunroof).
  • Take your keys/fob with you.

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Since graduating from Staples in 2003, Jesse and Sefra Levin have been on a mission: preparing people around the globe to survive. They bring “readiness skills” to the veteran, disaster response and entrepreneurial communities.

Their company — Tactivate — outfits customers with gear, and offers advice and training, for every conceivable emergency. They call themselves “bespoke readiness outfitters. For a while, they had a pop-up shop on Church Lane.

They have been in Ukraine since February. They’ve assembled a team of 20 people, focused full time on efforts there and throughout Eastern Europe.

This Sunday (January 29, 7 to 9 p.m.), they’re hosting a “medical kit” maker space event at The Readiness Collective, in Norwalk’s SoNo Collection.

The goal is to build 600 kits, to be hand delivered next month to front-line units.

Everyone is welcome to help create the kits. Questions? Email jesse@tactivate.com.

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There’s a special, behind-the-scenes look this Saturday at the development and pre-production of “The Team Room” — a new play about Army Special Forces immediately before, during and after 9/11.

The sneak preview is set — very appropriately — at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 (Saturday, January 28, 3:30 p.m.).

Playwright Bill Raskin and producer Michael Hare will discuss the production and premiere in Washington, scheduled for this coming October.

The 501 (c)3 show will raise awareness for veterans’ services. Following the run, all net proceeds will be donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Saturday’s event is free. The production team is excited to share their story, and raise awareness of the show. Click here for more information.

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Generations of Westporters remember the Country Playhouse kids’ shows. For many, those weekday summertime events were their first introductions to live theater.

They’re still around — in a different form. Three family-friendly shows are on tap on weekends, to liven up the long (if snow-less) winter.

They include:

“Woof Woof” shadow theater; grades pre-K and up (Sunday, February 12; 1 and 4 p.m.).

“Pete’s Big Hollywood Adventure”; grades pre-K and up (Sunday, February 26; 1 and 4 p.m.).

“Scaredy Kat Presents”; grades 6-10; Sunday, March 5, 2 p.m. Click here for details.

All tickets are $25. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

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CronArt — a cool little pop-up gallery — enlivened Bedford Square in 2018.

Artist/owner Ryan Cronin is back in New Paltz, New York. But his many Westport fans may want to know that his “Obama” painting has been accepted into the Obama Presidential Center’s permanent art collection in Chicago.

The curatorial process took a year and a half. But now Ryan’s work lives forever.

Ryan Cronin, with his “Obama” painting.

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Staples High School Class of 1979 graduate David Halsey died unexpectedly in his sleep earlier this month. He was 61, and lived in New Canaan.

His family said in his obituary that he died of natural causes, and was active, healthy and happy in the days before his death.

The Kalamazoo, Michigan native spent much of his life in Westport. He was described as :a voracious reader with wide-ranging interests,” and “an avid rock hound.” He loved the outdoors, animals and music.

Dave is survived by his mother, Carol Halsey of Knoxville, Tennessee; Karen and brothers John and Peter. He was preceded in death by his father Philip B. Halsey of Underhill, Vermont.

No funeral services are planned.

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Rev. Demetrios Recachinas of Westport, protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, died Sunday. He was 74.

Born on the island of Lefkada, Greece, he came to Washington in 1966. He graduated from Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, MA. Father Demetrios earned a master’s of theology from Princeton University School of Theology. He attended Catholic University, working towards a Ph.D. program

Father Demetrios was ordained as a deacon in 1977 and ordained into holy priesthood at Saint Paraskevi in Greenlawn, Long Island, four months later. He was assigned as Assistant Pastor at his home parish of Saints Constantine and Helen.

Father Demetrios served on several committees in the DC area, including the National Conference of Christian and Jews Executive Committee, the White House Conference for the Elderly and the President Reagan Inaugural Committee for the International Sector, Catholic University and Maryland University Ethnic Studies Committee, and the UN Environmental Program Committee. He represented the Archdiocese in many official capacities as well.

In 1983 Father Demetrios was appointed pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Bridgeport. His emphasis in his ministry was on youth. He served as president of the Orthodox Clergy Association of the Greater Bridgeport Area. He was a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Commission and the Advisory Board of Sacred Heart University, and a chaplain at St. Vincent’s and Bridgeport Hospitals.

Father Demetrios served on the Board of Trustees and Executive Board of Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology and also served on the Board of Trustees of St. Basil’s Academy.

Father Demetrios represented the church at the Ecumenical Patriarchate during the Third Millennium first World-Wide Orthodox Ecumenical Conference, and represented the Archdiocese at the World-Wide Biennial SAE Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece.

In 2001, Father Demetrios was bestowed with the highest honor awarded to a married clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Church, “Protobresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne,” by Patriarch Bartholomew on his visit to Holy Trinity.

In addition to his wife Eleftheria he is survived children, Tassos Recachinas, Katerina (Daniel) Pergola and Emmanuel (Paige) Recachinas; grandsons Christopher, James and Nicholas; brothers, Dion (Laura) Recachina and Andrew (Sophie) Recachinasl sisters, Sophia Espanopoulos and Christina Plotas; sister-in-law, Haido Neda, and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Trinity Church. Click here for online condolences.

Rev. Demetrios Recachinas

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Harold Gross died peacefully at his Westport home on Tuesday. He was 96.

Born in the Bronx, he graduated from high school in 1944, then proudly served as an Army paratrooper in World War II. He remained in Japan with the occupational forces, and lived there for 13 years.

He saw the world through his work, selling medical and dental equipment and supplies to countries in need. He became fluent in Japanese and Portuguese.

Harold is survived by his wife Francine Schweiger; son David Grosz, stepson Jordan Schweiger (Wendi) and their children Chase, Mason and Sloane Schweiger and son-in-law Michael Collins; grandson Nick Grosz and nephew Daniel Gross. He was predeceased by his daughters Diana Gross and Debbie Collins, grandson Brian Grosz and brother Joseph “Lenny” Grosz.

A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Friday, January 27, 11:30 a.m., Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home, 88 Beach Road, Fairfield). Shiva will be observed immediately following services at Francine Schweiger’s home in Westport. For more information and to share a condolence message, click here.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Jewish National Fund to plant trees in Israel.

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“Westport … Naturally” can’t resist dogs-at-the-beach photos. From October 1 through March 31, that’s their playground.

The other day, Bobo had a blast.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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And finally … the Army Special Forces featured in an upcoming play (story above) are also known as the Green Berets.

 

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.

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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)

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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: acolabellartm4@gmail.com

Trash pick-up on Greens Farms Road.

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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.

Microgreens

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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.

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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)

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Did you lose your bagels?

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

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

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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 Lisa@shuf.ro.

Mark Shufro

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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)

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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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Roundup: Saugatuck Zoning, MLK Day, Remarkable Bookcycle …

The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will hold a special public hearing on January 17 (7:30 p.m., Zoom) to review last month’s Planning & Zoning Commission decision to create a new zoning and map amendment in Saugatuck.

The vote rezoned 11 properties, and could pave the way for the new Hamlet at Saugatuck retail/hotel/marina project.

The RTM’s Planning & Zoning Committee planned to hold a public meeting to review the P&Z Commission’s decision last night. However, due to a Zoom glitch allowing a maximum of 100 people to attend at a time, with more seeking to participate, the meeting was canceled.

Further meetings are set for January 10 and 12, via Zoom (7 p.m.). The RTM Transit Committee will also meet on Monday, to discuss Saugatuck. Click here for agendas and details.

Details on the January 17 public hearing have not yet been released. It will be livestreamed at  www.westportct.gov, and aired on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.

The shaded area includes the new text and map amendment boundaries.

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This year, Westport celebrates more than Martin Luther King Day.

It’s a full Martin Luther King weekend.

On Saturday (January 14), the Westport Library features several community events.

Junauda Petrus and local artists offer workshops in creative mediums, culminating in a panel discussion on justice, art and healing. They include:

11 a.m. to noon:  Writing Workshop with Shanna T. Melton, a poet, painter and art educator in Bridgeport. The author of “Unraveling My Thoughts” and founder of The Writer’s Group, she is also an arts consultant who integrates social justice and community engagement in her creative workshops, performances and events.

Noon to 1 p.m.: Self-Portrait Workshop with Alicia Cobb, a visual artist, fine body painter and teaching artist in Bridgeport. She honors her ancestors, and creates art for those who couldn’t. Breaking away from conventional canvas and concepts, Alicia creates stories of survival and beauty on human skin and through fine art.

1 to 2 p.m.: Art Workshop

2 to 3 p.m.:  Workshop with Junauda Petrus, a creative activist, writer, playwright and multi-dimensional performance artist. Born on Dakota land, West-Indian descended and African-sourced, her work centers around Black wildness, futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, spectacle and shimmer.

3 to 4 p.m.: Justice, Art and Healing panel discussion with Junauda Petrus and guest artists; moderated by Connecticut poet laureate, author and artist Antoinette Brim-Bell,

Click here for more details about the free Library events, and registration.

On Sunday (January 15, 3 p.m.), Petrus will deliver a keynote address at the Westport Country Playhouse.

The program includes a dance performed by the Regional Center for the Arts.

Click here to register for the free Westport Country Playhouse event.

The Playhouse — partnering for the weekend with the Westport Library, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy, says:

“Together, we invite our entire community — those who live, work, study and participate in the life of Westport, Fairfield County, and adjacent counties — to join us as we begin the work needed to continue King’s call to action, as urgent now as it was in 1968.

“For members of a community such as Westport, that begins with a challenge to understand our place of comfort and the work we each, as individuals, need to do to transform ourselves and our society into a more equitable and just one.”

Westport’s 17th annual Martin Luther King Day celebration begins next Friday (January 13), with Petrus leading student workshops in various schools.

Junauda Petrus

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The Remarkable Bookcycle is enjoying its winter home on Main Street, outside Savvy + Grace.

It’s all good. Except: It needs books!

They can be dropped off in the Bookcycle itself, or with Annette Norton in her Savvy + Grace. (No yellowing softcovers, please.)

The back story: Jane Green — yes, that Jane Green — and her husband Ian Warburg created the Remarkable Bookcycle as a tribute to the beloved pink book shop — the Remarkable — that sat on the Main Street/Parker Harding Plaza corner for 34 years.

The Bookcycle is a free library that moves between Compo Beach and Main Street — reminding everyone, Jane says, “of the many charming idiosyncrasies, and the many creative people, that made us fall in love with Westport in the first place.”

Jane Green, and the Remarkable Bookcycle on Main Street.

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As contributions for Westport’s sister city of Lyman, Ukraine continue to come in — $4,500 over the past 2 days — our 3-week fundraising total stands at $246,300.

That’s just $3,700 of our $250,000 goal.

Meanwhile, Brian and Marshall Mayer — native Westporters, and our partners on the ground through the Ukraine Aid International organization they founded — are in Europe. They are sourcing material and goods to help Lyman, as it emerges from several months of Russian occupation.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to Lyman through Ukraine Aid International. Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

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Food for thought: The Westport Library’s January 10 (7 p.m.) event.

Michel Nischan dishes on “Dinner Disrupted: The Power of Food.”

The Library says: “Food has the power to transform. From where it is grown through consumption, food transforms us along its journey from seed to plate. But what journey is your food taking? And is it reaching everybody? Do we all have access to healthy and nutritious foods?”

Nischan — former partner with Paul Newman in The Dressing Room restaurant; 4-time James Beard Award-winning chef; founder and president of Wholesome Crave, which sells responsibly sourced, plant-forward soups to large-scale dining facilities, and co-founder of Wholesome Wave, the nonprofit food equity organization — will talk about food access, food choice, and how to create a more equitable and sustainable food system.

Click here for more information.

Michel Nischan

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Yesterday’s Roundup mentioned a new store — Courtgirl — moving into 125 Main Street soon. They sell tennis and golf products in private clubs, pro shops and sports stores. This will be their first retail outlet.

Patti Brill — one of Westport’s 12 zillion pickleball players — wondered if “tennis products” included her sport.

The answer: Yes! Courtgirl will sell pickleball gear.

I don’t play. (I know, I know …). So I don’t know what “pickleball gear” is.

But I’m sure everyone else in Westport does.

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This year’s CT Challenge is July 29.

The bike tour that raises money for cancer survivors through 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100-mile rides through Connecticut (and virtually) draws dozens of Westport cyclists (and contributors).

Registration opens January 17. Click here for details.

And they’re off!

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A morning ritual for many Westport girls is getting together for coffee.

Here’s a “Westport … Naturally” ritual for many local gulls.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … today — January 6 — has joined December 7 as days that will live in infamy.

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Roundup: PAL Rink, Lithium-Ion Batteries, Christine Ohlman …

The Westport PAL skating rink at Longshore has enjoyed a banner vacation week.

Westport PAL Longshore skating rink. (Photo/Rowene Weems)

The ice — just a few yards from Long Island Sound, between the tennis courts and La Plage restaurant — is one of our town’s semi-hidden gems. Perfect for skating under a bright sun (or moon), it’s open nearly all the time to the public.

Click here for the full schedule, and more information.

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The Westport Fire Department responded yesterday to a call about a garbage truck on Fairview Drive.

Firefighters found that the truck operator had already dumped trash from the truck, and extinguished the blaze with a fire extinguisher.

The cause of the fire was lithium-ion batteries for a vacuum cleaner. The garbage truck operator had heard an explosion and seen smoke from the truck’s rear.

Lithium-ion batteries are unlikely to catch fire if handled and disposed of properly. But faults inside the battery or from external damage can cause fires, with potentially severe consequences.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in cell phones, laptops, tablets, electric cars and scooters.

The Fire Department offers these tips:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage.
  • Do not charge a device under your pillow, bed or couch.
  • Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made for the device.
  • Keep batteries/devices at room temperature. Do not place in direct sunlight.
  • Store batteries away from anything flammable.
  • If a battery overheats or you notice an odor, change in shape/color, leaking, or odd noises from a device, discontinue use immediately. If safe, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.
  • Do not put lithium-ion batteries in the trash.
  • Recycling is always the best option.
  • Take them to a battery recycling location or contact your community for disposal instructions.
  • Do not put discarded batteries in piles.

Westport residents may recycle these types of batteries at the transfer station. For more information, click here.

Lithium-ion battery, after garbage truck fire. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

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In the past year, the Westport Library has hosted the multi-genre Verso Fest, and 4 Sundays f blues.

Rock n’ soul rules on January 7 (7:30 p.m.). Christine Ohlman — the platinum blonde “Beehive Queen,” and longtime “Saturday Night Live” — joins Rebel Montez to the Trefz Forum for a Winter Dance Party.

She is no stranger to the Library. She collaborated with Mark Naftalin — the Westport resident and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician — on his “Blue Sunday” series last month.

Ohlman’s career includes appearances with Bonnie Raitt, Keb Mo, Smokey Robinsons, Graham Nash, Steve Miller, the B52s and Elvis Costello. She has sold out the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s David Bowie tribute and the WC Handy Festival in Muscle Shoals.

She has recorded with Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, George Harrison, Sting, Ian Hunter, Bonnie Bramlett, Ronnie Spector, Charlie Musselwhite, Irma Thomas and Chrissie Hynde, among others.

DJ B The T Jr. gets the gig started, with all-vinyl soul classics at 6:30.

Click here for tickets. Use “BLUES” for a $5 discount.

Christine Ohlman

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Mark Shanahan — chief curator of the Westport Country Playhouse’s popular script-in-hand reading series — wrote “A Sherlock Carol.”

Launched with a virtual world premier at the Playhouse in January 2021, the show is ending a 6-week season run at New World Stages Performing Arts Complex in New York.

The final three are today (Friday, December 30, 2 and 8 p.m.) and Sunday (January 1, 8 p.m.).

The show is also performing to full houses at London’s Marlybone Theatre. It runs there through January 7.

Shanahan says: “When a grown-up Tiny Tim asks Sherlock Holmes to investigate the peculiar death of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Great Detective must use his tools of deduction to get to the bottom of the crime. But it is a dark and treacherous Christmas Eve, and once again the holiday is haunted by the spirits of the past, present and future.“

The New York show ends with curtain speeches each night asking for donations to Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Shanahan has written and directed fundraising galas for them for years, with Annie Keefe of the Westport Playhouse.

Click here for “Sherlock Carol” tickets, and more information. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Mark Shanahan

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Laurie Sorensen was walking back from the Longshore golf course at sunset. She snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo at Gray’s Creek.

“May we continue to enjoy such serene scenes in 2023!” she says. “Happy New Year to all ‘06880’ readers, and to the beautiful wildlife that graces our environment.”

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)

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And finally … Ian Tyson died yesterday, at his ranch in Alberta. He was 89.

Half of the folk duo Ian & Sylvia, he was “a revered figure in his home country, celebrated both for his music and his commitment to the culture of Canada’s ranch country,” the New York Times said.

“Before Canadian musicians like Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen, there was Ian Tyson.”

His song “Four Strong Winds” was voted the most essential Canadian piece of music by listeners of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005. He also wrote “Someday Soon,” a classic Judy Collins tune.

Click here for a full obituary.

(If “06880” reminds you to skate at the PAL rink, saves you from a lithium-ion battery disaster, or helps in any other way, please consider a donation. Just click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Trash Truck, Tyler Hicks, Tree Trunk …

Westporters seldom think about trash trucks.

They come. Our trash goes. They come again, a few days later. Occasionally we write a check, to keep them coming.

Lyman — our new sister city in Ukraine — has not seen a trash truck in months.

Soon — with the help of Westport — they will.

When the Russians fled this fall, after several months of occupation, they stole all of the town’s trash trucks.

Debris from their missile attacks is piled everywhere. So is the garbage that accumulates as citizens live their daily lives.

Without trucks, there is no way to remove any of it.

For the past several days, Westport has been raising funds for Lyman (pronounced Lee-MON). We just passed $200,000, heading toward our $250,000 goal.

The other day, Brian Mayer — the Westporter who co-founded Ukraine Aid International — learned of a truck in Gdansk, Poland. It will cost about 5,000 euros to transport it to Lyman. Volunteers are already lined up to move it.

When it arrives in Lyman, residents will be ecstatic. Volunteers there are ready to start removing many tons of trash — and avoid an environmental catastrophe.

Brian is working too with construction wholesalers in Ukraine. They’re getting ready to move material from Kharkiv to Lyman, where more volunteers are eager to begin shoring up apartment buildings that are close to collapse.

Westport’s support for our sister city has been immediate. But the need is ongoing.

To help, click here for a credit card “Donate” button. Click “I want to support”; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” You can also scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.) Or you can donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

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One more cosmic connection between Westport and our sister city:

Yesterday’s New York Times included more harrowing photos from Ukraine, by 1988 Staples High School graduate/Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Tylerl Hicks.

Among them: an image showing Ukrainian troops crammed into an armored vehicle, plowing through mud in dusty skies on their way to the front lines.

The dateline: Lyman. (Hat tip: Steve Taranko)

(Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

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As noted last week on “06880,” black plastic cannot be recycled.

It can, however, be repurposed to serve food to people in need.

For the second straight week, Sustainable Westport is partnering with Food Rescue CT and the Westport Farmers’ Market to collect black plastic takeout containers.

Washed, clean, black plastic takeout food containers (with lids!) can be brought to tomorrow’s Farmers’ Market at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center (7 Sylvan Lane; Thursday, December 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The containers will be used by Fridgeport Outdoor Food Pantry to repackage large trays of donated prepared foods into smaller portions for distribution to Bridgeporters facing food insecurity.

 

Westport resident Ria Nova (right) donated black plastic containers to Sustainable Westport co-director Johanna Martell at last week’s Westport Farmers’ Market.

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How strong were last Friday’s winds?

Strong enough to topple this tree, on the border between Winslow Park and the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

Just be thankful it didn’t fall in the other direction.

And that we didn’t get whacked like Buffalo did.

On the other hand, there’s this: Perhaps the trunk can be delivered to Long Lots Preserve.

As noted in yesterday’s Roundup, decomposing tree trunks promote the growth of bug populations. They in turn supply local and migrating bird populations with an important source of food, especially in the spring when they feed their young.

For more details on the Preserve and its need for dead tree trunks, email longlotspreserve@gmail.com.

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Westporter Paul Podolsky has published a new thriller: “Master, Minion.”

Fellow Westporter Mike Hayes — former commander of Seal Team Two and author of “Never Enough” — calls it “a gripping portrayal of the people and machinery behind financial warfare. Paul is a true storyteller who knows Russia and China firsthand. He takes the readers on a thrilling journey only an insider can provide.”

The book draws in part on his expertise in Russia. He recently wrote about that, for the Wall Street Journal.

Click here for more information on Podolsky’s new book.

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Yesterday’s clouds caught the eyes of many “Westport … Naturally” photographers.

This shot near the Norwalk border was one of the most intriguing:

(Photo/Rowene Weems Photography)

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And finally … thinking of the photo above:

(Scrambling for a tax deduction, as the year draws to an end? Please consider “06880” — we’re a non-profit! Click here for details. And thank you!)

 

Roundup: MLK Day, Club 203 Party, Ruth Bedford Fund …

Westport’s 17th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration next month will be one of its most memorable.

Author/creative artist/filmmaker/playwright/multi-dimensional performance artist Junauda Petrus will be the special guest here.

Petrus’ work spotlights “Black wildness, laughter, futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, spectacle and shimmer.” Her debut novel, “The Stars and the Blackness Between Them,” received the 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award. She is writing a screenplay adaptation of the book.

Petrus’ visit to Westport will focus on “reimagining community diversity, engagement, and civility.”

On Friday, January 13 she will present at area schools. On Saturday, January 14 Petrus will visit the Westport Library for an experiential workshop with local artists (click here for more information), followed by a panel discussion with them (click here to register).

The 3-day celebration culminates on Sunday, January 15 with her 3 p.m. keynote address at the Westport Country Playhouse. Copies of her book will be available for purchase, with Petrus signing copies after her talk. The program is free with registration (click here), and includes a dance performance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

The Martin Luther King Jr. celebration began in 2006, coordinated by the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council and Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy. Since 2016 it has been hosted by those 2 organizations, the Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, and TEAM Westport.

To learn more about Junauda Petrus, click here.

Junauda Petrus

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Tuesday night was magical at Wakeman Town Farm. 120 members of Club 203 gathered for their first-ever holiday party.

The organization offers great social opportunities for adults with disabilities. They’re uplifted by strong community support.

For this week’s festivities, the tent was sponsored by the Riverside Realty Group. Motivators came from TAP Strength. The art project in Tim’s Kitchen was hosted by MoCA.

The hot cocoa bar and snacks were Gold’s, Rye Ridge Deli, The Porch @ Christie’s, Fresh Market and Silverman Farms. The event space came courtesy of Wakeman Town Farm.

A few of the Club 203 party-goers at Wakeman Town Farm. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the December 8-14 period.

Seven people were detained in custody. The charges for each:

  • Forgery, 2nd and 3rd degree; fraudulent use of ATM
  • Larceny, 1st degree
  • Rick of injury to a child; criminal mischief; disorderly conduct
  • Criminal violation of a restraining order; harassment
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol; stop sign violation
  • Failure to appear.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 7
  • Stop sign violation: 6
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 3
  • Cell phone, first offense: 2
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Failure to grant right of way at an intersection: 1
  • Distracted driving: 1
  • Failure to obey control signal: 1
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian: 1
  • Disorderly conduct: 1.

The crosswalk on Riverside Avenue, at South Sylvan. Like many others, it’s clearly marked that drivers must yield to pedestrians.

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For the second year in a row, all 22 Kings Highway Elementary School classes participated in the Connecticut Education Foundation’s Holiday Bear program.

Each class received information about a child in our area who might not receive gifts for the holidays. Families shopped for items on the youngsters’ holiday wish lists. They ranged from toys and crafts to necessities like coats, hats, gloves and pajamas.

Students worked with their teachers and parent volunteers to wrap each gift.  ,

In addition, KHS teachers banded together to sponsor an additional child on their own.

Earlier today, CEF picked up all 23 Holiday Bear duffle bags, bursting with wrapped gifts from teachers, students and staff.

Congratulations to the Kings Highway Elementary School community. That’s the holiday spirit!

Kings Highway students, with a few of the 23 Holiday Bear duffel bags stuffed with gifts. (Photo courtesy of KHS PTA)

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The Westport Domestic Violence Task Force had its own successful holiday drive.

For the past week, they collected gift cards, to benefit the Domestic Violence Crisis Center safehouse and community clients.

Residents donated $3,250 in cards to department specialty, and grocery stores. Survivors purchase what they most need or want for their families this season.

This can be a dark time for victims of domestic violence. The WDVTF thanks all who help make it a bit brighter.

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In 2015, the Westport Weston Family YMCA received a large and unexpected gift from the estate of Ruth Bedford.

The granddaughter of Edward T. Bedford — who founded the Y — she had died the previous year, at 99. The board of trustees established the Ruth Bedford Social Responsibility Fund. Its endowment supports grants to organizations that provide direct or supplemental educational opportunities in Fairfield County.

This week, the Y honored the 31 recipients for 2022.

Representatives from each group described how their grants would be spent. For example:

  • The Carver Foundation of Norwalk serves 2,500 K-12 students. Funds will towards supporting its middle school program.
  • Homes with Hope will help housing insecure people get back on their feet.
  • Mercy Learning Center of Bridgeport will use the grant for its Early Childhood Education program.
  • New Beginnings Family Academy serves Bridgeport’s most vulnerable children. The donation will help “level the playing field.”
  • Wakemen Memorial Association (Boys & Girls Club) sponsors after-school and summer camp programs. They’re also building a second location in Bridgeport,

CEOs Marcie Berson (Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestra) and Novelette Peterkin (Carver Foundation) share a table at the Westport Y’s Ruth Bedford Social Responsibility Fund ceremony.

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Staples High School’s December Students of the Month are seniors Zoe Webster and Mia Vindiola; junior Andrew Cerrito; sophomores Ethen Perry and Kensley Laguerre, and freshmen Benjamin Barger and Annabelle Katz.

The award recognizes students who “help make Staples High School a welcoming place for their peers and teachers alike. They are the ‘glue’ of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students that keep the high school together, making it the special place that it is.”

Students of the Month are nominated by their teachers, who are asked to think of “all-around good citizens” of the school.

Staples High School’s December Students of the Month. From left: Benjamin Barger, Zoe Webster, Annabelle Katz, Kensley Laguerre, Andrew Cerrito, Ethen Perry. Absent: Mia Vindiola.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo …

(Photo/Stephen Raffel)

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… leads naturally to our “And … finally” song:

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Roundup: WestportREADS, Orphenians Sing, Playhouse Plays …

For over 20 years, the Westport Library has offered one book for the entire community to read — and celebrate — together.

This year’s WestportREADS selection is “Firekeeper’s Daughter.” Angeline Boulley’s young adult novel features 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, a Native teen who must navigate family tragedy, new relationships, and an FBI investigation to root out the corruption in her community.

The author will deliver a keynote address on February 16, in the Trefz Forum. Events leading up to her appearance include:

  • PageTurners Book Club discussion (January 17, 11 a.m., Westport Library)
  • WestportREADS skating afternoon (January 21, 1 to 5 p.m., Westport PAL Longshore rink)
  • Healing Legacy Trauma (February 1, 7 p.m., Westport Library).
  • WestportREADS book discussion (February 2, 7 p.m., Westport Library).

More events will be announced soon.

Boulley is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan. She served as her tribe’s education director, and assistant executive director and on the board of regents at Bay Mills Community College before becoming director for the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

At the age of 54, she recently published her first novel.

Angeline Boulley (Photo/Marcella Hadden)

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” is a #1 New York Times bestseller, and a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club YA Pick. It is being adapted by Netflix for TV with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground.

Copies of the book are available for borrowing now at the Library. It is also available as an e-book and audiobook. For more information on WestportREADS, click here.

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A longstanding Westport Rotary Club tradition returned yesterday. The Staples High School Orphenians performed a holiday show.

The half-hour  a cappella concert was held in the acoustically resonant sanctuary of Green’s Farms Congregational Church. From “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies” to “Silent Night,” it was a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays.

Conductor Luke Rosenberg leads the Orphenians at the Westport Rotary Club holiday show, in Green’s Farms Church. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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Mark Yurkiw writes:

“Yesterday was the last day to donate equipment for a shipment to Ukraine. The response was fantastic. Three more generators showed up, and a dozen sleeping bags, and more.

“But yesterday I got a message that the shipping departure date is postponed until next Wednesday.

“There were many people who wanted to donate but couldn’t do it in time. They now have one more week.”

Donations can be brought to 190 Cross Highway and left by the barn. For questions or pickup arrangements, call Mark: 646-873-0050.

Donations for Ukraine — in the country’s familiar blue and yellow colors.

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“06880” is “where Westport meets the world.”

Lake Gallery is where talented local photographers show stunning large-scale images, taken from around the world.

Westporters Ron Lake and Nancy Breakstone host an opening reception this Friday (December 16, 6 to 8 p.m., 33 Elm Street) of their work.

This is Ron’s second gallery, after opening Focus in 2020 in Woodstock, Vermont. Nancy has curated shows at Earthplace, the Carriage Barn in New Canaan and Rene Soto Gallery in Norwalk.

(Photo/Nancy Breakstone)

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When COVID shut the Westport Country Playhouse, they reached audiences with a new/old idea: Playhouse Radio Theater.

The curtain has risen again. But the innovative series continues.

Next up: a holiday audio play. “A Merry Little Christmas Carol” — with original music and clever sound effects — airs on WSHU on Christmas Eve (December 24, 6:06 p.m. following the news). It will be rebroadcast Christmas Day (December 25, 1:06 p.m.).

Click here for the livestream. Click here for frequencies and locations. Click here for the link via the Playhouse website (available through January 1).

“A Merry Little Christmas Carol” is written and directed by Mark Shanahan, adapted from his play of the same name, and based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Shanahan is curator of Playhouse Radio Theater, in addition to curating the Playhouse Script in Hand play reading series.

WCP artistic director Mark Lamos narrates, with noted Playhouse actors like Paxton Whitehead (Scrooge). Running time is 2 hours.

Bah, humbug!

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Longtime Westport Public Schools director of personnel Nancy Bonvini died peacefully last week. She was 88, and lived in Fairfield.

Following her retirement in 1999, she volunteered at Black Rock School, and was a tutor at Mercy Learning Center.

She enjoyed listening to good music, was an avid reader, and enjoyed time by Long Island Sound and surrounded by nature.

A service will be held tomorrow (Thursday, December 15, 11 a.m. Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield). Interment will follow in St. Michael’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, friends may consider a donation in Nancy’s memory to Mercy Learning Center, 637 Park Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06604.

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An almost-winter day showcases Westport’s stark beauty, in today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature. This beach is on Saugatuck Shores.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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And finally … on this day in 1782, the Montgolfier brothers first flew an unmanned hot air balloon in France. It floated nearly 1.6 miles.

(“06880” is seldom filled with hot air. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

 

 

 

Give The Gift Of Giving

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And to give.

This year — which despite economic headwinds, was a good one for many Westporters — as we buy presents for loved ones, friends, and people whose good graces we need to keep, we should also think about helping others.

Give what you can.

(Of course, helping them can also ease our own tax burdens a few months from now.)

But who to give to?

Far be it for “06880” to say. So here is a list — off the top of my head — of some worthy local organizations. Each one has a clickable link 🙂

I know I’ve missed some. Rather than bite my head off (very un-Christmas-y), please mention them in the “Comments” section. I’ll add them to this list.

And please: Keep your suggestions local (southern Fairfield County). There are way too many very worthy national and international groups to include. Thank you!

Animals

Christine’s Critters: Rehabilitation of big birds
Connecticut Humane Society
: Westport branch
Save Our Strays: Animal rescue
PAWS: No-kill animal shelter
Rising Starr Horse Rescue: Gives at-risk horses a second chance at life
TAILS: Spaying and neutering
Westport Animal Shelter Advocates: Care, shelter and adoption of homeless dogs
Wildlife in Crisis: Preservation and emergency help

Arts and history

Artists Collective of Westport: Creativity, education, shows, forums and more
Beechwood Arts and Innovation: Exhibits, salons, talks, food — wow!
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County: Supporting cultural organizations, artists and creative businesses
Levitt Pavilion: More than 50 nights of free entertainment
MoCA Westport
: Exhibitions, concerts, education and more
Music Theatre of Connecticut: Musical theater education for youngsters ages 4 through high school
Remarkable Theater:
Providing entertainment and employment for people with disabilities
Westport Country Playhouse: 92-year-old cultural institution
Westport Museum for History & Culture: Exhibits and education
Westport Public Art Collections: Bringing art to schools and public spaces

Community aid

Al’s Angels: Help for children and families battling diseases and hardships
Bridgeport Rescue Mission: Fighting poverty, offering help
Center for Family Justice: Provides services to fight domestic, child and sexual abuse
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants: Service and advocacy for immigrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking and torture
Integrated Immigrant & Refugee Services: Resettlement agency
Lifebridge Community Services: Bridgeport youth development behavioral health and family resources organization
Norwalk Hour
: Aid to families in need
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County:
Access to food, shelter, transportation and childcare
VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399: Helping veterans, servicemembers and their families
Westport Department of Human Services “We Care”
:
Many options, including financial help with school supplies and heating costs
Westport PAL: They do it all: college scholarships, youth sports programs, fireworks, ice rink, etc., etc., etc.
Westport Weston Family YMCA: Help in many ways

Community-building

06880: This blog — now a non-profit — sponsors community-wide events. Projects include the Holiday Stroll, an educational seminar at the library, and a soon-to-be announced Westport/Marigny/Ukraine school project. “06880” also publishes this daily blog, to help create community.

Disabilities

Catch a Lift: Westport supports veterans through fitness programs
Circle of Friends: Teens work with children with disabilities
CLASP
: Group homes and opportunities
Club 203: Provides fun, engaging activities for adults with disabilities
MyTEAM Triumph:  Road race support for children, adults and veterans
STAR Lighting the Way: Support for all ages
Sweet P Bakery: Provides jobs for adults with learning disabilities; supplies The Porch at Christie’s with delicious baked goods

Education and youth

A Better Chance of Westport: Education and support for outstanding minority boys
Achievement First: Schools provide Bridgeport families of color with a high- quality education at no cost
Adam J. Lewis Academy: High-quality experience for Bridgeport youngsters
Carver Foundation: K-12 pre- and after-school programs in Norwalk
Child Advocates of SW Connecticut: Providing advocates for abused children
Child & Family Guidance Center: Counseling and support for youth and families
Kids in Crisis: 24-hour support, including emergency housing and crisis counseling
Kidz Give Back: Children helping children
Neighborhood Studios: Arts education for Bridgeport youngsters
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities: Helping fulfill potential; support for parents too
Staples Tuition Grants: Need-based scholarships for Staples High School students and alumni
The Susan Fund: Scholarships for young people affected by cancer

Environment

Aspetuck Land Trust: Preserving open space; maintaining 45 preserves
Connecticut Audubon Society: Protecting birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through conservation, education and advocacy
Earthplace:
Education, wildlife exhibits, and a 62-acre sanctuary
Friends of Sherwood Island: Preserving, maintaining and enhancing our state park
Future Frogmen: Teaching students to protect the oceans
Norwalk River Valley Trail: Maintaining 30 miles of open space 
Save the Sound
: Protecting Long Island Sound
Sustainable Westport: Helping our town become Net Zero by 2050
Wakeman Town Farm: Sustainability center, with plenty of programs
Westport Farmers’ Market: Food, education, programs and more

Food and shelter

Filling in the Blanks: Providing weekend meals for children in need
Food Rescue:
Helping volunteers pick up and deliver excess food
Homes with Hope: Supportive housing, food pantry, food distribution and more
Open Doors Shelter: Aiding Norwalkers in need
Person-to-Person: Food, rent help, clothing and more

Grant-giving and foundations

100 Women Who  Care of Fairfield County: Raising funds to give them away!
Fairfield County Foundation: Philanthropy to strengthen communities
Near and Far Aid:
Fighting poverty in Fairfield County
Newman’s Own
: Okay, they’re global — but they’re headquartered in Westport!
Westport Rotary: Noontime chapter meeting of Rotary International
Westport Sunrise Rotary: 7:30 a.m. chapter meeting of Rotary International
Westport Woman’s Club: Raising funds for charitable, educational, cultural and public health services
Westport Young Woman’s League: Building community through volunteerism and social activities

Health and Safety

Breast Cancer Emergency Aid Foundation: Funds for non-medical expenses
Domestic Violence Crisis Center:
Help for victims and families
Fairfield County House: End-of -life facility, providing hospice and palliative care in a home-like setting 
Mission
: Helping survivors create lives after cancer
Pink Aid: Financial aid and services to woman and families facing breast cancer
Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service
: Providing staffing, supplies and apparatus to keep the town safe

LGBTQ+

Triangle Community Center: Providing programs and resources for the LGBTQ+ community
Westport Pride: Our town’s own LGBTQ+ organization — sponsors of the June festival, and much more


Literacy

Mercy Learning Center: Life skills training for low-income women
Read to Grow: Promoting children’s literacy from birth, supporting parents as babies’ first teachers
Westport Book Sales: Providing employment for people with disabilities — and offering books, while providing funds for the Westport Library
Westport Library: They do it all!

Mental health and addiction 

Laurel House: Mental health and recovery resources
Positive Directions: Treatment and prevention for addictive behaviors

Seniors

Jewish Senior Services: Skilled nursing and other care
Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities: Support for the Senior Center (below)
Westport Center for Senior Activities
: Senior Center provides programs, meals and more

Women and girls

AWARE: “Assisting Women through Action, Resources and Education”
Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County: Empowering women by providing professional clothes and other support
LiveGirl: Leadership development and mentoring for females, grades 5 through college
Malta House: Shelter and programs for young pregnant women and their babies

Roundup: Malone Refuse Gets Scammed; Turkey Trot T-Shirt Goes Viral …

Kristen Stroud posted this important — but depressing — information on social media:

“My family owns Malone’s Refuse Service. A customer brought to our attention that someone is fraudulently soliciting holiday tips.

“The person placed these cards (photo below) in mailboxes, hoping the customer will then mail them a holiday gift. This person is not employed by Malone’s Refuse Service. We will be reporting it to the police.

“Between this scam and all of the recent issues with check washing and mail being stolen, if you would like to gift your actual refuse collector, you can email me at malonesrefuse@gmail.com and we will figure out the safest way to do so.”

Calling Sherlock Holmes!

Or really, any 1st grader who can read.

With the address provided, it should not take long to crack this case wide open.

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Every organization in Westport (and beyond) asks Miggs Burroughs for favors.

He always obliges.

For over 30 years, the talented and generous artist/graphic designer (and longtime runner) has designed t-shirts for the Pequot Running Club’s annual “Turkey Trot.” Proceeds go to the club, and charity.

They’re great souvenirs. Then they end up in the bottom of runners’ drawers, replaced by their next race t-shirt.

This year Miggs commemorated 45 years of Turkey Trotting. He chose historic national and world events from those past years, and included them in the design.

Uh oh.

A Tik Tok user named “Crawlie” — who did not run in the race, and apparently had way too much time on her hands — did not like Miggs’ choices. She posted her thoughts.

@crawlie

#greenscreen my outfit is giving miscallaneous star wars girlie but i cant do anything about it now #thanksgiving #fyp #kellyclarkson

♬ original sound – crawlie

For reasons known only to Tik Tok users, Crawlie’s post has received over 688,000 views. It’s generated more than 2,800 comments.

Most people did not share her outrage.

In fact, requests to buy t-shirts have poured in from across the country.

Take that, Crawlie!

PS: Another Tik Toker attempted a Billy Joel/”We Didn’t Start the Fire”-style video. It’s pretty weak. Still, it gives you an idea of the “controversy” surrounding the shirt.

@lucybiggers

Our towns Turkey trot shirt decided to make a “run through history list” and this is what they came up with…

♬ We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel

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Staples High School’s elite Orphenians sang …

… and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker made brief remarks (including a shout out to the Public Works Department, for decorations). She then asked kids in the crowd to join her, counting down “3 … 2 … 1!” …

… and wham! Last night, Westport’s Christmas (aka Holiday) tree was lit, in front of Town Hall by Myrtle Avenue.

(Photos/Dan Woog)

Missed it? No problem!

There’s another tree lighting tonight (Friday, 4:30 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). Stick around for carols and treats, too.

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Speaking of Christmas songs: The Saugatuck Caroling Crawl returns a week from tomorrow (Saturday, December 10).

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event was last held in pre-COVID 2019.

This year once again, 6 Staples Orphenians will sing holiday songs, moving from one restaurant to the next. They’ll hit 14 in all.

Carolers begin their rounds at the Boathouse at 6:30 p.m. They’ll head to Parker Mansion, Kawa Ni, The Whelk, Tutti’s and the Black Duck, before making their way to Railroad Place to sing at Tarantino, Harvest, Romanacci and Allium.

They finish by 8:30 p.m., after entertaining diners at Match Lobster Burger, Rizzuto’s, Viva Zapata and Dunville’s.

Participating Orphs include Sophia Betit, Madelyn Spera, James Dobin-Smith, Alyssa Lee, Deneil Betfarhad and Ethan Tober will be performing.

Reservations are recommended.

 

A scene from the 2018 Caroling Crawl.

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The Westport Farmers’ Market adds a special “Holiday Artists’ Market” a week from tomorrow (Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane). The market features a wide range of handcrafted gift ideas, from 25 local artists.

Carolers will entertain. Bubble & Brew will provide cold and hot beverages, plus sweet treats.  Chef Dan Kardos will bring his Oak & Oar food truck too. “Mark(et)” the date right now.

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Yesterday’s “Roundup” featured a Jeep smushing a traffic pylon on Main Street.

Today we feature a different scene, from almost the exact same spot:

After zipping past several prominent “One Way/Do Not Enter” signs, the driver continued the wrong way, refusing to back up or turn around — even when told to. (Had she looked around, she might have noticed every other car pointed in the other direction.)

The driver never stopped (or acknowledged reality). She just kept going, all the way to the Post Road.

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‘Tis the holiday season. So Westport Country Playhouse ends its 2022 Script in Hand series on December 12 with …

… “Bad Jews.”

Spoiler alert: It’s a comedy.

The night after their grandfather’s funeral, 3 cousins engage in a verbal (and sometimes physical) battle. There’s Daphna Feygenbaum, a “Real Jew” who is volatile, self-assured and unbending; her equally stubborn cousin Liam, a secular and entitled young man with a shiksa girlfriend Melody in tow, and Liam’s brother Jonah, who tries to stay out of the fray.

There’s live music at 6 p.m. in the lobby before the show. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Baby, it’s cold outside. But Misty shows off her fashionable winter coat, in today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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And finally … Lucy Biggers tried to mock the Turkey Trot t-shirt, by channeling her inner Billy Joel (story above).

She failed miserably. Here’s how it’s done:

(You won’t get a souvenir t-shirt for supporting “06880” — just our eternal thanks. Hopefully, that’s enough. Please click here to donate.)