Category Archives: Westport life

Be The Voice. #StopSuicide.

An alert “06880” reader writes:

On Sunday I attended my first “Out of the Darkness” event. Over 550 people went to Sherwood Island, for an important cause: raising awareness of, and preventing, suicide.

Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death in adults, and the 2nd leading cause in children.

Over the past year here, many of us have been affected by the loss of someone we know, by their own hand. Included in this list is a teenager, and a police officer.

Sherwood Island State Park, last Sunday. (Photo/Oliva Schoen)

Sherwood Island State Park, last Sunday. 

After the recent suicides in Westport, I was impacted personally and strongly. I suffer from deep depressive episodes, during which I cannot see through the dark forest.

My episodes last 1 to 2 weeks at a time. But the severity increased over the last few years. Finally I could not take the pain and suffering any longer.

A couple of months ago, I attempted suicide, by overdosing on medication. I landed in the hospital. Fortunately, I survived.

Many do not.

It’s hard to deal with the reality that I tried to kill myself. The reason I did not succeed is because someone saw the signs, and called 911. That saved my life.

Fast forward several weeks. I stood with hundreds of other people here in Westport, shining a light on this important cause.

Everyone was there for a different reason. Some lost loved ones to suicide; others lost friends or colleagues. Some suffer with depression, and need the support of those around them.

Some actually attempted suicide, but survived.

You may be aware of someone right now in your life who is suffering, and in so much pain that they want to take their own life.

Be the voice! #stopsuicide

Ask. Call. Help. Support. Love.

Because On A Beautiful Fall Day, It’s Important To Park As Close To The Nail Salon As Possible

An alert — and irate — “06880” reader writes:

Here is a photo I took in the Barnes & Noble parking lot.


No, that is  not a handicapped permit hanging from the Jeep’s rear view mirror — it’s just a parking permit for somewhere.

I saw the woman park there, in the middle of the busy entrance. She was about 35 years old. She walked over to the nail salon. There were plenty of spots a few rows down.

I watched appalled with my 2 boys in tow (10 and 5). I drove to a parking spot not far away. I got out of my car, walked over to hers and took the photo.

This was a teachable moment for my kids. I explained the difference between doing the right thing, and breaking the law for your own convenience!

Attempted Break-Ins Jolt Town

An alert — and concerned — “06880” reader writes:

Your “feel-good” story about Minute Men Cleaner’s return of money contrasted with the not-so-feel-good story of an attempted break in at my residence last Friday — which apparently is not an isolated incident. I share with you the story, hoping that readers will be careful to observe any suspicious activity and contact the police with any information.

Last Friday early afternoon, I left my house for 2 hours, then returned to Greens Farms.  All seemed normal.

I let my dog out, and noticed wood on the ground. Then I saw fresh wood on the door molding. My first inclination was that an animal did this.

I quickly realized though that someone (or a group of people) had tried breaking into our house while I was gone. I called the police. When they came, they said a number of other houses were hit around the same time.

They took photos, info, etc., and mentioned we were lucky to have a deadbolt on our door.  They said the crow bar that was apparently used was no match for the deadbolt.

A deadbolt helped deter the burglars. Here's what the door frame looked like afterward.

A deadbolt helped deter the burglars. Here’s what the door frame looked like afterward.

Hopefully our dog also started to bark. We do have a house alarm. It was activated but not triggered, since the intruders failed to enter.

This whole experience is very unsettling. My family has lived in 3 houses in Westport for 6 years. I have been married for almost 20 years, and have never had anyone attempt to break in to any of our homes.

We know we are fortunate not to deal with a break-in during the middle of the night, or even during the day. However, this left us feeling very violated and frustrated.

Westport PoliceNeedless to say, my children were surprised to see police when they got home from elementary school. I explained what happened. My son was more excited than scared, and couldn’t wait to bring this to “share” come Monday.

My 7 year old reacted very differently. She said, “I feel sick and scared.” I did everything to reassure her she is safe, and that the police will work on capturing the criminals.

When I told friends in the area what had happened, a woman told this story:

One morning last week, 2 youths rang my doorbell. I thought they were selling magazines. My dog was going crazy, so I didn’t open it wide or talk long.

They said they were looking for an address. I tried to help, but they hustled off.  For some reason it felt ‘off’ to me all weekend. It was weird that they didn’t say ‘thanks,’ and one of the guys was really smiley, like he knew he was being deceptive.

I closed the door and thought, which is unlike me, that these guys were casing the house, that I was grateful to have been home, and also to have my dog going crazy at them.

As I finished typing this, I just found out that a number of police cars were out in my neighborhood today, near the Post Road. Was it another attempted break-in?

Sad that we have to say and do this — but please be alert and lock your doors. Set your alarms if you have them.  Please call the police if you see anything.  Hopefully whoever is doing this will be caught.

P.S. A shout-out to local company Jake the Locksmith. They came to our house  the same day to see if the integrity of the door was compromised. Great service!

Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Weekend Routine That Is Anything But

We all have weekends routines — the rituals we perform every Saturday or Sunday. We don’t think about them; we just do them. But they define us — and our town — more than we realize.

Alert “06880” reader Carter Wiseman shares his:

Most Saturday mornings, I visit People’s Bank on the Post Road at North Compo. Victoria and Nikki know my name. They don’t ask if I need my balance, because I view it online.

Trader Joe's - 1Next, I head across the street to Trader Joe’s. I check out avocados and more with Trude, whose bow-hunting father (I learned) pulled out her tooth by attaching it to an arrow.

From there it’s on to Westport Hardware. Dave once advised me on a cheap snake, so I did not have to call an $80-an-hour plumber to clear a bathroom drain.

I end my Saturday morning with a trip up the Post Road, to Liberty Army & Navy. I chat with Eve, the owner, who took over the store from her brother Bob (with whom I bonded over tales of the Viet Nam era. I had a cushy intelligence job with the Army in Germany; Bob was in the Air Force at Khe Sanh.)

My final stop is next door, at Castle Wines. I always look forward to seeing Kathleen, who has an advanced degree in oenology but nevertheless recommends an inexpensive Malbec.

What’s your weekend routine? Where do you go, who do you see, and why do you like it? Click “Comments” to share!

Happy 70th Anniversary, Bob And Jean!

Alert “06880” reader and sweetFrog frozen yogurt shop owner Jennifer Gallan writes:

Around 6:35 every evening, I start looking in the parking lot for my friend in his hot red convertible Mustang. He’s never later than 7:15 — but if he ever is, I’ve told him I’ll go to his house to deliver.

You’ve probably seen this older man around town, proudly sporting his World War II hat and jacket, at lunch with a friend at the Sherwood Diner, Gold’s or Little Kitchen, or shopping in the grocery store as he makes his daily menu.

He doesn’t plan it too early, as he’s never sure what he might feel like eating. He cooks dinner every night for his “harem,” as I call it. They’re the nurses who help him take care of his wife. After he cooks dinner for everyone, he comes to me to get dessert.

Bob Satter is 92 years young. He’s a husband, father, grandfather — and he loves Westport.

In 2014, Bob Satter was grand marshal of Westport's Memorial Day parade.

In 2014, Bob Satter was grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade.

Every day, Bob slowly pulls into the parking lot. I make my way over to greet him. I walk by his side, volunteering to make his wife Jean’s cup of Cookies ‘n’ Cream, after he has wiggled out 2, 3 or 4 small cups.

He makes the rest. I happily bring them up to the scale.

As we walk, he tells me about his day and what he made for dinner, whether someone in his harem hit traffic, how thankful he is for the help and how his heart breaks.

But, he says, “I’ve had a very good life.” He says he “made a promise” to his wife — who barely recognizes him anymore.

He tells me quick stories, smiles and talks to my customers. He loves to tell a good joke. When he’s there, he has the floor the whole time.

I tell everyone he is a WWII vet — in case they don’t see his jacket and hat. Every veteran deserves respect. Some of the children in my store may never get the chance to meet a (famed portrait photographer) World War II veteran again.

Bob Satter, during World War II.

Bob Satter, during World War II.

As I bag Bob’s yogurt, I label them with lovers’ names: Desi and Lucy. Scarlett and Rhett. Prince Eric and Ariel — the list goes on.

I make sure to put hearts on Jean’s — lots of hearts. I show him who he and his wife are for the evening, and he laughs.

Sometimes he does not know who the lovers are. He says he wasn’t watching TV — he was providing for his family. I gently explain, and we laugh together.

Bob and Jean Satter, a few years ago.

Bob and Jean Satter, a few years ago.

I walk with him to his car. I open the door, and make sure my friend is in. I hand off the yogurt. We chat again, but he’s got to get back so his yogurt doesn’t melt.

As I stand in the parking lot to make sure the traffic is clear, he smiles and waves. “I hope to see you tomorrow,” he says.

My reply is always the same: “I hope to see you tomorrow too — I will!”

Sometimes he jokes, “I don’t even buy green bananas.” We both laugh, as he drives away.

I smile. As I walk back into the store, I’m at peace. I tell my customers his story of love.

Today, Bob will be married 70 years. That’s something to be proud of.

Happy 70th anniversary, Bob and Jean. Yours is love at its finest!

Bob and Jean Satter on their wedding day. He was 22 years old; she was 20.

Bob and Jean Satter on their wedding day. He was 22 years old; she was 20.




Introducing “06880+”: One More Community Resource

“06880” is all about stories.

There are stories of Westporters doing amazing things. Stories of Westport’s past history, present challenges and future trends. Stories of Westport drivers and parking lots, both of which have serious issues.

Unfortunately, “06880” cannot cover everything.

One of the toughest parts of my job is saying no.

I say no to people — wonderful people — who want me to publicize their Girl Scout cookie sale. Their upcoming book signing/book reading/estate sale.

I say no to people who want help finding a missing dog, missing ring, missing classmate.

I say no to publicity about reunions, fundraisers, GoFundMe campaigns and political fundraisers.

I say no a lot more than I say yes. I hate doing it, and I hate that some people hate me for it.

But every problem* has a solution. Here’s mine:


That’s the newest addition to the “06880” community. It’s a community bulletin board.


Designed by Dylan Diamond — the very talented Staples High School rising senior whose MyHAC grade/class assignment/transcript app has been downloaded tens of thousands of times, across the country — “06880+” is the new go-to spot for posting all the stuff I say “no” to.

And adding your event to the handy calendar on the page too.

“06880+” — pronounced “06880 Plus” — is accessible here. And from the home page of “06880” (there’s a link at the top, and on the side). You can bookmark it as a Favorite too.

I hope you’ll use it often: As a page to publicize your upcoming event, post notices and seek help. (You can post images too — a logo for your organization maybe, or something you’re trying to sell.)

I hope too that “06880+” evolves. It may become a forum where folks seek advice. Questions are welcome: “Does anyone have a stroller I can borrow for when my granddaughter visits?” “What’s the best nail salon?” “What was the name of that place before it was 323 and Bogey’s?”

Like “06880,” I hope that “06880+” is a place where everyone feels welcome. Where all viewpoints are welcome.

And where I don’t have to say “no” to a story about your cat.

*Except those that come before the US Congress

“06880” Party Just 1 Week Away!

The 4th annual “06880″ party is less than a week away.

And if you’re reading this, you’re invited.

Next Thursday (July 21, 6 p.m.) is the day and time. The far end of Compo’s South Beach — away from the cannons, near the boat and kayak launch, the best place to watch the sunset — is the place. (Still confused? See the aerial view below.)

The blue arrow marks the "06880" party spot.

The blue arrow marks the “06880” party spot.

Every member of the “06880″ (as in, this website) community is invited. We welcome frequent commenters and lurkers. Folks who have lived here all their lives, and those who moved here yesterday. People who want the Saugatuck bridge to stay the same, those who want a new one, and everyone in between. (Though we’ll keep the party a politics-free zone.)

The tagline for “06880″ is “Where Westport meets the world.” Next Thursday, that world comes to Compo.

Rick Eason's drone's-eye view of the 2014 party. Too bad he took it so early -- plenty more folks arrived after this shot!

Rick Eason’s drone’s-eye view of the 2014 party. Too bad he took it so early — plenty more folks arrived after this shot!

Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. Then mix, mingle and enjoy the evening with the “06880″ crowd.

There’s no charge. It’s a “fun-raiser,” not a fundraiser.

See you next Thursday!

Life In The Westport Bubble

This weekend, my biggest worry is the cloudy forecast. It’s summertime. I love the beach. Will my cookout be canceled? If not, will I still be able to enjoy a lovely Compo sunset?

I do not worry about being shot at a barbecue grill.

Compo Beach: long a place of joy, peace and safety.

Compo Beach: long a place of joy, peace and safety.

I have an excellent relationship with the Westport police. I grew up with some officers. The chief is a great guy, and a good friend. I know our cops’ jobs are complex and sometimes dangerous. Of course, I do get the usual twinge of anxiety when I see a patrol car in the rear view mirror.

I do not worry about being shot by a policeman.

I own my own home, and a car. I have savings for retirement, and health insurance. I am on the low end of the Westport income scale, but that is the high end for virtually every other community in the country. I am not in the 1%, but — in a town filled with haves and have-mores — I have everything I could possibly need or want.

I do not worry about where my next meal comes from, whether the roof over my head will disappear, or if I am one doctor’s visit away from ruin.

Most Westporters feel safe and secure in our homes. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

Most Westporters feel safe and secure in our homes. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

I am a minority — a gay man — but I have never been treated differently because of it. On the contrary, I am surrounded by straight men and women who affirm their support for same-sex marriage, for my right to hold any job I want, for my dignity and worth as a human being.

I do not worry about being murdered in a nightclub. And I certainly do not have to worry about issues like which bathroom I use.

Walking around town, and especially at the beach, I enjoy hearing so many different languages being spoken. I drive across the Post Road bridge on jUNe Day just to see so many different flags flying proudly. I am proud to be an American, and proud to be a global citizen of the world.

I do not worry that some people do not want me here. I do not worry that because of the way I look or dress or talk, some people will make assumptions about me. And although I worry about the consequences of a wall being built on our border, that worry is for all of us. I do not worry that I will be on the other side.

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

In the comfort of my home, I watch the news on my flat-screen TV. If the images get too depressing, I can change the channel. I can order up a movie on demand, go for a walk in beautiful Winslow Park next door, or do anything else I please. If the political rhetoric gets too heated, the voices too shrill or the idiocy and hypocrisy too dismal, I can read a book on one of my many devices. Or even a real one.

But — because I am an American, and a global citizen of the world — I do not change the channel. I do not watch a movie, go for a walk or read a book. Instead — fascinated, horrified, frightened, angry, sad — I stay tuned to the latest episode of the reality show that is “America.” Every day, the plot line gets crazier and crazier.

And — in the bubble that is Westport — I worry. I worry for me. I worry for you. And I worry for all the people outside our bubble.

Because, after all, they really are all of us too.

Happy 4th From The FD

The 4th of July is not exactly a greeting-card holiday.

But the Westport Fire Department sent this photo — and best wishes — to the town today:

Westport Fire Department

Members of Platoon pose in traditional military green fire t-shirts. They show the department’s patriotism — and honor its many members who are military veterans.

The note says: “The Westport Fire Department asks all citizens to remember in your thoughts and prayers your public servants this 4th of July. Likewise, the members of Platoon 1, who are on duty this July 4th, wish all citizens a safe and blessed holiday.”

Thanks to Platoon 1 — and all of our firefighters — for all they do, for all of us.

July Comes In With A Bang!

Westport celebrated the arrival of July — and Independence Day — with perfect weather, and one of the largest fireworks crowds ever, last night.

It was a wonderful, friendly, community vibe. There was food and fun, glow sticks and sparklers, and wall-to-wall people.

Westport may have been the 1st community in America to celebrate July 4th this year. But the date doesn’t matter. The great feelings — about our town and our country — do.

Thanks, Westport PAL, Melissa & Doug, our police and fire and EMTs and Parks & Rec crew, and everyone else who made last night special!

Click on or hover over photos to enlarge. All images below by Dan Woog, unless otherwise noted.

It's not Independence Day unless you wear red, white and blue.

It’s not Independence Day unless you wear red, white and blue…

...whatever your age...

…whatever your age…


...and deck your house in an American flag.

…and deck your house in an American flag.

Celebrating the 2nd Amendment.

Celebrating the 2nd Amendment. (Don’t worry! They’re toys!)

One man found solitude around 5 p.m. The large crowds had not yet arrived.

One man found solitude around 5 p.m. The large crowds had not yet arrived.

On Compo Beach Road, youngsters sold lemonade and cookies to raise funds to fight Alzheimer's.

On Compo Beach Road, youngsters raised money to fight Alzheimer’s.

Police officers did their job -- and mingled with the crowds. Ned Batlin knows everyone.

Police officers did their job — and mingled with the crowds. Ned Batlin knows everyone.

This scene was repeated hundreds of times, up and down the beach.

This scene was repeated hundreds of times, all along the beach.

Boats were out in force, all afternoon and evening.

Boats were out in force, all afternoon and evening.

Up and down Soundview, the boardwalk and beyond, teenagers strutted their stuff.

Up and down Soundview, the boardwalk and beyond, teenagers strutted their stuff.

New York City's Cobras put on a great dance and drum performance. They appeared in the movie "Birdman."

New York City’s Cobras put on a great dance and drum performance. They appeared in the movie “Birdman.”

A classic shot. We sometimes forget that the cannons represent Westport's part in our war for independence.

A classic shot. We sometimes forget that the cannons represent Westport’s role in our war for independence.

As night fell, bunting was illuminated on Soundview Drive.

As night fell, bunting was illuminated on Soundview Drive.

The main attraction.

The main attraction.

The fireworks, as seen from a Soundview Drive front porch. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

The fireworks, as seen from a Soundview Drive front porch. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)