Roundup: WWPT, Afghan Refugees, Dog Festival …

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They might have to rename the John Drury Awards “The WWPT Awards.”

For the squintillionth year in a row, Staples’ FM radio station cleaned up in the annual high school broadcast competition.

The station — 90.3 on your dial! — won 4 categories earlier this month:

  • Best Radio Drama — Original or Adaptation (“The Wizard of Oz,” with Staples Players)
  • Best Sportscast (Zach Brody)
  • Best Sports Talk Program (“Bold Predictions,” with Rory Tarsy, Max Udell and Caleb Tobias)
  • Best Sports Play-by-Play (FCIAC lacrosse championship, Staples vs. Darien, with Cam Manna and Max Dorsey).

Radio is alive and well. Congratulations to all, and of course to instructor Geno Heiter.

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Westporters have responded generous to a call to help Afghan refugees resettling in the area.

A final collection of needed items is set for this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17, 12 to 3 p.m.).

Men’s and women’s coats; teen and children warm clothes; boots, scarves, warm hats and umbrellas; backpacks filled with school supplies, and household toiletries, towels and cleaning supplies can all be dropped off at  Greens Farms Congregational Church.

Backpacks and school supplies are among the items needed for Afghan refugees.

 

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The weather looks great for tomorrow’s oft-postponed Dog Festival.

The event is set for Sunday (October 17, Winslow Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS, it features demonstrations, fun competitions, police K-9 presentations, kids’ activities, vendors, food trucks, a special appearance by Piglet (the blind and deaf chihuahua) and more.

Tickets are $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4. Dogs go free. Proceeds benefit non-profit organizations.

Dog owners can register for the competitions online or at the festival.

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Interested in the kind of world today’s students will inherit? Do you have ideas how our schools can prepare them for it?

The Westport Public Schools invites all Westporters to an Education Summit next Wednesday (October 20, 6 to 8 p.m., Bedford Middle School auditorium).

Futurist Michael Weiss offers a keynote address, then lead an interactive discussion. It’s part of superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice’s Strategic Plan, aimed at taking our district into the next decade and beyond.

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Three residents of the Gillespie Center are moving on to permanent supportive housing.

Homes with Hope is proud of the success of these formerly homeless men. And they’re asking Westporters to help them succeed.

They’ve created a Signup Genius for donations of bedding, household items, furniture and gift cards. Click here to help.

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Fred Cantor is many things: an attorney, off-Broadway and documentary producer, longtime Westporter and avid “06880” reader.

he’s also the author of “Fred from Fresh Meadows,” a memoir of his many years as a New York Knicks fan.

Now the NBA team has repaid the honor.

A 15-second commercial spot featuring Fred, his brother’s older son and brother’s almost 3-year-old grandson premiered last night, during a Knicks preseason game.

It’s part of an MSG Network promotional campaign spotlighting diehard fans. Fred’s spot focuses on his book, and his 6 decades of fandom.

It was filmed earlier this month in the schoolyard behind his former elementary school in Queens.

Fred Cantor (right), being filmed with his nephew Sam and great-nephew Brody.

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It’s been a while since we ran an osprey update. The other day, Franco Fellah spotted this young bird in the trees over the Saugatuck River, opposite his office on Riverside Avenue. Ospreys epitomize “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

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And finally … on this date in 1875, Brigham Young University was founded in Provo, Utah.

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 81 Gallery

Fall themes and colors predominate in this week’s art gallery.

And why not? It’s mid-October.

Soon, it will be turkeys and Santas. But for now: enjoy the foliage and fresh air!

And remember: Whatever your age and level of experience — professional or amateur, young or old — this feature is open to everyone.

All genres and styles are encouraged too. Watercolors, oils, charcoal, pen-and-ink, acrylics, lithographs, macramé, jewelry, sculpture, decoupage (and now needlepoint) — whatever you’ve got, email it to dwoog@optonline.net. Share your work with the world!

“Falling Leaf” (Karen Weingarten)

“Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, Fighting the Romans” (Bruce Whelan, who notes that the “good female warrior” might inspire anyone looking for a Halloween costume)

“Always Swim Upstream” (June Rose Whittaker)

“First of Fall” (Laura Overton)

“The Ballet Class” — pastel (Roseann Spengler)

“A Blast from the Past” (Howard Munce — the late illustrator drew this for Judith Marks-White’s Westport News column; it still hangs near her desk)

“Mums” (Amy Schneider)

StoryFest: A Tale Of Something For Everyone

Quietly — but very popularly — the Westport Library’s StoryFest has become the largest literary festival in Connecticut.

This year’s event — the 4th annual — runs from October 28 through November 2. There is something for every age.

And every type of reader.

Michael Lewis

The kickoff (October 28, 7 p.m.) features a virtual conversation with politics and  Wall Street writer Michael Lewis. His 16th book,  The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, follows a biochemist, public health worker and federal government employee as they confront the pandemic, and realize the federal government’s response is woefully inadequate.

Lewis will be interviewed by award-winning journalist Lisa Belkin. She spent 30 years at the New York Times, as national correspondent and medical reporter. To register, click here.  https://westportlibrary.org/event/michael-lewis/

The next night (Friday, October 29, 7 p.m.), Mallory O’Meara launches her new book Girly Drinks!

It tells the history of the female distillers, drinkers and brewers who have played a vital role in the creation and consumption of alcohol. Drinking is not just (and has never been) about. men. To register for the virtual presentation — including a recipe for a signature drink by SoNo 1420 — click here.

On the day before Halloween (Saturday, October 30, 10 a.m.), young readers will read Pink or Treat with Victoria Kann (and enjoy a Pinkalicious parade. Costumes are encouraged. Click here to register.

Saturday programming continues at 1 p.m. with a virtual panel discussion of When Things Get Dark: A Shirley Jackson Anthology. It’s a collection of new short stories inspired by, and in tribute to, the famed author (and former Westport resident).

Panelists include Stephen Graham Jones, Seanan McGuire, John Langan, and Paul Tremblay. Click here to register.

The final event on October 30 (7 p.m.) is an an All Hallow’s Eve in-person celebration with 2 of horror fiction’s biggest stars: authors Stephen Graham Jones (My Heart is a Chainsaw; The Only Good Indians) and Grady Hendrix (Final Girls Support Group). Click here to register.

Mitch Albom

StoryFest emds pm Tuesday, November 2 (7:30 p.m.) with a special in-person event. Bestselling author Mitch Albom launches his newest book: The Stranger in the Lifeboat. It’s a fresh take on themes that have defined his work. Click here to register.

Pic Of The Day #1641

Owenoke scene (Photo/Jonathan Prager)

Roundup: Candidates, Moon, Music …

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Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?

Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).

Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.

Click here for details on how to watch. Both debates will be recorded and posted to the Sustainable Westport website.

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Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.

The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.

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Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.

He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.

This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Chris Frantz (Photo/Ebet Roberts)

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Congratulations to this year’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services award winners. They were cited at this week’s annual dinner.

Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.

Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.

Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.

Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.

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The Westport Garden Club installed Ginger Donaher as its 52nd president yesterday. She’s new — but her family is very familiar.

Ginger’s mother, Nancy  Gault — yes, of those Gaults — served as president from 1991 to ’93. Ginger’s aunt, Judy Sterling, held the position from 1983 to ’85.

Ginger’s grandmother, Georgiana Gault, was not president. But she was an active Garden Club member from the 1950s until her death in 1994.

Kelly Pollard — Ginger’s’ cousin, and Judy’s daughter — is the club’s current hospitality chair. And — who knows? — perhaps a future president herself.

Westport Garden Club president Ginger Donaher (center) is flanked by (from left) Kelly Pollard and Judy Sterling. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Westporter and animal Reiki volunteer Cathy Malkin is featured in this month’s Connecticut Humane Society spotlight.

She describes herself as “an animal muse who is able to translate animals’ thoughts, feelings and viewpoints so they can be better understood.” For the full Q-and-A, click here.

Cathy Malkin

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Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.

Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.

For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.

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Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.

They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.

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It’s mid-October. Most leaves have not yet turned. Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, for example, from Weston Road near Lyons Plains.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A week from now, this will be an entirely different scene.

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And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.

 

Friday Flashback #266

From time to time, our Friday Flashback visits Fountain Square. That’s the Post Road/Main Street intersection. Early in the 20th century — dominated by a large fountain (aka horse trough) — it’s where townspeople gathered to conduct business, socialize, and water their horses.

It was also known as “Hotel Square.” Prior to construction of the YMCA in 1923, the Westport Hotel stood on the corner.

Last weekend, Gitta Selva went to a flea market in New Milford. She bought a plate that depicts Hotel Square. The seller found it while cleaning out her mother’s house in Westport.

The inscription says it was reproduced from an original mural by Westport artist Robert Lambdin (1886-1981). It shows a street scene from 1875-1880, including the Westport Hotel.

There was plenty of action: well-dressed people bustling around a horse-drawn trolley, a horse drinking at the trough, others nearby at the hotel.

Lambdin’s mural hung in the Westport Bank & Trust building. Today it’s Patagonia — a few yards away from the scene shown on the plate.

The hotel is at the current site of Anthropologie. The trough is on Main Street. The white house behind it is where Patagonia is now. It looks quite a bit like the house that was converted a few years ago into the Spotted Horse restaurant.

If so, was that house moved later to its present site? Did Lambdin take artistic liberty with what he drew?

Click “Comments” below if you know. And if you are 100 years old and remember “Fountain Square,” we’d love to hear more!

Hiawatha Lane Neighbors File Lawsuit

A Representative Town Meeting vote in June seemed to be the final word. After a decades-long controversy, 157 housing units could be built on Hiawatha Lane.

But the bulldozers may have to wait.

A group of neighbors on the road, off Saugatuck Avenue near I-95 Exit 17, has filed suit in Bridgeport Superior Court.

The plaintiffs ask the court for a “temporary and permanent injunction enjoining the Defendant from constructing greater than a one-family house on any of the lots owned by the Defendant in the Subdivision in violation of the One-Family House Restriction.”

The neighbors claim that a covenant on the property restricts all development on land owned by the defendant — Summit Saugatuck — to one-family houses only.

The plaintiffs also cite health and safety concerns related to increased traffic, along with runoff and flood issues.

The redevelopment plan for Hiawatha Lane. Click to enlarge.

Remembering Jackie Heneage

Jacqueline Heneage — Westport’s 1st female 1st selectman — died October 3. She was 96 years old.

A former president of the League of Women Voters, her election over incumbent John Kemish in 1973 marked the first time a Democrat had won the top spot since 1948. She was 3 more times, serving until 1981.

Jackie Heneage, 1979

As noted in Woody Klein’s history of Westport, she hired a grantswoman who obtained nearly $2 million. It was used to convert Bedford Elementary School into Town Hall, and for open space acquisition, a youth center (now the Gillespie Center), elderly housing, the Police Department and beautification projects.

Heneage extended long-term projects like flood control, and sewers and road improvements. She believed the town had enough commercial zoning, and pushed for reduced building sites, increased setbacks and the elimination of Design Development Districts.

Westport’s school population declined sharply during her tenure. In addition to the Bedford Elementary School conversion,  Hillspoint Elementary School became a childcare center; Greens Farms Elementary became the Westport Arts Center, and Saugatuck Elementary on Bridge Street became elderly housing.

Heneage also oversaw the construction of the transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector, extension of sewers on Post Road East and in many residential areas, and the move of fire station headquarters from Church Lane to its current Post Road location.

Jackie Heneage in 2002 with Ted Diamond. He served as her 2nd selectman.

She entered into long negotiations with Baron Walter Langer von Langendorff, who owned 32 acres of land on the Post Road East/Compo Road North corner. In 1979 the RTM voted to appropriate $3,48 million for the purchase, but postponed giving her condemnation authority if the baron refused to sell. After her administration, the land became Winslow Park.

Heneage also oversaw Westport’s participation in the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. Over that July 4th weekend, Main Street between the Post Road and Elm Street turned from 2-way traffic to a 1-way street.

But Jackie Heneage was more than a groundbreaking first selectwoman. Her daughter Audrey sends along this remembrance.

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Our mother, Jackie Heneage was a dynamo. During our childhood she worked part-time, volunteered in many civic organizations, played tennis and still found time to put a hot meal on the table every night (despite not being a domestic
goddess)!

Saturday mornings we woke up to Broadway tunes or classical music blasting in the living room and our list of chores. It was always: clean your room and another space, plus mow one side of the lawn in summer. But after that we were
free to do whatever with whoever until dinner.

Summertimes we were shipped off to Beach School or Longshore every day for swim lessons and general tanning. This regimentation may have felt onerous to us, but it allowed my mom to continue being herself and not drown in family life.

There was no guilt on her part and no lasting damage to us kids. In fact, the structure was just what we needed.

Winter vacations meant a visit to our grandparents in Hanover, New Hampshire where she taught us all how to ski on her old equipment on the golf course behind her house, which had a rope tow in winter. She threw us into all the activities she had loved as a child. We were always outside riding bikes, skating, swatting at tennis balls. While only one of us became an athlete (Cynthia). the exposure was not a waste. She supported Cynthia in every sport she wanted to try — swimming, figure skating, skiing, gymnastics. She became proficient at all of them, although Mom finally told her she had to focus on one because she didn’t have time to drive her to the various practices.

Our mother planned fantastic trips and outings for our family. After Cynthia brought home several books on the national parks, she planned a 1-month trip out west. In summer 1966 we visited 7 different national parks and Mexico.

Jackie Heneage (seated) with her daughters.

The ’60s were the time of her increasing involvement in the Westport League of Women Voters, eventually becoming its president. The League’s study of town government prepared her for her first political campaign for a seat on the Zoning
Board of Appeals, and her later successful campaign for First Selectman.

As first selectman she was busy at work all day, and at town meetings every night. She took speechwriting very seriously and labored over each one, reading them aloud for our feedback.

On weekends, the police chief called her to report various disturbances around the town, many which her youngest daughter had attended (but never as a troublemaker)!

Her 8 years in office coincided with her parents needing increasing care in New Hampshire. Every holiday she and our father Peter traveled to give the caregivers their time off, never taking the holiday for themselves.

Jackie Heneage, reading the Westport News.

She retired from First Selectman in 1981 and went on to further corporate and government jobs. In 1983 she became a grandmother and doted on her grandchildren.

After her retirement in 1992 she and Peter delighted in taking them on excursions and extended trips, in between their own travels. She continued to play her favorite sport, tennis, until she was 80 years old. She was eventually blessed with 5 great-grandchildren she loved to see.

Peter and Jackie moved to Sedona, Arizona in 2018. Always active, Jackie made a friend who took her to meetings of the Sedona League of Women Voters and out to lunch. Jackie maintained her sense of humor and upbeat attitude to the end, becoming a favorite at Sedona Winds Assisted Living. But when she reached the age of 96, the age of Peter at his death, she decided it was time to check up on him, and off she went. We will miss her dearly

After 13 Years, Girl Scout Troop Stays Strong

When Kerry Liles registered her daughter Molly for kindergarten at Greens Farms Elementary, Marguerite Rossi encouraged signing up for Girl Scouts too. Remembering her own great 7 years as a Scout in Long Island, Kerry figured, Why not?

As she did, Marguerite said, “You’re on the wrong side of the table. We need volunteers!”

Thirteen years later, Molly is still a Girl Scout. Kerry is still the leader. And though other activities, moves away from Westport — and life — have whittled the numbers down from 21 to 7, that group is still very active. They’re very tight. And the tale of Troop 50048 is very, very cool.

An early Girl Scout cookies sale. Kerry Liles stands in back.

Those first years with Brownies were “like herding kittens,” Kerry recalls. The girls planted daffodils at GFS, did crafts, and — most importantly — became friends.

As they graduated to full Girl Scouts, their horizons widened. Their activities broadened.

“Anything you can think of, my girls have done,” Kerry says proudly. That includes volunteering at Homes for the Brave, Senior Center and Gillespie Center; helping clean up Long Island Sound; collecting items for women in need; sunrise hikes; weeks at Camp Jewell, and learning first aid and CPR.

Back in the day, at Camp Jewell.

One of the best connections has been with Norwalk’s Open Doors shelter. From 6th through 10th grade the girls hosted Halloween parties, brought holiday gifts, helped out on special occasions, and created bonds with young kids.

When COVID struck and indoor activities became impossible, the troop headed to Smith Richardson Preserve. In cold, windy weather they weeded, cut vines, mended fences — and grew even tighter.

During the pandemic, activities like these provided important outlets for energy, and a way to stay together. One day, they arrived at the preserve to find their tools had been stolen. They sat for an hour, just talking.

“It’s a very diverse group,” Kerry notes. “But they really take care of each other.”

They take special care of Olivia Ross. She’s in a wheelchair and non-verbal. But from a young age, the Scouts learned sign language to communicate. They’ve literally carried her up a mountain. They admire her, and she loves them.

Olivia’s mother Victoria says that Girl Scouts “opened up a world to her, with no judgments. No mountain would go unclimbed for Olivia.”

She calls Kerry “an extraordinary leader and friend.”

The troop’s relationship with the Open Door Shelter is long-lasting and strong. In this photo from last winter’s party Kerry Liles is in the back, 5th from left.

Kerry downplays her role in the troop’s longevity and success. But, parent Stacie Curran says, “she has created  a sisterhood with these gals. They may not be best pals at school, but when they get together Kerry has guided them in building great bonds through different life experiences. They’ll carry those bonds through life.

“Kerry has taught them  kindness, care, toughness, watching out for each other, doing for others, being there for those in need, and life skills — it’s endless!”

Boy Scouts get plenty of publicity. Girl Scouts — not so much.

They have a reputation that they’re “all about crafts,” Kerry admits. “But I’m rugged. We do a lot more than crafts. And I’m all about volunteering too.”

Working last spring at Smith Richardson.

With all the options available to teenagers today, Girl Scouts may seem like a throwback. Molly’s friends sometimes can’t believe she’s still a Scout.

“I like the people,” she says simply. “And we have a lot of fun.”

In June, Molly and her six Girl Scout troopmates — Olivia Ross, Olivia Pace, Carly Curren, Zoe Kaye, Theresa Vandis  and Sofia Palumbo — will graduate. They can remain individual “ambassadors,” but that will be the end of their active Scouting careers.

Until, Kerry notes, they have kindergartners of their own. At which point — just like she did 13 years ago — they may sign up to be Girl Scout leaders too.

Pic Of The Day #1640

Compo Beach (Photo/Alison Lee)