Tag Archives: American flag

Roundup: Real Estate, Real Help, Flags …

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The local housing market still sizzles.

Brown Harris Stevens reports that 42 houses closed in February in Westport — the most for that month since at least 2014.

The average closing price was $1.8 million, up 50% from the same period last year.

Supply was down. On February 28 there were 138 houses on the market, 52% fewer than in February 2020.

Prices for the 68 houses pending — properties with signed contracts — ranged from $565,000 to $6.3 million. The average list price was $2.1 million.

Weston has seen a 76% increase in home sales for December through February, compared to a year earlier. The average closing price was $1.09 million, up 46%. (Hat tips: Roe Colletti and Chuck Greenlee)

This gorgeous home on Hidden Hill, off South Compo, is listed for $4.8 million. (Photo courtesy of Compass)

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For many people, COVID created 2 types of hunger: for food, and for the human spirit.

Westport’s Unitarian Church helps feed both needs.

For years, a community of food-insecure people has gathered on Sunday mornings under Bridgeport’s Route 25 overpass. They celebrate together: children’s birthdays, sobriety, housing, new jobs. When ministers or priests appear, prayer circles form.

As the pandemic’s quarantine and health regulations prevented many non-profit providers from serving food at the John Street site, Unitarian Church members worked with April Barron of Helping Hands Outreach in Bridgeport to coordinate bagged lunches.

Over the past 9 months, they’ve handed out over 12,000 lunches — filled with sandwiches, drinks, fruit, snacks, and messages of support.

With donations of food and money way down, April says the Unitarian Church — and similar help from St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Norwalk — were crucial. Just as important: the interaction with people.

The Unitarian Church’s Shawl Ministry — which for years has knit and crocheted shawls for congregants — also made and gave warm hats, scarves and cowls to the John Street community this winter.

To help distribute lunches, email david@uuwestport.org. To help make lunches (Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.), click here.

Westport Unitarian Church volunteers, with bagged lunches.

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There’s always something to see at Sherwood Island.

The other day, Jack Menz did not like what he saw.

The American flag is in tatters. The Connecticut state flag is not much better.

(Photo/Jack Menz)

“It’s wrong to fly such a battered flag,” Jack says.

“Wrong for visitors to the park, and wrong for those honored at the park. We should have a new flag flying there.”

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The other day, the Cornell Daily Sun highlighted the student-run Cornell University Emergency Medical Service. Working through the pandemic, they provide free 24/7 emergency care to staff, students and visitors.

Director of operations Hannah Bukzin is a Cornell senior — and a Staples High School grad. She honed her skills working hundreds of hours with the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service.

CUEMS answers 600 calls a year — “allergic reactions, alcohol or drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents and everything in between,” Hannah says.

Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Dennis Poster)

Hannah Bukzin

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Klein’s is long gone from Main Street.

So is its successor, Banana Republic.

But the old department store — at least, its signage — reappeared the other day, during construction work on the property.

You can no longer buy books, records, cameras or typewriters on Main Street. But — for a while, anyway — Klein’s was back.

(Photo/Jack Whittle)

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And finally … today in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the telephone.

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Presidents Day flag on Whitney Street (Photo/Molly Alger)

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Happy 4th of July! Here’s the scene at 18 Bulkley Avenue South. Monica Ryan and her family decorated their front door this way — and added plenty of bunting, pinwheels in the yard, flags in the driveway, and sparkling lights at night.

(Photo/Gina Ryan)

Last year, historian Bob Weingarten wrote a story for Greens Farms Magazine, about flags in town.

Three caught my eye. May they continue to wave proudly!

Artists Walter and Naiad Einsel designed Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty, flanking the Stars and Stripes.

Little Barn, on the Post Road.

A replica of Betsy Ross’ original flag, flying on Greens Farms Road.

Decorations by Rebecca and Diane Yormark:

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Bears and a flag, at the Exxon station (Photo/Ed Simek)

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Tattered but proud, the flag flies over Patagonia (Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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Beautiful sight on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge (Photo/Lucy Zeko)

Long May She Wave

I sure screwed up yesterday’s post about a “missing” AED. (It wasn’t stolen from Winslow Park at all – it had never been installed. I also misidentified the donor — it’s the Gudis Family Foundation and Norwalk Hospital, not the Adam Greenlee Foundation. Click here to see how many times I could be wrong in one post.)

This one is on the money.

A year ago, Tarantino owner John Paul Marchetti installed an American flag outside his Railroad Place restaurant.

He’s a proud Marine Corps Reserves veteran — he served in Iraq — and was honored to fly it 24/7.

Tarantino flag

Yesterday, he and his brothers — co-owners of the popular Saugatuck spot — noticed the flag was gone.

Marchetti was angry. “This country gave my immigrant parents everything,” he said. “The flag is a symbol of freedom. Someone stole that symbol.”

I told Marchetti I would post the story on “06880.” We’d ask the thief to return the flag, no questions asked.

Meanwhile, Marchetti posted a photo on social media.

Westport Hardware Store owner Richie Velez saw it. He promised to bring a replacement over, as soon as he got off work.

So, if you’re the flag thief, do the right thing. Hand it off to someone who can fly it as proudly as Marchetti, and cares as much as Velez.

(Hat tip: Johnny Carrier)

What So Proudly We Hail!

The Jesup Road side of police headquarters sports a new look:

Police station flag

Police Chief Dale Call says it was loaned by a veteran who wishes to remain anonymous.

“He is proud to have served, and is a big supporter of the service done by our military and law enforcement every day,” the chief explains. “We’re proud to display it.”

The flag will hang — proudly — through Memorial Day.

Broad Stripes And Bright Stars

For years, the flag flying over Patagonia has looked pretty ratty.

Not as tattered as the one Francis Scott Key saw over Fort McHenry — but close.

These days, a big, new and handsome flag stands proudly downtown.

Patagonia flag, Westport CT

Just in time for Memorial Day.

Half-Staff

Of the many memories I have of President Kennedy’s assassination, the most searing may be seeing flags at half-staff.

For 30 days, every American flag flew sadly, partway up its pole.  It was a powerful reminder of the tremendous loss our country suffered.

Flags flew at half-staff on similarly sad occasions — when presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson died, for example.  I can’t remember any other time, when I was a teenager, that I saw flags that way.

Today, it seems, flags are almost permanently at half-staff.

The tribute is awarded to former police officers, firefighters and town employees, as well as every Connecticut resident killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the soldiers’ cases, the flag remains at half-staff until after the burial.

I do not want to diminish anyone’s death — not the men and women who served our town, or those from our state who gave their lives serving our country.

But I can’t help wondering whether flying flags at half-staff so often doesn’t diminish their deaths in some way.  Most of the time, we don’t know who’s being honored.  There’s no one to tell us, so we ignore the symbolism.  Half-staff flags become part of the scenery.

I know many “06880” readers will disagree.  I’m not even sure I agree with myself.

But — in true American spirit — let the debate begin.