Tag Archives: Annam Olasewere

Roundup: Harvest Fest, Justin Paul, Patty Haberstroh …

Two major events last night drew hundreds of people each — and showed Westport at its best.

Wakeman Town Farm’s annual Harvest Fest featured fantastic food and music, a great raffle, and the very cool ambiance of one of the town’s true jewels. (And added treat: Drinks were served, and hors d’oeuvres passed, by some of our top officials and celebrities.)

Under the Wakeman Town Farm tent, before the dancing. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Two hours later, “Justin Paul & Friends” — including Kelli O’Hara, James and Greg Naughton, Staples Players, and a host of top Broadway talent — rocked the Westport Country Playhouse.

It was a roof-raising celebration of a successful drive to save the 93-year-old institution. Grammy-, Oscar- and Tony-winner/2002 Staples High School graduate Justin was effusive in his praise for what the Playhouse — and Westport’s embrace of the arts generally –has meant to his career, and his life.

He and his fellow performers bought their “A” game. It was a perfect kickoff to the Playhouse’s next 93 years.

Justin Paul (center) and fellow performers acknowledge the band and audience, at last night’s Westport Country Playhouse curtain call.

PS: It would have been 3 huge events yesterday. But Slice of Saugatuck was postponed to September 30, due to weather concerns.


Patty Haberstroh’s many friends and admirers are invited to a celebration of her life, on Monday, September 18 (1:30 p.m., The Inn at Longshore).

The longtime Department of Human Services social worker died in July, following a long and inspiring battle with ALS.

Patty Haberstroh


A year ago, a group of interested Westporters founded Club 203. The non-profit fills an important need: social opportunities for adults with disabilities.

Another new non-profit — Club SpEd — has just formed. Its goal is to create a welcoming community for parents of neuro-diverse children.

Founders say: “In a town where friendships often blossom at school bus stops, on soccer fields and during birthday parties, the question arises: What happens when your child’s journey takes a different path? When they aren’t on the same bus, aren’t traversing the neighborhood on their bike, or aren’t receiving as many party invitations? For many families with children who have special needs, forging these essential connections becomes a more arduous task.

“Club SpEd aims provide a much-needed social outlet for parents who share similar experiences. Founders David Herling, Bia Hittman, Becky Martin and Abby Gordon-Tolan discovered their own enduring friendship through their roles as PTA Special Education representatives in local schools.”

The first event — SpEDTEMBER — is set for Thursday, September 21 at Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina. There will be a taco truck and selection of adult beverages, all included for $70 per person.

For more information or to RSVP, email clubsped06880@gmail.com. The Facebook page is Club SpEd Westport; Instagram and Venmo: @ClubSpEd.


So how did Annam Olasewere do?

“06880” reported yesterday that the Staples High School junior was in Israel, representing the US at the World Aquatics Junior Championships. 

She was in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle yesterday — a race shown just after noon on the Westport Library’s big screen.

Annam placed second! Her silver medalist 25.95 seconds was just .36 off the winning time.

Congratulations, Annam! An amazing performance.

And one that will strike fear in the hearts of other teams throughout the state, when she returns soon to the Staples swim and dive team.

PS: Couldn’t watch yesterday? Click here for the replay!

Annam Olasewere (left), on the Westport Library’s big screen at yesterday’s World Aquatics Junior Championship medal ceremony. (Photo and hat tip/Allison Ziering Walmark)


Speaking of sports: Westport history was made yesterday. Two girls — Ariel Gayle and Isabella Jokl — played for the PAL Westport Wreckers modified flag football travel team.

Go, Wreckers!

Isabella Jokl and Ariel Gayle.


Speaking still of sports:

Avery Mueller scored the first goal of the season for Staples’ boys soccer team Friday, on a penalty kick against Ridgefield. Here’s his celebration:

(Photo/Mark Sikorski)

Unfortunately, neither that goal nor the one Mueller scored a minute later counted.

Lightning halted the match with 17 minutes remaining in the first half, and the Wreckers up 2-0. According to league rules, any game stopped before halftime must be replayed.

From the 0-0 beginning. A makeup date has not yet been set.


If you missed last month’s pop-up art gallery in a Compo Beach back yard: You’re in luck.

David Johnson and his wife Holly Jaffe Johnson invite everyone to “Works on Paper.” The collection — never before seen in its entirety, many on public view for the first time — will be displayed at 15 Bradley Street, off Compo Road South near Compo Beach, next Sunday (September 17, 3 p.m. until dusk).

It’s a great end-of-summer art sale, well below their gallery prices.

And if you missed the “06880” story about Johnson’s first show, click here.

David Johnson’s outdoor art on Bradley Street, last month.


This just in: the Japanese fall festival scheduled for today at Jesup Green has been canceled.


Connie Converse is redefining the narrative of singer-songwriter history, bridging the gap between traditional Americana (country, blues, folk, jazz and gospel), the Great American Songbook, classical art song, and the singer-songwriter movement sparked by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

But she did it a decade earlier.

Converse is the focus of the inaugural Westport Library Verso Book Club event. Howard Fishman, author of the New York Times feature “Before Dylan, There Was Connie Converse. Then She Vanished,” and the book To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse,” will speak on October 5 (7 p.m.).Registration is required; click here. For more information, click here.


Lucy Zeko captured — on camera only — this magnificent creature, at Burying Hill Beach.

It’s one more reason to love “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lucy Zeko)


And finally … if you’ve never heard of Connie Converse (see story above) — or even if you have — here’s what she was all about:

(Art, sports, music, books, people — “06880” covers it all. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: 9/11 Ride, Annam Olasewere, Geno Auriemma …

NOTE TO READERS WHO RECEIVE “06880” BY EMAIL: WordPress appears to now be sending emails with just the heading of stories — not the full story. Hopefully this is a glitch, not a permanent change.

In any event, please pass the word to anyone who asks — though you already know, because you are reading this: Just click on the headline in the email. That will bring up the entire story!


A forecast of severe weather has forced organizers to cancel Sunday’s CT United Ride.

It’s the first cancelation ever for the event, which draws up to 1,000 motorcyclists honoring 9/11 victims and first responders.

Bikers assemble at Sherwood Island State Park, then ride down I-95 to Exit 17, where they follow Riverside Avenue and Wilton Road into Wilton, and 8 towns beyond.

Police shut down all roads, to let the motorcyclists pass. So although the tribute to 9/11 victims is off, Westporters will not be impacted by traffic detours. (Hat tip: Stacie Curran)


Staples High School junior Annam Olasewere has missed the start of the Wreckers’ swim and dive season.

There’s a good reason: She’s representing the US at the World Aquatics Junior Championships in Netanya, Israel. Over 600 young swimmers from more than 100 nationals are participating. Annam is the only one from Connecticut.

She’s in the finals today, the finale of the 6-day event.

Annam’s 50-meter fredstyle final heat will be shown on the big screen in the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum today (Saturday), at 12:06 p.m. She is 3rd currently, with a time of 24.95.

Annam has already swum in 2 Olympic trial cuts, in the 50- and 100-meter free. This June, she’ll attend the US Olympic Trials.


Annam Olasewere


Speaking of sports at the Library: With insight, humor and plenty of stories, Geno Auriemma kicked off the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston’s 2023-2024 speaker program on Thursday.

The hugely successful University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach did not disappoint the capacity crowd of 200 Y’s Men and their spouses.

Interviewer Jeremy Schaap — a Westporter, and Emmy Award-winning ESPN journalist — drew revealing answers from the coach.

Auriemma called the keys to his success “knowing what you’re good at, and getting the right people.” He noted, “trying to build a team from nothing and seeing it develop was a lot of fun. Every day was an opportunity to do better.”

The discussion also covered the new challenges contemporary college athletes face today.

The Y’s Men thank Pete Wolgast for helping arrange Geno’s appearance.

Geno Auriemma (with mic) answers questions from Jeremy Schaap.




Looking for help, information and support around behavioral, mental health and parenting issues?

Several interesting events are on tap this month, sponsored by Westport Together:

September 12 (3 p.m.): Join the Westport Prevention Coalition’s monthly meetings. The community-based group of parents, students and local stakeholders offer prevention education and programs to combat substance misuse and related behavioral health problems. For more information, email Kgodburn@westportct.gov.

September 26 (6:30 p.m.): “The Most Vital School Supply for Parents: Learn the Signs of Adolescent Mental Health Issues and How to get Help.” An expert panel discusses mental health resources available to area students and families. Register at wtestani@turnbridge.com

September 27 (noon): “Body Positivity in the Digital Age.” Social media has profoundly impacted teenagers, particularly concerning their body image and susceptibility to eating disorders. This virtual program covers warning signs and strategies to promote healthy habits. Click here to register.

September 30 (8 a.m.): “Fathers’ Forum.” An informal opportunity for fathers to talk about parenting challenges and strategies. Click here for more information, and to register.


No resuscitation was needed for fans of DNR Friday night at the Levitt Pavilion.

The rock band of (mostly) retired doctors performs annually there. Last night’s event was — appropriately — a fundraiser for Westport Emergency Medical Services.

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)


The Westport Country Playhouse presents “I’ll Drink to That! A Broadway Cocktail Hour” — with a chaser.

Tickets to the September 22 (6 p.m.; Playhouse courtyard and Lucille Lortel White Barn Center, adjacent to the theater) event — featuring Laurence Maslon, author of “I’ll Drink to That!,” recounting magic moments on stage, and a guide to making cocktails inspired by legendary stars and classic shows, and actors incorporating his stories with songs and scenes from Broadway productions — include 2 specialty cocktails.

Attendees will enjoy the first as Maslon details the history of cocktails on Broadway. The 70-minute program concludes with a second drink, and book signing.

Click here for more information, and tickets.

Laurence Maslon


What’s it like when a town goes to war?

Tony Pavia answers that question on September 30 (3 p.m.). It’s part of the Weston History & Culture Center’s World War II lecture series.

“An American Town Goes to War” focuses on a group of men from one town — Stamford — but their stories are universal.

Pavia — a former US history teacher, and principal of New Canaan, Stamford and Trinity Catholic High Schools — will discuss their experiences, and tell stories of them and their loved ones.

Guided tours of the Coley House, which shows life on the home front during World War II, will begiven after the lecture.


Congratulations to Lila Manimala Doromal earned honorable mention in NPR’s recent Student Podcast Challenge.

The Pierrepont School 8th grader and Paul Taylor Ensemble dancer wrote and narrated “I Am American.” She spoke about her Indian, Filipino and Caucasian backgrounds — and what they mean to hear.

Click here to listen.


Lila Manimala Doromal


Mary Gardner Stephenson of Westport, and Estero, Florida, died on August 16. She was 96.

Born in London, she was among the first graduates of the Royal Cancer Hospital’s program for X-ray technology.

Five years after marrying her late husband, John Mitchell Stephenson in 1948, they emigrated with their eldest daughter to Providence. They settled in Westport in 1963.

She was a nuclear medicine technologist at Bridgeport’s Park City Hospital.

Mary was as a member of the Daughters of the British Empire, League of Women Voters, Sierra Club and Audubon Society. She was also involved in the Westport-Weston Community Theatre and Wilton Playshop.

In retirement Mary dedicated herself to her lush garden, birding, listening to opera and traveling internationally. She was a devoted grandmother, sharing her love of the arts, animals and history.

She is survived by her daughters Wendy Winkler of Beaver Creek, Ohio; Jennifer Stephenson of Bonita Springs, Forida and Julia Thompson of Naples, Florida, 7 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

Mary Stephenson


This egret made quite a splash the other day, at Grace Salmon Park.

Dan Johnson captured it nicely, for our “Westport … Naturally” daily feature.


And finally … today is September 9. Whether you use the American or European way of writing dates, it still comes out as 9/9. So …

(Sure, the weather may be iffy this weekend. But you’ll always have “06880.” Please click here to make a contribution. Thank you!)