Tag Archives: Artists Collective of Westport

Roundup: Westport10, Yard Help, Remarkable Movies …

Westport Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice joined members of Westport10 — the civic and social organization of Black men and their families — for a tour of the Westport Library yesterday.

The group — founded by Library trustee Jay Norris — was very impressed with the innovative building, and inspired by Scarice’s vision for Westport schools.

At yesterday’s Westport Library event, front row (from left): Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice, Board of Education member Kevin Christie, Roy Anderson, Alie Diagne, Eric Freeman. Back row: Ryan Smith, Dale Mauldin, Abdul Ngnoumen, Jay Norris, Ted Parker.

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Get your oak saplings!

From now through 12:30 p.m. today (Saturday), the Westport Tree Board is giving them away. It’s part of “Oaktober,” at the Westport Book Shop fall festival. The festival runs until noon.

Westport Tree Board member Ed Picard offers an oak sapling to Dylan Rosen. (Photo/Frank Rosen)

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Outdoor chores are part of suburban life. As Westporters age, they sometimes need help.

Our Department of Human Services has a list of middle and high school students eager to help with outdoor chores. There suggested fee is $12 an hour.

Seniors looking for help — and students interested in helping –should email humansrv@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-1050.

Chances are you won’t need all this help. Just one kid can work wonders …

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The Remarkable Theater has a jam-packed schedule of movies at its Imperial Avenue drive-in theater site.

Many are geared to Halloween. There’s also “The Candidate,” in honor of Election Day.

Here’s what’s ahead:

  • Thurs., Oct. 13: “Slap Shot” (doors open 5:30 p.m.; movie at 6:30)
  • Fri., Oct. 14: “Coco” (doors 5:30, movie 6:30)
  • Sat., Oct. 15: “Saturday Night Fever” (doors 5:30, movie 6:30)
  • Sat., Oct. 22: “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Tues., Oct. 25: “The Candidate” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Wed., Oct. 26: “Beetlejuice” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Sat., Oct. 29: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Curious George: A Holiday Boo Fest” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Sun.,, Oct. 30: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (doors 8, movie 8:30)
  • Mon., Oct. 31: “Halloween” (Doors 6, movie 7).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Speaking of Halloween: It’s fun for kids.

And stressful for parents.

The United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston wants to make it easy for everyone. On Saturday, October 29 (2 to 4 p.m.), they’ll host their annual (and very popular) “Trunk or Treat.”

The parking lot will be filled with 30 car trunks, decorated for Halloween. Kids (up to age 12) can pick up candy and other goodies.

It’s free for the community — but there’s a chance to give back too. The church is collecting canned goods for the Person to Person food pantry. A donation of 5 cans of food per child attending is requested.

All are welcome at the United Methodist Church, 49 Weston Road — throughout the year, and of course at “Trunk or Treat.” (Photo/Dan Woog)

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The next big event after Halloween is Election Day.

Absentee ballots are available at the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall Room 105 on weekdays (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except this Monday, Columbus Day.) Ballots are also available online; click here.

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Who says art has to be expensive? (Well, galleries, but that’s beside the point.)

The Artists Collective of Westport is dedicated to making art — and making it affordable.

Their 4th annual Affordable Art Trunk Show takes place Sunday, October 16 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Westport Library lower parking lot).

There’s music and food. Of course, admission is free.

Susan Fehlinger sells art out of — literally — her trunk.

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It’s been just over a year since beloved Westporter Jonathan Greenfield died of ALS. He had just turned 50.

Greenfield dedicated the last years of his life to building Breathe 4 ALS, with his wife Iris. The non-profit had 2 missions: raising money for genetic ALS research, and spreading awareness of the Wim Hof method of breathwork and cold therapy. It greatly improved Greenfield’s life, as he battled ALS.

The second annual Jonathan Greenfield Wim Hof Fundamentals Workshop is set for Sunday, October 16.

It’s limited to 30 participants, and is free for people living with ALS.

Jonathan was a photographer and filmmaker. He published a coffee table book, which is included as a gift with the ticket purchase ($225 donation).

People who cannot attend, but support the work with a $100 donation will receive the book as a thank you. Click here for tickets.

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Dana Buckmir’s memoir, Everything Will Be Okay, is a cautionary tale of online dating and domestic violence. On October 12 (7 p.m.), the Connecticut native brings her story to The Westport Library for a conversation with Ann Rodwell-Lawton, associate director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

The event, a collaboration between the Library, The Domestic Violence Crisis Center, and the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force, will be held in person, streamed live, and recorded.

“Domestic violence and abuse impacts thousands of people, especially women, each day, in every community,” says Kerri Gawreluk, programming associate at The Westport Library. “Dana’s ability to articulate her own personal story from a place of clarity, strength, and empowerment is truly inspiring, and we’re incredibly grateful to host her at the Library.”

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Westport 12-year-old Vivek Kanthan is now on the Kart Racing World Circuit in Italy.

The 50+-nation competition is very difficult. Karts have different tire compounds and specifications. Tracks are very fast and highly technical.

In the Rok Cup Italia Competition, Vivek finished as vice champion. He has qualified to represent the US in the World Championship Rok Superfinal in Lonato later this month. Good luck, Vivek!

Vivek Kanthan, with his hardware.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows Andre the dachshund wishing everyone a Happy Halloween.

He’s now on another planet, says Bevi Bullwinkel. But he never forgot his favorite holiday, or his Westport home.

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And finally … on this day in 1956, Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. (Just think: The MLB post-season is only beginning now, with wild card games.)

(Movies, sports, Election Day info … it’s all available on “06880.” Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: Wynston Browne, Water Conservation, 9/11 Memorial …

Wynston Brown continues to inspire us all.

The non-speaking autistic teenager was once thought to be intellectually disabled. In July, “06880” described his astonishing progress, since he began using a special communication board a year ago.

Earlier this month he met customers at The Porch @ Christie’s. He showed them his spelling device, and answered questions.

Wynston Browne with his spelling board.

Wynston was there again Monday — the day before beginning his sophomore year at Staples High School. Owner Andrea Pecoriello hosted him.

His mother Lynda Kommel-Browne says: “Wynston had a nice conversation with 4 families, who were not familiar with non-speakers and spelling boards. Wynston beamed with pride and energy to show folks his communication skills. It was a great eye-opening experience for all.

Wynston Browne and his communication partner, Elisa Feinman, show his spelling board to customers at The Porch. His brother Harrison is standing (right).

“Wynston’s 16-year-old brother Harrison beamed with pride too, seeing customers take an interest in Wyn, and seeing Wyn respond to questions with high level answers.

“For example, he said, ‘In biology we are studying macro molecules …  carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Carbohydrates is your body’s main energy source.'”

He talked about “The Kite Runner” too — and asked some of his new friends questions like what they like to eat at The Porch.

Wynston’s world is opening up — and he is opening up ours. “06880” will continue to report on his progress, and on opportunities for Westporters to meet him.

Wynston Browne, with younger customers.

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Following up on yesterday’s water conservation measures, a reader writes:

“We use the ‘speed load’ setting. Our washing machine runs for 25 minutes, instead of an hour and 10 minutes on the regular setting. Our clothes get just as clean — we have never had an issue with that.”

Any other water-saving ideas? Click “Comments” below.

Select “quick wash,” which you probably never noticed before.

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Connecticut’s official 9/11 memorial is at Sherwood Island State Park for 2 reasons.

On that horrific day 21 years ago, people gathered on the shore saw smoke rise from the Twin Towers 50 miles away.

And the area was ready to be used as a staging area for rescue helicopters. Sadly, none were needed.

Two decades later, the simple memorial attracts a steady stream of visitors. It includes the names of state residents who died in the terrorist attacks.

Each year, there is a remembrance ceremony at the Sherwood Island Living Memorial. This year’s is set for Thursday, September 8 (5:30 p.m.). Family members of those killed will participate, and the names of the 161 victims with ties to Connecticut will be read aloud.

The ceremony will be livestreamed at ct-n.com. An on-demand video will be made available there shortly after its conclusion.

The 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park. (Photos/Ellen Bowen)

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Tomorrow’s “Jazz at the Post” stars Rob Henke & the Cook County Stompers.

Greg Murphy, Tim Ferguson, Sipho Kunene and Greg Wall — the “Jazz Rabbi” — play 2 sets at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 (7 and 8:30 p.m.; dinner at 6:30; $10 cover).

The Thursday night series has earned an avid following. The jazz is great; the acoustics are superb; the food is excellent, and the view is superb.

What’s not to like?

Reservations are strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Cook County Stompers

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If you haven’t been to an Artists Collective of Westport pop-up show: Pop in to the next one.

Held, as always, in the Westport Country Playhouse barn, it features works by homeless veterans. The art was created in classes run by the Collective, at Bridgeport’s Homes for the Brave shelter.

There’s a reception next Wednesday (September 7, 6 to 8 p.m.), and an artists’ talk Saturday, September 10 (4 p.m.). The works are on display to the public September 8 to 10, from 2 to 6 p.m. each day.

The Artists’ Collective does great work, very quietly. They don’t toot their own horns. So I’ll toot it for them.

See you at the show!

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I hate to keep throwing barbs at Hook’d.

But really, the Compo Beach concession is just mailing it in.

Earlier this summer, after sharp comments on “06880,” they finally began posting their hours on the door.

That’s gone now.

With the doors locked yesterday, this was the scene:

(Photo/Yvonne Senturia)

That’s still better than a few days ago. The doors were locked then. The sandwich board sign was out.

But the arrow was pointing the wrong way.

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School started yesterday. And — right on cue — there was this familiar sight at the Imperial Avenue parking lot:

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Readers sometimes wonder what they’re doing there.

The answer makes sense: It’s a spot for drivers to gather between runs, without having to navigate the cramped, busy entrance and exit at the Dattco lot across from Playhouse Square.

Once in the morning there, and again in the afternoon, is plenty.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is X-rated.

Michael and Valerie Szeto write: “With Cole Porter’s permission. one might say, ‘Birds do it, bees do it, even Westport horseshoe crabs do it … let’s do it, let’s fall in love!'”

(Photo/Valerie Szeto)

This shot of mating horseshoe crabs was taken in the shallow water off Owenoke Park. Michael spotted it; Valerie snapped it.

The couple then left, giving this other couple some privacy.

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And finally … it wasn’t hard to figure out today’s song, was it?

(Birds and bees don’t do it, but we hope you will: Support “06880.” Please click here to contribute.)

Roundup: Cavalry Road Bridge, Staples Graduation, Sharkey’s Cuts …

Residents in the Red Coat Road/West Branch neighborhood, straddling the Westport/Weston border, were thrilled earlier this month when the Cavalry Road bridge reopened.

For a year during the project, they’d faced long detours, constant traffic pattern changes, even property damage. They seldom complained.

But now they’re mad.

Suddenly, a large chain link fence has been installed on both sides of the new bridge. Residents call it an eyesore — and not part of the original plan. They wonder how safety measures more appropriate for a state road became part of their bucolic landscape.

Guardrail and fencing on the Cavalry Road bridge.

Resident Gery Grove — who says it is a Weston project — wrote to officials of both towns:

“This is a low speed bridge (now with extensive guardrails in place) with probably a limited to nonexistent history of injury or death. This is a pastoral residential neighborhood that people move to for quiet charms.

“Behind our backs at the dawn of a holiday weekend, it has been made to look like a downtown Manhattan parking lot with no warning. And likely no historical public record of this addition. No other small bridges that I am aware of (that don’t go over the Merritt or I95) have this extensive fencing.”

Westport 1st selectwoman replied quickly, promising to meet with residents there on Monday morning.

Weston town administrator Jnoathan Luiz said that he asked the engineering company that designed the bridge and provided construction oversight to respond.

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For the second year in a row — after a hiatus of nearly 40 years — Staples High School held its graduation ceremony outdoors.

“06880” provided photos of the 135th commencement. But those were only from ground level.

Staples sophomore Charlie Scott adds a new perspective, thanks to his drone:

(Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

The stage is at the north end (bottom of photo). Board of Education and other dignitaries are at the lower left. The 450-plus graduates are massed on Coach Paul Lane Field. The 2,000 spectators fill the bleachers on the right.

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Scalp dramatically reduces chemotherapy-induced hair loss in cancer patients.

But it’s expensive.

Scott Sharkey — founder of Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids, the Westport-based haircut chain – has jump-started a fund to support patients throughout New England who cannot afford the treatment.

Each Sharkey’s salon donates a percent of every haircut to charity. “Hair to Stay” will be one more beneficiary of the company’s generosity.

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Jillian Elder has a new line of Westport-themed tank tops, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and tumblers.

Some are actually more specific: They say “I’d rather be in Saugatuck” and “I’d rather be at Compo Beach.” There are also red-white-and-blue Minute Man items.

Click here for “I’d Rather Be …”; click here for the Minute Man stuff.

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Artists Collective of Westport member Lee Walther curated a new exhibit, “Sculptural Dimensions,” at the Fairfield Public Library. It features Collective artists Sooo-z Mastropietro and Louise Cadoux, plus international artist Alan Neider.

The show runs through August 6. Click here for more infromation.

Art by Sooo-z Mastropietro.

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Marie Coppotelli — one of Westport’s first girls “soccer moms” — died peacefully on June 9. She was 92 years old.  .

Stuart McCarthy — a founder of Westport’s girls soccer program, and former Staples High School coach — says:

When we started the first girls travel team in 1977, Marie took charge. She did all the great organization and coordination that comes with the job (but she had no 3-ring binder left behind by the last manager). I will always remember how she was such a sweet lady — until someone fouled one of ‘her girls.’ Marie was fiercely protective, and they were all ‘her girls.’ We were all lucky to have Marie on our team.

Marie was preceded in death by her husband Donald Coppotelli and brother Anthony Cuda. She is survived by her sister Patricia Nole, sister-in-law Lynn Cuda; children Michele (Pat) Solis, Lisa Coppotelli, Alan (Nancey) Coppotelli, Renee (Mark) Dixon, and Claudine (Lee) Martin; grandchildren Emma and Reed Tso, Oliver and Madeline Dixon, Devon Mayhew, Dylan and Eileen
Martin, Ghislain and Mary Melaine, Jeff and Jessica Doerner, and great-grandchildren Molly and Benjamin Doerner and Georges Melaine.

Services will be held privately at a future date. In lieu of flowers,
everyone who knew Marie knows she loves to feed people. Donations may be made online to Connecticut Foodshare, Memories and condolences may be sent to the family: ACoppotelliNY@aol.com,

The Coppotellis, at Marie and Don’s 50th wedding celebration. From left: Renee, Claudine, Donald, Marie, Michele, Lisa, Alan.

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This “Westport … Naturally” wren seems right at home in Paul Delano’s birdhouse.

(Photo/Paul Delano)

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And finally … sure, Jillian Elder’s gear and mugs say “I’d rather be in Saugatuck” (or “at Compo Beach”).

But as the Turtles knew years ago:

Roundup: Buffalo, EMS, Flower Moon …

First Selectman Jen Tooker says:

“The scene in Buffalo this past weekend was horrifying, and I send my deepest condolences to all those affected.

“Along with help from TEAM Westport, our law enforcement colleagues, our houses of worship and our extensive non-profit organizations, we continue to strive to ensure that this community is a place where residents, business owners and visitors feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging.

“This important work is ongoing, and there is still progress to be made. As first selectwoman, I want to personally re-state my commitment to these efforts in Westport. Thank you for your support on this journey.”

Nine of the 10 victims of the mass execution in Buffalo.

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This is Emergency Medical Services Week.

It’s long overdue.

Westport EMS deputy director Marc Hartog knows this has been an exceptionally tough couple of years.

“The EMTs and paramedics of Westport EMS continue to rise to the challenge every day, and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our community.” he says.

“Relieving pain and suffering, caring for sick and injured patients, saving lives is just part of the experience of responding to the public’s calls for help. EMS providers, whether paid or volunteer, take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional; emergency manager; social worker; crisis counselor; consoler; caregiver.”.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker adds “EMS Week is a chance for our town to recognize the service and sacrifice exhibited by our EMS personnel over the past year, and to express our gratitude for all they continue to do, day in and day out, for our community.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker with an EMS Week proclamation. (From left): Police Chief Foti Koskinas, EMS crew chiefs Larry Kleinman and Rick Baumblatt, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, EMS crew chief Eric Hebert, Deputy Police Chief/EMS director Sam Arciola.

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Sunday’s Super Flower Blood Moon/lunar eclipse was very cool.

It was also not easy to photograph.

Many Westporters tried. You sent your shots to “06880.” Thank you!

We did not have a Best Images contest. But if we did, the winner would be Nancy Lally.

Check them out below. You’ll be over the moon.

(Photos/Nancy Lally)

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Nearly everyone who owns a convertible loves to show it off.

Here’s your chance to impress the entire town.

Organizers of the Memorial Day parade need a few open-tops for the May 30 event. They’re used to transport dignitaries, like veterans (including the grand marshal).

If you’ve got a convertible to lend, contact Deborah Detmer at the Parks & Recreation office: 203-341-5091; ddetmer@westportct.gov.

It doesn’t get more classic than this. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

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After 2 online-only years, 2022’s “Booked for the Evening” with TV producer/ screenwriter/ author/CEO Shona Rhimes will be the most financially successful in the event’s 20 year history.

And anyone, anywhere can add to the fundraising.

Tickets for the virtual livestream (June 1, 8 p.m.). are still available. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Shonda Rhimes

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By day, it’s the Farmers’ Market. At night, it’s the Remarkable Theater.

On May 27, the Imperial Avenue parking lot — home to both — hosts a special film showing.

“Biggest Little Farm” — the award-winning 2018 documentary about the 8-year quest of a couple to trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland (and a dream) — is set for May 27. Sustainable Westport co-sponsors the event.

Tickets to this family-friendly event are $25 per vehicle. Tailgating (with food from the Market the day before?) starts at 6 p.m. The screening is at 8. Bees Knees — a popular WFM vendor — will selling their signature frozen pops.

For more information and tickets, click here.

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The next Artists Collective of Westport pop-up show is May 26-29 (2 to 6 p.m. each day; the Westport Country Playhouse barn). There’s an opening reception May 25 (6 to 8 p.m.), and artists’ talks on Sunday, May 29 (4 p.m.).

Participating artists include some very familiar names: Peg Benison, Louise Cadoux, Jeanine Esposito, Jane Fleischner, Rebecca Fuchs, Holly Hawthorne, Katya Lebrija, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Steve Parton, Nancy Reinker, Debbie Smith, Cindy Wagner and Lee Walther.

To learn more about this great Collective, click below.

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The other day, Connecticut Public Radio aired an interesting story headlined “How Medical Aid in Dying May Change the Way We Live.”

one of the guests is Lynda Bluestein. A longtime member and former board chair of Westport’s Unitarian Church, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now she’s working hard to get “medical Aid in dying” legislation passed in the state.

Westport’s State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg were very public supporters of a recent bill attempting — for the 16th time — to get Connecticut legislation passed. Once again, the bill did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee.

Click here for more details, and to listen.

Lynda Shannon Bluestein (Photo courtesy of The CT Mirror)

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Saturday’s fundraiser for AWARE — the great, generous non-profit (Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education) — was postponed a day by rain.

Attendees had a wonderful time. And if you’re not “aware” of how much they do for women and children in the area, click here.

Enjoying the AWARE event (from left): Erica Davis, Amy Saperstein, Allegra Gatti Zemel, Michele Glassman, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Mafe Cala, Stephanie Tobin.

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Andy Gundell has been nominated for a regional Emmy Award, in Original Composition and Arrangement. It is for music from a Black Lives Matter program that streamed online in February 2021 from the Unitarian Church in Westport. Gundell is a 13-time Emmy winner already.

The program — “Revealing History–How We Got Here, Why It Matters” — was produced by the church’s Women’s Group. It is a powerful multi-media tribute to the BLM movement, and the history of racial injustice in America. Click here for a link.

Andy Gundell

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows birds of a feather flocking together, at Compo Beach near the kayak launch.

It won’t be long before they’re joined — at least, not far from the rocks — by crowds of humans, flocking together too.

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … if you’re on the fence about lending your convertible for the Memorial Day parade (see story above), this might inspire you:

 

 

 

Roundup: Metro-North, Ukraine Donations, Longshore Golf …

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Metro-North is expanding service and restoring some express trains — including adding 34 new trains on the New Haven line.

Weekday service will be restored to 89% of pre-pandemic levels, and new train service will reduce trip times for a number of commuters (the railroad says).

Click here for new Metro-North schedules.

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All week long, donations for Ukraine have poured in to Wakeman Town Farm.

Medical and emergency supplies, sleeping bags, boots, socks, sweaters, gloves, radios, hand warmers, binoculars — all were sent or dropped off by Westporters.

Similar collections took place all week long at Weston’s Lechat Town Farm, and Wilton’s Ambler Farm.

Tomorrow, they’ll be sent overseas.

As soon as they arrive, they’ll be put to great use.

Christy Colasurdo of Wakeman Town Farm, in front of some of the donated items. (Photo/Ted Horowitz).

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Speaking of Ukraine: Lynsey Addario was a guest last night on “Amanpour & Company.”

Christiane Amanpour had an in-depth conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photojournalist/1991 Staples High School graduate.

Click below to see. (Hat tip: Linda Montecalvo)

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Tee it up!

The expected opening for the Longshore golf course is this Friday (March 25) — weather permitting, of course. The halfway house concession opens April 1.

Click here for the course website. The pro shop phone number is 203-221-0900.  For day of play tee times, call 203-226-9785.

Westport residents can purchase or renew a handpass online at www.westportrecreation.com or in person weekdays (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Parks & Recreation office, across the parking lot from the pro shop.

The18th hole. (Drone photo/John Videler for videler.com)

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Jane Green — Westport’s favorite international best-selling author — has just released her first novel in 3 years. “Sister Stardust” is also her first biographical fiction.

Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty, in this unique story from a forgotten chapter of the “Swinging ’60s.”
  
Though Talitha’s life seemed perfect, in her 20s — already a famous model and actress — she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh with her husband, oil heir Paul Getty. She presided over an ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.

When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous façade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.

The epilogue: Because Jane is as clever a person as she is a writer, she’s bringing out a range of caftans and jewelry inspired by the book.

Jane Green

 

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Speaking of trains (as we were above): Got something to say about Wheels2U and/or the Westport Transit District?

Director Peter Gold and others will be at the Westport train station this Wednesday (March 23, 6 to 10 a.m., near the elevator on the westbound side), to meet commuters. In case of rain, they’ll meet inside the station house.

Gold says, “We want commuters to let us know what’s right with Wheels2U, what’s not working, and what we can do better. We also want to talk to commuters who don’t take Wheels2U [the on-demand, group ride, platform shuttle service] to make them aware of it.”

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The list of goodies at Local to Westport — the nearby-sourced food-and-more market on Main Street — always changes.

Among the new items:

  • Whistle Stop Pies (Ridgefield): Owner Lolly makes delicious berry crumble, chocolate espresso and lemon cream pies.
  • J’s Vegan Elderberry Syrup (Bethel): Julie does this batch with maple syrup instead of the traditional honey.
  • Riad’s Mediterranean Dips (Bethlehem): Hummus, yogurt dip, tapenade, pesto and baba ghanouj.
  • Alma’s Mexican Foods Macha Salsa (Westport, CT): Chili pepper-based condiments.
  • *Cato Corners Cheese (Colchester): Raw milk cheeses
  • Good Doggy Treats (Brookfield): Tony’s treats are a hit with canine visitors.
  • Knipschlidt Chocolates Easter Eggs (Norwalk): Fritz’s Easter collection.
  • Wanke’s Yankee Hot Pepper Products (Norwalk): Dave’s jalapeno garlic hot sauce, plus spicy peanuts.
  • Shearwater Coffee (Trumbull):USDA-certified organic coffees, roasted right up the street.

The Local to Market patio.

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Last year, Westport Pride sponsored the town’s first downtown LGBTQ celebration. This year’s event is set for June 12.

But that’s not all. Leading up to it, there’s a Queer Cook-off (May 19, Aitoro’s).

Four teams — each including one chef — will have an hour to prepare an appetizer and dessert. It’s a fun fundraiser for the Pride group.

On June 1, they’ll kick off Pride Month with an LGBTQ-themed movie (appropriate for all families).

Also in the works: a drag show, and celebrations at Staples High School.

Showing the flag at last year’s Westport Pride celebration. (Photo/Kerry Long)

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Russell Oost-Lievense has been named only the 4th head coach in the 64-year history of the Staples High School boys soccer program.

A former Staples captain (2007) and player at Hartwick College, Oost-Lievense has been a member of the Wreckers staff for 6 years. He is a special education teacher at Darien High.

He succeeds Dan Woog — hey, that’s me! — who retired in January after 19 years. I’m happy to quote myself:

“Russell is a spectacular choice. He has the total respect of players, parents and other coaches. He breaks down a match — both by teams, and individually — better than anyone I know. He is a master at creating game plans, and the training sessions leading up to them. He is a true student of the game.

“Russell is passionate about soccer at all level. He understands Staples’ tradition, our legacy, and the importance of passing that along to current and future players.

“Our program is in good shape. I am confident Russell will kick it up many more notches, in the years ahead. It will be great to see.”

Russell Oost-Lievense, in front of the Staples High School boys soccer trophy case.

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The Artists Collective of Westport’s pop-up exhibit has announced a new date for its artists’ talk, at the Westport Country Playhouse barn. The new date is Saturday, March 26 (4 p.m.).

There’s an opening reception March 23 (6 p.m.). The exhibit is then open from March 24 through 26 (2 to 6 p.m.).

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“Westport … Naturally” is delighted to present as many signs of spring as we can. Here is Richard Epstein’s witch hazel:

(Photo/Richard Epstein)

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And finally … in honor of Metro-North’s expanded (and supposedly faster) service on the New Haven line (story above):

Roundup: Mrs. London, Student Futures, Fashion …

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Our long wait is over.

Mrs. London’s Bakery — the highly anticipated, long-delayed successor to Aux Delices, Java, Wild Pear, Chef’s Table, and a few other places I’ve probably forgotten on Church Lane, at the foot of Elm Street — is scheduled to open the moment this Roundup hits your email inbox: 10 a.m. today.

That’s according to Sal Liccione, the unofficial mayor of downtown.

The 2nd outpost of the Saratoga Springs-based shop features pastries, baguettes, croissants, grilled sandwiches, paninis, salads, quiches, soups, “decadent desserts,” espressos and teas. Ingredients are organic, locally grown and sourced.

Word from upstate New York fans is that Mrs. London’s Bakery will be worth the wait.

And let’s hope she is around much longer than some of her predecessors.

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The Staples High School Guidance Department invites seniors, their parents — and anyone else interested — to “Spark Your Future.”

The counselors, through their College & Career Center, are sponsoring a 4-part series. Alumni tell stories of how they got where they are, with all the twists and turns that make up life. The goal is for students to learn from others who were in their shoes a decade or so ago — and perhaps “spark” an idea or two for the future.

Each event includes information on the importance of soft skills too — learning from failure, networking, persistence.

The most recent session — about careers in media and entrepreneurship — featured Nicole Seo (Staples Class of 2011), who runs a recruiting business; D.J. Sixsmith ’11, senior manager, social media for CBS News; Melanie Mignucci ’12, lifestyle editor at Bustle, and Rachel Treisman ’15, digital correspondent for NPR.

Next up: Careers in Business and Computer Science. Georgia Fox ’16, Megan Root ’15 and Jake McCambley ’11 will be panelists. It’s Tuesday, April 5, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Click here to register. Everyone is welcome.

The May 3 session focuses on careers in science.

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Sustainability and fashion. What could be less of a pairing?

But the 2 concepts come together March 28 (6:30 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm).
Therese LeFever, Cynthia Davis, Carly Ridloff and Haley Lieberman will discuss the effects of fast fashion on our environment, consumers and workers.

Attendees will learn how to identify sustainable businesses, make smarter buying choices, and what it means to be a conscious consumer.

The event also spotlights local sustainable clothing businesses, including Our Woven Community, The Exchange Project, and Shop Tomorrows, to show how they make an eco-friendly impact on the fashion community.

Click here to register, and for more information.

Fashionable? Sustainable? Both?

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The Artists Collective of Westport’s pop-up shows are always fun, inspiring, and surprising. Members’ eclectic styles and subjects somehow always come together in provocative ways.

The next one is March 24-27 (2 to 6 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse barn). A reception is set for March 23 (6 to 8 p.m.), with an artists’ talk March 27 at 4 p.m.

Participating artists include Tom Berntsen, Michael Brennecke, Bevi Bullwinkel, Leonor Dao, Hernan Garcia, Katheryn Gray, Carmela Kaufman, Karen Kent, Sandra Meagher, Guy Philips, Norm Siegel and Ginny aters.

To learn more about the under-the-radar (but very cool) Artists Collective, click below.

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Speaking of art: Amy Simon Fine Art welcomes the new season with a show aptly called “(We Need) The Promise of Spring.”

Featured artists at the 123 Post Road East gallery include Liz Dexheimer, Cara Enteles and Fumiko Toda.

It opens tomorrow (March 18) and runs through April 30. When the weather, we are sure, will be as beautiful as the paintings.

“Passion Daze” (Cara Enteles, oil and silkscreen on acrylic sheet)

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Sure, and it’s St. Paddy’s Day! Celebrate with Weston’s favorite pig, Jolantha.

With the luck of the Irish — or any luck at all — you can see her on Kellogg Hill Road.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

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Morning walkers, joggers, bikers, fishermen — and anyone else wandering by Schlaet’s Point — enjoy scenes like this “Westport … Naturally” one every day.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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These days we are all Ukrainian.

And today, we’re all Irish.

 

Roundup: Mask Mandate, Shop Local, Jonathan Greenfield

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The sign at the Stop & Shop entrance says masks are required for entrance.

A young boy was not wearing one. A shopper asked his mother why not.

“Mind your f—- business,” the mother replied.

“This is a public store with a sign in front mandating a mask,” the first shopper said.

“Mind your f—ing business,” the boy’s mom repeated.

It escalated from there, says Jo Ann Miller, who saw the whole thing.

When the mini-drama was over — and the manager said masks were not, in fact, mandate — he was asked, “Why not take down the sign?”

“Good point,” he said.

Two days later, the sign was still there.

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Speaking of shopping: Shop local! In fact, shop Local to Market!

Need a nudge to head to the food/gifts/and more store on Main Street at Parker Harding Plaza? Here’s what they’ve got:

This Saturday (December 11, 1 to 4 p.m.), Sam from Locavore Kitchens will have artisanal shortbread cookies to taste (and buy). Luke Molina — like Sam, from Westport — will play guitar. And there’s a 10% discount all day, in honor of the 4 to 7 p.m. Holiday Stroll.

Next Saturday (December 18, 2 to 5 p.m.), Netown’s Neviana’s winery is on hand for the Market’s first “Sip & Shop.” Plus, Luke Molina returns with his guitar.

The next day (Sunday, December 19, 1 to 4 p.m.) there’s more wines. These are from Stappa Vineyards in Orange. Jim Saxon provides musical entertainment. Santa will show up too, from 12:30 to 2.

Every day through December 17, orders are taken for Michele’s Pies (apple, apple crumb, pecan and chocolate bourbon pecan). Delivery (at Local to Market) is midday December 22.

Oh yeah: Local to Market also sells art, created by members of the Artists Collective of Westport. The current show features works by Nina Bentley, Miggs Burroughs, Louise Cadoux, Lynn Carlson, Susan Fehliinger, Jane Gilman Fleischner, Holly Hawthorn, Amy Kaplan, Julie Leff, Fruma Markowitz, Guy Phillips. Katherine Ross and Lee Walther.

It doesn’t get more local than that!

Art and more at Local to Market.

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Just across the street from Local to Market, George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception this Saturday (4 to 6:30 p.m.) for their newest exhibition.

Featured artists include Connie Connally. Shivani Dugar, Glen Hacker, Abby Modell and Leslie Lewis Sigler. Click below for a video of Sigler creating her paintings.

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It wasn’t much: an early evening dusting.

But yesterday’s snowfall was just enough to make us realize that winter is pretty much here.

We’ll take scenes like this one (near Compo Beach) any day. From now until late February, anyway.

(Photo/Mona Patel)

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Yesterday’s “06880” Unsung Heroes were FedEx, UPS and other deliverypersons.

Of course, not every delivery goes as planned. Jeanine Esposito sent this photo:

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

She writes: “Given the stories of late deliveries and drivers going rogue, we were curious to see this U-Haul truck parked in the Imperial Avenue lot. Its entire contents were spread around the parking lot, including packages marked Zappos, Away, and other retail and online outlets.

“A person sat on the passenger side looking relaxed and texting, but there was no sign of a driver. I’m not sure what’s up, but would love to know if there’s a story there.”

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When Jonathan Greenfield died after an inspiring struggle against ALS, his many friends mourned.

But the multi-talented Westporter lives on.

His wife Iris Netzer Greenfield and her amazing team created a table book, capturing Jonathan’s life in photographs. His photographs.

Among Jonathan’s many accomplishments, he was a documentary-style photographer. His works “bring to life the juxtaposition of darkness and controversy, flecked with humor and surprise. 

All proceeds benefit Breathe 4 ALS. The foundation — set up by Jonathan and iris — supports research efforts for genetic ALS, provides Wim Hof breathing method trainings, and leads in ALS activism.

The book comes in platinum, gold, silver and hardcover editions. Click here to order. (NOTE: The site loads slowly. Be patient!)

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Christmas is 2 weeks away. New Year’s follows a week later.

Which means Martin Luther King Day is not far behind.

On Sunday, January 16 (3 p.m.), Dr. King’s life will be celebrated at the Westport Library by Heather McGhee. She’s the author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together; her TED talk, “Racism Has a Cost for Everone” reached 1 million views in just 2 months.

The free event is co-sponsored by the Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy.

The program also features a recital by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and a dance performed by the Regional Center for the Arts.

To register for either the in-person event or the livestream, click here.

Heather McGhee

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Congratulations to Westport’s 12-year old karting racer Vivek Kanthan.

He is the 2021 SuperKarts USA SuperNationals XXIV Vice Champion. Vivek competed in the “Super Bowl” of competitive national kart races recently in las Vegas.

This year Vivek moved up a racing category, to the Mini Swift Race category for 10-13-year-olds. He reached speeds up to 70 miles an hour.

Vivek Kanthan

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a good “Westport … Naturally” praying mantis photo.

This shot of Connecticut’s state insect (!) comes courtesy of Jonathan Prager.

(Phoro/Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … Donny Osmond turns 64 years old today. It seems like just yesterday when those were the sweet and innocent, puppy love days.

Young Shoots: Berries, Fruits, Farmers’ Roots

Everything about the Westport Farmers’ Market annual photo contest is special.

The name — “Young Shoots” — is quite clever.

The idea — inviting children and teenagers to honor food and farmers creatively, through fresh eyes — is important.

The setting for the awards ceremony — Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, the Market’s winter home — is both apt and beautiful.

This year’s recent evening showed off both the bounty of the Farmers’ Market, and the talent of our young local photographers.

First place winners received a cash prize, special swag and the opportunity to lead a food photo shoot with chef Bill Taibe. Second place winners earned $50. Judging was done by local artists, and the public.

First place in the 8-to-10-year-old category went to Kayla Stanley, for “Berries & Beyond.” Second place went to Juliette Newshel, for “Complementary.”

“Berries & Beyond” (Kayla Stanley)

“Complementary” (Juliette Newshel)

The 11-to-14 winner was Camille Mergenthaler (“Uniqueness of a Vegetable”). Sara Stanley placed second (“A Farmer’s Roots”).

“Uniqueness of a Vegetable” (Camille Mergenthaler)

“A Farmer’s Roots” (Sara Stanley)

There were plenty of entries in the 2 youngest categories. However, only one photographer entered the 15-to-18-year-old group. Dylan Kirsch was awarded the prize for “Scenes Around the Market.”

“Scenes Around the Market” (Dylan Kirsch)

Want to see more? Click here for all the entries.

(Young Shoots is a partnership between the Westport Farmers’ Market, the Artists Collective of Westport and the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center.)

Roundup: Lifeguard Save, Point To Point Swim, Art Show …

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Despite the urgent alert on cellphones, last night’s severe thunderstorms skirted Westport.

Other parts of the state  were not so lucky. Nearly 20,000 Eversource customers in central and northwestern Connecticut lost power; 81 roads were blocked.

The utility is now preparing for the remnants of Hurricane Elsa. We may get rain tomorrow, into Friday.

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Westport Public Works employee Don Saunders has always been proud of his daughter Morgan.

These days, the entire department is proud of her.

Last week, the 17-year-old Calf Pasture Beach lifeguard saved a 9-year-old from drowning. She spotted the child face down in the water, sounded an alert and raced to help.

When she found no pulse, Morgan began CPR. It worked. The girl started breathing on her own.

Morgan is a rising senior at Norwalk High School, and a member of the swim team. This is her first full year as a lifeguard.

She’s already proven she’s a pro.

(Click here for a CBS New York story on Morgan’s rescue. Hat tip: Liz Lyons)

Morgan Saunders

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What a combination! MoCA Westport and the Westport Farmers’ Market are collaborating on a new project. It culminates in an exhibition in late August.

“Between the Ground and the Sky” will feature photography from the “Who Grows Your Food” initiative, a photographic journey celebrating the farms and farmers associated with the WFM.

As part of the collaboration, a Family Day (Saturday, September 11) at MoCA includes art, food and music.

The centerpiece of “Between the Ground and the Sky” is over 50 large photographs of local farms by Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff. They tell a compelling story of the importance of local farms and farmers.

Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran says, “This program embodies the essence of our organizations. Bringing together art, education, community and knowledge of agriculture, featuring the hands that tend the land, results in more than a fun event – it creates an impact that will last a lifetime.”

MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes adds, “We are thrilled to partner with the Westport Farmers’ Market to share this important aspect of our economy and our lives with the public.”

“Lost Ruby” by Ashley Skatoff — part of the Farmers’ Market/MoCA exhibit.

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Get your goggles on!

The 42nd annual Compo Beach Point to Point Swim is set for July 21  18 It’s a ton of fun — and a key fundraiser for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s aquatics program.

There are awards for the top 3 male and female finishers, and t-shirts for all. To register, click here. For more information email jrojas@wesetporty.org, or call 203-226-8981, ext. 139.

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The Westport Library and Artists Collective of Westport are collaborating on their first live, all-member show since December 2019. The theme could not be more apt: “Community.”

The 2-part exhibit — on view from July 10 through September 28 — will occupy all 3 Library galleries.

“Piece by Piece” is a 5’ x 12’ installation created by 60 Artists Collective members. Each artist received a 12” x 12” blank panel, and a 6-inch square section randomly selected from an iconic painting.

Each artist thencreated an individual piece, replicating a part of the larger painting in their own style. They will not know what the final painting looks like until it is revealed when the exhibit opens.

Each 12” x 12” piece can be purchased online for $100. Proceeds support the Library and the artist. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Along with the exhibits, there is an art trunk show in the lower parking lot this Sunday (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Part of the Westport Library/Artists Collective show.

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The 59th annual event Westport PAL Golf Tournament — named for former Police Chief Samuel Luciano, a staunch PAL supporter — tees off on September 13, at Longshore. With the 4th of July fireworks canceled for a 2nd straight year, this is PAL’s biggest — and most important — fundraiser.

The day begins at 7 a.m. with a continental breakfast and putting contest. There are 2 tee times: 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

There’s a shotgun start, scramble format; lunch; more golf, then dinner, raffles and prizes (hole-in-one, hula hoop, longest drive, closest to pin).

The cost is $175 per golfer, $700 per foursome. Sponsorships are available too, from $150 to $5,000 (largest sign at first tee, banner on dinner tent, complimentary foursome). Click here to register, sponsor — or just donate to PAL.

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And one more upcoming event: “Pitch Perfect,” at the  Remarkable Theater drive-in (Monday, July 12 9 p.m.; gates open for tailgating at 8 p.m.). Click here for tickets and more information.

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There have been some scintillating games at this year’s Euro 20 (the European soccer championship, postponed from last year).

Games are particularly great on a big screen. There’s no bigger screen than the one at Vivid-Tek. That’s Mark Motyl’s store a few doors from Fortuna’s. He sells 110-inch theater screens — which, with the tap of a button, hides in a customized credenza or bench when not in use.

Mark invited me over yesterday to watch the Spain-Italy semifinal. We were in Westport, not Wembley.

But it was hard to tell the difference.

Mark Motyl, minutes before the Euro 2020 semifinal.

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1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Wally Meyer, former Westport 2nd Selectman and longtime member of the RTM.  He served with my predecessor, Marty Hauhuth from 1985 to 1989.

“Wally was also an active participant in making Westport a better place by helping found Project Return, and through his many years of service and leadership with the Westport Rotary Club.

“Wally was a special Westporter — always willing to share his opinion, but also willing to lend a helping hand.  He will be missed by all who knew him. My deepest condolences to his many friends and to his family.”

Wally Meyer

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Today’s “Naturally … Westport” photo shows a dog.

Not just any pooch, though. This one has great taste. He is first in line, waiting patiently for Joey’s by the Shore to open.

(Photo/Jeff Fiarman)

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And finally … on this day in 1992, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.

Roundup: Masks, Music, Arts …

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Many “06880” readers have asked about funeral arrangements for Paul Lane. The famed Staples High School football coach died this week, at 93.

A private service will be held in Bethel, where many family members are buried. There will be no public service.

Paul Lane

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With more and more people wearing fewer and fewer masks, it may seem like that’s one part of the pandemic now in the rear view mirror.

But unvaccinated children still need them. And youngsters in Bridgeport summer camp programs don’t always have access to nice masks.

Since March 2020, Virginia Jaffe and her crew of volunteers has sewn over 8,500 masks. They gave them all away — and they’re still doing it.

Last month, they donated 200 masks to New Beginnings in Bridgeport. A thank-you note cited the “wonderful craftsmanship,” adding, “Their beauty will bring joy to our students. This donation has provided some of the most vulnerable children in the state with the resources they need to thrive.”

Virginia wants those youngsters to feel that brand new, unused masks show they feel cared for, and just a little bit safer.

To help in any way, email westportmaskgiving@icloud.com.

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Two of Westport’s most creative institutions are the Library and Artists Collective.

This summer, they’re collaborating on a very creative project.

“Piece by Piece” is a grid of 60 12-inch squares. Each of those 60 artists contributes one square. When assembled together, they form one image.

The work represents the artists’ response to the isolation they felt during the pandemic. E

Each square is available for sale. For $100, you can select one or more of the squares from a grid. Proceeds will be divided between the Library and the artist. The name of the artists, and the iconic masterpiece on which Piece by Piece is based, will be revealed on July 10th.

It, and more works by the Artists Collective, will be on display at the Library from July 10 through September 28.

For more details — including how to own a piece of “Piece” — click here.

Own a piece of “Piece by Piece.”

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Speaking of the Artists Collective: Their great live (!) exhibit ends this Saturday, with artist talks.

Works hang in the barn gallery at Westport Country Playhouse. Among the participants: Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack and Ellen Schiffman.

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When PJ Pacifico plays the Levitt Pavilion June 25 (7 p.m.), the Westporter won’t have far to go. He lives right around the corner.

The singer/songwriter’s new single, “Every Little Heartbreak,” speaks to a world eager to embrace a fresh new day after a time of intense challenges. Sound familiar?

PJ’s perspective on the ups and downs of being an indie artist and songwriter are influenced by his experiences as a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Beating cancer after undergoing months of chemo and radiation, and losing his spleen and part of his liver, made him feel like he had a second chance.

But he suffered with survivor’s guilt and “impostor syndrome.” He’s battled through all that — and is ready to rock the Levitt.

Just down the hill from his home.

The event is free, but tickets are required. Click here to register.

PJ Pacifico

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Monday — the first full day of summer — is the longest day of the year.

Recognizing that for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, every day is “the longest” — but also, that art has the power to inspire and excite — RaRa (“Real Art. Real Artists.”) is partnering with the Residence at Westport to produce an art exhibit.

The show (June 21, 3 to 5 p.m., The Residence, 1141 Post Road East), is open to the public. There’s wine and cheese, plus  live entertainment. A portion of art sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Can’t get out (even on the longest day)? Click here for information on the virtual version of the exhibit.

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In this hybrid summer, the Westport Library offers 2 learning clubs. Both are “blended” — meaning in-person classes at the Library, and a remote option for distance education.

The program for grades 1 to 5 includes week-lonf literacy, math and STEAM sessions. Grades 6 to 8 enjoy  STEAM, book clubs, and other programs that encourage academic independence. They beginning June 29, and end August 19.

For more information and to register, click here.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo includes a Fresh Mark osprey update.

Carolyn Doan reports: “We checked on the nest Monday and Tuesday. The parents were doing such a great job at shielding the chicks from the rain that they were impossible to see. The next day was a different story. Making lots of noise and waiting for an incoming fish, these two were front and center — literally.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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And finally … on this day in 1972, 5 men were arrested for burling Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex. The crime drew little attention at the time. Of course …

d