Tag Archives: Aspetuck Land Trust

Roundup: Ramadan, Ignazio’s, Westport Inn …

On Thursday Adil Kassam, and Mehnaz and Atif Bhanjee — representatives of the Ismaili Muslim community — presented 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, and the Westport Police and Fire Departments with gifts of appreciation.

During the holy month of Ramadan, it’s traditional to visit municipal offices, to express thanks and appreciation for the valuable contributions and services they provide.

Town officials, in turn, expressed gratitude for the Muslim community’s thanks.

Town officials and Ismaili Muslim community representatives, on Thursday.

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Two Westport pizza restaurants are looking for new owners.

Ignazio’s — which after many delays opened in November 2019, just 4 months before COVID struck — is one.

A description on BizBuySell reads: “Fantastic opportunity to take over a well executed and furnished Pizza restaurant. Casual and contemporary interior with a wood fired Pizza oven as the center piece makes for a great setting. Keep the existing, highly acclaimed concept….

“Capitalize on this highly trafficked corridor on the Post Road E. in Westport with great visibility, easy access and a parking lot that can accompany 30+ cars. Indoor seating capacity of 60 plus outdoor seating.

“Seller will stay on to train incoming buyer on all operations and recipes. Add a driver(s) to your staff to capitalize on delivery. Target marketing and added delivery will definitely bolster the bottom line.”

The asking price is $275,000. Rent is $8,000 a month. Ignazio’s lease runs through 2028.

The other restaurant is Golden Pizza, in the Westfair strip mall. Less information is available; the price for this business is $85,000. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Tony Litman)

Ignazio’s Pizza.

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The Westport Inn renovation continues.

On Tuesday, May 24 (7:30 p.m.; Zoom link), the Architectural Review Board will review the proposed transformation of the long-closed hotel, from 117 rooms to 41 hotel rooms, and 10 apartments.

According to the application, the front of the building would be demolished to create better parking, circulation, landscaping, and a new addition to the west side.

The Westport Inn,

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Opening night at the Levitt Pavilion opens with Fleetwood Mac.

Well, with Tusk, anyway — the ultimate Fleetwood Mac tribute band.

The Sunday, June 12 show kicks off a season of over 50 nights of free entertainment. The Tusk show is free too.

Free tickets will be available to Levitt Pavilion members today (Saturday) at noon. Public access begins tomorrow (Sunday) at noon. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Tusk

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For those who missed the Westport Library “#StopAsianHate: One Year Later” program last week, video links are available.

Click here or below for part 1 of the documentary “We Need to Talk About Anti-Asian Hate.

Click here for the panel discussion that followed.

Up next: a Remarkable Theater screening of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (May 19, 8 p.m.). A short film about AAPI Westport will be shown before the feature. Click here for tickets.

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Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” is “Designing Biodiversity: Pollinator Habitat Creation, Connectivity, and Research at the Aspetuck Haskins Preserve.”

Evan Abramson leads the session this Friday (May 20, noon to 1:15 p.m.). He’ll discuss current research at ALT’s Haskins Preserve in Westport, to improve the landscape for at-risk pollinators.

Participants will receive a PDF of the Pollinator Toolkit to use on their own properties. Click here to register.

Haskins Preserve, a hidden Westport gem.

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Cheese fries and Froot Loops may not be on the menu at any Westport restaurant. But it’s the name of a one-man show at Fairfield Theater Company May 23 (8 p.m. — free!).

Westporter Mark Graham is directing Chris Fuller’s production, getting ready for Off-Broadway. The star is the son of noted Weston author Elizabeth Fuller, and grew up there.

It is described as “a true, moving and humorous story of a professional golfer’s struggle with bipolar disorder, and his unexpected journey to enlightenment.” Click the teaser below:

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Janette Kinnally sends this obituary for her mother, Janet Kinnally, who died last week at 80.

“She was a loving, kind soul that cared deeply about her family and friendships. I don’t think I ever met a person who did not remember her with great affection and fondness.

“She grew up in London, during the war, and her family of 5 girls was displaced. She lived in a convent for 5 years. When she returned back home, her father suddenly passed away when she was 15. She needed to make money and worked in many jobs, including as an usherette. She met the Beatles. She worked in England until she moved to the States to help her sister, who had moved to Connecticut.

“While on a work visa, she met my father at an insurance company at the age of 23. It was love at first sight for my father. They dated for several weeks until she told him she had to go back to England. My father wrote and said he would like to visit. He went to England, but bought 2 tickets back to the States. He asked her to move back and stay with his family.

“They got married in 1967. They had a true love story. The ones you read about in books, that you wish you had; that was their love and affection for each other. They held hands and walked every day at the beach or her favorite place, Sherwood Island, until my mom could no longer walk a few months ago. They were married for 55 years. She was my dad’s one true love.

“My mom and dad moved to Westport in 1967 and gave birth to me in 1969, her one and only child. We had a special bond. She said I taught her what true unconditional love was. I understand what she means, now that I have 2 boys (ages 16 and 11) of my own. She loved her two grandchildren, Mikhail and Andrew, more than anything.

“My mom was also a lifelong health and wellness pioneer. She sought out Eastern and holistic healing modalities throughout her life. She worked for a chiropractor, a naturopathic doctor and as a caregiver for end-of-life patients. She loved nature, gardens, the ocean and animals, and was a dog walker. She loved helping others. She was truly an amazing woman who inspired me daily.

“My mom and dad enjoyed traveling around the world. Every year they met up with her sister and brother-in-law to travel to a different destination around the globe. They had many stories to share of their adventures and the amazing people they met around the world.

“I moved back to Westport  in 2012 with my husband Andrey and my two boys, wanting to be close to my parents as my mom’s health declined from dementia/Alzheimer’s. We lived together until the end of her life.

“I feel grateful that we had the last 10 years together, so she could spend time with me and my children. We have many special memories together, but the ones I remember most are singing at the dinner table and afterwards dancing to the music from the ’50s and ’60s, or doing karaoke at our house during the holidays with our extended family.

“My mom will be greatly missed by our family every day, but her love and her life lessons and generosity of spirit will live on in us forever!

“Please make donations in her honor to the Westport Senior Center or alz.org, an organization providing support, care and research for Alzheimer’s.”

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A memorial service and reception to celebrate the life of Joel Hallas is set for Saturday, May 21 (2 p.m., the Memorial Garden of Saugatuck Congregational Church). A reception will follow also in the garden.

Joel Hallas died in November.

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Every May, hundreds of turtles from the Saugatuck River collect on the low tide island south of the Levitt Pavilion.

It started yesterday. Soon, there will be a lot more.

Tom Feeley sent today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, taken from the west bank. That’s Grace Salmon Park in the background.

(Photo/Tom Feeley)

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And finally … if you’re wondering where Tusk — the Fleetwood Mac band that opens the Levitt Pavilion season next month (story above) got its name — click below.

 

Roundup: Badass Bagels, Train Trees, Badass Book …

Popup Bagels made the New York Times. That means they’ll be harder to snag than ever.

But they’re not the only local bagel-maker that’s gone Big Time. Sugar & Olives is badass too.

Their Badass Bagels line — that’s the name — just signed a deal with Goldbelly. The website showcases the best eats in the country, and ships overnight. The page isn’t live yet, but it will soon show a variety of offerings.

They’ll also sell 3,000 bagels at the Smorgasburg every Sunday in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, starting in early June. It’s one of the best — and most selective — food markets in the country.

But you don’t have to schlep all the way out there. Plenty of happy clients — corporate and personal — right here rave about the 100% sourdough recipe. (Okay, technically Sugar & Olives is a few feet over the border, in Norwalk. So sue me.)

They also sell at the Westport Farmers’ Market and Double L Market. Outside of Westport, they’re at the Kitchen Table in Pound Ridge, a few other farmers’ Markets, the Granola Bar in Greenwich and the Old Yew in the West Village.

The bagel business has taken over much of Sugar & Olives. There’s no more in-person dining. But Jennifer Balin and her wonderful crew do offer seasonal prepared items, which can be picked up by customers along with their bagels. Click here for details.

Some Badass Bagels.

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Like many Westporter, Joey Kaempfer was appalled at the clear-cutting that took place recently at the Westport train station. It was a safety project, Eversource and Metro-North say.

“We need to raise money to replace them,” Kaempfer — a Staples High School Class of 1966 graduate, who is building a home nearby — says.

He’s ready to donate $5,000 for seed money. But, he says, “some serious group has to raise the balance — probably $95,000.” They have to get permission to plant the new trees too, of course.

Is it doable? Are any groups or individuals interested? Click “Comments” below.

Recent tree removal (and overhead wires) at the Westport train station. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)

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Plenty of great books (and vinyl, CDs, DVDs, etc.) are still available at the Westport Library Book Sale.

Plus one that is absolutely, positively a hell of a book.

(Photo/Frank Bruce)

Today (Sunday, May 1, noon to 5 p.m.), all items are half price. Tomorrow (Monday, May 2, 9 a.m. to noon), you can fill a bag for $5, or purchase individual items for half-price.

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Wakeman Town Farm’s “Old-Time Pancake Breakfast” fundraiser is not until Saturday, June 18 (9 a.m. to noon). But folks are already signing up for a time slot.

The menu includes flapjacks and sausages with all the fixin’s, plus coffee and OJ. It’s outdoors, so the kids can wander over to say hi to the alpacas, sheep and goats.

The price is $13 for adult, $5 per child 2 and up. Money raised will help renovate the aging red barn, providing space for classes and programs. Click here to register.

Wakeman Town Farm barn. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

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Want to know more about the little-known but amazing gem known as the Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve?

Aspetuck Land Trust’s partner, Connecticut Audubon’s land steward Charlie Stebbins, will host a “Walk and Talk” this Thursday (May 5, 10 a.m.), at the site off Sasco Creek Road on the Southport border.

He’ll describe the remarkable transformation, from an overgrown weed nest to a paradise for nesting birds (and bees). All are welcome — and like the preserve, it’s free.

Charlie Stebbins

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This swan in a swirling pool is perfect for a spring Sunday — and for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Becky Keeler)

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And finally … today is the 1st of May — aka “May Day.” It’s a traditional holiday in many European cultures, with dancing, singing and cake.

“Mayday” — one word — is an international signal of distress. It has nothing to do with the month, though. It’s an Anglicized version of “m’aidez” — French for “help me!”

There’s another way to summon aid: “SOS!” It stands for “Save Our Souls.” It became popular when Morse code was new: 3 dots, 3 dashes, 3 dots.

Which, in a roundabout fashion, leads us to today’s song:

Roundup: Livestrong, Walk, Dream …

The Westport Weston YMCA is for everyone. Including — especially — cancer survivors.

On May 9, they introduce the Y’s Livestrong program. The free, 12-week program of physical, educational and social activities is for adults living with, through and beyond cancer

Small group sessions meet twice a week. Goals include rebuilding muscle mass and strength, increasing flexibility and endurance, reducing fatigue, and improving confidence and self-esteem.

The Y staff is trained to customize the program to individual needs. Participants may use the Y for free throughout the program.

For information, click here or contact Judy Klein: jklein@westporty.org; 203-571-6035.

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After a 2-year COVID hiatus, Walk & Roll for STAR — a family “FUNdraiser” with face painting, kids’ crafts, DJ, dancing, t-shirts, games, food and more — returns to Sherwood Island State Park this Sunday (May 1, 9 a.m. to noon).

It’s a benefit for STAR Lighting the Way, the great local organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.

Click here for more information, including how to register and start a team.

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Of many great nonprofit evenings, A Better Chance of Westport’s Dream Event is one of the best.

Each year, graduating seniors from ABC — the program that brings wonderful young men to Westport, to attend Staples and give back to the community — are honored. Their speeches — and those of alumni — are inspirational.

The energy in the room is contagious. It’s a feel good time for everyone.

A few tickets remain for this year’s event (Friday, May 13, 6:30 p.m., Shorehaven Golf Club). The price includes entertainment, live and silent auctions, dinner and cocktails.

Click here for tickets, and donation and sponsorship information.

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Westport women roar.

And no one helps them find their voice more than JoyRide.

On May 13 (5 p.m., 1200 Post Road East), the popular spinning and fitness center hosts “Westport Women Roar: Local Leaders Share Their Female Professional Paths.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Granola Bar founders Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain, Party City chief marketing and experience officer Julie Roehm, Rebel & Rose Tattoo owner/artist Amanda Mas, and Westport Police officer Lt. Jillian Cabana will inspire women, with stories of blazing professional paths in male-dominated areas.

Tickets are $20. Venmo @joyridecycling, or click here.

Just a few days later (May 21, 11:30 a.m.), JoyRide sponsors an Out of the Darkness fundraiser, for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Donations are $25 and up. Click here to register.

And on June 4 (9:30 a.m.), JoyRide’s Mackenzie Pretty leads a HIIT + Strength class outdoors, at the Compo Beach Pavilion. It’s free, bur registration is needed: info@westportmoms.com,

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Parking in Brooks Corner is always tight.

With the Baldwin Parking lot closed for renovations — as it was yesterday — things got even tighter.

There’s still plenty of parking downtown. You may have to walk a few yards more than usual — and it may not be in Brooks Corner — but it’s there.

Don’t be this guy. There’s only enough room to squeeze by on the best days. Park your truck, and walk.

(Photo/JM Nevin Jr.)

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MyTeamTriumph — the wonderful program pairing children, teens and adults with disabilities (“captains”) with volunteers (“angels”) who help them participate in triathlons and road races — has a busy schedule.

On Saturday, they participate in the Westport Young Woman’s League’s Minute Man 10K and 5K Runs, and 5K Walk.

On May 15 it’s the 25K (about 15 miles) Bloomin’ Metric bike ride at Sherwood Island State Park. Click here to sign up. For more information, email KZiebell@myTeamTriumph-CT.org, or call 203-216-1146.

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Noted Westport landscape designer Jay Petrow leads Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” session.

“Transforming Your Lawn Into a Meadow” (Friday, April 29, noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom) will show you how to replace part of your lawn by planting or seeding a native meadow garden. You can introduce plants that are beneficial for pollinators and birds, are mostly deer-resistant, are more drought-tolerant than your lawn — and look beautiful.

Click here to register.

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JL Rocks is expanding its cult following of fine jewelry lovers to the younger set. Its new line of 14K gold and enamel earrings, bracelets and necklaces, called Rock Candy — get it? — offers a colorful range of options for kids ages 7 to 13.

Owner/founder Jamie Camche made the move after seeing so many new clients, with young children. They were particularly interested in earrings, so the gold and enamel studs take the form of emojis, ice cream cones and empowering statements like “Yes.” Necklaces and bracelets come in rainbow hues.

Click here to purchase and for more information, or check out Jamie’s 292 Post Road East or Greenwich stores.

Kids’ bracelets and earrings at JL Rocks.

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Hot on the heels of another trip to Guatemala, Builders Beyond Borders hosts an open house for students and parents interested in learning more about the travel-and-work program.

It’s this Sunday (May 1, 3 to 4:30 p.m., 66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk), Click here to RSVP, or email b3news@buildersbeyondborders.org.

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Mila Grieb — well known locally for her 45 years as a realtor — died April 17.

Born in El Dorado, Arkansas, she considered herself to be from Shreveport, Louisiana where she spent most of her youth. She then lived in Weston and Westport for more than 65 years.

Mila worked at Helen Benson Associates for 15 years, before founding Mila Grieb Village Realty in 1984. The boutique agency succeeded due in part to her creative promotions and advertising. She sold it to Coldwell Banker after more than 15 years. “We were proud to have her on our team,” Coldwell said.

Her friends and associates in real estate industry called her “a class act … She was an amazing woman who achieved great success in a challenging business while still maintaining her grace, charm, kindness, humor, and integrity.”

Mila graduated from Northwestern University. She was a former Conover model and a stage actress. She and her husband Warren were co-presidents of the Weston PTO. They founded the Weston Memorial Day Fair, which continues today.

During the 1970s, she and Warren also owned and operated the Arnold Palmer Driving Range and Miniature Golf Course in Westport. Mila was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist, Westport, CT.

Mila’s family calls her “a good friend, a fabulous mom, and a wonderful and supportive wife. She made a tremendous difference in the lives of those who knew her. She will be remembered for her outgoing personality, creativity, kindness, humor, wit, and deep love of family.”

Mila is survived by her daughters Nancy Joy (Evan) Wilsnack of Boynton Beach, Florida, Janet Adams-O’Keefe of Westport, and Wendy Grieb (Robert) Moore of Coronado, California; grandchildren Justin Hopfer of Los Angeles, Jarrod Hopfer of Bozeman, Montana, Christopher Wilsnack of Bentonville, Arkansas, Alisha Holden of Boynton Beach, Weston Moore of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Sarah Moore of Coronado, and 7 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The First Church of Christ Scientist Westport, 55 Compo Road South, Westport, CT 06880 or the Humane Society of Connecticut, 455 Post Road E, Westport, CT 06880. Mila will be remembered and celebrated privately by her family.

Mila Grieb

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Today’s graceful, peaceful “Westport … Naturally” image comes from Wendy Levy, at choppy Compo Beach:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Sergei Prokofiev. The Russian pianist, composer and conductor was born in 1891. He died in 1953. Among his most famous works:

Roundup: Hazardous Waste, Earth Day, Queer Cook-Off …

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Get ready to “waste” a whole day on April 23.

That’s Westport’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Day (Greens Farms railroad station, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Sponsored by the Department of Public Works, it’s a free program for residents of Westport, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.

Among the items accepted: gasoline, kerosene, spray paint, paint strippers, paint thinners, solvents, paints, stains, turpentine, varnishes, wood preservatives, degreasers, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, bleach, charcoal lighter, cleaning chemicals, drain cleaners, mercury thermometers, moth balls, pet flea shampoos, photo chemicals, rug shampoos, spot removers, art supplies and paints.

Before bringing household hazardous material to the collection site:

  • Make sure items are clearly labeled
  • Do not mix chemicalsIncompatible products may react, ignite, or explode, and mixed waste may become non-recyclable.
  • Keep products in original labeled container.
  • Place leaky containers in clear plastic bags.
  • Tighten lids of all containers and pack items in sturdy cardboard boxes lined with paper.
  • Put boxes in the trunk or in the back of the vehicle away from passengers.
  • Leave pets and children home.
  • Keep your windows open and drive directly to the collection site.

REMINDER: Westport residents can recycle antifreeze, motor oil, batteries of any type, light bulbs and electronics at the transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon.

Questions? Call 203-341-1793.

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Don’t believe everything you read here.

Of course Earth Day is not today (as I mistakenly said yesterday). Which means all the events sponsored by Friends of Sherwood Island will not take place tomorrow.

The correct date for the Sherwood Island activities is Saturday, April 23. They include:

Friends’ Garden Team Activities (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Friends’ table on East Beach across from the Nature Center).

🌱Bring a reusable water bottle; get a “Protect Our Wildlife” sticker (while supplies last).

🌱Tour the Dunes Restoration project site; plant a stem of American Beach Grass.

🌱Learn about native plant species planted for wildlife at the park; get a list for planting at home.

  • “Why Reducing Food Waste is Critical to a Sustainable Future” (9:30 to 11 a.m.).
  • “Walk Through Sherwood Island’s History (From 12,000 Years Ago)” (noon to 1:30 p.m.).
  • “Salt Marshes and Marsh Migration at Sherwood Island” (12:30 to 2 p.m.)
  • “Environmental Role of Trees at the Park”(2 to 3:30 p.m.)

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Aspetuck Land Trust celebrates Earth Day too (naturally).

Next Friday (April 22, noon) there’s a virtual “Lunch & Learn” webinar called “2/3 For the Birds.” That’s because birds need 70% (approximately 2/3) native plants to maintain healthy population levels. Click here to register.

The next day (Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m. to noon, Trout Brook Valley Jump Hill Preserve), there’s a vernal pool hike with wetland scientist Edward Pawlak. Space is limited; click here.

On Sunday, April 24 (10:30 a.m. to noon, Trout Brook Valley orchard and blueberry patch), the Spring Hawk Walk returns. Raptor specialist Larry Fischer hopes to catch one or more hawks to present to the group, while discussing fascinating details about those extraordinary creatures. Space is limited; click here.

Birds need native plants to thrive.

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LGBTQ Pride Month is June.

Westport Pride gets a jump on the festivities May 19 (6 p.m.). Three teams of “chef-testants” (a local chef, plus members of the local LGBTQ community and allies) has 30 minutes to whip up an appetizer and entrée — using items in a mystery box — for 5 judges in a “Queer Cook-Off.” It all takes place in Aitoro Appliance’s Norwalk kitchens.

Celebrity chefs include Bill Taibe (owner/chef of Don Memo, Kawa Ni, The Whelk), Jes Bengtson (executive chef of Terrain Café and Amis Trattoria), and Arik Bensimon (executive chef of the Monogram Design Center).

Judges include Brian McGunagle (founder, Westport Pride), Tony Aitoro (CEO, Aitoro Appliance), Matt Storch (chef/owner of Match and Match Burger Lobster), Stephanie Webster (founder/editor-in chief, CTBites) and yours truly (Dan Woog, executive editor of “06880”).

Guests can observe the competition while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and beverages. It’s a fundraiser for Westport Pride — and a great way for the LGBTQ community and allies to get together, get ready for Pride (and eat well). Click here for tickets.

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Meanwhile, there’s always something cooking at Wakeman Town Farm.

Upcoming classes, workshops and more include:

  • “Modern Japanese Cooking with Chef Caroline Fey” (April 27, 7 to 8:30 p.m.). A 4-course menu celebrating modern flavors.
  • “Make Your Own Spa Essentials” (May 2, 7 p.m.). Do it without harmful additives. Take home your own creations!
  • “Blooming with Paints” (May 9, 6 to 8 p.m.). An art workshop brings to life a floral still life arrangement.
  • “Pizza-Making Class for Grades K-1” (May 12, 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.). Topped off with eating!
  • “Learn to Make Goatmilk Soaps” (May 21, 11 a.m. to noon or 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.). Enjoy!

Click here for more information, and to register.

Kids learn pizza-making, using Wakeman Town Farm’s own brick oven.

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Staples High School soccer fans knew Alan Fiore as a passionate, high-scoring attacker.

Music fans will soon know him as an indie pop/rock artist.

The 2021 SHS graduate — now studying at Berklee College of Music — has just released his first song. “Take the Bait!” was inspired by artists like Dayglow, the 195, the Bleachers and COIN.

Alan produced, mixed and mastered it all himself. Click here for links to all streaming platforms. Click here for Alan’s website, and more music.

Alan Fiore

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Whether you’re hunting eggs or afikoman this weekend, Jolantha has you covered.

This was Weston’s favorite pig* yesterday:

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

*Good for Easter ham; not kosher for Passover.

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Nearly every “Westport … Naturally” photo shows an outdoor Westport wonder. That’s (naturally) where most are.

Today, Molly Alger takes us inside the Senior Center for this beautiful, patriotic and Ukrainian-colorful arrangement:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … today is April 15. It’s also Good Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday. So taxes are not due until Monday (April 18).

Still, because this is the traditional IRS deadline, we present:

Roundup: Memorial Day Parade, Bright Lights, Knotweed …

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And the grand marshal of the 2022 Memorial Day parade is … Jean Wells.

Born 104 years ago in Indiana (!), she moved to Westport in 1926, Jean attended Bedford Elementary School (now Town Hall), and Katherine Gibbs School.

In 1943 she joined SPARS, the women’s division of the Coast Guard. She attained the rank of Yeoman 2nd Class, and was discharged in 1945. Jean returned to Westport, and in 1957 married David Wells.  They have 2 sons, David and Jonathan.

Jean has been active with the Red Cross, and volunteered at Norwalk Hospital for over 32 years.  She also visits with her fellow veterans at the VA hospital.

Her selection as grand marshal fits well with this year’s Memorial Day parade float contest them: “Honoring Women Veterans.”

The Memorial Day parade begins at 9 a.m. on May 30. A ceremony follows immediately, on Veterans Green.   

Jean Wells and her caregiver, Simone Nevi, at her 102nd birthday in 2019.

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Last month, “06880” reported on a dispute between residents of Cottage Lane and SIR Development. Neighbors complained that lights from the new construction at 1480 Post Road East were shining brightly onto their property.

On Monday, the Planning & Zoning Commission voted 5-2 to approve the original lighting plan that had been passed by a subcommittee, and supported by Cottage Lane homeowners. SIR had requested that a later plan, submitted by them, be okayed.

Click here for the full story, first reported in Westport Journal.

Lights at 1480 Post Road East. (Photo/Chris Grimm)

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Swoon — the great antiques/art/accessories/custom furniture/design services space in Sconset Square — was the setting last night for Jane Green’s launch party.

The bazillion-selling author (and longtime Westporter) just published her first novel inspired by a true story, “Sister Stardust” re-imagines the life of troubled 1960’s icon Talitha Getty, as only Jane Green can.

Jane Green, at her launch party. (Photo/Jerri Graham)

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Speaking of Sconset Square: Josh Levkoff and Stacey Lewis (and their 2 toddlers) are new in town. They run their own small businesses, and are looking to get involved in many ways.

Josh — a jeweler — is wasting no time. He’s teamed up with Bespoke Designs, for a “Sip and Shop” event tomorrow (Thursday, April 7, 5 to 7 p.m.) and Friday (April 8, 10 to 3 p.m.), at Bespoke (in Sconset Square).

He’s already got the Westport spirit. A portion of the proceeds will go to MoCA Westport, for children’s programming.

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Prince Charles’ goddaughter is coming to town.

Designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian India Hicks — recently feature in People Magazine — headlines a special event at MoCA Westport (May 12, 5 to 7 p.m.).

After a cocktail hour, India will chat with CT Cottages & Gardens editor-in-chief DJ Carey about her most recent book, “An Entertaining Story.”

Tickets includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and a copy of her book. Click here to purchase.

India Hicks

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Nix the knotweed!

That’s the title of Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” (April 13, noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom).

Natural gardener Suzanne Thompson offers an overview of the worst invasive plants in the area (yeah you, mugwort, garlic mustard, multiflora rose, Japanese barberry, and of course knotweed).

She’ll talk about how to remove or combat them, and re-establish native ecosystems that support pollinators, wildlife and insects. Click here to register.

Suzanne Thompson

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Sports and entertainment — two of America’s most popular and fascinating industries — intersect at the Westport Library on April 26 (6:15 p.m. reception, 7:15 p.m. program).

Westporter Mark Shapiro talks about his career — first with ESPN, now at Endeavor (the talent and media agency with clients in movies, television, music, theater, digital media and publishing — and the NFL, NHL and Ultimate Fighting Championship).

He’ll chat with author and investigative journalist Jim Miller. It’s the next “Andrew Wilk Presents …,” courtesy of the “Live at Lincoln Center” producer.

The event is free. Click here to register to attend in person, or via Zoom.

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Tickets are selling fast for “Next to Normal,” the first Westport Country Playhouse production of the 2022 season.

But you don’t have to see the show to be part of a series of special events, delving deeply into the theme of mental illness.

“Next to Normal: Dig Deeper” is free, and open to all. The sessions begin approximately 2 1/2 hours after the curtain time.

Tom Kitt, the show’s composer, is the guest this Sunday (April 10, 3 p.m. curtain). He’ll discuss his musical that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and 2 Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations.

Other programs include post-play dialogues with the audience. The first is a conversation about the music from “Next to Normal” and its significance to the subject matter (Thursday, April 7).

Pastoral counseling services and spiritual well-being will be discussed with Rev. Dr. Bernard Wilson of Norfield Congregational Church (April 12).

A perspective on the musical’s mental health themes will be presented by Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, on April 19. He discusses how to live with and help people coping with mental illness

Resources for those living with mental illness will be explored by Linda Autore, CEO of Laurel House, on April 22.

Click here for more information on “Next to Normal.”

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Caravan of Thieves — the gypsy jazz/acoustic guitar/upright bass/violin/ mesmerizing harmony group, including Staples High grad Dan Asher — brings its magic to the Unitarian Church’s Voices Café this Saturday (April 9, 8 p.m., in-person and livestreamed).

The press release calls Caravan of Thieves “theatrical, humorous and intense … (they) defy classification, and music loving fans may feel compelled to join the band in momentary fits of claps, snaps and sing-alongs.

Voices Café and Caravan of Thieves share a commitment to social justice. A portion of the concert proceeds benefit community organizations under the Unitarian Church in Westport’s social justice programs, including anti-racism, identity and equity, immigration and refugee efforts, and local programs that serve under-resourced communities.

Groups of 4 or more can reserve table space. For more information and tickets, click here.

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It’s baaaaaaaaack!

One of our town’s most beloved — and ephemeral — signs of spring has returned, right (or slightly ahead of) schedule.

The “Daffodil Mile” (measured liberally) is again in bloom, alongside Main Street in front of Willowbrook Cemetery.

It’s one of our favorite “Westport … Naturally” sights.

Given the state of the world, it’s more treasured today than ever.

(Photo/Arlene Yolles)

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And finally … in honor of the “Westport … Naturally” photo above:

 

 

Roundup: Distracted Driving, Breakfast Club, Shake Shack …

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If you drove on I-95 or the Merritt Parkway yesterday, you noticed electronic signs warning against distracted driving: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”

They’re part of a state Department of Transportation campaign for April — it’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Westport Police have joined the effort too.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device any time, even a hands-free one.

Drivers who are ticketed pay $200 for the first offense, $375 for the next, and $625 for the third and subsequent offenses.

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If you never saw “The Breakfast Club”: You missed a classic.

If you missed Triple Threat Academy’s staged workshop production of it at Toquet Hall: You missed another classic.

But you’re in luck! Excerpts have just been posted on YouTube.

The performance grew out of TripleThreat’s Zoom production, directed by founder and “Fame” star Cynthia Gibb during the pandemic.

The cast brought such energy and power to their Zoom sessions that Gibb vowed to bring it to the stage as soon as it was safe.

Despite only 10 hours of rehearsal, the show earned a standing ovation. Triple Threat plans more productions like it. Their spring session begins April 12, with acting and improv classes for youth, teens and adults at Toquet Hall.

Click here for details. As for video below: Hey, it’s “The Breakfast Club.” Beware of f-bombs.

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Could Shake Shack be leaving?

It looked that way, from from the commercial real estate listing:

Turns out it’s the small rooms that are being rented by Pinnacle Fitness — perhaps to a physical therapist, chiropractor or similar tenant. Yuri’s Gym has closed.

Sounds like a great opportunity. Especially for a health professional who likes hamburgers. (Hat tip: Steven Goldstein)

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Aspetuck Land Trust’s popular “Lunch & Learn” series returns this Friday (April 8, noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom).

“Invasives to Natives: A Backyard Restoration” features super-gardener Pam Roman. She’ll talk about her COVID-time project that transformed her garden — and also healed her heart and soul. Click here to register.

Pam Roman, in her garden.

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Fortunately, NASA has a deflection plan. Just as fortuitously, the Westport Astronomical Society’s next online lecture is with Dr. Nancy Chabot. She’s the planetary chief scientist at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory. She’ll talk about DART — the “Double Asteroid Redirection Test” defense mission.Here’s one more: an asteroid smashing into earth.

The event is April 19 (8 p.m.). Click here for the Zoom link. Click here for  the YouTube livestream.

It should be fascinating. If nothing has happened to the world in the meantime.

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Former Westporter Barbara Webster died in February at her Oklahoma City home, from complications of dementia. She was  85.

She retired in 2016 after a storied career as a teacher, counselor, professional dancer, choreographer and arts administrator. Her last appointments were as a career counselor at Bunnell High School in Stratford, and executive director of the Connecticut Dance School in Fairfield.

Webster taught dance and fitness for decades through the Westport adult education and summer school programs, and in studios across Fairfield County (including with former Broadway star Bambi Lynn).

She helped choreograph productions and enhanced costumes for Staples Players and at Coleytown Junior High School in the 1970s and ’80s, including shows like “Oklahoma!”, “My Fair Lady,” “Carousel” and “Dromio, Dromio!.” She served as a substitute teacher and guidance counselor too.

She performed with the Dancers of Faith and with Heritage Productions throughout the tri-state region, and presented her original work at the Unitarian Church in Westport. She held additional arts administration roles at the Levitt Pavilion, executive director of the Stamford Community Arts Council, and director of ARTSPACE in New Haven.

An accomplished seamstress and costume designer, Webster was one of 12 needlewomen working on Westport’s Bicentennial Quilt. She also created an original ornament for the Westport Heritage Christmas Tree.

In 1977 Webster co-founded Giftbags, Ltd. She helped develop a customized line of reusable felt bags and puppets for gifts, wine and treats that were featured at the Metropolitan Opera, and local boutiques. Later, she co-created puppets for sale at Blue Man Group performances.A native of New Jersey, Webster graduated first in her class from Barringer High School (Newark) in 1953 and received her BA degree from Douglass College, Rutgers University, in 1957. She earned a Master of Education degree from Rutgers in 1965.

Webster was predeceased by her husband Russell and brother, Dr. Edward C. Sheppard. Survivors include her children Russell Todd Webster of Anchorage, and Catherine Sheppard Webster of Oklahoma City, and grandchildren Haven Barnett, Teddy Webster, and Meredith and Thayer Dycus.

A memorial service will be held August 7 (2 p.m., Unitarian Church in Westport).

The family has requested that contributions in her memory be sent to a scholarship established in her name at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Barbara Webster

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Many “06880” readers sent photos of yesterday’s gorgeous rainbow over Compo Beach. Jeanine Esposito’s made the cut as today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

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And finally … gamed jazz guitarist Larry Coryell was born today in 1943. He died in 2017.

Roundup: Julia Marino, Oscars, Organic Krush …

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Welcome home, Julia Marino!

Westport welcomes our Olympic snowboard silver medalist on Saturday, April 2 (6:30 p.m.).

She’ll join fellow Westporter Dave Briggs — former CNN, NBC News and Fox News anchor, now with Yahoo Finance — for a wide-ranging conversation.

It’s a family event, with free ice cream from Shake Shack (for the kids) and beer and wine (adults). Of course, Julia will sign autographs.

To attend in person at the Library, click here. To watch the livestream, click here.

Co-sponsors include the Weston Westport Chamber of Commerce, Westport Lifestyle magazine, and The Grapevine.

Julia Marino, on the Olympic podium. On April 2, she’ll stand on the Library stage.

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A Westport hiker is missing in the Adirondacks.

Thomas Howard headed to Mt. Colden in North Elba, New York last Friday. He was reported missing Wednesday, after failing to return from his trip,

His last known location was at the Marcy Dam lean-to. State Police and forest rangers ask anyone who has seen him to call 518-891-2000

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Sometimes you have to put down a book, and see a movie.

The Westport Book Shop understands. So the Jesup Road institution has paired with its Imperial Avenue neighbor — the Remarkable Theater — to celebrate the 94th annual Academy Awards.

They’re co-sponsors of a “Guess the Oscars Winners” contest.

Starting Sunday, you can fill out a ballot for who you think will win, in 9 categories. The top 3 entrants receive a ticket to any drive-in movie this year. Plus a $25 Westport Book Shop gift card — and Remarkable Theater and Book Shop swag.

Ballots will be available at the Westport Book Shop, and by visiting the Book Shop website or the Remarkable Theater website. The deadline is 5 p.m. March 27. Only one entry per person.

 

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In 2016, a section of Smith Richardson Preserve was a thicket of weeds, and invasive shrubs and vines.

Connecticut Audubon envisioned an ecological overhaul that would transform it into a rich, coastal forest and shrub-land filled with birds, bees and butterflies.

Then they did it.

The story behind the project will be told at Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” (March 22n, 12 to 1:15 p.m.. Zoom). CT Audubon steward and ALT member Charlie Stebbins reveals how that tangle turned into a mixture of meadows, shrubs, thickets, conifers and open woods. Click here to register.

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Teenagers love to eat.

Of course, they don’t always eat well.

Organic Krush can help

On March 29 (6 p.m.), they’ll kick off a “Cooking Health” series at their Compo Acres Shopping Center location.

They’re inviting all students ages 15 and up for the free event. They’ll learn fun cooking and knife skills, and how to make amazingly healthy bowls.

Of course, they can eat all of their creations.

Naturally.

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April is Autism Acceptance Month. It’s a propitious time for Westport author Sivan Hong to release her 4th book in the best-selling “Super Fun Day” series. “Avery G. and the Scary End of School” is a social story that helps children express their feelings about the end of school.

It’s perfect for neurodiverse (autism, ADHD, dyslexia, etc.), and also neurotypical, youngsters who struggle with change, worry about new things and are working on being flexible.

Avery G. teaches them how to tackle change, including movement breaks and belly breaths.

For more information and to order, click here.

 

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The March 25 entry deadline for the Wheels2U limerick contest is approaching, even faster than a Westport Transit District bus that comes to your door.

The goal is to raise awareness of the $2 pick-up request service (5:45 to 10 a.m., 4 to 9:30 p.m.), to and from Westport’s 2 train stations. Seven winners earn gift certificates to Westport restaurants ($100 to $25).

Enter as often as you like. Email pgold@westportct.gov by March 25; put “Limerick Contest” in the subject line, and include your name, address, and email address.

Some great entries have already been sent in. However, some are actual poems, rather than limericks. A reminder: This is a limerick…

A brilliant lawyer named Lena
Said be smart and commute greener.
Give the bus a try.
It’s as easy as pie!
If not, you’ll get a subpoena!

For more information about Wheels2U, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities. click here.

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Ken Bernhard — the longtime Westport attorney who taught law in Ukraine — has continued his friendships with people he met there.

Yesterday, he passed along this email from one of them:

“On February 24, I woke up to the loud noise of 2 rocket strikes on my hometown. A short whistling sound was followed 2 seconds later by a loud bang.

“It was terrifying. Of course, there was no trace of normal sleep after that. The whole following day was grim and stressful with people shocked in disbelief. Food started disappearing from grocery shelves and cash disappeared, with no credit cards accepted.

“Because of the imminent danger of night air attacks, we decided to leave our city to the village about 30 miles away and stay with friends. We haven’t been able to go home since. We are now displaced people living alien lives. There are shortages of food, fuel, medicine and most basic necessities.  There is no re-supply capacity. We have to watch how much we eat.

“The kids don’t understand what has happened to us. Due to a major gas pipeline damage near Mariupol (shelling), there is no gas anywhere in the region for residential heating or cooking. We use wood in a wheel barrel to make coffee. Electricity is spotty. with frequent power grid outages.

“About 10 days ago I personally witnessed a column of about 75 Russian military vehicles pass through the village, indifferent and threatening at the same time. We hear explosions regularly and see rockets passing overhead. It is terrifying thinking one of them might land on us. We are worried to death about people we know in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Sumy and other big cities under bombardment. We hear about heavy battles going on.

“Apart from the devastation (evacuations, killing and suffering), there is social devastation as well. We do not work; kids don’t go to schools; kindergarteners, pensioners suffer; there is no postal service or cell connectionl millions of active citizens leavr the country for safety – this all effects the Ukrainian economy, social life, education, healthcare. The longer the conflict goes, the worse such impact will be. This is especially hard, since Ukraine, like the rest of the world, has been badly hit by COVID for the past two years.

“My hometown is occupied for now, with Russian propaganda machine slowly but steadily infiltrating local minds. For now, locals protest daily in peaceful but organized ways and resist Russian humanitarian convoys. But how long will they be able to resist with not much food or any other opportunities available?

“My wife and I discussed her option to escape with the kids from the region toward Europe, probably Poland, but there are too many risks for our children. They could bring with them only the things they could carry. I am waiting to be called up for duty.

“At this point, nothing can be predicted for sure. Things are out of control. With God’s will, things will come to a peaceful end. Glory to Ukraine!”

p.s. Thank you for reading this and your continuous support of us. Your words and prayers matter!”

A graphic photo by Staples High School 1988 graduate Tyler Hicks. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for The New York Times)

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Here is the full obituary for Leonard Flom. The internationally known ophthalmologist, medical pioneer and inductee in the National Inventors Hall of Fame died Tuesday at Norwalk Hospital. He was 94.

The son of Polish immigrants Murray and Pauline Flom of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Flom entered New York University at the age of 16. He received a medical degree from the NYU School of Medicine, where he studied ophthalmology and was certified as an ophthalmic surgeon.

He then became a first lieutenant in the US Army Medical Corps. He was stationed in Trieste, Italy during the Korean war conflict.

Following his service, Dr. Flom founded a private medical practice and surgical center in Fairfield. He served Fairfield County for nearly 50 years. With his colleague Dr. Aaron Safir, he conceptualized and patented an idea for an iris identification system, and co-founded IriScan. Today, this biometric is considered to be one of the most accurate in the field of biometric identification.

Dr. Flom taught and worked at a number of New York and Connecticut universities and hospitals, and remained a member of the faculty of the NYU School of Medicine after retiring from practice. He served on the Ethics Committee of the Connecticut Medical Examining Board, and was an active member of the Y’s Men and a frequent guest speaker at Camp Invention.. His passions included politics, photography, humor and faith.

Dr. Flom is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 74 years; children Cherie Quain, Jonathan Flom, Sara Goldstein and Rachel Chason; 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his oldest son, Murray.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations in his memory may be made to Friends of Sheba Medical Center Tel HaShomer Guild or Congregation Beth El.

Dr. Leonard Flom

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Yesterday’s Roundup included an incorrect date for the Staples High School Guidance Department’s “Spark Your Future” virtual session on careers in business and computer science, with alums Georgia Fox, Megan Root and Jake McCambley.

The correct date is Tuesday, April 5 (6:30 to 7:30 p.m.). Click here to register. Everyone is welcome.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo asks: “Why did the turkeys cross Partrick Road?”

(Photo/Jordan Hix)

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And finally … Timmy Thomas’s best-known hit was “a soulful, plaintive statement against the Vietnam War that he sang to his own accompaniment on the electric organ and drum machine,” the New York Times‘ said.

He was not a one-hit wonder, but that’s what led his obituary. He died last week in Miami. He was 77, and had battled cancer. Click here for the full obituary, and below for his memorable song.

Roundup: Neighborhood Meetings, Beach And Housing Bills, Ukraine Help

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For a small town, we’ve got plenty of neighborhoods.

And 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker is focusing on all of them.

In coordination with the Public Works, Planning & Zoning and Public Safety Departments, she’s organized meetings with residents of all 9 RTM districts. The focus is on traffic, pedestrian and bicycle safety concerns, and how town officials are reacting to them.

Meetings will include officials and employees with knowledge of traffic management, roadway conditions, engineering and speed calming solutions, as well as the regulations and oversight authority of the town.

The meetings are set for Thursdays at 7 p.m., in the Town Hall auditorium. Click here for a map of all RTM districts.

Date District
Thursday, March 17, 2022 District 1
Thursday, March 24, 2022 District 4
Thursday, April 7, 2022 District 6
Thursday, April 14, 2022 District 7
Thursday, April 21, 2022 District 8
Thursday, April 28, 2022 District 9
Thursday, May 5, 2022 District 2
Thursday, May 12, 2022 District 3
Thursday, May 19, 2022 District 5
Thursday, May 26, 2022 Make Up

Concerned about traffic in your neighborhood? Go to a meeting!

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Recently, “06880” posted stories about a pair of bills working their way through the state legislature. One would prohibit towns from imposing different access fees for beaches on residents and non-residents; the other would permit up to 15 housing units per acre within half a mile of train stations.

Both will be up for discussion via Zoom this Monday (March 14, 10 a.m.).

State Senator Tony Hwang says that residents wishing to testify must register by 3 p.m. Sunday. They should send a brief email to PDtestimony@cga.ct.gov. They should reference the bill number (HB 5361 for beaches; HB 5429 for housing), and include your name and town.

Click here on Monday, to watch the hearing live.


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Like many local institutions, Wakeman Town Farm is thinking about Ukraine — and wondering how to help.

The sustainability center says:

Our friends in Ukraine are moms and dads just like us. They love their families, nature, animals, local farms and community. During this time of great need, we have put together a grassroots collection effort that will allow you to drop off or send select medical supplies to any of 3 local sites: Wakeman Town Farm in Westport, Lachat Town Farm in Weston, and Ambler Farm in Wilton.

Click here for a list of medical supplies needed. You can order from Amazon, and have them shipped to you (to bring to one of the collection sites), or shipped directly to Wakeman Town Farm (134 Cross Highway, Westport, CT 06880; Lachat Town Farm, 106 Godfrey Road West, Weston, CT 06883; Ambler Farm, 257 Hurlbutt Street, Wilton, CT 06897). The deadline is 1 p.m., March 18.

We will collect from each farm, and bring them to a site where they will be  shipped to Ukraine.

Wakeman Town Farm will accept either mail deliveries at 134 Cross Highway, Westport, CT 06680, or unboxed drop-offs up at the farm’s plastic bins at the Wakeman Drive entrance off Cross Highway. Items must arrive by 1 p.m. on March 18 to be included.

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How else to help? Ukrainian-Westporter Stephan Taranko says:

“A number of Ukrainians have formed groups to collect needed items and send them to Ukraine. My cousin Victoria joined such a group. They started an Amazon Gift List, listing the items currently needed. They also chipped in to pay the freight, but I suggested to add another line in the gift list if people want to defray some of the shipping cost.

Click here for a link we created with my cousin Natalia. Everything is being delivered to her office, where she packs it and sends to Ukraine.”

Stephan adds that his cousin Victoria’s father is a teacher in Ivano-Frankivsk. Although he has a green card and can evacuate to the US any time, he has taken up arms to fight the Russians.

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St. Luke Church is mourning the sudden death of Monsignor Andrew Varga. He was 69 years old.

A wake is set for Thursday, March 17 (3 to 6:45 p.m.), followed by a Vigil Mass at 7 p.m.

Visiting hours are Friday, March 18 (9:30 to 10:30 a.m.), followed by a funeral mass at 11 a.m.

The parish has set up a memorial with candles in the sanctuary, and a web page honoring Monsignor Andy.

Monsignor Andrew Varga

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Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” is called “Native Plant Guilds: What Grows Together, Grows Together.”

It’s Wednesday, March 16 (noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom). Anna Failkoff, ecological programs manager of Wild Seed Project, will talk about native plant guilds. Those are groupings that make it easier to design a landscape with appealing texture, color and wildlife value.

Click here to learn more, and register.

Anna Fialkoff

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Among the many casualties of COVID: Elementary school plays.

It’s a big deal for youngsters to work their way up the casting ladder, from 3rd grade extras to 5th grade stars. But with stages dark, one more rite of passage was halted.

Now Greens Farms School is back. Their production of “Willy Wonka Kids” is gleefully anticipated by all the boys and girls — and not just because the curtain will once again rise.

Directors Suzanne Sherman Propp and Ellen Hardy opened every role to any gender. Willy Wonka will be played by Leanne Mitev.

The show is set for next Friday and Saturday (March 18. 7 p.m. and 19, noon and 1:45 p.m.). Click here for tickets, and more information.

Greens Farms Elementary School rehearses “Willy Wonka Kids.”

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Jo Shields Sherman describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo as the struggle of 3 seasons. She writes:

“Winter’s snowfall has trouble sticking and icy water drips from the ivy; fall’s leaves and the indomitable remnants of a Halloween pumpkin improbably remain, and spring’s snowdrop flowers (crowned by the indignity of a fallen raft of lichen) seem to be growing out of the rock. Summer can’t be that far off!

“Buggy, our doggie, looks intrigued by the confusing display of our New England seasons. But I think she’s caught the scent of her favorite wildlife: chipmunk!”

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

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And finally … as the situation in Ukraine continues to transfix the world, Mark Yurkiw — whose parents emigrated from there in 1949 — sends a YouTube link to “A Moonlight Night:  The Most Beautiful Ukrainian Song(Dedicated to All Brave Ukrainian People).”

It’s a song he grew up with. Now as the bombs fall, he says, it brings tears to his eyes.

Roundup: Anita Hill, Serena & Lily, Landscape Design …

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Today’s “balloon test” — designed to show what a 124-foot cell tower proposed for 92 Greens Farms Road — has been canceled. No further information is available.

Today’s event at 92 Greens Farms Road is off. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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Lynn Grossman has a full-time job, as senior vice president, wealth management for Raymond James Financial in Westport.

But she spends nearly all the rest of her time giving back to those less fortunate.

A Westporter since 1985, she runs a non-profit in Queens. She also serves on Fairfield County’s Community Foundation professional advisor council.

The umbrella organization supports many good projects. Lynn is especially excited about the Fund for Women and Girls. Over the past 20 years, they’ve given out $8 million, impacting tens of thousands of females.

She is really excited about April 22 (12 noon, Greenwich Hyatt and virtual). This year’s guest speaker is Anita Hill.

The Brandeis University professor of law, public policy and women’s studies is the recipient of a 2019 PEN Courage Award. Her new book is Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence. In her  autobiography Speaking Truth to Power, Hill shared her story of testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about sexual harassment during her career.

Click here for tickets and more information.

Anita Hill

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A $73 million settlement last week for families of 9 Sandy Hook victims shook 2 worlds last week: the legal one, and the gun manufacturing industry.

It also brought national attention to Josh Koskoff, the Westport attorney who led the long effort.

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a long feature, headlined “How They Did It: Sandy Hook Families Gain Long-Awaited Legal Wins.” The piece explores Koskoff’s strategy, and its implications for similar lawsuits going forward. Click here for the full story.

Josh Koskoff, in his office. (Photo/Monica Jorge for the New York Times)

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A broken sprinkler caused water damage at Serena & Lily. The Elm Street lifestyle store is closed today. They hope to open later this week. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

Serena & Lily

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Mark March 13. Turn your clocks ahead — and at noon (EDT) enjoy an Aspetuck land Trust Sunday “Brunch and Learn” lecture with landscape designer/author/photographer Rick Darke.

He’ll discuss the vital roles native plants play in beautiful, ecologically sound, and broadly functional residential landscape design.

It’s free for members, $18 for non-members. Click here for details, and to register.

Rick Darke

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It’s mid late February. Time for some “Westport … Naturally” color!

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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And finally … happy 64th birthday to singer/songwriter, multi-Grammy-winning — and Brown University graduate — Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Roundup: Compo Entrance, Giving Day, Forest Resilience …

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The Compo Beach entrance looks different these days.

Recently, Matt Murray saw workers clearing brush from the area.

He drove by again yesterday. This time, he noticed, it and at least one tree on Compo Beach Road bordering the turn had been removed.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

By comparison, Matt sent this Google view from 2016:

(Photo courtesy of Google Street View)

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Thirteen Westport-based organizations are among the dozens participating in next Thursday’s Fairfield County’s Giving Day.

The 9th annual event is sponsored by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Since 2014, it has raised $11.5 million for area non-profits. Last year, nearly 15,000 people donated more than $2.25 million to groups offering a wide array of services

The Westport nonprofits raising funds next week are:

  • Beechwood Arts & Empowerment
  • CLASP Homes
  • Homes with Hope
  • Westport Animal Shelter Advocates
  • Westport Astronomical Society
  • Westport Book Sale Ventures
  • Westport Community Band
  • Westport Community Theatre
  • Westport Country Playhouse
  • Westport Downtown Association
  • Westport Museum for History & Culture
  • Westport School of Music

For a full list, and to support any (or all!) groups, click here.

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Want to learn more about “Forest Resilience in the Face of Climate Change”?

Sign up for Aspetuck Land Trust’s “Lunch and Learn” Zoom webinar next Wednesday (February 23, 12 to 1 p.m.).

“Land trusts and other forest owners are facing difficult choices about their cherished trees” in these perilous times, the environmental organization says. “Should we remove and replant? How do we do that?”

The session features the University of Connecticut’s Dr. Juliana Barrett. And Aspetuck Land Trust director of stewardship Lou Bacchiocchi will discuss how he manages 2,000 acres of land.

Click here to register.

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The 2022 Music at MoCA Concert Series — just announced — includes 12 jazz, pop, world music, Broadway, country/folk and classical performances. They’ll  be held inside the museum at 19 Newtown Turnpike, and on the outdoor stage between March and November.

Highlights include performers from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight series, and the world-renowned Danish String Quartet.

The full schedule:

March 25: Alturas Duo with Gonzalo Cortés (World Music)
April 16: The Figgs (Rock)
April 30: Griffin Anthony (Pop)
May 21: Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Quartet (Jazz) – Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist
June 11: Sean Mason (Jazz) – Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist
June 25: A Tale of Two (Country/Folk)
July 15: Adam Tendler (Classical Contemporary)
July 23: Broadway Through The Ages (Broadway)
August 5: Danish String Quartet (Classical)
August 20: Mariel Bildsten (Jazz) – Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist
September 9: Roman Rabinovich (Classical)
November 19: Heida Hermanns Competition Celebration

Tickets — which include exhibition admission — are available on MoCA’s website, or by calling 203-222-7070. Streaming is available for anyone wishing to watch at home.

Sean Mason, part of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist series.

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Speaking of music … oops! Yesterday’s “Roundup” noted John Corigliano’s 84th birthday.

I forgot to mention that the famed contemporary classical composer spent summers here while growing up. His father, John Sr., was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 23 years, and died at Norwalk Hospital after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage at his 74th birthday party at the family’s summer home on Valley Road. He is buried around the corner, at Assumption Cemetery on Greens Farms Road. (Hat tips: Ann Sheffer, Bobbie Herman)

John Corigliano Jr. (right) with his father John Corigliano Sr. and mother Rose Buzen, an educator and pianist. (Photo/Gabriella M. Langendorff)

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Dog photos are catnip for “06880” readers. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image comes from Nicola Sharian. Remember: Pooches are allowed at Compo only until March 31. Enjoy it while you can!

(Photo/Nicola Sharian)

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And finally … MoCA’s great concert series lineup (above) includes pop artist Griffin Anthony. Here’s a preview: