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DISCLAIMERThis blog is personal opinion, and is not representative of the views of the Westport School District or Board of Education.
Tag Archives: Beachside Avenue
There’s a lot going on next Saturday.
But leave time for the Slice of Saugatuck. The 9th annual event runs September 25, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Over 50 restaurants and stores will participate. Over 2,000 people will stroll the streets, snack on samples, enjoy music and kids activities, and learn more about the joys of Westport’s original town center.
This year’s footprint expands to include Riverside Realty (with a band in the parking lot), and the VFW and Westport Paddle Club across the street.
The Maker Faire area will once again be in Luciano Park.
There’s live music at 7 locations: Outside Chance, Silver Steel, Otis & the Hurricanes, The Howling Barncats, Elana Zarabi, Accidental Breakdown and School of Rock. Plus roving theatrical performances, and taekwando demonstrations.
New this year: boat rides, courtesy of Carefree Boat.
Two beer gardens (with wine — hey, this is Westport) are located on Bridge Square and Railroad Place. Many of restaurants will also offer specialty drinks indoors. Many will also hold special Saugatuck Happy Hours, with more food and drink after 5 p.m.
The price is again $15 per adult (with a two-for-$25 option). Kids under 13 remains $5; age 5 and under are free. Cash only!
The sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has donated over $30,000 to the Gillespie Center’s food pantry, with proceeds from prior events.
For more information and a Slice of Saugatuck map, click here.
With little fanfare, the Beachside Avenue bridge over I-95 has reopened. It took several months, but the new span should last for decades.
Speaking of decades: The Kings Highway project — which is such an itty-bitty thing, no one even knows it’s a bridge — continues its glacial pace.
Renovation began during the Coolidge administration. (Hat tip: Tom Lowrie)
Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s new book will not be released until tomorrow. But — based on pre-orders — Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic — is already a best-seller.
The book by the former FDA commissioner (and our Westport neighbor) describes how the coronavirus raced through our nation. Gottlieb had a front row seat: he was in regular contact with President Trump, key players in Congress, and the drug industry.
Meanwhile, new dangers lurk around every corner. Gottlieb addresses our preparations for the next virus. Are we ready?
Click here for more information, and to order his book.
Save the Children is no longer headquartered in Westport. But it maintains strong ties here.
On September 30 (6:30 p.m., Westport Library), they’re sponsoring an evening with Christina Baker Kline. The best-selling author will join STC’s CEO Janti Soeripto and chief strategy officer Mark Shriver to discuss what the organization is doing for vulnerable children, here and abroad.
The evening includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. To purchase tickets, click here. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our “Westport … Naturally” photos are usually serene. But I can’t recall a more peaceful, soothing image than this.
And finally … Brook Benton was born 90 years ago today. He died in 1988 of pneumonia, just 56 years old.
Versatile in rock, R&B, pop and gospel, he had 49 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100. This is one of my all-time favorites, from any artist.
To many folks, it was an abstract image. Some may have realized it was a stone wall.
But to the elite subset of “06880” readers who specialize in figuring out each Sunday’s Photo Challenge, it was child’s play. They quickly identified its location on Beachside Avenue, just past the Greens Farms Academy entrance on the left heading toward Southport. (Click here to see.)
Don’t ask me how they do it. But kudos to Chris Swan, Andrew Colabella, John Richers, Seth Schachter, Judy Reid and Seth Braunstein, who once again rose to the challenge.
And surpassed it.
This week’s Challenge shows 2 culverts. Hint: They’re not the ones featured in a recent story about the culverts linking Sherwood Mill Pond to Burying Hill Beach.
If you know where in Westport you’d see this pair, click “Comments” below. Bonus points for identifying the body of water.
Non-COVID health emergencies don’t take a break during a pandemic. Unfortunately, Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services had to.
Not responding quickly, professionally and compassionately, of course. Their service never wavered. But they did have to pause their public education.
Now, with threats lessening, WVEMS is cleared to resume reduced-capacity classes at their Police headquarters facility. CPR/First Aid and Stop the Bleed courses begin this month. EMT certification is set for the fall.
All classes have limited capacity. For more information, click here.
“Who” did Tina Green see at Longshore yesterday?
Not one but three great horned owls. They look properly wise.
Construction of the I-95 overpass at Beachside Avenue is cruising along. (As opposed to, say, the Kings Highway Bridge replacement near Canal Street — a far less complicated project).
Here’s yesterday’s view:
And finally … today is Donovan’s 75th birthday. The Scottish singer-songwriter was often compared — unfairly — to Bob Dylan.
He had his share of pretentious clunkers (just like Dylan!). But much of his music stands the test of time.
CORRECTION: “06880” erroneously reported yesterday that the Board of Education will ask the RTM for an annual 3% budget increase. There was no such motion. We apologize for the error.
We’ve got a winner!
Staples High School social studies teacher Suzanne Kammerman has been named Teacher of the Year by the American Lawyers Alliance. The honor comes on top of — and in part because of — her role in leading her school’s “We the People” team to their 2nd consecutive state championship. They hope to follow in their teacher’s footsteps, and win a national title. Last year’s team placed 5th.
Kammerman initiated the “We the People” class and competition at Staples, after competing herself in high school.
A 14-year educator, Kammerman was previously selected by the League of Women Voters to train at Harvard Business School.
During COVID — and despite distance learning — she continued to develop created, engaging ways for students to learn about democracy. They researched Supreme Court cases, discussed hypotheticals, learned how to analyze and synthesize facts and opinions, and honed presentation skills.
Congratulations, Ms. Kammerman, for your passion, dedication, and profound impact on the next generation of citizens.
State Senator Tony Hwang hosts lunch next Wednesday (April 28, 12:30 p.m., Tarantino’s). He’ll be joined by 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, State Representative Stephanie Thomas and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell.
The event — in coordination with the Chamber — will promote outdoor dining. The group will discuss ways to continue to support local businesses during COVID.
Restaurants on Railroad Place, Church Lane and other areas of town have set up tables, tents, domes and other structures for outdoor dining. The state and town have eased regulations, and owners look forward to a robust spring and summer scene.
Speaking of COVID regulations: Governor Lamont is easing earlier restrictions.
Effective May 1:
- Bars that do not serve food can open for service on an outdoor-only basis. They still cannot serve only alcohol indoors.
- The 8-person per table limit will be lifted for outdoors only. The limit remains in effect for indoor service.
- The curfew for restaurants, entertainment venues, recreation venues and theaters will be moved back an hour, to midnight.
Effective May 19:
- Contingent upon sufficiently low rates of infections and increasing vaccination rates, all remaining business restrictions will be lifted. The Department of Public Health will issue recommendations for indoor and other large outdoor events, such as concerts, and clarify where masking will continue after May 1.
(Hat tip: Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce)
A reader writes:
“I am blessed to be able to walk to Compo Beach. This area has a very special vibe. The downside is that the vibe encourages people to drive down South Compo Road like lunatics. disregarding speed limits, crosswalks, even common sense and courtesy.
“Compo Road from Greens Farms Road to the beach might as well be the Autobahn: screeching tires, ignoring full stops, flying through crosswalks. These are not just visitors — they are locals too, rushing, blowing off stop signs and exceeding speed limits by over 25 mph.
“We have a wonderful Police Department, but they can’t be everywhere. This is going to get worse as the weather gets warmer. The weekends are a drag race by noon, through 11 p.m.
“Many dog walkers, children and elderly walking on Compo Road. Will it take someone getting killed or seriously injured to finally address the situation?”
“06880” readers know Fred Cantor as a passionate Westporter. If you’ve read many of his comments here, you know he’s an avid Knicks fan too.
He’s also proud of his roots. Until he was 10, he lived in Fresh Meadows, Queens. That’s where he learned to love the NBA team. And it forms the background of his most recent book, Fred From Fresh Meadows: A Knicks Memoir.
It’s getting great looks. Yesterday, NY1 aired a story about Fred, including 3 generations of Cantor Knick fans: his 93-year-old mother Pearl, and his brother Marc’s older son, Sam. Click here to see.
The day before, the New York Post‘s Mike Vaccaro called Fred’s book “delightful. The stories ring like a trusted friend’s from the neighboring barstool.”
The Knicks may not be at the top of the standings. But Fred From Fresh Meadows is definitely a winner.
And how about this: All proceeds benefit the John Starks Foundation. The Knick legend started the charity, which gives scholarships to teenagers in need.
Speaking of sports: There’s a Westport connection even to the controversy over a proposed “Super League” of top international soccer clubs.
Joaquim Monnerat played freshman soccer at Staples High in 2019. His family has moved to London. But there he was — photographed all over social media — protesting with over 1,000 others outside of Stamford Bridge (the Chelsea team’s home stadium).
The protest worked. The plan collapsed a few hours later when 6 of the 12 clubs — including Chelsea — dropped out.
Joaquim is in the center below, with a (dangling) face mask. And though you can’t tell, he’s wearing a Staples Soccer shirt in the image that went ’round the world. (Hat tip: Bruno Guiduli)
The I-95 Beachside Avenue bridge reconstruction project is proceeding well. As with any work like this, the landscape gets rearranged a bit. Here’s one view:
And finally … rapper Black Rob died on Saturday of cardiac arrest in Atlanta. He was 52, had numerous health problems, and struggled with homelessness.
The New York Times said his “husky, seen-it-all voice powered turn-of-the-millennium hits.” Click here for the full obituary.
Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Let’s pause and remember all who served — including Westport’s own Jay Dirnberger.
After New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson’s great game Saturday night, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had an unusual way of comparing Williamson to an express train:
“It’s not just an Amtrak, it’s the Acela. it doesn’t stop in Westport, it just goes straight to New York City.” (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)
Westport Book Shop is a smash.
That’s not just my opinion. The Jesup Road used book store — which also sells vinyl, CDs, DVDs and audio books — is so successful, it’s expanding its hours.
They’re now open Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. They’re closed Mondays.
They’re open 24/7 online, too: www.westportbooksales.org.
How is the I-95/Beachside Avenue bridge replacement project going?
Brandon Malin’s drone offers this unique view:
COVID knocked out every in-person Seder last year.
This Passover, some Westport families gathered in small groups. Others celebrated virtually.
Below, David Ader joins the Yormark Seder. Pippa Bell Ader notes: “In the interest of saving paper, this year we read from the Haggadah via the second computer, on the right.”
Easter is Sunday. Which means there are only a few days left to get your Easter basket.
Savvy + Grace has great ones. You can head to the popular Main Street store and pick what you want.
Or email email@example.com. Include your name, phone number, and the age, likes and interests of the recipient. Annette Norton and her staff will put baskets together, and call for your review.
Not sure? Check out some pre-made baskets online (click here).
International Mother Earth Day is coming soon. To celebrate, the United Nations Association’s Southwest Connecticut Chapter is running a Student Creativity Contest.
They’re looking for ways to promote the UN’s sustainable development goals, legal protections for nature, and efforts to preserve biodiversity.
Submissions in any form are welcome: posters, flyers, stickers, postcards, videos, tweets, web pages, poems, songs, social media posts, whatever.
Cash prizes are awarded: $300 for 1st place, $150 for 2nd, $75 for 3rd, $25 for 4th through 10th place.
The deadline is April 16. Email a JPG, PDF, PowerPoint, MP3, MP4 or hyperlink to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, click here.
Speaking of Earth Day: Last fall , Melissa Ceriale and her Prospect Road neighbors participated in Debra Kandrak’s daffodil planting project.
The results are gorgeous. And they’ll pop up every spring too!
And finally … on this day in 1871, Queen Victoria opened London’s Royal Albert Hall.
In 1987 — its bicentennial — Weston produced a history of the town.
Lots of communities do something similar.
But not many get to have theirs produced and narrated by one the most famous actors in the world.
This video — courtesy of Cristina Negrin — says all you need to know about the deep feeling Christopher Plummer had for his adopted hometown.
And Weston loved him right back.
Due to snow, Staples Players’ 1st radio play of 2nd semester — the thriller “Sorry, Wrong Number,” broadcast live from the Black Box Theater — has been postponed. The new date is Wednesday, February 10 (7 p.m.).
The production will be streamed live (and free) at wwwptfm.org.
Westporters know Avi Kaner as our former 2nd selectman and Board of Finance chair.
But he also co-owns Morton Williams, the noted New York City supermarket chain. It’s a 75-year-old family company, but it’s never faced a challenge like today’s pandemic and its many side effects.
The other day, Kaner spoke to NTD Business about the state of his business, and New York — including the flight to the suburbs. Click below for the fascinating interview.
“06880 readers” can’t get enough of the “new” view of I-95 and the Beachside Avenue overpass, now that it’s been removed for reconstruction. Here’s one more shot:
This guy hung out at the Lansdowne condos yesterday. No telling what he’ll look like today.
Westport Town Clerk Patty Strauss retired in December. Last month, she and her husband Ed moved to North Carolina.
Yesterday, their Juniper Road was torn down. Real estate moves fast around here.
Numerous fire trucks raced to Bayberry Lane this morning, to put out a fire at Belta’s farm.
The blaze was confined to an outbuilding, rented to tenants.
And finally … Jim Weatherly died Wednesday near Nashville, of natural causes. He was 77.
He wrote hit songs for Ray Price, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers and many others. His biggest was originally called “Midnight Plane to Houston.” Gladys Knight and the Pips turned it into the much more memorable “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
United Way of Connecticut is expanding availability and access to vaccine scheduling.
Beginning Monday (February 8), 125 contact specialists will take phone calls to schedule appointments from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week. They can book up to 10,000 appointments at 12 locations across Connecticut. Call 877-918-2224.
For more vaccine information, click here. The state is focused on vaccinating residents 75 and older, but priority groups will expand this month as more vaccine becomes availabl.e
In the wake of Christopher Plummer’s death yesterday in Weston, Hedi Lieberman sends along this video of a “CBS Sunday Morning” profile from 2011. It includes scenes of the legendary actor at the venue where he made his American stage debut in 1953: the Westport Country Playhouse.
Yesterday’s Friday Flashback offered some long-forgotten views of Westport during the 1950s construction of I-95 (Connecticut Turnpike).
They showed Saugatuck and the South Compo areas. But Beachside Avenue was also impacted and altered, as a new bridge rose then between Greens Farms Road and Burying Hill Beach.
Nearly 7 decades later, it’s being replaced. The result is a novel look at the area — whether you’re driving past on Greens Farms, or underneath on the highway.
Longtime Westporter John Caggiano died peacefully at home last month, of complications from Alzheimer’s. He was 82 years old.
Growing up in Brooklyn, his family instilled in him a great love of his Italian heritage. It stayed with him all his life.
John studied art after high school, then went into advertising. He spent most of his career at Doyle Dane Bernbach, rising to creative director and driving award-winning campaigns for Volkswagen, IBM, Sony, Hershey and Colombian Coffee. He brought originality and flair to every project.
After retirement John pursued art with a passion, honing his sketching and painting skills at the Silvermine, Rowayton and Westport Arts Centers, and the Westport Senior Center. His work was often seen at local art shows.
He enjoyed the many activities activities Westport offers, including boating, tennis and golf at Longshore, and Old Mill and Compo Beaches.
John loved animals. He loved walking his rescue dog Bella around Compo Beach and Winslow Park. He was known and adored by both the humans and dogs who visited these spots.
John is survived by his wife of 57 years, Anita; his son Marco, daughter-in-law Elena, and beloved grandchildren Caroline and John; son Roman; sister Linda Brienza (Dr. Gene); sister-in-law Dolores Paliseno, and nieces and nephews.
John was filled with bluster and heart. He was known for his humor and his legendary stories.
Donations in John’s memory can be made to the Westport Senior Center, 21 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT, 06880, or Homes With Hope, PO Box 631, Westport, CT, 06881. A memorial service will be held in late summer.
The other day, Rindy Higgins gave herself a 72nd birthday present: a penguin mold.
Here’s the result, on the corner of Madeline Avenue and Harbor Road. At least, it looked like that a couple of days ago. It’s all melted now.
Just wait. There’s a winter storm warning for tomorrow. An accumulation of 5 to 7 inches is forecast.
Next up in the Westport Astronomical Society’s free virtual lecture series: “Mapping the Haystack While Finding the Needles: How Crowdsourcing Science is Solving Big Data Problems in Research.”
Dr. Lucy Fortson of the University of Minnesota speaks February 16 (8 p.m.). Click here for the link.
And finally … in one of his most famous roles (“The Sound of Music”), Christopher Plummer’s voice was dubbed by Bill Lee. Here is a clip from that film, with his singing “Edelweiss” himself:
Need help with taxes? (Besides having more money, that is.)
Westport’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program — free state and federal preparation — runs from now through April 15. IRS-certified preparers assist seniors and low- to moderate-income households, virtually or through a limited in-person scanning option.
The national program is run locally by the Department of Human Services.
The virtual option provides uploading of information via a secure encrypted site A specialist reviews and follows up for additional information as needed. Click here to participate.
The limited, on-site scanning capabilities at the Senior Center is offered Tuesdays (1 to 4 p.m.) and Thursdays (9 a.m. to noon). Participants complete a phone call to confirm what documentation is required to participate. Call 203-341-1071 for an appointment.
More than 700 returns were prepared and filed last year in Westport, with total refunds exceeding $350,000.
Elementary school students have returned to full-time, in-person learning for the first time in 10 months.
Yesterday, the Kings Highway PTA welcomed teachers and staff with this sign:
Last night’s full wolf moon was beautiful even with the naked eye.
If you were lucky enough to view it through the Westport Astronomical Society’s telescope at the Rolnick Observatory, it looked even more spectacular:
Westporter Joshua Aronson — who teaches applied psychology at New York University — heads a panel on “The Anti-Racist Policy Agenda: Education” (February 4, 7:30 p.m., Zoom).
Along with educators and politicians, he’ll discuss racial disparities in the educational system, their political impact, and the future of educational equity in Connecticut.
Sponsors are the Democratic Women of Westport and the Staples Young Democrats. Click here to register. For more information, email email@example.com.
Work continues on the Beachside Avenue I-95 overpass. The bridge is now down to its skeleton. Renovation will continue for several months.
And finally … on this day in 1861, Kansas was admitted as the 34th state in the union.