Today’s trash pick-up at Elaine Road has been canceled, due to predicted bad weather. A new date will be announced soon.
The coastal flood warning — in effect until noon today — is real. Here was the scene earlier this morning at Canal Road on Saugatuck Shores:
And high tide was still 2 hours away.
When the Bedford Middle School community learned that Heba, one of their popular cafeteria workers, had relatives in Syria — and was still waiting for news after the earthquake — they swung into action.
In just a few days, donations of coats, sweaters, shoes, scarves, hats, blankets (and backpacks filled to the brim) poured in. Many of the gifts were new, or almost new.
Yesterday, Dan Barberio — a physical education teacher and member of the Spirit Leadership Team, who helped organize the effort — packed his van. He delivered it all to a mosque in New Haven, for shipment to Syria today.
Congratulations, BMS, for your important, school-wide effort.
Dan Barberio (far left) and Bedford Middle School students, with some of the collection for Syrian earthquake victims.
A reader found new racist graffiti — this time, on the picnic tables at Compo’s South Beach. She reported it to Westport Police.
Previous racist graffiti at the state boat launch underneath I-95 was also reported, and immediately removed.
Racist raffiti at the state boat launch. (Photo/Nathan Selsky)
Danbury countered Staples’ fast start with a faster finish — and excellent defense — at last night’s boys basketball FCIAC championship.
The Hatters’ 69-53 win, at Wilton High School, denied the Wreckers their first league championship since 1963, and their first ever on the court. (The previous title came by having the best record.)
Danbury — seeded 3rd in the tourney — had beaten #4 Staples 63-54, in the regular season.
But the blue-and-whites’ superb season continues. First-year coach Dave Goldshore’s squad — now 17-6 — begins action in the state Division II on Tuesday.
Ranked 7th, they host #26 Manchester. Tipoff is 6 p.m.
The 2023 Staples High School boys basketball team.
Wakeman Town Farm is getting a jump on spring.
Among its just-announced events:
Old-Fashioned Maple Syrup Boiling (Saturday, March 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; free). Farmers Ryan Brunelle and Sharon Stone boil maple sap into pure maple syrup from trees tapped on the Farm. Ask questions about tapping your own trees, and checking out WTF’s homestead-sized evaporator.
Learn About Chicken Keeping (March 27, April 24, May 8): A 3-session series for the novice; take 1, 2 or all 3. At the end, attendees of all 3 sessions can “adopt” 2 of the chicks raised on the farm, and bring home a starter pack with feeder, waterer, wood shavings and 5 pounds of organic feed. $60 per session; $50 for starter pack. Click here for more information, and to register.
Lamb socials (selected dates, March 31 through May 1; $20): Snuggle and hold lambs, to socialize the new flock; watch them play. All ages welcome. Click here for details and registration.
Home Vegetable Gardening: Dos and Don’ts (Monday, April 10, 7 p.m.). WTF farmer Sharon Stone describes how the Farm prepares for the growing season, past mistakes they’ve learned from, and the importance of maintenance and management. All ages and gardening levels are welcome. Click here to register.
Lunch and Learn to Cook an Italian Meal with Chef Vita (May 16, 11 a.m.; $125). On the menu: orecchiette pasta. Click here to register.
In addition, registration for spring programs begins online next Friday (March 10, 9 a.m.). Click here for details.
Down at the farm … (Photo/Lauri Weiser)
Staples Player alum Remy Laifer has joined the national tour of “Fiddler on the Roof.” He’ll play Mendel.
The Class of 2017 graduate will also understudy for Motel — a role he played in Players’ production of the same show. (Hat tips: David Roth and Kerry Long)
Save the date, for one of our town’s best (and most delicious) fundraisers:
Taste of Westport returns May 10 (6 p.m., the Inn at Longshore).
The 17th annual event — featuring fantastic food, wine and spirits from more than 2 dozen of the area’s best vendors, plus live music ad a silent auction — benefits CLASP Homes. The non-profit provides homes, support and services to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Tickets are $125 per person from March 10 until April 9, then $150 until they sell out. Click here to purchase. For sponsorship opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-226-7895, ext. 144.
NBC Connecticut’s “CT Live” featured a fascinating interview yesterday about the Westport Country Playhouse.
In just 5 minutes, cultural associate and archivist Bruce Miller gave a history of the famed space; described the stage, sets and costumes, and added a plea to support live theater everywhere, in these post-pandemic days.
Click here to see.
Screenshot from “CT Live.”
Rita Leyden died Thursday, at 85. She and her husband Tom — who died in 2020 — lived in Westport from 1965 through 2019.
Her son Tommy posted this tribute on Facebook:
“We mourn today because Mom has gone home, but we’re also celebrating and giving thanks for how fortunate we were to absorb her spirit, wisdom and love for 85 years.
“Where will I go for my fill-up of confidence and reassurance? A selfish reflection, but I’m not alone in saying Rita Leyden was the queen of providing a boost of conviction when you needed it, sometimes right after she tactfully told you there was room for improvement.
“Mom was a woman of extraordinary elegance and faith, a rare fusion of class and humility. Her virtuous essence was pure, her love was sacrificial and whole. She believed in reconciliation and the power of positive reinforcement, always empowering others to find their right path as she offered support.
“Inspired each day by her dedication to Catholicism, her regular trips to church kept Mom centered on surrendering her soul to God and living a life of generous example. She trusted prayer in times of need and times of thanksgiving. With a Miraculous Medal always around her neck, Mom sought peace and graciously granted forgiveness to everyone in her life who sought it. Those who couldn’t find the strength to ask, she forgave anyway, and that’s a lesson we can all carry with us.
“Her smile was soothing, the signature grin of an eager hostess, pleased to open her home to guests. When you entered 6 Bradley Street, and 2 Garden Street before that, you were part of the family. Now, that may mean you had to take the buns out of the oven, grab a knife out of the drawer or bring a plate to the table, but if you were spending time laughing with Rita, even washing a pile of dishes by hand was fun.
“Perhaps most endearing was Mom’s true appreciation for others. It takes great humility and self-confidence to listen intently and Mom was truly engaged. With a warm hug and intent eye contact, she would ask about your life, your accomplishments and your struggles because she cared about each and how they affected you. If you wanted her opinion, Mom would offer intelligent insight.
“She was able to balance her words of support and encouragement with wit and humor, sharply delivering a memorable punch-line or zinger with pizazz. Every family has classic moments and Mom delivered more than a few.
“Even in her final days, Mom was always thinking about the details that make a difference. Just last week, I made her famous chocolate chip bars for a colleague. She reminded me to cut them a little smaller than I did the last time.
“Like the stories in the thousands of books she flipped through over the course of eight glorious decades, her life story was page-turning in its excitement, colored with fantastic twists and turns, drama, sadness and laughter.
“We spoke 2 weeks ago about growing old and reaching the end. Mom shrugged and told me, ‘There’s nothing you can do. Just hang in there the best you can. It’s part of the journey.’
“Another morsel of wisdom from the woman who never failed to fill up my tank of reassurance.
“Give Dad a hug. I’m glad you’re reunited.”
Rita and Tom Leyden
A river runs through downtown Westport.
And though we don’t always notice, it’s one of our greatest natural resources. Andrew Fishman captured it recently, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.
And finally … in honor of Remy Laifer’s new touring gig (story above), here’s a video from his 2015 production, with Staples Players: