Tag Archives: Bill Scheffler

Roundup: COVID Testing, VOTE!, Dentists, Kart Racing, More


As the number of COVID cases rises in Connecticut, so does testing demand.

This was the scene today before 7 a.m., at the St. Vincent’s Health Center site. The line of cars stretched far down Long Lots Road.

(Photo/Adam Stolpen)


Remember that “VOTE” sculpture that went up right before Election Day on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge?

It was created by Westporter Mark Yurkiw.

On Tuesday morning — as voters headed to the polls — this was all that remained:

Mark collected the pieces. He realized the damage did not come from the wind. If that was the culprit, they’d be scattered on the river. Instead, Mark says, all the letters were there on the ground.

He collected them, brought them home, and took this photo:

(Photos/Mark Yurkiw)

He calls this tryptic “Battered Not Broken.”


“Rock Paper Scissors” — the sculpture, not the game — was officially dedicated yesterday on Jesup Green. now that the official ribbon cutting has taken place.

Ann Sheffer — who with her husband Bill Scheffler dedicated the work — eloquently described how the influence of her Westport family encouraged her longtime support of the Westport Library, and how her desire to keep the arts thriving in Westport led to the establishment of the Arts Advisory Committee and the position of town curator (now filled by Kathie Motes Bennewitz.)

Dedicating “Rock Paper Scissors” yesterday (from left): Westport Library director Bill Harmer, town arts curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz, Westport Arts Advisory committee co-chair Nancy Diamond, donors Bill Scheffler and Ann Sheffer, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. (Photo/Randa Trivisonno)

And one more election-related photo…

Anne Lowrie sent this along. The flag is in her back yard. It struck her as “appropriate for the current times: beat up but still flying.”

(Photo/Anne Lowrie)


The other day my dentist emailed me, requesting confirmation of an upcoming appointment. It prominently noted I’d be charged $50 if I canceled less than 24 hours in advance.

Then — less than 24 hours before my appointment — he emailed again. He had to cancel; his hygienist would not be in the next day.

I assume I’ll get $50 off my next visit. Right?


In early March, “06880” profiled Vivek Kanthan. The 10-year-old Westporter had just launched his (very successful) kart racing career.

A few days later, COVID-19 struck. Suddenly, his spring and summer plans were on hold.

When competition resumed, Vivek was ready. All told this year he competed in 16 races, and reached the podium 12 times.

Next year the young racer moves up a class, and faces even fiercer competition. it begins with 2 national events in Miami. Good luck, Vivek!

Vivek Kanthan, and his trophies.


Sharing a post-Halloween meal on Manitou Road:

(Photo/Francoise Jaffe)


And finally … speaking of dentists:

Roundup: Loud Bangs, Rock Paper Scissors, Westport Inn, More


A reader writes:

“Dan, have you heard reports about random loud bangs going on all over town at night? It was on Facebook “Westport Front Porch” again last night, and also on my private street group text (Old Hill area). We all experienced it a few nights ago, and each thought it was outside our own house.

“As far as we know the police get called, but nothing comes of it.”

What’s going on? If you know, click “Comments” below.


This hasn’t gotten much publicity. But the Westport Inn — Westport’s only hotel — has been sold.

It’s closed for renovations. The website says “We look forward to welcoming you back in January 2021.”


The Water Rats swim team is crawling out of the pool long enough to do some land-based good.

Tomorrow (Saturday, November 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), they’re holding a food drive to benefit the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

Water Rats are collecting Thanksgiving-themed food items and other non-perishables. Drop-off is the gravel parking lot at the Westport Weston Family YMCA. You don’t even have to get out of your car!

Click here for a list of requested items.

 


“Rock, Paper, Scissors” is the latest attraction on Jesup Green by the Westport Library.

No, not the game. This is the a very cool sculpture of the same name.

The gift of Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler is already attracting attention. Moments after installation was complete, a young couple with a toddler strolled by.

“Wonderful work! Great spot!” they said. “Kids will love it.”

By which they of course meant “kids of all ages!”

Westport arts curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz (far left) with the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” installation team. Not pictured, but part of the crew were Westporters Rob Haroun and Scott Rochlin. 


And finally … in honor of Westport’s newest outdoor art (above):

Rock Paper Scissors Coming Downtown. Everyone Wins!

If you thought the giant “Typewriter Eraser” sculpture on Beachside Avenue was cool, you’ll love this news.

An equally large piece is being donated to Westport.

And it’s planned for a much more visible location than a Greens Farms lawn.

“Rock Paper Scissors” monument is a gift from longtime arts philanthropists Ann Sheffer and her husband Bill Scheffler. The 9-foot high artwork will be placed at the top of Jesup Green, near the new path leading down to the river. It will complement nearby sculptures.

Kevin Box’s “Rock Paper Scissors” monument. This is obviously not its location in Westport.

The Board of Selectmen have already reviewed the gift. It goes before the Planning & Zoning Commission on May 14, and then must be accepted by the RTM.

In its application request, the sponsoring Westport Arts Advisory Committee said that sculptor Kevin Box “pushes boundaries of traditional metal casting by creating sculptures that are so delicate, detailed and weightless that they appear to be made simply of paper.”

Combined with the “fortitude of metal,” that results in “whimsical, fun and beautiful pieces with surprising weight, both literally and figuratively.”

Sheffer — a 1966 graduate of Staples High School, who as a 6-term member of the RTM chaired its Library, Museum and Arts Committee — and her Staples classmate Scheffler have long been involved with the town’s arts scene, as well as the Westport Library.

(For more details on the “Rock Paper Scissors Monument,” click here.)

2 Degrees Of Art Separation

As every Kevin Bacon fan knows, everyone in the world is connected by just 6 degrees of separation.

With a Westport connection, those degrees of separation are much closer.

Alert “06880” reader Evan Stein sends along a story that begins with Kate Burns-Howard and Scott Froschauer.

Before graduating from Staples High School, they had worked together at Fine Arts IV. Now Scott’s a Los Angeles-based artist, getting attention for works that use street signs to convey more useful instructions (like “Breathe” and “All We Have is Now”).

On Facebook, Kate reposted a story about a friend who was selling Scott’s art at a Palm Springs show. Kate mentioned Ann Sheffer in the post — probably because Ann is the mother of Kate’s good friend Emily Reich. And Ann (a longtime Westporter and proud Staples grad) now spends a lot of time in Palm Springs. And Ann is a noted art collector.

Turns out, Ann and her husband Bill Scheffler had already bought a piece in Scott’s show — but had no idea he’s from Westport, or that he knew their daughter and her friend.

Kevin Bacon would be proud.

Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler, with their new Scott Froschauer work..

 

Down By The River

It’s a beloved tradition: In mid-July, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association  hosts a Fine Arts Festival on Parker Harding Plaza and Gorham Island.

Across the Post Road, the Westport Library fills a jinormous tent with over 80,000 items, for its annual books (and much more) sale.

Part of the tradition: It’s always held on the hottest day of the year.

Today marks a nice break from that tradition. Rain did not keep 300 folks from lining up before the book sale opened. Every artist, sculptor and photographer was good to go too.

By mid-afternoon the clouds lifted. Over 3,000 books-and-more lovers hauled boxes and bags to their cars. A similar number strolled along the river, admiring (and buying) artwork.

The 42nd annual Fine Arts Festival continues tomorrow (Sunday, July 19) 10 a.m.-5 p.m..

The “Bookstravaganza” continues tomorrow and Monday (July 19-20), 9 a.m.-6 p.m. It ends Tuesday (July 21), 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Scores of artists invited art-lovers to admire their works.

Scores of artists invited art-lovers to admire their works…

...like this painting...

…like this painting…

...and this piece of glass.

…and this piece of glass.

Parker Harding Plaza is a great location for the art show. The river provides a welcoming backdrop -- and permanent art lines the walkway.

Parker Harding Plaza is a great location for the art show. The river provides a welcoming backdrop — and permanent art lines the walkway.

Living art was on display too this afternoon.

Living art was on display too this afternoon.

Noted art patrons Bill Scheffler and Ann Sheffer enjoyed the show today, with Ann's daughter Betty Stolpen (she works at the Whitney Museum) and her friend Matt Glick.

Noted art patrons Bill Scheffler and Ann Sheffer enjoyed the show today, with Ann’s daughter Betty Stolpen (she works at the Whitney Museum) and her friend Matt Glick.

Meanwhile, at the Westport Library book sale, there was something for everyone...

Meanwhile, at the Westport Library book sale, there was something for everyone…

...no matter what your taste in books ... (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

…no matter what your taste in books … (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

... or magazines. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

… or magazines. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

New library director Bill Harmer does not officially begin until July 27. But he was at the book sale today, checking out the legendary event.

New library director Bill Harmer does not officially begin until July 27. But he was at the book sale today, checking out the legendary event.

One satisfied customer, among thousands.

One satisfied customer, among thousands.

 

 

Concours, Of Course

Today’s 1st-ever “Concours d’Caffeine” was a roaring success.

No. there were not a lot of loud engines.

Just plenty of cars — antiques, classics, limited editions, expensive, and very cool ones.

You did not have to be an automotive buff to admire the buffed, shining vehicles. All you needed was an admiring eye, and a cup of coffee as you strolled around the train station.

The Concours was sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, with help from Bill Scheffler, John Shuck, Tim Walsh and Frank Taylor.

Let’s hope it becomes an annual tradition. Maybe one day my 2000 Camry will fit right in.

(NOTE:  Click or hover on any photo to enlarge.)

Little GTO, you're really lookin' fine...

Little GTO, you’re really lookin’ fine…

Like Jaguars today, this 1948 model must have been the envy of many other drivers.

Like Jaguars today, this 1948 model must have been the envy of many other drivers.

This 1915 Trumbull was built in Bridgeport. There were 20 on the Lusitania when it was sunk by the Germans that year. Also on board: Isaac Trumbull, who was traveling to Europe to close a deal. His company went down with the ship.

This 1915 Trumbull was built in Bridgeport. There were 20 on the Lusitania when it was sunk by the Germans. Also on board: Isaac Trumbull, who was traveling to Europe to close a deal. His company went down with the ship.

George Dragone -- of Dragone Classic Motorcars -- loves this 1928 Packard. He says it represents a transition from "boxy, unexciting" cars that preceded it, to "beautifully styled ones"that followed.

George Dragone — of Dragone Classic Motorcars — loves this 1928 Packard. He says it represents a transition from “boxy, unexciting” cars that preceded it, to “beautifully styled ones” that followed.

Only in Westport do 8-year-olds like Max Manchester have their own Escalades.

Only in Westport do 8-year-olds like Max Manchester have their own Escalades.

Two symbols of American automotive power: a Chevrolet (front) and Ford (Mustang Mach 1).

Two symbols of American automotive power: a Chevy and Ford (Mustang Mach 1).

Among the attendees at Concours d'Caffeine: Jim Motovalli, a 1970 Staples graduate and noted car journalist (New York Times, NPR's Car Talk, etc.).

Among the attendees at Concours d’Caffeine: Jim Motovalli, a 1970 Staples graduate and noted New York Times and NPR car journalist.

Most classic cars don't have stickers. The owner of this one has a good sense of humor.

Most classic cars don’t have stickers. The owner of this one has a good sense of humor.

Why can't the railroad station always look like this?

Why can’t the railroad station always look like this?

 

Word On The Street (And We Do Mean “Street”) …

… is that Michael Douglas is making a movie about Westport.

An unconfirmed source says that the famed actor/producer’s new project looks back on his teenage days here. It will focus on his beloved Downshifters — the club that met at the Y to talk about, learn about, work on (and sometimes race) cars.

American Graffiti: Eat your heart out.

In 2013 -- while filming "And So It Goes" in Bridgeport -- Michael Douglas drove Westporter Bill Scheffler's Mercedes.

In 2013 — while filming “And So It Goes” in Bridgeport — Michael Douglas drove Westporter Bill Scheffler’s Mercedes.

Bill Scheffler’s Benz Is A Movie Star

There’s something about Michael Douglas and Westport cars.

Growing up here, he was a member of the Downshifters — the high school club that met at the Y to talk about, learn about, work on (and sometimes race) cars.

Last summer, he filmed “And So It Goes” in Bridgeport. Directed by Rob Reiner, and also starring Diane Keaton, it’s about a self-absorbed realtor suddenly left in charge of a granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off. It was released last week.

Besides the familiar Black Rock scenes (and familiar former Westport actor), there’s a familiar car.

Michael Douglas driving Bill Scheffler's Mercedes.

Michael Douglas driving Bill Scheffler’s Mercedes.

Westporter Bill Scheffler’s 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SE Cabriolet takes a star turn. With the star.

Douglas drives it — and it is featured prominently in the promos.

Scheffler bought the Benz in January 2013, at a Scottsdale auction. It’s a fairly limited production car — about 3100 hard tops and convertibles were made over the model’s 6-year life — and was built to rigorous standards.

The auction catalogue says the 300SE offered “a stirring combination of luxury and performance along with technical specifications better than anything else of its era.”

So how did Scheffler’s car make it onto Rob Reiner’s set?

It was spotted by a “talent scout/car wrangler” while being restored in Stratford.

And so it goes.

Michael Douglas poster

 

 

 

Honoring Ann Sheffer: Queen Of Arts

If you’ve lived in Westport for any length of time, you know the name Ann Sheffer.

You may know her work with the Westport Arts Center. Or the Westport Country Playhouse. Or Westport Historical Society. Or Westport Library.

If it’s related to culture — and Westport — Ann is involved.

Last Saturday, the WAC honored her as its “Queen of Arts.” (Pretty clever: The event was their annual fundraiser, with a “Wonderland” theme.)

Ann Sheffer in her role as "Queen of Arts."

Ann Sheffer in her role as “Queen of Arts.” (Photo/Helen Klisser During)

The tribute included a 10-minute video, produced by Westporter Doug Tirola’s 4th Row Films. Plenty of boldface names appear, like Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Jim Himes, Maxine Bleiweis, Miggs Burroughs and Gordon Joseloff, along with Ann’s brother, son, daughter, grandkids, and husband Bill Scheffler. (They met sitting next to each other alphabetically in a Staples homeroom, then re-connected 25 years later).

There are some great lines, including Miggs’ “her canvas is Westport, her palette is everyone in it.”

In whatever capacity you know Ann — or even if you’ve just heard her name — this video is well worth watching. It’s Westport — and Westporters — at their finest.

(If your browser does not take you directly to YouTube, click here.)

Christopher Walken: Funny Or Not?

Funny or Die is a website that is usually, well, funny.

“Cooking With Christopher Walken,” though, could be the least amusing of the thousands of videos, stories, jokes and picture captions on the entire site.

Basically, Richard Belzer meets Walken at Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler’s Westport house. They go to Stew Leonard’s, shop for chicken, go home, cook dinner, and muddle through a conversation that is supposedly a parody of a cooking show.

I did not laugh once.

Although it is certainly a very nice house.