Tag Archives: black bear

Roundup: Pops, Pride, Paw Prints …

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In many ways, yesterday was the first “normal” day in nearly 15 months.

Hundreds of people gathered at Jesup Green for a joyful Pride celebration. hundreds more swarmed Compo Beach, or took boats out on the Sound. At night, the Levitt Pavilion opened its gates for the Westport Schools’ annual Pops Concert.

The previous night’s show was moved by weather to the Staples High auditorium. But last night was as close to old times as anyone could hope for.

The crowd was limited to smaller numbers than usual. But everything else was the same: spectacular music, of near-professional quality. An appreciative, picnic-toting audience.

And, yes, pride and joy, in celebrating our kids, and our town, together again.

Last night at the Levitt Pavilion. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Candi Innaco conducts the band for the final time. She is retiring after 36 years as a music instructor. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

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Speaking of Staples: On Friday, the school held its first-ever LGBTQ Art Show.

Two dozen works of all kind were displayed prominently in the main hallway.

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Tim Lukens was enjoying yesterday’s weather, listening to music and quietly weeding his flower garden, when he came “literally 6 inches — nose to nose” — with the black bear wandering through Westport’s woods. This encounter was near Wilton Road, just north of Merritt Parkway Exit 41.

Here’s the aftermath:

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Barnes & Noble’s Westport store is internationally famous.

Well, at least it got a shoutout in the Financial Times.

A long profile on James Daunt — the Briton who rescued the small Waterstones book store chain from Amazon, and is attempting to do the same now for B&N — mentioned our local shop.

Daunt used the pandemic to rearrange layouts. Stores — including the newly opened one downtown — look less like “libraries”; round tables make them more browser-friendly. Click here for the full story. (Hat tips: Henry Engler, Jon Fraade)

Barnes & Noble Westport: now browser-friendly.

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If you’re like many Westport families, you’ve got a few basketballs lying around the house (or garage).

Staples High School sophomore (and player) Zach Brody wants them. He’s organized a collection for Full Court Peace, a non-profit that brings hoops and equipment to communities that need them.

Basketballs will be collected this coming week (June 7 to 14), in a bin in Staples’ main hallway.

Can’t make it to the high school? Email zbrody52@gmail.com to arrange for pickup.

 

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Speaking of sports: The Staples High School sailing team completed another successful season. The varsity had a 5-0 sweep at the Silver cup, and tied Greenwich for 3rd at the state regatta.

The Wreckers compete against other Fairfield County high schools, both private and public. Cedar Point is the host club, and provides the boats.

The Staples High School sailing team.

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While a Netflix movie is being filmed in Westport, the Country Playhouse parking lot has been rented to the production crew. It serves as a staging area, through June 16.

Most Winslow Park dog lovers realize it’s a private lot, and heed the signs and staff. Some, though, ignore them, and park anyway.

WCP general manager Beth Huisking says, “We love Westport, and want to be a valued member of the community. To be reciprocated with disrespect from some community members is disheartening.

“When we close the lot it is because we need the space (the hour or so before a performance), or because something is going on that requires us to use all spaces.

“In the case of the production crew, with large trucks and vans pulling through the lot, we want to make sure everyone (people, animals, even cars) are safe. So please, until June 16, park at the Winslow lot on Compo Road North. Thank you.”

One of the many trucks in the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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And finally … today is the 63rd anniversary of Prince’s birth. The singer-songwriter and producer died in 2016, at 57.

Roundup: Black Bear, Private Ryan, Chad Knight …

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A black bear has been making its way south, from northern Fairfield County. On Saturday, it roamed around the Cranbury area of Norwalk.

Yesterday, the medium-sized mammal lumbered into Westport. Stella Wong spotted it in her Old Hill back yard, around 9 a.m.

“It looked healthy and beautiful,” she reports. Then it headed downhill, toward Wilton Road.

(Photo/Stella Wong)

Later yesterday, the bear was spotted at the Westport Weston Family YMCA, near Mahackeno.

No word on whether it had a membership pass.

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Last night’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Saving Private Ryan” was rained out.

It’s rescheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday, June 1, 8 p.m.). So you can extend your Memorial Day weekend one day.

Click here for ticket information, and future shows.

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Staples High School students raise funds for many worthy projects. They thank their donors, work hard — but in their busy day-to-day worlds, never share the results of their efforts.

Jackson Cregan remembers.

The 9th grader loves Sherwood Island. After raising funds for Friends of Sherwood Island, he sent along this update:

“100%  of your donations were used to purchase seagrass and jute erosion control cloth, trees and shrubs.

“In early April, I helped restore dunes. We planted 2,400 seagrass stems with 18 volunteers. In late April, we planted 125 trees and shrubs with 20 volunteers.

Jackson volunteers there nearly every week. He is learning from Michele Sorensen and other master gardeners. He helps with dune restoration, removing invasive species, tree planting, creating pollinator pathways, and maintenance.

Great work, Jackson! And thanks for letting all of us know what’s going on at our great state park.

Jackson Cregan, with Michele Sorenson.

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Congratulations to Chad Knight!

Yesterday the former Staples High School and Little League World Series star’s current team — Duke University — won the ACC championship, 1-0 over NC State. It was the Blue Devils’ 4th ACC baseball title — but first in 60 years.  

Knight — a 2-time state champion at Staples — batted .272, with 2 home runs, this year.

Chad Knight

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Memorial Day weekend’s rains meant a washout for many local businesses.

News12 sent a crew to Joey’s by the Shore. As expected, sales were slow. The popular deli/market had stocked up on supplies, expecting big crowds. But neighbors were stopping in. And the cameraman got some great shots, of Joey’s and Old Mill Beach.

Click here for the report.

Screenshot from yesterday’s News12 report.

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The Sunrise Rotary Club has missed 2 years’ worth of Great Duck Race fundraising efforts. Which means we haven’t seen Sunny the Duck bobbing in the Saugatuck River for 2 years either.

But the club is marching in today’s Memorial Day parade. And they’re marching with “Little Ralphie,” Sunny’s smaller counterpart.

Club members inflated Ralphie yesterday. They had a blast.

From left: Sunrise Rotary president George Masumian; members Jake Labate, Mark Mathias and Mike Hibbard. Little Ralphie is behind them. (Drone photo/Mark Mathias)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo includes this mommy and her 10 babies. Can you find them all?

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … B.J. Thomas died yesterday at his home near Dallas, of complications from lung cancer. He was 78.

Though best known for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” — the song from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which connected him forever with Westport’s Paul Newman and Weston’s Robert Redford — he had many other successes. Fifteen singles reached the Top 10, and he earned 5 Grammys.

I never liked “Raindrops.” But I sure did appreciate much of the rest of B.J. Thomas’ music. What a voice! (Click here for a full obituary.)

Bear With Us: The Sequel

Earlier today, “06880” posted news of a bear sighting on North Avenue — along with tips of what to do (and not do) if a bear is near.

A couple of hours later, this bear was spotted on Hermit Lane — a few miles away, near Wilton Road.

(Photo/Alec Shutze)

The same one? A different one?

We’re not sure.

But click here if you need a reminder of how to act if you see a bear.

Or more.

Bear With Us

The Westport Police report that around 8:30 this morning, a North Avenue resident reported a black bear on his property. Officers tracked it to the area of 300 North Avenue and Tuck Lane.

The bear was not acting aggressively. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division was notified.

Police note that black bears are becoming increasingly common in Connecticut. Residents should take precautions to prevent negative encounters with bears and nuisance behavior.

In 2013, Cablevision News12 aired this dramatic shot of a black bear in Westport.

Bears have an incredible sense of smell. Secure garbage in sturdy covered containers in a garage or outbuilding.

If you compost, do so responsibly. Do not throw meat scraps or greasy, oily or sweet materials in the compost pile. These foods attract bears and other animals.

Clean barbecues and grills after each use. Do not leave pet food outdoors, and remove bird feeders from your property for the summer.

Keep an eye on pets and small children playing outside.

If you see a bear, do not approach it. The mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. If left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas.

Sightings can be reported to Westport Animal Control (203-341-5076).  For more information on bears, click here.

Bear With Us

A big black bear’s weekend ramble through Westport elicited plenty of chatter. There were blog posts,  Facebook photos, some bad puns (see headline above), and predictable jokes about what bears do in the woods.

But lurking behind all the heh-heh-I’m-not-worried comments are serious issues.

An “06880” reader — who has had extended conversations with the Merritt Parkway Conservancy and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection — emailed me with several concerns.

“State urban forest experts have suggested that deforestation of the Merritt Parkway, and clear-cutting for large developments like the new YMCA at Mahackeno, will result in more wildlife venturing into residential areas from previously forested areas.

“And a black bear appears in backyards soon after.”

The bear, on Tupelo Road.

The bear, on Tupelo Road.

“Although a bear may be categorized as a singular public safety issue, it should be considered in context with other issues,” the reader continues.

“Reduction of urban forest  in suburban communities ultimately results in other public safety issues. For instance, Westport is wedged between 2 significant diesel fume corridors. Particulate matter from both the Merritt and I-95  corridors is filtered by the urban forest.” Increased levels of asthma may result.

Clear-cutting dangerous trees on the Merritt Parkway solves one problem. But traffic jams -- due to tree work, accidents or just plain rush hour -- brings other environmental problems.

Clear-cutting dangerous trees on the Merritt Parkway solves one problem. But traffic jams — due to tree work, accidents or just plain rush hour — brings other environmental problems.

The reader also worries that after large parcels of land are deforested, they are paved with conventional asphalt — not modern “pervious paving,” which reduces runoff, traps suspended solids, and filters pollutants from the water.

“Certainly we cannot solve everything instantly,” the reader acknowledges.

“The bear is not the primary issue. But it could be an example of cause and effect specific to Merritt Parkway and Mahackeno deforestation. We need to identify issues as they arise, and together plan viable strategies for urban forest management.”

The Bear Came Over The Mountain…

Actually, we’re not sure where he came from.

But we know where he was spotted: Tupelo Road.

Other Bayberry Lane-area residents saw the black bear this evening too.

Bear on Tupelo Road, Westport CT

This may not be the best photograph “06880” has ever run.

But it sure is one of the scariest.