Tag Archives: Church Lane

Roundup: Pre-Henri Edition

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Being proactive here: In the event of a power outage, “06880” may need a temporary home. If any reader has a generator and space where I can work, please email: dwoog@optonline.net. All options are gratefully accepted!

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As summer winds down, the Westport Garden Club found a perfect spot for its #FridayFlowers arrangement: the lifeguard shack at Compo Beach.

Those guys (and girls) definitely deserve the love!

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When the 2020 (’21) Paralympic Games begin Tuesday in Tokyo, Westporters should pay attention to swimmer Matthew Torres.

The 20-year-old Fairfield University sophomore — born without part of his right leg and missing all but one toe on his left foot, along with curvature of his hands — will compete in the 100 and 400 meter freestyle, and 100 meter backstroke.

He’s a proud alum of the Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rats program — and winner of the 200 individual medley at the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series.

Go get ’em, Matthew. And congrats to the Water Rats, who helped get him there!

Matthew Torres

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The Westport Police Benevolent Association Car Cruise scheduled for today (Saturday), has been canceled due to weather concerns. The new date is October 2 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Westport PBA car rally

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All 3 sailors from Longshore Sailing School’s week-long regatta in honor of the late Doug Sheffer are Staples High School students. In the photo below, winner James Russell is flanked by second place finisher Annabelle Lott, and bronze medalist Alex St. Andre.

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Who knows what Henri will bring?

But even as the clouds rolled in, there were few worries last night at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Alina Pitchon)

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

(Photo/Dorothy Robertshaw)

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In addition to the beach, Westporters flocked last night to Jazz at MoCA, featuring Samara Joy and the Pasquale Grasso trio ,,,

(Photo/JC Martin)

… and more music at the Levitt Pavilion, with Lizzie No. She was spellbinding, and her friend Amy Irving joined her for a “Cecilia” duet …

(Photo/JC Martin)

… and of course outdoor dining, on Church Lane and elsewhere in town.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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“Tiny jumpers” is the way Molly Alger describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … in honor of Henri:

Question Box: Answers #1

Last week, I introduced the “06880” Question Box.

It’s a chance to ask anything you’ve wondered about (with a Westport angle, of course). Questions can be current or historical, concrete or abstract, deep or shallow.

I’ll attempt to answer them. If I don’t have the answer, I’m sure other “06880” readers will.

You responded quickly. Here’s the first set of questions. And — where appropriate — the answers.

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Who is Grace Salmon, and why is there a park named for her? (Arlene Yolles)

According to Woody Klein’s history of Westport, Grace King Salmon was a founding member of the Westport Woman’s Club.

The wife of Frederick Salmon — Connecticut state comptroller, and president of Westport Bank & Trust — she died in 1939. She left a trust in her own name to benefit the town.

Virginia Sherwood, Westport Garden Club chairman, applied for grants from the trust and other agenciees to design a park on 3 acres of Saugatuck River landfill across the river from where the Salmons lived (now the Assumption Church rectory).

It took several years to solve the site’s environmental problems. But the Garden Club developed Connecticut’s first park built on a former landfill, and won an award for its efforts.

Today, Grace K. Salmon Park is one of Westport’s hidden-in-plain-site treasures. It’s on Imperial Avenue near Baker Avenue — a few yards from the Westport Woman’s Club, which its namesake helped found.

The scene from Grace Salmon Park across the Saugatuck River, near where the Salmon family once lived. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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When did the junior high system start in Westport? (Joyce Barnhart)

From its opening in 1884, and for the next 42 years, Staples High School included 7th through 9th graders.

In 1926, construction of a new “Bedford Junior High School” — aided, in large part, by a $145,000 gift from E.T. Bedford — was nearly complete. Situated across a field from the original Staples High School on Riverside (where the auditorium of what is now Saugatuck Elementary School now sits), the building (now Kings Highway Elementary) included an “unusually good” gymnasium, auditorium and stage — all of which would be shared by the high school.

The 18-acre plot between the schools was planned as a well-equipped “playground” (athletic fields) for students and adults.

So 1926 was when the first junior high — for 7th, 8th and 9th graders — opened in Westport. Long Lots followed in the early 1950s, Coleytown in 1965.

Kings HIghway Elementary School was originally Bedford Junior High. Fields separated it from the first Staples High. Look closely, and you can still see “Bedford” above the front door.

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Who is “Bob”? This sign (below) has hung for years on the south side of New Creek Road, opposite Maple Lane, near the Greens Farms train station. (Bill Ryan)

(Photo/Bill Ryan)

Damned if I know. This question has been posed at least once on “06880,” to no avail. If any readers know who “Bob” is — and/or who put his sign high in that tree — click “Comments” below.

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What’s the story with the Mercedes station wagon that’s been parked in the same spot for months on Myrtle Avenue, in front of Town Hall? (See photo below.)

The tracks around it from the street sweeper are clear evidence it has not moved. It’s covered in dust, still containing someone’s belongings. No tickets on the windshield, or other signs of official notice, just yards from Town Hall. (Michael Moore)

(Photo/Michael Moore)

Believe it or not, I’ve never noticed it — and I drive past Town Hall every day.

But hey, “06880” readers: If you’ve lost your Mercedes-Benz, we know where it is.

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If Westport is located on the eastern side of Long Island Sound, why is it not named Eastport? (Ray Broady)

Well, first of all, Westport is north, south, east and west of a lot of things.

How we got our name in 1835 — when our town was officially incorporated, carved out of the towns of Norwalk, Wilton, Weston and Fairfield — has been a matter of dispute for nearly 200 years.

One theory is that it is a port west of Fairfield (our original European settlers came to what is now Greens Farms, from Fairfield).

Another theory is that because the new town was not named Saugatuck — a state representative claimed it sounded too much like “succotash” — the name “Westport” paid homage to that neighborhood, which was a port on the west side of the Saugatuck River.

Robert Lambdin’s Saugatuck mural. The “port” was on the West bank of the Saugatuck River.

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Why are Westport sidewalks not maintained, not ADA compliant, and not cleared of snow on a timely basis? Why are there no continuous sidewalks on Post Road? Why can’t I walk from Sylvan to Whole Foods? (Monica Buesser)

I asked Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich. He says:

“ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps with detectable warning pads are only required at roadways, not at driveways. The reason you see some sidewalks without ADA ramps at roadways, or with ramps that appear to be non-compliant with the current ADA regs, is that they may have not been replaced recently, and may have been constructed incorrectly, constructed to an earlier ADA standard, or constructed before the ADA regulations were made stricter. As we reconstruct sidewalks around town, we are correcting that situation by installing appropriate ramps where the ADA regs dictate.

“Currently residential properties are cleared of ice and snow by the town. There is no requirement for residential zoned properties to clear their sidewalks.  Commercial use properties are required to clear ice and snow from the front of their establishments within 24 hours.

“Having said that, with approximately 23 miles of residential sidewalks, it often takes us multiple days to clear all the sidewalks after a big storm, and if we have back to back storms we prioritize the roads first, then the parking lots, then the sidewalks. We appreciate residents helping us out any way they can during the winter, by clearing the walk in front of their property.”

A new sidewalk was on North Avenue last year. It’s now ADA-compliant. (Photo/Michael Fleming)

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When will the 1-lane bridge on Bayberry Lane/White Birch Road go back to 2 lanes?

Another one for Public Works director Ratkiewich. He says:

“The Bayberry Lane bridge over the Aspetuck River is tied up in federal permitting right now with the Army Corps of Engineers. We hoped to go to construction this year, but due to the Army Corps’ backlog it appears we will bid this winter. and start construction in the spring of 2022.”

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When did the Westport Fire Department move its headquarters from Church Lane, next to the old YMCA (now Bedford Square) to the current Post Road site? (Dorrie Thomas)

1982, says Chief Robert Yost.

I did not ask — but probably should have — if that was the same time they discontinued their Saturday noontime horn test. It could be heard all over town. Nor do I know when the Department stopped alerting volunteer firefighters to the location of a blaze by horns. The short/long codes could be found on the inside of telephone directories. Remember them?

Former Fire Department headquarters, on Church Lane. The YMCA is on the left.

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Is water safe to drink from the tap? (Michelle Harmon)

I guess so. If it isn’t, I’m sure we would have heard about it by now.

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The “Question Box” is open for more questions. Just email dwoog@optonline.net!

Pics Of The Day #1522

One person said, “I feel like I’m in Key West.”

Another likened it to Burlington, Vermont. A third said “Italy.”

But all were on Church Lane tonight.

Perfect temperatures and a light breeze brought a big crowd to the blocked-off street.

Restaurants were packed. Music played. Franny’s Farmacy celebrated its 1-year anniversary. Kids played cornhole by Savannah Bee.

It felt like summer in Westport — just better, more appreciated, and more welcoming than ever.

Young kids posed as Staples High School graduate and recording artist Drew Angus played by Spotted Horse … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and then danced in the street (Photo/Jordan Schur)

 

Franny’s Farmacy family and friends gathered for the hemp wellness store’s 1 year anniversary celebration. It continues tomorrow, with events from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Photo/Dan Woog)

 

Lighting Up Main Street

Lights! Action!

One follows the other. And if one group has its way, there will soon be more lights down.

With more action sure to follow.

The Westport Downtown Association’s newest project is “Light Up Main Street.” The idea is to continue the string lights — currently on Church Lane — all the way down Main Street.

Speaking of action: Josh Allen and Robert Cornield have offered to match up to $2,500 for any donations made.

Church Lane lights.

They’re parents who have each spent the last 12-plus years raising their families here, and supporting the community however they can.

From Coleytown, Greens Farms, Bedford and Staples schools, to Wakemen Town Farm, Little League baseball, DARE, Catch A Lift and other interests close to this town’s heart, both love this town.

Now they turn their eyes downtown.

Josh — who sits on the Westport Downtown Association –and Robert say,
“Tremendous progress has been made downtown, and there is no letting up.  With the continued beautification of Church Lane with ornamental baskets and hanging lights, live music on the weekends and outdoor dining, there is a desire by local merchants and community members to have this atmosphere flow right into Main Street.

“Bright lights always bring joy and happiness.  However making these improvements comes with a cost. We’ll match up to $2,500 for any donations made to lighting up Main Street.”

The Westport Downtown Association hopes many Westporters will “contribute to the continued beautification of our town, and feel a part of this positive change. The sense of community will be enhanced as we continue to make our surroundings more welcoming to all.”

To contribute and learn more, click here.

Pic Of The Day #1503

Church Lane scene (Photo/JC Martin)

Pic Of The Day #1497

Church Lane, Saturday night (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Roundup: Farmers’ Market Totes, Library Videos, Live Music …

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Westport Farmers’ Market shoppers are environmentally conscious. Most bring their own bags.

But why tote a ratty old Stop & Shop bag when you can carry your produce, honey, dog treats and more in style?

The Market just unveiled their 2021 Friend of the Market bag. It costs $40. But many vendors offer discounts to shoppers who show the current season’s bag.

Proceeds support community programs run by WFM, including:

We Care: support for marketgoers who are battling illnesses.

Farmer To School To Community: a partnership between Staples High School, the Gillespie Center and local farmers. Students learn about local ingredients, while helping neighbors in need.

Farmer To Kids To Community teaches Bridgeport elementary school students how to use local and seasonal ingredients in delicious, healthy meals.

Get Growing: weekly events and contests designed for younger visitors.

Young Shoots: in collaboration with the Artists Collective, a youth photography contest.

Recipe Program: helps customers create easy, healthy, delicious meals using fresh local products.

Bridgeport Rescue Mission: a weekly partnership rewards residents in BRM’s rehabilitation program for good behavior with an outing to WFM, where they collect food from farmers and vendors.

Farmer-In-Need: a fund to help vendors who fall on hard times.

Chef At The Market showcases top chefs who support local farms.

Farms To Veterans To Community helps veterans affiliated learn to prepare farm-fresh food, thanks to WFM’s vast chef network.

Click here for more information on FOM bags, and WFM programming. The market runs every Thursday at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Westport Farmers’ Market 2021 bag.

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Speaking of sustainability: Over 500 families are participating in Westport’s food scrap recycling program. Almost 10 tons are being diverted from the incinerator each month.

But Sustainable Westport hopes to do more — much more. Their goal is to double our town’s food scrap recycling participation in the next 6 months.

They’re spurred by a matching grant of $7,500 from Sustainable CT. Funds raised will educate and inspire residents about the project. Click here to donate.

The Paparo family was the first to use the transfer station drop-off food scrap recycling site, when it opened in July.

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The Westport Library’s website is filled with interesting and entertaining videos and podcasts.

Finding them, however, was not always easy.

The page — formerly the Library’s YouTube channel — has been redesigned. Searching is much more user-friendly and intuitive.

Click here now, for hundreds of programs, music recordings and podcasts.

In the future, just click “Resources” on the Library website menu bar.

Screenshot of the Westport Library’s video and podcast gallery page.

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“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is usually associated with Halloween.

But there’s never a bad time for it. So — just in time for Memorial Day weekend — the Remarkable Theater has scheduled a showing of the cult classic.

It’s Saturday, May 29. The gate opens at 7:30 p.m. The show begins at 8:30. Click here for tickets.

Let’s do the time warp again!

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Speaking of movies: Staples graduate Justin Paul will be in the limelight again on September 24.

That’s the release date for the movie version of “Dear Evan Hansen.” Tony-winning star Ben Platt leads the cast. The score — by Paul and his musical partner Benj Pasek — won a Tony too.

The Broadway version — suspended due to COVID — returns on December 11.

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WABC-TV Eyewitness News featured 2 locations in last night’s report on the restaurant industry, as the pandemic eases: the Upper West Side, and Westport.

Local interviewees included Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, Manna Toast’s Jason Wiener, and diner Sharon Maddern. Click here for the segment.

Matthew Mandell is interviewed by WABC Eyewitness News on Church Lane.

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Tomorrow (Thursday, May 20) is Asian Gold Ribbon Day. Gold ribbons — symbolizing opposition to anti-Asian violence — will be available for pickup tomorrow at the Westport Farmers’ Market (Imperial Avenue parking lot), and today and tomorrow at Arogya (131 Post Road East).

 

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Live music continues for outdoor dining on Church Lane this Friday.

From 6 to 9 p.m., a band called Picnic on the 4th of July provides entertainment.

Members include Westporters Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss. The string band specializes in traditional American roots and bluegrass music, with plenty of rock, folk, jazz and blues tossed in.

Westporters may know them from the Westport Downtown Association’s Holiday Stroll. This event too is sponsored by the WDA.

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Speaking of entertainment: Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater — a free broadcast series — presents its first audio play, “The Return,” on Saturday, May 29, (noon; rebroadcast on Sunday, May 30, 4 p.m.). It’s on all WSHU stations, and www.wshu.org.

“The Return” is a haunting tale, based on a Thai folk legend. It takes place after World War II, when a young soldier returns to his village to reunite with his wife and new baby. He is finally home — yet he feels completely alone.

Run time is 35 minutes. A brief discussion with the director follows. Click here for more details.

After broadcast on WSHU, the show will be accessible on the Playhouse website from May 31 through June 20.

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A recent “06880” photo of the lake that forms on the Compo Beach entrance road every time it rains — or drizzles — drew plenty of comments. But the photo I ran to illustrate it was just meh.

JC Martin has a much better one. He shot it a couple of years ago. But it’s a great way to illustrate the story — and to welcome another summer of sopping-wet fun.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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These signs appear every so often in Parker Harding Plaza.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

A reader wants to know: What is “Open Parking”? It’s always been free. Does it mean “no time limits”? If so, why not say it?

Whatever the answer: Enjoy!

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Speaking of signs: This one on a fence near North Avenue is a little hard to figure out at first — it’s “Stop Noise Pollution / Ban Leaf Blowers” rather than “Stop Noise Pollution Ban” — but it reflects the sentiment of a segment of Westporters.

(Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)

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And finally … today is the birthday of 2 of the music world’s rockingest rockers.

Pete Townshend — the Who’s co-founder, guitarist and songwriter — turns 76. Joey Ramone was born 70 years ago; he died a month before his 50th birthday, of lymphoma.

These songs — among both bands’ many others — epitomized their eras.

And here they are … together.

Roundup: Memorial Day Grand Marshal, Beach Stickers, Church Lane …

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Plans are underway for a traditional Memorial Day parade. And there’s no better tradition than the grand marshal.

This year’s honor goes to Nicholas Rossi. The 98-year-old World War II veteran has captured the hearts of Westporters since moving here several years ago, to live with his son, daughter-in-law and 3 grandchildren.

The Oyster Bay, Long Island native was a 4-sport (football, basketball, baseball, track) high school athlete.

After graduation in 1940, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. His flight crew was part of the 305th Bombardment Group of the 364th Squadron, assigned to the 8th Air Force Bomber Command in England. A technical sergeant, Rossi flew multiple bombing missions as a B-17 gunner over occupied central Europe.

He was discharged in March 1945, but remained in Liege, Belgium after the war. As a civilian, he was employed by the government to work with the American Graves Registration Command, locating and identifying unrecovered dead military personnel.

Rossi married in 1956 and raised 5 children (Paul, Christine, Caren, Carla and Peter) in the house he built in Mill Neck, New York. Since moving to Westport, he has gotten involved in the town. When his grandchildren were at Staples High School, he attended their many plays, concerts and athletic events.

Congratulations, Mr. Rossi, on this great honor. See you at the parade!

Nicholas Rossi

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This is the week for everyone to enjoy Compo and Old Mill Beaches.

Next Saturday (May 1), parking stickers (“emblems”) are required to enter. For Burying Hill Beach, the date is May 29.

Click here to log in; choose “Memberships,” then type “Vehicle” in the search box. Parking emblems may take a week to 10 days to arrive by mail.

Forgot your login and/or password? Email recreation@westportct.gov or call 203-341-5152.

This driver has plenty of beach stickers.

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Church Lane is once again closed for outdoor dining. And the Westport Downtown Association is doing its part to make the area even more alluring.

They’re producing 40 nights of dinner music, starting April 30. Every Friday and Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m., area musicians will play. They’re paying gigs. Funds come from sponsorships, and a GoFundMe page.

The WDA will also add lights, outlining details on the Patagonia building and beyond.

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Jeff Seaver waited in line this morning, for the hazardous waste drop-off at the Greens Farms railroad station.

He was not alone. There were 70 cars in line.

But the line moved quickly, Jeff says. “Volunteers worked their tails off. Westport at its best.”

They collected a lot of waste. Which means there’s a lot that is no longer hazardous, at home.

(Photo/Jeff Seaver)

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Folks are buzzing about Wakeman Town Farm’s next event (May 8, 12 noon, Zoom). It’s “The Wonderful World of Honeybees” — a look at why they’re essential, and the microcosm that is the hive.

Shelby Schulman studied environmental science and anthropology at the University of North Carolina. Her introduction to bees came as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea.

As WTF notes, “bees are behind a third of all the food we eat, including fruits, vegetables, chocolate, nuts and coffee.” Click here for tickets ($10).

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Westporter Ken Goldberg owns AFC Urgent Care, a walk-in medical center near the Department of Motor Vehicles in Norwalk.

They do COVID testing (PCR and rapid); they take most all insurances, and they have a doctor who does a brief telemed screening beforehand. Patients then come to be swabbed in their car.

AFC Urgent Care also provides Moderna vaccines. Appointments can be made easily and directly, by phone (203-845-9100). Click here for more information.

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“06880” has followed the saga of 19 Soundview Drive — the century-old home that evaded the wrecking ball this spring (though there are rumors it may still be demolished in the fall).

Yesterday, Patricia McMahon spotted this sign on the house. Whatever happens to the property, someone has a great sense of humor.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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There’s always something to smile about at Compo Beach. Here’s Erica Davis’ message for the day:

(Photo/Amy Saperstein)

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And finally … Les McKeown, lead singer for the Bay City Rollers, died on Tuesday. He was 65. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

 

Pics Of The Day #1464

Daffodils on the rotary at Church Lane and Myrtle Avenue … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and trees behind Jesup Road (Photo/Bob Cooper)

Roundup: Outdoor Dining, GG & Joe, “In Death” …

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Starting today, outdoor dining returns to Church Lane.

Now through late fall, restaurants like Spotted Horse, Manna Toast, Pink Sumo and Amis are serving underneath the stars.

The Westport Downtown Association plans live mellow dinner music on weekends, starting soon.

Dining al fresco, last year.

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Around the corner, GG & Joe is closed — but only temporarily.

A sign on the door notes that due to a COVID exposure, they’ve shut their doors for a few days. They reopen Thursday, April 22.

Better safe than sorry. And kudos to the acai bowl-and-coffee-and-more spot in Parker Harding Plaza — which opened last spring, as the pandemic raged — for their concern for all customers.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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In Death, The Gift of Life — the powerful anthology of 10 Westporters who embraced death on their own terms — has won two 1st place awards in the Connecticut Press Club’s annual communications contest.

The honors were for editing (Dan Levinson and Alison McBain) and design (McBain and Miggs Burroughs). The book now moves on to national competition.

A community-wide book launch will be held at the Westport Library this fall.

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In the early days of the pandemic, Stan Witkow started an online bingo game. Winners — Westporters, former residents and friends across the country — donate their pots to a non-profit of their choice.

The most recent recipient is Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service. Jennifer Pressman donated her $250 to the organization. Her son is a former WVEMS volunteer. Bingo!

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Abilis is hiring. The non-profit, which serves more than 800 people with special needs and their families — holds a job fair on Saturday, May 1 (9 a.m. to 5 .m., 50 Glenville Street, Greenwich).

Full- and part-time positions include management and assistant management roles, day program and residential roles. Click here to see open positions. Prospective employees should bring resumes. For more information,  call 203-531-1880.

May 1 is also the date of Abilis’ 70th anniversary gala (6:30 p.m., virtual). There’s family entertainment, with comedians, actors, musicians and dancers.

To learn more, register for the show link, see “Giving Garden” needs, check out the online auction or by art by Abilis clients, click here.

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An “06880” reader sits for a 4-hour infusion once a month at Norwalk Hospital. It is often cool in the room, so patients are given a hospital blanket.

The other day, she received a real blanket,  made by a group at Staples High school called Lovee’s Charity. They’re usually given to pediatric patients, but sometimes they’re handed out in the infusion room.

“It was so nice, soft and comforting,” the reader says. She emailed faculty advisor Natalie Odierna, letting her know how much joy the blanket brought.

Now thousands of other “06880” readers know about the joy Lovee’s Charity brings too.

A Lovee’s Charity blanket.

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Major League Soccer has kicked off its 26th season. And for the 5th straight year, Elliot Gerard was commissioned to create the opening day graphic.

The Westport resident Gerard is a founder and creative director with Heartlent Group, a social strategy and creative content agency.

This year’s concept is “Where’s Waldo?” Gerard worked with eMLS to hide Easter eggs in the artwork (below). The campaign is interactive, giving fans the chance to make their own versions on Instagram stories. A customizable background is available. Click for Twitter and Instagram links.

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And finally … I got my 2nd COVID vaccine today. Just sayin’ …