Tag Archives: CLASP Homes

Roundup: Taste Of Westport, Juneteenth, You Be You Day …

“A Taste of Westport” returned yesterday, after a 2-year COVID absence.

A record crowd — starved for great food for an even better cause — showed up at the Inn at Longshore. It was the perfect venue for the festive, almost-summer event.

A small portion of the large “Taste of Westport” crowd at the Inn at Longshore.

The traditional fundraiser for CLASP — the local non-profit celebrating its 40th year serving adults with autism and developmental disabilities — featured plenty of tasting stations, live music from the Bar Car Band`, a silent auction and a raffle.

Restaurants and vendors participating included Artisan, BE Chocolat, Black Bear Wines & Spirits, Boathouse, Cylinder, Evarito’s, Freixenet Mionetto, Little Dumpling House, Gabriele’s, La Plage, Little Pub, Lindsay’s Handmade, Mrs. London’s, Newsylum, Nordic Fish, Post Oak, Rive Bistro, Rizzuto’s, Romanacci, Tablao, Tarantino, The Spread and Walrus Alley.

It’s not an easy time to own a restaurant. Last night, all of them went above and beyond the call.

Artisan offered (among other items) a very tasty goat dish. Inn at Longshore principal Michael Ryan is at right. (Photos/Dan Woog)

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On June 19, 1865, Union troops  liberated enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas. Fifteen men from Westport took part, with the 29th Connecticut Colored Infantry Regiment.

For years, the day was informally called “Juneteenth.” Finally, it’s a federal holiday (Monday, June 20).

The Westport Museum for History & Culture celebrates with 2 events.

Tonight (Thursday, June 16, 7 p.m.) historic interpreter Dontavius Williams offers a virtual performance of the experiences of an enslaved man. Click here to register.

A walking tour — based on a 2018-19 exhibit about Westport’s African American history — is set for Saturday June 18 (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Click here to register.

The Westport Museum’s walking tour will include a stop at historic 22 1/2 Main Street.

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The Levitt Pavilion has never looked better.

As a quasi-town, quasi-private facility, the Pavilion itself is responsible for maintaining its ornamental plantings and beds — including the ones between the Riverwalk and lawn.

Every year, Friends of the Levitt volunteers answer the call. This year, Gault Energy helped out by donating all the mulch.

So the next time you enjoy a free show — enjoy the “free” scenery too.

Work day at the Levitt Pavilion.. (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)

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It was “You Be You Day” yesterday, at Westport’s elementary schools.

The night before, Kings Highway families helped “chalk the walk.”

Kings Highway 1st grader Siena Adams helps chalk the walk. Her mother, Cori Caputo Adams; is a Kings Highway and Staples High School (Class of 1994) alumnus.

Dozens of youngsters and parents wrote kind, motivating chalk messages on the walkway in front of the school. The goal was to encourage every student to be proud of who he or she is — and to feel proud too of being part of a community that accepts and celebrates them exactly as they are.

In the morning, KHS staff and students were greeted with colorful, positive sayings. It was a great start to “You Be You Day,” says PTA board member Meghan Bell.

Meanwhile, Greens Farms Elementary School celebrated in several ways.

Teachers read books with positive messages to their classes. Youngsters wore “You Be You” shirts. The sidewalk was chalked

And there was this bulletin board too:

(Photo courtesy of Leann Duggan)

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The Westport Kiwanis Club provides annual scholarships to graduating seniors who show exemplary community involvement and academic achievement.

This year’s recipients are Lena Lemcke, Elena Lim, Jaden Mueller and Ella Williams.

Funds come from Kiwanis’ annual Minuteman Triathlon. This year’s’ event is September 11, at Compo Beach. Click here for information and registration.

Kiwanis officials and scholarship recipients, at the recent awards ceremony (from left): Todd Ehrlich, Dave Fuggit, Jaden Mueller, Judy Stripp, Lena Lemcke, Rob Gould, Elena Lim, Elaine Daignault. Not pictured: Ella Williams.

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Osprey admirer/expert Carolyn Doan visited the Fresh Market nest this week. She was happily surprised to find “2 heads being shaded by mom. They must have been hot, as their mouths were open in the sun directly on the nest.

“They seemed to be having a serious chat with her. She listened patiently. She made a quick trip away from the nest. When she returned, they were thrilled.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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What could be more mundane than a midday chat?

Martin Greenberg captured this scene, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Martin Greenberg)

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And finally … in honor of our elementary schools’ great “You Be You Day” yesterday:

 

 

  

 

Roundup: WTF Trifecta, Y’s Men, Clinical Trials …

Sustainability — and Wakeman Town Farm — are non-partisan, apolitical efforts.

But WTF was swarming with Democrats yesterday.

The Democratic Women of Westport organized a half-day program for adults and children. It was part of the Farm’s “Giving Trifecta Program.” The community service, education and donation effort is open to organizations, clubs and business of all sizes.

WTF staff work with each group to design an experience that educates volunteers on a specific sustainability-related topic, and provides participants with community service hours. Programs could include beekeeping, composting, the Pollinator Pathway and Gardens, animal husbandry or restoring the pond.  

In return, organizations make a donation from the Farm’s Wishlist. Funds replenish items necessary to keep the farm running.

Saturday morning saw Congressman Jim Himes, State Senator Will Haskell, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg and State Senate candidate Ceci Maher all got their hands dirty — and learned a lot.

“06880” looks forward to highlighting the efforts of other “Giving Trifecta” groups — of any political party, or none at all.

Taking a break at Wakeman Town Farm yesterday are (standing from left): WTF co-chair Bill Constantino, Ceci Maher, Will Haskell, Jim Himes, Dominique Johnson, Front:  Jessica Hill, Allyson Stollenwerck

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Speaking of sustainability:

In 1989, the Westport Garden Club created a garden at Earthplace. They’ve  maintained it ever since, renovating it in 2015 to feature more native plants to sustain bees, butterflies, birds and all pollinators. The garden was part of the Pollinator Pathway long before that concept became popular.

In early April the club learned that a large oil tank underneath the garden had to be replaced. Members scrambled to save as many plants as possible. Many found their way to the club’s annual plant sale.

The tank was removed on April 18. A new garden was planned, aligning with both the club and Earthplace’s missions to build passion and respect for the natural world and a more sustainable future for our community.

The garden is ready for visitors — just in time for today’s International Day for Biological Diversity.

Standing, from left: Earthplace’s Becky Newman, Westport Tree Board chair Monica Buesser, Nathalie Fonteyne, Seated: Andi Turner, Jane Eyes. All are Westport Garden Club members.

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It was Selectwomens Day at the Y’s Men on Thursday. The group heard from 2 leaders — Westport’s Jen Tooker and Weston’s Samantha Nestor. Both spoke frankly about the challenges they face. Both were elected in November.

Tooker says she is focused on 5 issues: traffic, recreation (particularly Longshore), strengthening downtown, addressing stream management and flood mitigation, and creating a safe, comfortable and diverse community for all.

Nestor said that Weston is at an inflection point. It is a bedroom community with a minimal commercial grand list, with schools as the most common asset. They are “top notch,” but need capital investment. She hopes to resolve that contentious issue this year. Her major challenge is upgrading the town’s infrastructure.

To hear both women, and the Q-and-A that followed, click below.

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Matthew Jordan is a Staples High School senior (and recent honoree with a Moffly Media “Light a Fire” award, for his work with Kids in Crisis).

Before he heads to Georgetown University, Matt’s senior internship this spring is with Medidata. The company develops and markets software for clinical trials.

His project involves enrolling patients who are interested in receiving information about enrolling in upcoming trials. His goal for the week is 800 registries.

Matt says, “I’ve learned how important it is to get an accurate representation of the population in clinical trials. We are trying to flip the ‘last resort’ stereotype of clinical trials to being more of a great first-choice option. Sometimes they can be lifesavers.”

To help Matt reach his goal of 800 registries — and learn about clinical trials that may help your health — click here.

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Speaking of health: Massage therapy, yoga, acupuncture — those, and more, are available at the new Westport Medical and Wellness Center on Whitney Road Extension, behind the CVS parking lot.

Tomorrow and Tuesay (Monday 23 and 24, 9 to 11 a.m.), founder Dr. Nikki Gorman invites residents to tours of the versatile space.

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Very quietly, CLASP Homes serves adults with intellectual disabilities. Their group homes — 4 in Westport, 8 others and 9 apartments throughout Fairfield County, plus a day program in Bridgeport — provide community, stability, jobs and fulfilling lives to men and women from their 20s to 82.

I’ve featured their fundraiser —  the very popular eat-and-drink “Taste of Westport” (June 15, 6 p.m., Inn at Longshore) — before.

Today the spotlight shines on their new website. It was constructed thanks to a grant from another great local non-profit: Near & Far Aid. To see the end result of these 2 organizations working together, click here. (Pro tip: You can find out more about “Taste of Westport” there too.)

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With the thermometer nearing 90 yesterday. Compo Beach was hopping. Some folks ventured into the water; others dusted off their beach chairs.

And on South Beach, every barbecue grill was in use.

Similar temperatures are expected today, with possible thunderstorms after 2 p.m. This week, we’ll be back in the 60s and 70s.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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You never know where a “Westport … Naturally” photo op will pop up.

Ellen Wentworth found these chicks right on top of her front door light.

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

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And finally … Rosmarie Trapp died last week in Vermont, at 93.

She was a member of the von Trapp singing family made famous by “The Sound of Music.”

You may not recognize her name. She is not in the play or movie, because “The Sound of Music” focused on the 7 children Georg von Trapp had with his first wife — not with Rosmarie’s mother, a governess who later married the baron.

But she did did travel and perform with the Trapp Family Singers for years, including at the lodge in Stowe. Click here for the full obituary.

Meanwhile:

Roundup: Mystic Market, Spencer Platt, James Madison …

Mystic Market — the successor to the Arrow, Jasmine and Blu Parrot restaurants  — is “regretfully” closing its Saugatuck location on May 27.

“The rent is 3 times what we pay for our other properties. And lease for the second term is even more,” says David Griswold. He’s senior vice president of The Coastal Gourmet Group, which owns 3 similar properties in eastern Connecticut.

The company is searching for a new location. A property in Wilton did not work out, because it was not zoned for a food establishment.

Mystic Market opened in the winter of 2019 on Charles Street, near I-95 Exit 17 and the Westport train station. It offers a variety of sandwiches, prepared foods, pastries, coffee and more.

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Two weeks ago, Spencer Platt won a Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

Next Wednesday (May 25, 7 p.m., Westport Library), the Staples High School graduate returns to town. He’ll talk about his career, his most recent award (for coverage of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol), and how and where it all began.

Platt has covered conflicts and news stories in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. In 2006 he won World Press Photo of the Year honors for an image taken during fighting in Lebanon. In 2021 he was a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of the COVID epidemic.

Spencer lives in Brooklyn with his wife — fellow Staples grad Erica Sashin — and daughter,

To register for a seat in the Trefz Forum, click here. For a livestream link, click here.

Spencer Platt at work, in 2006.

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Social studies teachers Drew Coyne and Suzanne Kammerman are 2 of Staples High School’s most celebrated educators.

Her “We the People” team competes regularly at the national level. She has won awards from American Lawyer and Civics First. He is a Connecticut Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year and University of Chicago Outstanding Educator.

But you don’t have to be a teenager to learn from them.

On June 8 (7 p.m., Westport Library), adults can enjoy the same “Community Case Discussion” they’re known for. Coyne and Kammerman will moderate a discussion on the role of the federal government in relation to the states — from the perspective of a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. (Think: James Madison.)

But you can’t just stroll into class. Participants must click here to register, and receive case study materials from the Library.

The good news: There are no grades.

James Madison

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David McCormick — former CEO of Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund — remained locked in a tight race this morning for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania senator.

With more than 90% of the vote counted, just 2,000 votes separated him from his closest challenger, Dr. Mehmet Oz. McCormick had 31.3% of the vote; the celebrity doctor had 31.1.%. Thousands of mail-in ballots remained to be counted.

McCormick joined Bridgewater in 2009 as president. He was named co-CEO in 2017, and sole CEO 2 years later. He resigned in 2021 to run for retiring senator Pat Toomey’s seat, in his native state.

David McCormick

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“A Taste of Westport” — the bring-your-appetite-all-you-can-eat-and-drink fundraiser for CLASP Homes — has announced the restaurants and vendors for the June 15 event (6 p.m., Inn at Longshore).

The mouth-watering list includes:

  • Artisan
  • BE Chocolat
  • Black Bear Wines & Spirits
  • Boathouse Restaurant at Saugatuck Rowing Club
  • Cylinder Vodka
  • Evarito’s
  • Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse
  • Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Wine
  • La Plage
  • Lindsay’s Handmade
  • Little Dumpling House
  • Little Pub
  • Mrs. London’s Artisan Bakery
  • NewSylum Brewing Company
  • Nordic Fish
  • Post Oak Barbecue Company
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Romanacci
  • The Spread
  • SoNo 1420
  • Tablao
  • Tarantion
  • Walrus Alley.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Calling all teenagers!

The “Teens of MoCA” organization invites all of their peers to a free Spring Arts Festival this Sunday (May 22, 4 to 7 p.m., MoCA Westport, 19 Newtown Turnpike).

There’s a food truck (of course), live music by teen bands, and products for sale from local teen-run art businesses. Follow @teensatMoCAWestport to learn more.

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Shopping for nice things may seem to have little connection with human trafficking.

But Westporters Michelle Pollack, Sandra Rose, Becca Zipkin and Alex Cohen have just launched a new organization: Concierge with Conscience.

The inaugural event is June 3 (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), in Westport. Brand partners include The Westside, Ever After, Freedom Moses, Metta10, LeSuperCool and more. 15% of all proceeds go to Partnership to End Human Trafficking.There’s a raffle too, with 100% of the proceeds going to PEHT.

Click here for more details (including complimentary piercing, with the purchase of an earring). RSVP at info@conciergewithconscience.com. Shoppers will receive an email, with information about the location.

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Lauri Weiser sent today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo with this simple note: “Mother Nature is amazing.” She’s absolutely right!

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … the great opera singer Ezio Pinza was born today in 1892. He died in 1957 — after (among other notable achievements) more than 750 performances of 50 operas, during 22 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera.

Plus this:

Roundup: Taste Of Westport, UNICEF & Ukraine, Obituaries …

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Since 2004, CLASP Homes’ “Taste of Westport” has been one of the most popular — and definitely tastiest — fundraiser around.

Except the last 2 years.

COVID knocked the event — an evening unlimited eating and drinking from an impressive list of local establishments, plus live music, and a silent auction — off the table.

​Now it’s back: June 15, at the Inn at Longshore.

Tickets went on sale yesterday. They’re $100 now; $125 after June 1. Click here to purchase.

100% of the proceeds benefit CLASP’s residents and programs. The non-profit provides homes, opportunities and personalized services for people with autism and developmental disabilities.

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Alexander Tobey is just about to turn 8 years old. But during spring break, the Weston youngster wanted to help children in Ukraine.

This past Monday he made small Ukrainian flags fashioned from paper and toothpicks, to offer for donations. He soon expanded to shields, and renderings of the country’s shape.

On Tuesday he did a little Google research, and found that UNICEF could deliver the right assistance. On Wednesday morning he set up by the Parker Harding Starbucks — the same spot where he has stopped to help people collecting for other causes.

Alexander was amazed by people’s support, and willingness to leave their “gift” for the next donor. It took just 90 minutes to sell out his flag stock. With family donations and matches, Alexander will donate over $1,500 to UNICEF.

His parents Miriam Zalcman and Dave Tobey thank all who stopped by Alexander’s makeshift table. Their generosity made a lasting impression on him — and his work will make a difference to children thousands of miles away.

Alexander Tobey, collecting funds.

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Longtime Westport resident — and grandson of the founders of the Arrow Restaurant — Lester Frank Bottone Jr died last week in Hollywood, Florida, from complications of a severe stroke. He was 80 years old.

Lester was a true son of Saugatuck. His maternal grandparents, Giovanna and Frank Nistico, started the famous restaurant in the neighborhood. He worked as a youth.

Lester started his career in construction working alongside his father, Lester Bottone Sr. He built many homes in the community, including his own which he lived in until his death.

He later spent 34 years as a firefighter and first responder.

Lester loved racing of all sorts – including MotoGP, Formula 1 and bicycling, especially the Tour de France – and fast cars. He built a Shelby Cobra and several race cars, which he entered in hill-climb competitions on the East Coast.

He later started riding and rebuilding motorcycles, and began woodcarving. He stayed fit, loved working in his shop, and enjoyed spending time with family and friends.

Lester is survived by his wife of 56 years, Helena; daughter Lisa and her wife Carolyn; son Timothy and his wife Kim, and grandchildren, Emily, Alison and Katherine.

A gathering of remembrance and memorial service will be held next Saturday (April 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Harding Funeral Home).

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Westport Professional Firefighters Association, 515 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880 or Save Old Saugatuck.

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Lifelong Westport resident Jennie McCarthy died Thursday, surrounded by her family. She was 94 years old. , beloved wife for over 68 years of Bob McCarthy, passed away on April 14, 2022 surrounded by her devoted family.

Jennie wore many hats in her rich life, including working with Embalmers Supply and the Westport Board of Education, and co-owning a deli with her sister Margaret.

Her most cherished role was creating a loving home for her family. In addition to Bob, her husband of 68 years, she is survived by her children Kevin (Beth) of Westport, Brian (Lena) of Fairfield, Kathy Sabitsky (Stan) of Milford, and Brennan McCarthy (Jenny) of Westport; grandchildren Justin, Sarah, Kaitlin, Josh, Matt, Nick, Zach, Jack and Charlie, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday (April 20 10 a.m., Church of the Assumption). Burial will follow at Willowbrook Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

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Readers are sending tons of photos, and why not? This is one of the most beautiful times of the year here.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image comes from Park Lane, off South Compo. Elisabeth Keane and her neighbors never tire of this cherry tree.

(Photo/Elisabeth Keane)

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And finally … the torch has been passed to a new generation.

In the breathtaking video below, the singers all have famous fathers. The young man with the glasses is Plácido Domingo’s son. The middle one is Andrea Bocelli’s; on the right is Luciano Pavarotti’s son.

In a world filled with trouble, these “sons” shine brightly indeed. (Hat tip: Chuck Greenlee)

Remarkable Theater Returns!

The Remarkable Theater — the COVID pop-up that has evolved into one of Westport’s entertainment institutions — returns for a 3rd season this month.

The Imperial Avenue drive-in is more than just a way to watch movies on a screen bigger than your phone (or even your own big TV screen).

It’s a community event. It’s a partnership with non-profits. And it’s a way to provide meaningful employment for people with disabilities.

The Remarkable is as Westport-oriented as it gets. And its first films of 2022 have special connections to our town.

The opening night screening — a joint venture with the Westport Library — is “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (Friday, April 29; $50 per car).

The film was written by Shonda Rhimes. On June 1, she’s the “Booked for the Evening” honoree at the Library, a few steps away from the drive-in.

The next day (Saturday, April 30), the Remarkable screens “The Sting,” with longtime area residents Paul New Man and Robert Redford.

The screening is co-sponsored by the Drew Freidman Foundation in support of CLASP Homes, which provides support for people with autism and developmental disabilities.

To honor Westporters Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, The Remarkable is offering tickets at half price ($25 per car).

Both movies begin at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30, for tailgating.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

The Remarkable Theater is the place to be!

Roundup: Ukraine, March Madness, History Bowl …

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Lynsey Addario’s photo of a family killed on the street in Ukraine horrified the world.

“06880” has reported on the reaction, and the back story. Yesterday, Lynsey — a 1991 Staples High School graduate — described it herself, on the New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast. Click here to listen to her fascinating, important words. (Hat tips: Tommy Greenwald, Lee Feldman, Susan Woog Wagner)

Ukrainian soldiers do what they can, moments after a mortar attack on civilians on the streets of Irpin, near Kyiv. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for The New York Times)

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Speaking of Ukraine: Irene Braziler is a native of that country. She’s spent the last 17 years in Westport; her sons Jake and Sam are in school here.

Last Thursday, Irene left for Romania. She met longtime Ukrainian friends at the border, where she’s helped them with cars and accommodations as they make their way to safety.

A video shared by Irene’s Westport friend Kelly Haazen shows the women — after being attacked, leaving their husbands behind, heading to an unknown destination with no idea how long they’d be there — beaming with joy at the sight of their old friend Irene.

Irene has started a GoFundMe drive to provide support to hospitals in Ukraine, civilians like her friends, and many others in desperate need. Every dollar donated will directly impact refugees and medical aid efforts, through DirectRelief.org.

Click here for Irene’s GoFundMe page.

Irene Braziler and her Ukrainian friend embrace at the border.

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Dave Briggs has been bitten by March Madness.

The media personality hosts a streaming show for Turner Sports during the first 2 rounds of the hoops classic.

“Fast Break” features Briggs, Kentucky legend Tony Delk, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner, and former Northwestern player/sports betting expert Tim Doyle. There’s action from every game, analysis, and player and social media reaction.

Click here for the website; click here for the March Madness app.

Dave Briggs was formerly with CNN.

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Sure, Ken Jennings and Amy Schneider won over $1 million on “Jeopardy!” But could they do what Aalok Bhattacharya, Oliver Clachko and Thomas Sargent have done?

The Staples students — a junior and 2 seniors, respectively — took first place in last month’s regional History Bowl competition on Long Island.

They don’t just have to answer obscure questions (or, in “Jeopardy!”-speak, provide questions to answers). The History Bowl — run by former “Jeopardy!” champ David Madden — is buzzer-based. But there are toss-up questions, a lightning round, and besides, these are just high school students.

But — unlike Sam Cooke — Aalok, Oliver and Thomas know a lot about history. And not just our own. They know Roman history, European history, the history of philosophy — you name it, they know it.

And they practice it after school, with faculty advisor (and chemistry teacher) Dominick Messina. They work on questions and answers — and on being first to buzz the buzzer.

Staples’ win vaults them into the national competition, April 23-24 in Washington. They hope to raise $675 to help with the registration fee and travel expenses. History-minded Westporters — or anyone else — who can help sponsor them should email aalok.bhattacharya1@gmail.com.

History Bowl champs (from left): Thomas Sargent, Aalok Bhattacharya, Oliver Clachko.

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The last couple weeks of “Kids Are Talking” — the online show hosted by local therapist Dr. Don Cohen — have been interesting.

In a partnership with Turning Point CT, an organization for young people in recovery from mental health and substance use issues, Mental Health Stigma took a close look at breaking stigmas. A subsequent Mental Health in the Mirror episode addressed eating disorders.

College Application Stress was created in partnership with Fairfield CARES. The discussion included advice from high school seniors on how to handle the admissions process, and gave a heads up to juniors about what’s ahead.

Last week’s Athletes and Mental Health discussed the physical and mental stresses of performing during COVID and beyond.

Tomorrow’s show centers on the War in Ukraine, with teens who have family and friends in that troubled region. State Senator Will Haskell is the guest ono March 31.

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There’s a “BIG” event here March 31.

“BIG” — the acronym stands for “Believe, Inspire, Grow” — debuts in Westport at the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s Boathouse Restaurant, at noon.

BIG is a global woman’s empowerment community offering inspiration, community, and tools to move personal and professional lives forward. Members build relationships in a dynamic, supportive entrepreneurial community.

Melissa Bernstein — co-founder of toy company Melissa & Doug, and the mental health multi-media platform LifeLines — is the featured speaker.

All local women are invited. Click here to register. To learn more about BIG, email bigconnecticutregion@gmail.com.

Melissa Bernstein

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Another longtime, much-loved, and COVID-affected event is back — at a new but important location.

CLASP Homes’ “Taste of Westport” fundraiser is set for June 15, at the newly renovated Inn at Longshore. As always, it’s a great (and tasty) evening filled with food and drinks from your local restaurants, music, and a silent auction. Mark your calendars; details to follow.

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Westport resident — and internationally acclaimed photographer — Larry Silver has the lens pointed directly at him this month.

Fairfield University Art Museum presents 13 Ways of Looking at Landscape: Larry Silver’s Connecticut Photographs. The solo exhibition includes more than 80 works, and is on view from March 25 through June 18.

The exhibition brings together over 40 years of Silver’s work, made of and in this state. It opens with a lecture by guest curator Leslie K. Brown on March 24. For more information, click here.

“Sitting at Water’s Edge, Sherwood Island State Park, Westpor, 2014/2022,” archival inkjet print. Courtesy of Larry Silver and Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York.

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Here’s a “Westport … Naturally” scene you don’t see every day: a red fox, sunning itself in Greens Farms. Elena Nasereddin captured this image on Monday.

(Photo/Elena Nasereddin)

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And finally … in honor of Staples High School’s History Bowl team, which heads to the national competition next month (see story above):

Roundup: Supply Chain, Air-Cooled Autos, Entitled Cars …

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David Pogue’s “CBS Sunday Morning” reports are always entertaining — and informative. If you’re not a regular viewer — you should be.

Yesterday’s was particularly educational. It was also quite local.

Our Westport neighbor explained the supply chain crisis — why so many goods are not on shelves, despite gluts — with an opening and closing at the Southport Diner.

Owner Tony Pertesis explains — in clear, direct diner-speak exactly why his customers can’t always count on things as basic as Gatorade and whipped butter. Pogue adds the rest.

Bottom line: Toilet paper hoarding is back. Just in time for the holidays. Click below to see:

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Air-cooled cars stopped traffic along Myrtle Avenue yesterday. They vehicles were parked — and exhibited — on Veterans Green. Sponsored by the Small Car Company, the show raised money for Person-to-Person in Norwalk.

Westport-based Small Car Company — a club for air-cool aficionados — is loosely connected to the car dealership of the same name. It was located on Post Road West, diagonally across from Kings Highway Elementary School. Today we know it as Carvana.

Seen at Veteran’s Green. (Photo/Sarathi Roy)

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Speaking of cars downtown: “06880’s” Entitled Parking feature has very high standards. We now only post photos of cars that take up 3 spaces (or more). Two spots is waaaaay too common.

But today is an exception. This is a true “2-fer”: a pair of cars, each hogging two parkin spaces in the Baldwin lot.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Not too bad, you say?

Look at it this way. If everyone parked like that, the lot would have exactly half the capacity it does now.

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It’s always important to give blood. Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., VFW, 465 Riverside Avenue) you can donate in honor of a Westporter.

The Charley with a Y Foundation is sponsoring the event. “Charley” was Marine LCPL Charles Rochlin. The 2003 Staples High School graduate spent 7 months in Iraq. He was on leave in Westport when he died in an automobile accident.

Click here for an appointment (use sponsor code VFWWestport), or call 1-800-733-2767.

LCPL Charley Rochlin

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Genevieve Bouchard — owner of Scout & Molly’s, the women’s clothing boutique in Playhouse Square — recently lost her mother, Chantal Haskew.

At her death, the frequent Westport visitor and talented artist was one of the longest living liver transplant patients in the US. She lived one-third of her life because in 1995 a stranger donated organs. Thanks to her liver, Chantal enjoyed the weddings of her 5 children, and the joys of her 8 grandchildren.

In honor of her mom — and all the organ donors out there — Scout & Molly’s is hosting a special shopping day. This Thursday (October 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), a portion of all sales will be donated to Donate Life America.

Transplant recipients will be there, telling stories of their second chances at life.

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A few tickets remain for this Friday’s (October 15, Fairfield Theater Company) “Evening of Motown” benefit for CLASP Homes.

Band Central — “music with a purpose” — will perform America’s favorite hits. Proceeds support CLASP’s work. The Westport non-profit supports adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities, through group homes and enrichment programs.

$40 tickets include a pre-party with lite bites. Art by CLASP residents will be on display. Click here to purchase.

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Congratulations to the Westport Soccer Association’s U-11 blue team. They played 4 games in one day, and won the Bethel Columbus Day tournament.

Top row (left to right): head coach Bardhl Limani, James Tansley, Luke Shiel, John Walker, Peter Shakos, Lochlann Treanor, Nicolas Barreto, assistant coach Jeffery Holl, Bottom: Mason Holl, Atticus Lavergne, Andrew Floto, Matthew Alfaro, Zylan Wang.

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Nearly every holiday, “06880” runs a photo of Jolantha the Pig. For 20 years, the figure has sat — visibly and beloved — on Weston’s Kellogg Hill Road.

Of course, there’s a great back story. To learn more, click below:

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It’s juniper berry season. Peter Gold captured this shot on Old Road, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” series.

(Photo/Peter Gold)

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And finally … in honor of junipers:

 

Roundup: Yankee Doodle Fair, Affordable Housing, Animal Blessings …

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The Yankee Doodle Fair is back!

After missing 2020 because of COVID, the annual Westport Woman’s Club carnival has shifted from its traditional June date to September.

What hasn’t changed are the site — the Imperial Avenue parking lot next and adjacent WWC — and the attractions: rides, games, raffles, food, sand art and more.

Or the cause: raising funds for philanthropy.

The Yankee Doodle Fair runs today (Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.), tomorrow (Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.).

Click below for a special video, created last year by Doug Tirola’s 4th Row Films, highlighting the 2019 event.

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Affordable housing — what it means, where to put it, how it fits in to the suburban and statewide landscape — is a controversial topic.

Next Tuesday (September 28, 6:30 p.m., Zoom), State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Stephanie Thomas host a bipartisan panel: “Affordable Housing in Our Community.”

Panelists include Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin, and her Wilton counterpart Rick Tomasetti. The moderator is Heather Borden Herve, editor of “Good Morning Wilton.” Click here to register.

Among Westport’s affordable housing options: Sasco Creek Village.

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Wednesday’s Roundup included details of the upcoming Blessing of the Animals, at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Looks like Westport’s animals will be twice blessed.

On the same date (Sunday, October 3, 9:30 a.m.), Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will offer its own courtyard Blessing of the Animals. It’s part of the annual Feast of St. Francis.

All animals — and humans — are welcome.

Blessing of the Animals, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.

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It’s almost October. Almost time to say goodbye to your garden, for the year.

How do you do it? On October 18 (7 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farms hosts “Putting Your Garden to Bed: The Pollinator Friendly Way.

Nathalie Fonteyne joins WTF master gardeners and coaches Alice Ely and Ryan Brunelle to share tips on what to cut down and what to leave, how to recycle and compost the last greens as the garden prepares for its long winter nap, and what vegetables you still have time to plant to ensure a healthy, beautiful garden next spring.

Click here to register.

Back to the garden.

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Fairfield County has a lively music scene.

But there’s no band livelier than Band Central. The “house band” for CLASP Homes — the Westport-based nonprofit serving adults with autism and other developmental disabilities — headlines the organization’s first in-person, indoor event in nearly 2 years.

On October 15 (6:30 p.m., Fairfield Theater Company), they’ll play songs from Motown, and soul greats like Aretha Franklin, the Commodores, Earth Wind & Fire and more. Special guests will join in.

$40 tickets to the benefit include a pre-party, and an art show with work by CLASP residents. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Two members of Band Central in action.

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Speaking of music: Scott Barr loves venues like FTC, the Levitt Pavilion and Capitol Theater, plus bars and other spaces to see local (and national) acts. He particularly enjoys seeing bands in small, intimate spaces, then watching as they achieve great success.

Every so often you stumble upon an entertainment event or a scene that must be witnessed and it usually happens where you least expect it.

He’s done it with the Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler, Joan Osborne and Phish. More recent examples include The Record Company playing at Roton Middle School, and the Revivalists and Black Pumas playing at StageOne.

Now, Scott says, a music scene is happening in Westport “right under our noses.”

Every Tuesday night at 8, a band called Residual Groove (aka KRIS or JEDD ) plays at Dunville’s. This week, members of Goose played with them.

“They have special guests all the time, and their playlist is for all ages,” Scott reports. “If anyone is looking for a fresh new scene and great music, check it out.”

He gives a special shoutout to Dunville’s owner Steve Carpentieri, for making it all happen.

Residual Groove (with special guest Peter Anspach from Goose, center) at Dunville’s.

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Jayne Mauborgne was moved by yesterday’s Roundup story about the rescue of 11 turtle hatchlings. A wildlife conservationist came from Madison to help.

She wants readers to know about Wildlife in Crisis.

“We are lucky to have this wildlife rehabilitator right in Weston,” Jayne says. They are great, dedicated people. Over the years I have brought them birds, squirrels, opossum, and all manner of forest creatures.”

Call 203-544-9913 (ask for Darrah or Peter), or email wildlifeincrisis@snet.net.

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Lifelong Westporter John Stahursky died Tuesday at Fairfield County House in Stamford. He was 86 years old.

John graduated from Staples High School in 1953, and retired as a mechanic from Slez Garage in Westport. He loved gardening and farming, and volunteered for many years maintaining the lawns and flower gardens at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fairfield. John grew from seed, then donated, countless plants to the parish for sale at their annual picnic.

He was honored with the St. Augustine Medal, from the Diocese of Bridgeport.

John enjoyed restoring Model A Fords, which were driven in Westport’s Memorial Day parades.

His family remembers him as “a hard working man, always ready with a smile and happy to help others in need.”

Survivors include his siblings Bernard Stahursky of Westport, Wanda Ornousky of Norwalk and Bertha Matis of Westport, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.

John was predeceased by sisters Jean Kral, Helen Rutski and Sophie E. Stahursky, and brothers, Joe, Frank and Steve Stahursky.

A funeral will be held Monday (September 27, 9:15 a.m. from the Dougiello Fairfield Funeral Home, and 10 a.m. in St. Anthony of Padua Church with a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will be in Assumption Cemetery in Westport. Friends may call Sunday (noon to 3 p.m).

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John’s memory to St. Anthony Parish, 149 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 or Fairfield County House, 1 Den Road, Stamford, CT 06902.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene is familiar, yet fresh:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … singer Sarah Dash died Monday. She was 76.

According to the New York Times, she “brought her church-rooted soprano and high harmonies to Labelle, which began as a 1960s girl group before reinventing itself as a socially aware, Afro-futuristic rock and funk powerhouse, costumed in glittery sci-fi outfits and singing about revolution as well as earthy romance.”

Click here for her full obituary.

Roundup: Kayak Thefts, Hurricane Ida, School Calendar …

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Kayak threats from Compo Beach — first reported on “06880” in July — continue.

Mousumi Ghosh is the latest victim. Her red Eddyline Equinox is gone from the storage area. She writes:

“We are devastated. It was one of the few recreations that we were able to enjoy as a family during the last year, not to mention the cost to replace it.

“I was away for a month for a family emergency. It could have happened any time during August.

“From speaking with others, I am discovering that this is not an isolated event. Many believe that crime is on the rise at the beach. Neither the police nor Parks & Rec are hopeful that the kayak can be recovered, or that there is much they can do to help.”

If anyone sees it (the rack emblem is #39), please call Westport Police. Meanwhile, another victim contacted “06880,” suggested security cameras. They’re installed elsewhere at the beach already. Perhaps it’s time to extend their range.

Kayak racks at Compo Beach. They look lovely — but they’re not secure. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Among Wednesday night’s Hurricane Ida flood victims: The Toy Post.

The store at 180 Post Road East (near Imperial Avenue) has no flood insurance. They’re offering 50% off anything wet. (Hat tip: Jonathan Alloy)

Part of The Toy Post’s flood.

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Sure, you can have a January-to-December calendar. But in Westport — where the rhythm of life is attuned to the school year — you really need the Public Schools’ September-to-September version.

Plus, it’s decorated with artwork by local students, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Some very impressive stuff there!

And: It’s a fundraiser, for the Westport Public Art Collections. Paintings, photos and more hang in every school and municipal building in town.

Click here, then scroll down to order. The cost is $20 (pick up) or $23 (mail). It’s available too at ASF, Colonial Druggists, and the Westport Library.

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For many years, the small shop on Maple Avenue South was Mario & Mike’s barber. Then it became Bill’s. After that, Salon Juljen.

Now it’s vacant. A sign says they’ve moved to Southport. No word on whether a new hair place — or some other business — will move in to the mixed commercial-residential building. (Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

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It’s been 2 years since CLASP Homes’ last in-person, inside event.

But the Westport organization — which serves people and families with autism and developmental disabilities — is returning to live fundraising in a big, fun way.

Band Central brings the best of Motown and soul to a benefit concert (October 15, 6:30 p.m. Fairfield Theatre, Company).

Click here for tickets, and more information. To volunteer, email rhammond@clasphomes.org.

In other CLASP news: Throughout September, the Westport Book Shop will exhibit the works of 4 participants in its art program. The used book store is on Jesup Road, across the green from the library.

CLASP art, at the Westport Book Shop.

 

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Another organization serving people with disabilities — STAR Lighting the Way — has good news too.

A grant from the Drew Friedman Arts Center will help them provide art classes to people with intellectual and developmental differences. The 6-week sessions cover a range of mediums — including photography, watercolor, acrylics, collage, dance, improvisation, acting and more — and engage local artists.

Some have already begun, at One River Art School in Westport.

Artists — including Drew Friedman Arts Center director Miggs Burroughs (far right) and STAR officials.

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Carl Addison Swanson’s 49th book has just been published. And it’s already been optioned by HBO.

A husband whose wife dies after a botched birth delivery stalks the guilty doctors and nurses — slowly and methodically.

Click here to order, and for more information.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows a praying mantis. Peggy Lehn spotted 2 of the cool-but-creepy-looking creatures on her garage.

(Photo/Peggy Lehn)

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And finally … today is the 80th anniversary of the birth of Tompall Glaser.

Though less well known than his fellow country “outlaw” singers Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, he had quite a career before dying in 2013.

Among my favorites: this decidedly tongue in cheek tune from 1976.

Roundup: Staples Class Of ’76, Coney Island, Sherwood Island …

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This is the 45th reunion weekend for the Staples High School Class of 1976. (Sorry, guys — time marches on.)

Like most classes, they’re enjoying each other’s company at the Duck, the beach, and a more formal affair.

But they’re also doing something every reunion class should emulate. This morning, members volunteered in a service project at CLASP Homes.

Tracy Flood — a proud member of Staples’ bicentennial class — is president of the local non-profit, which serves people with autism and intellectual disabilities, and their families.

(Coincidentally, CLASP was founded in 1976.)

Thanks, and congrats, to Staples’ Class of ’76. They came from all over the country to celebrate. To help their classmate. And to give back to the town where they grew up.

And, as is clear, grew into wonderful human beings.

Members of Staples High School’s Class of 1976, helping CLASP. Tracy Flood is 2nd from left.

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Connecticut’s COVID numbers don’t look great.

There’s been a 225% increase in cases over the past 2 weeks. Hospitalizations are up 93%, and deaths 133%.

The 2 most troubling hot spot  Windham County, in the northeast (up 682%) and New Haven County (up 244%). Fairfield County is up 253%, the 2nd highest percentage of the state’s 8 counties.

It’s not back. It never left.

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The other day, David Pogue interviewed Robin Frank for his “CBS Sunday Morning” feature.

David’s subject was Coney Island. Robin wrote a great book about it (“Visions of an American Dreamland: 1861-2008”), and curated a traveling exhibition about it.

The interview took place at the Coney Island Museum, and on the famous boardwalk. (Click below to see.)

Only afterward did David and Robin discover that both live in Westport.

“06880”: Where Westport meets the World. Including — especially — Coney Island.

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Sherwood Island — the 235-acre gem between Compo and Burying Hill Beaches — is the oldest state park in Connecticut. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014 (as the many Westporters who discovered it during the pandemic now know).

But who knew that this is the 100th anniversary of lifeguards at the famed beach?

Well, Karen Scott did. The KMS Partners @ Compass realtor snapped this photo the other day. Congratulations,

PS: Entrance is free to all cars with Connecticut license plates.

(Photo/Karen Scott)

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Speaking of Sherwood Island: The park is filled with natural wonders. So — naturally — it’s a great subject for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Elena Nasereddin)

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Thanks to the Westport Police Department — and the generosity of many Westporters — Homes with Hope’ food pantry is now 303 bags of groceries more full.

Yesterday’s drive at Stop & Shop was a roaring success, says Helen McAlinden, CEO of the Westport non-profit that runs the Gillespie Center, and associated supportive housing and meal programs.

Missed your chance? Click here to see how to help.

Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers deliver food from today’s drive to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.

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No, Linda Ronstadt was not at the Levitt Pavilion last night.

But Rita Harvey’s tribute made it seem like the star was on the Westport stage. Harvey — a Broadway veteran — interspersed songs with anecdotes about Ronstadt’s long career.

Tonight, the Levitt features the American Patchwork Quartet. Upcoming: Treehouse Comedy (Tuesday), Hopalong Andrew (children’s series, Wednesday), Nicki Parrott Trio (Thursday), The Lone Bellow (special benefit show, Friday) and Isaiah Sharkey (Saturday).

Click here for times, tickets (free — except Friday!), and more information.

Rita Harvey (Photo/JC Martin)

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Our athletes in Tokyo will never see it.

But — like graduates before them, who were also honored by a clever, colorful sign — this display on Pumpkin Hill near Colony Road illustrates well: It’s the thought that counts.

(Photo/Ed Simek)

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Yesterday’s “Roundup” featured the Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers arrangement at the Wadsworth Arboretum.

(Photo: Susan Nettesheim)

It did not last long. Within hours, four deer devoured it.

Hey: As with the Olympic sign (above), it’s the thought that counts. (Hat tip: Dottie Fincher)

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And finally … I never liked the song “Chuck E.’s in Love.” It just kind of sat there.

But Chuck E. Weiss — the blues musician, club owner and “outsize Los Angeles character” who was the star of Rickie Lee Jones’ hit — died the other day in LA, of kidney failure. He was 76.

So, Chuck E.: This one’s for you. (PS: If for some reason you want his full obit click here.)