Tag Archives: Club 203

Roundup: Foiled Car Thefts, 80 Turkeys, Gift Wrapping Service …

The video is grainy. But it sends an important message.

Westport’s Police Department released film from a Nest camera, recorded early Monday morning.

It shows 2 people running up a driveway, where 2 cars are parked. One person tries to open one driver’s side door; the other attempts to open the other vehicle.

Both are locked. The men quickly scamper away, to a car waiting on the road.

Screen shot of the attempted theft. A man is trying the doors of the re car; another approaches the vehicle on the left. The getaway car is at the upper right.

“A great example of what happens when you lock the car doors … they leave!” the police say.

There is no stronger proof than this: Residents should always lock their cars.

If everyone does, the difference in auto thefts will be like night and day.

(If you are on Facebook, click here to play the video.)


While many Westporters were preoccupied with planning a Thanksgiving feast for family and friends, Gillian Anderson worried about area residents who can’t afford a turkey dinner or holiday experience.

When she learned that the Light on the Hill food pantry at Summerfield United Methodist Church in Bridgeport had fallen short on its Thanksgiving food drive for 250 families, Gillian called on her friends at the Westport Rotary Club and the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston.

They quickly volunteered to raise money, then shop and drive carloads of food — including frozen turkeys — to Bridgeport.

80 turkeys, 180 boxes of stuffing mix and 50 cans of cranberry sauce were procured and transported. All 250 families received their Thanksgiving dinners.

The Turkey Drive generated so much enthusiasm at Westport Rotary that this holiday project may become a new club tradition.

Lots of turkeys, at Summerfield United Methodist Church.


Just in time for holiday gift giving (and its tedious cousin, gift wrapping), Jean Symonette has started a new business  out of her Westport home.

The Wrapping Bow-tique — a wrapping service — “understands that the presentation of a gift is as crucial as the gift itself. With hundreds of paper and ribbons to choose from, we transform ordinary presents into gifts that are as unique and beautiful as the sentiment behind them.”

The Wrapping Bow-tique also creates environmentally friendly gift boxes.  All are repurposed, and reusable with lids that lift off. They are hand wrapped in premium paper, and adorned with bows.

Click here for the website; click here for the Facebook page; click here for Instagram.

Questions? Email jeanwrappingbowtique@gmail.com.

Wrapping Bow-tique samples.


For many years, the Westport Weston Family Y has opened its doors and programs to the special needs community.

This winter, the Y expand its programming, and reestablishes its partnership with Special Olympics Connecticut.

The Y’s special needs programs include gymnastics, swimming, open play, and organized sports like basketball and soccer. People of all ages with social, behavioral and physical differences can enjoy a variety of activities that promote wellness, creativity, socialization and belonging. 

To support those efforts, the Y has hired Brittany Williams as special needs coordinator.

Y chief operations officer Christina Scherwin says, “Last weekend we celebrated our gold medal champions. ‘Team Happy’ participated in the Special Olympics unified basketball state tournament, and placed first in their division.

“It’s not about the color of the medal though, but the process. These participants have worked really hard improving their skills, attention and teamwork. It is so rewarding to see their progress and dedication shine through.”

This spring, the Westport Weston Family Y debuts its first Special Needs Prom. Participants ages 14 and up will enjoy a prom experience, with a red carpet entrance, live DJ, dancing, photo booth, food, and fun activities.

The Kiev family’s contributions support this expansion of the Y’s programming.

To volunteer on the court or poolside as a coach, player, mentor, prom date or helping organize social activities, or to become an event sponsor, email bwilliams@westporty.org. For more information, click here.

Westport Weston Family Y Special Olympics participants.


Earthplace invites Westporters (and their holiday guests) to check out several drop-in offerings this Thanksgiving weekend (except tomorrow).

“Story and Animal Program” runs every day except Sunday (and Thanksgiving) at 10;30 a.m. Children 5 and under enjoy and animal-themed story, and an encounter with an Animal Hall resident.

“Birds of Prey Feedings” are held daily at 11 a.m. Watch the feeding, and learn what birds eat in the wild.

“Saturdays at Earthplace” (November 25, noon) is a chance for children of all ages to take part in a nature-based arts and crafts activity. A parent or caregiver must be present.

For more information, click here.


Yesterday’s Roundup included an incorrect date for Club 203’s next event.

The social group for adults with disabilities will celebrate the holidays on Monday, December 4 — not “next Monday’ — from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at MoCA.

There’s square dancing, a Western photo area, food and giveaways. Parents are invited to stay and celebrate too.

Click here for reservations, and more information. Questions? Email club203ct@gmail.com.


The Westport Country Playhouse “Script in Hand” season concludes with “Warrior Class.”

The December 4 (7 p.m.) play is about a candidate for Congress. “The ghosts of his college days come back to haunt him. Nothing reveals true colors like a sprint to the finish, when friends become enemies and allies can turn on a dime. ‘Warrior Class’ is a political battle of race, romance, forgiveness and debt.”

All tickets are $25. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Steve Halstead sends today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, with this note:

“A pileated woodpecker eats an early Thanksgiving dinner on a tree behind our house.”

(Photo/Steve Halstead)


And finally … I’ve posted Dion’s powerful “Abraham, Martin and John” video before.

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, here is an especially haunting version of a song that — sadly — never grows old.

(If you learn nothing else from “06880,” it’s this: Lock your car! If that saves you several thousand dollars, consider a contribution to your hyper-local blog. Please click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: Lyman Police Aid, Westport HR Hire, HS Dodge-a-Cop …

The Westport Police Department’s latest donation of excess used equipment — including communication devices, and much-needed hats — has been delivered to their counterparts in our sister city of Lyman, Ukraine.

It is much needed, as the war grinds on and heads into a second winter.

NOTE: Donations to Lyman are always welcome. Click here; then click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.)

Lyman police officer, with a Westport Police walkie-talkie — and hat.


The town of Westport has hired a human resources director.

Candice Holley’s appointment is effective immediately.

She has over 20 years’ experience in human capital and human resources implementation, with a strong background in talent acquisition, recruitment and retention.

Most recently, Holley served as an independent HR consultant. Previous positions include vice president, people and operations, for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, and global director, human resources, with Barnes Group.

She graduated from Seton Hall University with a degree in social and behavioral Sciences. She also attended the University of Mississippi to earn a degree in Psychology, and the University of Cincinnati for political science.

Candice Holley


One of Westport’s favorite holiday toy drives — the Westport Police Department’s, in partnership with the Police Benevolent Association and Police Athletic League — is open for donations.

Toys will be provided to children in need throughout Fairfield County, and at area hospitals.

Officers will accept new, unopened and unwrapped toys — and cash donations — in the ASF Sports & Outdoors parking lot (1560 Post Road East), between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., on the next 2 weekends (Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3 and 9-10).

There will also be toy collection boxes at:
• Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road
• ASF Sports & Outdoors Store, 1560 Post Road East
• Awesome Toys & Gifts, 429 Post Road East
• The Toy Post , 180 Post Road East

Questions? Contact Craig Bergamo by phone at (203) 341-6000, or
email (cbergamo@westportct.gov).


More than a dozen teams — each including Staples students, and at least one Westport Police Department officer — battled last night, in the high school fieldhouse.

A portion of the large group of students and cops. (Photo/Dan Woog)

It was all in good fun. The annual “Dodge-a-Cop” event was a way for teenagers and cops to meet and bond — and for the Westport Youth Commission to raise funds for the Homes with Hope and Westport Woman’s Club food pantries.

Kevin Godburn, longtime Youth Commission member through the Department of Human Services (2nd from left) with (from left) members Jake Shufro, Cabry Lueker (president) and Anaam Olasewere (secretary, Dodge-a-Cop manager). (Photo/Dan Woog)

Gault Energy and Mitchells co-sponsored the evening, which included prizes, pizza and drinks.

And plenty of good, clean, cops-and-kids competition.

The winning Dodge-a-Cop team included Corporal (and Westport PAL president) Craig Bergamo (right). (Photo/Cabry Lueker)


Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — celebrates the holidays next week.

The party is set for MoCA, next Monday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. It’s a “hoedown,” so Western-themed attire is suggested.

There’s square dancing, a Western photo area, food and giveaways. Parents are invited to stay and celebrate too.

Click here for reservations, and more information. Questions? Email club203ct@gmail.com


Westporter Rosie Jon — who paints with her toes better than nearly anyone can using hands — celebrates 10 years as an artist with her first-ever exhibition.

It’s set for the gallery at Green’s Farm’s Church, from December 1 to January 12.

Opening night begins at 6 p.m., and includes a chance to watch Rosie create her beautiful art, and a Q-and-A.

Attendance is limited. Click here to register.


Speaking of art:

The Westport Library welcomed Norm Siegel last night.

The noted local artist discussed his new exhibit, “Visual Curiosities.” It’s on view through January 8.

Norm Siegel (far right) with (from left) admirers Nina Bentley, Miggs Burroughs and Lynn Untermeyer Miller, last night at the Westport Library. (Photo/Carole Erger-Fass)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” subject is getting ready for winter, at Winslow Park?

Are you as industrious?

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)


And finally … on this date more than 80 years apart, 2 key entertainment events happened.

In 1877, Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph: a machine that can record and play sound.

In 1959, disc jockey Alan Freed, who popularized the term “rock and roll,” was fired from New York’s WABC radio over allegations he had participated in a payola scandal.

(Art, music, kids, Town Hall — it’s all here in the Roundup, just like every day. But all this stuff takes time and effort. “06880” relies on reader support. Please click here to help. Thank you!)

Roundup: Church Lane, Rotten Pumpkins, Polling Places …

One more reminder that summer is over: Yesterday (November 1), the barriers were removed at Church Lane and Elm Street.

The outdoor restaurant tables are gone.

The road is once again open to traffic.

Church Lane (Photo/Sal Liccione)


One more reminder Halloween is over: Your rotting pumpkins.

No problem! Next Thursday (November 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the Westport Farmers’ Markets hosts its 5th annual Great Pumpkin Toss.

Just bring your pumpkin to the Imperial Avenue parking lot. Action Waste Solutions will collect them.

It’s one way to turn a tiny portion of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins wasted in the US each year into usable compost.

All pumpkins and gourds in their natural state are accepted. Squishy and rotted ones are fine. Unfortunately, decorated or painted pumpkins cannot be composted.

Participants can “toss” their pumpkin in the bin, or just drop and go.

Last year, Westporters diverted one ton of pumpkin waste from landfill. Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran-Dougall hopes to beat that record next week.

There’s no trick to that — just an environmental treat.


Westport’s 5 polling locations for Tuesday’s elections are the same as last year:

  • Districts 1 & 2: Saugatuck Elementary School
  • Districts 3 & 8: Coleytown Middle School
  • District 4 & 5: Greens Farms Elementary School
  • Districts 6 & 7: Long Lots Elementary School
  • District 9: Westport Library

Polls are open Tuesday (November 7) from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Need an absentee ballot? Click here.

Unsure of your voting district? Check the map below, or click here.

Questions? Contact the registrars of voters: 203-341-1115.


Westport Police made 6 custodial arrests between October 25 and November 1.

A man was charge with 2 counts of burglary, 2 counts of larceny, and illegal taking of a payment card, after stealing a purse from an unlocked vehicle. An off-duty officer saw a man later trying door handles in a Post Road East parking lot; his license plate matched that of a car seen by a Good Samaritan following the theft.

A man was charged with interfering with an officer, after a domestic violence call at a house under construction. When asked for identification, he provided fake names and addresses.

A man was charged with driving under the influence and operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, following a report from Compo Beach of an intoxicated person stumbling in the parking and yelling with another person. He was stopped while driving away from the beach.

A man was charged with violation of a protective order. After a previous arrest for domestic violence, he tried several times to contact the victim via phone and messaging.

A man was charged on Halloween with criminal trespass and criminal attempt at burglary, after a homeowner reported witnessing by remote surveillance camera a suspicious person trying to enter their home. When stopped by officers he said he was “trick or treating with his family,” but was alone.

A man was charged with threatening, unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment and breach of peace, after a juvenile reported that a man had pointed a gun at the heads of several juveniles, accusing them of breaking bottles and trespassing. The teens had been playing “break or bounce” with bottles in the raod. The man demanded the teens text him photos of their licenses, and ordered them to sit down before they ran off.

Westport Police also issued these citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 18 citations
  • Distracted driving: 2
  • Traveling at unreasonable speed: 2
  • Operating a motor vehicle while using a cellphone: 2
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic control signals: 2
  • Permitting a minor to possess alcohol: 1
  • Passing in a no-passing zone: 1
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 1
  • Failure to renew registration: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1


Permitting a minor to possess alcohol is a serious offense.


Westport is grateful for Club 203.

And Club 203 — which offers social activities and friendship for adults with disabilities — is grateful for community support.

Their November meeting is a “Thankful & Grateful” event. It’s November 15, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Earthplace.

On the menu: “Thankful bites, a gratitude art corner by MoCA, and an exclusive tour of Earthplace’s incredible animal exhibition.”

In the holiday spirit, guests are asked to bring a thankful gift to be donated to clients of Westport’s Human Services Department. Any toiletries and/or household cleaning items that cannot be bought with SNAP are welcome.

For details and registration, click here. Questions? Email club203ct@gmail.com.


It’s November, so it’s time to think about holiday gifts.

Give sustainably this year!

you can get a head start at Staples High School’s Zero Waste Committee 2nd annual EcoFest (Saturday, November 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Staples cafeteria).

Organizers promise “sustainable gifts and ideas for every occasion,” plus exhibitors, food, thrifting, kids’ crafts, educational presentations and more.

PS: It’s free — no admission charge!

I have no idea if these gifts are sustainable. But the wrapping is!


Westport-based Bridgewater Associates is often called “the world’s largest hedge fund.”

But how does it make so much money?

Rob Copeland wondered. The New York Times journalist interviewed hundreds of people in and around the company. He pored over emails, recordings, court records, company documents, and published interviews and articles. (He did not speak with founder Ray Dalio and other Bridgewater executives, who provided feedback through lawyers and representatives.)

The result is a new book. “The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend” will be published next Tuesday.

Yesterday, the Times ran a long excerpt (click here).

Copeland’s conclusion: It is not a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme.

But I’m still not sure how they do it. (Hat tip: Allan Siegert)


Schools are closed Tuesday, for Election Day.

Looking for a fun, different activity?

“The Book of Mormon” professionals offer a “Broadway workshop” at the Westport Country Playhouse (November 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Included is musical theater instruction, dance performances, and Q-and-A. Fifth graders through college students are welcome.

Cast members include Joshua Keen, dance captain/swing, and Andrew Stevens Purdy, ensemble and understudy for Elder Cunningham.

After the workshop, they head back to New York for a performance that night.

To register, email curleylaura@hotmail.com or text 917-734-8462.


A reader enjoyed last week’s Friday Flashback, about the Platt Burial Ground on Post Road West at the Norwalk line. He writes:

“I own a house that sits nearby, near Kings Highway South.

“I’m pretty sure both it and Post Road West existed in the early 19th century, albeit with less traffic.

“So I wonder if the Platt Burial Ground has always been as small as it is today. Could it have, in the past, extended all the way to Kings Highway South?

“My house’s back yard lawn has this pesky rectangular bare spot, about 6′ x 3′, over the septic tank. Or is it something else?

“So far, no portals into Hades have ever opened up in the closet.

“Nevertheless, every Halloween we keep an eye out to make sure the poltergeists are resting in peace, and that nothing like an arm or leg decides to poke out.”


Dr. Jerome Brodlie died peacefully at his Weston home last week. He was 85.

He worked as a child psychologist in private practice and at Greenwich Hospital, where he chaired the psychology department. As a regular guest on “CBS This Morning” he reached millions of American parents. He also built mental health services in areas affected by natural disasters, in the US and overseas.

The Bronx native attended the University of Illinois on a baseball scholarship. After graduation in 1960 he passed up a chance to play professionally, and got his doctorate in psychology at Columbia University.

He did post-doctoral work at the Alfred Adler Institute, while he taught at Brooklyn College. He married Lisa Evans, a pediatric oncology nurse.

In 1968 they moved to Weston. In addition to his private practice in Greenwich, he taught at Yale School of Medicine and Southern Connecticut State University, while also serving as a consulting psychologist for Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich Academy, and the Eagle Hill School.

In 2001 he was part of a statewide commission that advised on new laws and processes for child custody in divorce cases.

In 2005, Dr. Brodlie went to New Orleans to train nurses, doctors, and teachers who were helping children recover from the trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina. He also advised the school systems, students and teachers affected by Hurricane Ivan, which had struck the Cayman Islands, where the family vacationed frequently. The State Department later recruited him to go to Burma to work with young people experiencing PTSD; there he met and counseled victims of torture, caregivers for people with terminal illness, former political prisoners, and others. He returned there often.

His family says he enjoyed “playing sports, traveling, cooking, painting and telling jokes, although his paintings were usually more successful. He played pickleball and basketball, but he was most proud to have played 78 consecutive baseball seasons.”

He is survived by his wife Lisa; children Matt, of Los Angeles, Sara Gray of Middletown, Rhode Island, and Dr. Rachel Brodlie Corse (Griffin) of Cambridge, Vermont; grandchildren Maximus, Lola, Stella and Benjamin, and sister Barbara Scheinert.

Donations in his memory may be made to Leveling the Playing Field.

Dr. Jerome Brodlie


Leaves are everywhere. (Hey, it’s November — what do you expect?)

But among the squintillions that make our town so gorgeous this time of year, Jerry Kuyper spotted an extra-special one.

He was intrigued by the “creature” he saw in it.

Enjoy this unique “Westport … Naturally” image:

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)


And finally … in honor of the “Book of Mormon” Election Day workshop at the Westport Country Playhouse (story above):

(Meanwhile, I believe that contributing to “06880” — your hyper-local blog — is a good thing. Please click here. Elder Cunningham and I thank you.)

Roundup: Israel Support, I-95 Detours, Aid In Dying Legislation …

Last Sunday — just 24 hours after Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel — 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker released a strong statement.

She said then:

The attack on Israel and its citizens is horrifying. There is no justification for senseless acts of violence.

I as the 1st Selectwoman of Wesetport, along with our residents, stand with the people of Israel as they defend their country in the face of unspeakable terrorist acts.

Many Westporters have family and friends in Israel. Our community is profoundly affected by this tragedy. I extend my deepest condolences for the lives lost.

We are with you, Israel.

She reiterated her words yesterday. In a joint statement, Tooker and TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey said:

TEAM Westport joins the Town of Westport and our First Selectwoman in offering its deepest solidarity and sorrow to the people of Israel for the unspeakable and unfathomable acts of inhumanity they have suffered at the hands of Hamas. As such, we also decry any attempts to justify or celebrate those atrocities. While there is much to be done to ensure stability over the long-term, in whatever is done, we urge the unrelenting focus on the humanity of all potential victims involved.

On the home front, we fully support the increased protection of the Jewish community within Westport and the greater U.S.  against the rising  scourge of antisemitism. Overall, we encourage all segments of our community to join as one in this support with the full understanding that when one of us is harmed, we are all harmed.

Many town officials — including 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, in the front row directly in front of Senator Richard Blumenthal  — were at Monday’s solidarity gathering at Temple Israel. (Photo/Allison Wachstein)


Plan ahead!

The I-95 northbound entrance ramp at Exit 17 will be closed beginning Monday, October 16 through Friday, October 31. The closure is part of the ongoing bridge rehabilitation project. Traffic will be detoured to Riverside Avenue, then to the Post Road, Sherwood Island Connector, and onto Exit 18.

In addition, parts of I-95 itself will be closed — as will the northbound Exit 17  entrance and exit ramps, and the southbound exit ramp — along with nearby Saugatuck Avenue, from 8 p.m. Friday, October 20, through 6 a.m. Monday, October 23.

The closures are necessary for the new I-95 northbound bridge to be placed using Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques. While I-95 northbound is closed, 2 lanes of I-95 northbound traffic will be crossed over on the I-95 southbound bridge. Traffic flow in both directions will be severely impacted all weekend.

For additional information on the project, including detours, click here.

The I-95 Exit 17 entrance and exit ramps were closed intermittently last week. Blasting helped prepare the site for the “bridge slide” coming soon.


For several years, James Naughton has been a passionate, articulate advocate for proposed medical aid in dying state legislation.

On Monday (October 16, 7 p.m., Westport Library) the Tony-winning actor and Weston resident — whose wife died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer — leads an important discussion.

“Medical Aid in Dying: Connecticut Wants It; Why Isn’t It the Law?” includes State Representative Jonathan Steinberg (former co-chair of the Public Health Committee); State Senator Ceci Maher; filmmaker Maribeth Abrams, who is producing a documentary about advocate Kim Hoffman, who died in 2022, and Tim Appleton, campaign director of Compassion & Choices.

Click here for more information, and to register.

James Naughton


“Houdini” (Jackson) and well over 100 other Club 203 guests packed the Senior Center Thursday, for the social club for adults disabilities monthly get-together.

Houdini (aka Jackson) at the Club 203 Halloween party.

This one was (of course) Halloween-themed. Attendees enjoyed Spooky Bingo, a barbecue, baked goods, candy (of course) and more.

Senior Center staff helped facilitate the event. Sweet P Bakery, Fresh Market, Stop & Shop and CVS provided donations, while MOCA led “frightening” art projects. Club 203 co-founders Stacie Curran and Sharuna Mahesh also thanked the many volunteers who helped.

Good times at the Senior Center, for Club 203 members and friends.


Speaking of Halloween:

This is the coven, at the corner of Hillandale and West Parish Roads:

(Photo/Tammy Barry)


In what has become an annual tradition, RTM members celebrated Restaurant Week with a lunch last yesterday. This year’s site: Zucca, which has replaced Tarry Lodge in Saugatuck.

On hand were 24 of the 36 representatives, plus 2 former moderators (assistant town attorney Eileen Lavigne Flug and Velma Heller), plus Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton and Tatiana Plachi of the town clerk’s office.

Pro tip: Restaurant Week is actually two weeks. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event ends tomorrow (Sunday). For a list of restaurants and their special deals, click here.

RTM members and friends celebrate Restaurant Week at Zucca.


Amidst a gaggle of signs — for political candidates, upcoming galas, sports registration, driveway paving companies and everything else — there is a new, official looking one, in the rear of Compo Acres Shopping Center, by Compo Road South:

That’s a sign we can all agree belongs there. 988 is the new, important, easy-to-remember 24-hour hotline for people in crisis, including those considering suicide.


Fred Cantor and his wife Debbie Silberstein recently visited their former neighbors, Gordon and Dot Hall.

They’ve lived in the same house near Hillspoint Road since 1955.

Dot recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. Gordon will soon be 96.

This fall marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of their Westport teaching careers.

Fred wonders if there are any other married teaching couples around from the 1950s?

To which I’ll add: Are there any other teachers — period — from that decade still in Westport?

Dot and Gordon Hall (Photo/Fred Cantor)


Westport was not the only artists’ colony in these parts.

Weston had a robust arts history too. On November 15 and 16 (6:30 p.m.), the Weston History & Cultural Center offers a look into their lives — along with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and insights from curator Laurie Weiss.

It’s called “Weston Illustrated: Penned, Painted and Sculpted.” Among the featured artists, who lived and/or worked in Weston during the first half of the 20th century: Wood Cowan, Charles and James Daugherty, Stevan Dohanos, John Held Jr., Ada “Johnny” Held, William Meade Prince, Laura Gardin Fraser and Stuart Benson

The event is limited to 12 people per night. Tickets $30 for members, $40 for non-members) include a signature cocktail and light appetizers. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” webinar is Friday (October 20, noon to 1:15 p.m.).

The topic is “Cultivating Backyard Habitat for Pollinators in Every Season.” It will be led by Desiree Narango, conservation scientist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Click here to register, and for more information.


Diva Showstoppers — featuring a Glinda and Elphaba from the Broadway company of “Wicked” — flies into Westport for two shows on one day this winter: January 20.

“Good Witch/Bad Witch” has entertained audiences across the US, with its vocals and banter.

It’s recommended for ages 7 and up — including parents. All tickets are $40. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Former Staples High School assistant coach Ty Matthew Guarente died Wednesday, surrounded by his family. He was 28.

His obituary says: “the son of the late Lisa Marie Guarente and Gary Guarente faced life’s challenges with remarkable bravery, inspiring all who knew him. Despite the obstacles he encountered, his spirit remained unbreakable. He touched the lives of many with his kindness, resilience, infectious smile and sense of humor.”

Ty was a 2012 graduate of Brien McMahon High School, where he was a varsity letterman in football, wrestling and lacrosse. He earned a bachelor of science in sports management from West Virginia University. He was treasurer and head of recruiting for Theta Chi fraternity.

After graduating Ty returned home to Norwalk and began a career in coaching, impacting the lives of student-athletes at several local high schools across many different sports, including football, wrestling and lacrosse.

“Despite being involved in a car accident in 2019 that deprived him of the ability to walk, Ty endured, continuing his coaching career and remaining a fixture in the local sports community. His family and many friends from both near and far made sure that Ty was never without love and support, and he cherished every call, text, and visit.”

In addition to his father, Ty is survived by his brother Michael (Luz), sisters Jessica Guarente and Jessica Wilchfort (William), brother John Andresen (Jennifer), 8 nieces and nephews, and grandmother Ginger Sollazzo Raymond.

A celebration of Ty’s life will be held tomorrow (Sunday, October 15, 3 to 7 p.m., Collins Funeral Home, Norwalk). A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday (October 16, 10 a.m., St. Matthew Church, Norwalk).

Ty Guarente


Today is not much of a beach day.

But yesterday was. Lauri Weiser spotted this scene — just right for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … Rudolph Isley, one of the Isley Brothers as well as a co-writer of many of their hits during their decades-long (and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) career, died Wednesday in his sleep, at his Chicago home. He was 84.

The Isley Brothers pre-dated the Beatles (who had a hit with their cover of the group’s “Twist and Shout”), and lasted long after the Fab 4 disbanded. Click here for a full obituary.

Here are just 3 of their classics:

(It’s your thing … do what you want to do! But please consider a contribution to “06880.” Just click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: Dog Fears, Melissa & Doug, Art Aid …

Dogs are joyful: As of October 1, they are allowed back at Compo Beach.

But the other day, longtime Westporters Stefani Cohen and Cathy Malkin noticed a young child crying, afraid of the dogs.

The women kept their pets at a distance. But several other owners allowed their dogs to run up to the family. Upset and frustrated, they left the beach.

Stefani and Cathy see that scene often, at other places too like sports events and outdoor restaurants. Up to 20% of the population — adults as well as children — have some fear of dogs.

They know that with exposure therapy, it is possible to overcome a fear of dogs. In fact, they’ve written a book: “Overcoming Your Child’s Fear of Dogs: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents.”

Now they’re presenting an online workshop about it (Tuesday, October 17, 7 p.m.). The material is appropriate for all ages. It covers an understanding of cynophobia, strategies to face that fear, ways to stay safe around dogs, and the importance of noticing a dog’s body language to tell when to interact and when to stay away.

In addition to anyone fearful of dogs, the webinar is aimed at therapists, dog professionals, educators and parents.

The cost is $27. Click here to register, and for more information.

A fun sight — but not for everyone. (Photo/Dan Johnson)


Melissa & Doug — the beloved toy company founded by Melissa and Doug Bernstein in 1988, in their Westport basement and his parents’ nearby garage — has been sold.

Spin Master announced yesterday that they bought the Wilton-based firm for $950 million.

Spin Master was attracted by Melissa & Doug’s trusted brand of early childhood toys, and timeless products. They are sustainable wooden toys, without screens. Last year’s net sales were $490 million.

Click here for the full story.(Hat tip: David Loffredo)


It’s always hard for artists to make ends meet.

Some Bridgeport artists are in serious straits. Lynn Flint is doing what she can to help.

She’s running a 1-day estate sale at her home. Proceeds will help them meet immediate needs, including rent, food, fuel and art materials.

A member of the Bridgeport arts community will be there, offering information on the arts (who will have their own open studios in November).

So I am having an experimental one day only estate sale in the ground level area of my home since I am handicapped and can no longer run up and down stairs.

It’s Saturday, October 26 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), on Belaire Drive. A sign on Saugatuck Avenue (near the Norwalk border) will direct art lovers to the sale.


In just over one year, Club 203 has become one of Westport’s most important non-profit organizations.

Yesterday, the Westport Rotary Club learned about the town’s social club for adults with disabilities from co-founders Stacie Curran and Sharuna Mahesh. They told moving stories of the need for such a group — and the joy and bonds created at every monthly meeting.

A host of Westport groups and businesses have hosted Club 203 activities, in a town-wide showing of interest and support.

Stacie Curran (left) and Sharuna Mahesh of Club 203, at yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Speaking of Rotary:

Rick Benson — one of Westport’s more energetic and productive members since joining in 1989 — recently received a huge honor.

In Toronto, Rick was recognized with a zonal Donald MacRae Peace Award. It celebrates members who demonstrate the advancement of international goodwill, understanding and peace through peacemaking efforts or humanitarian activity of international significance.

Rick is a previous recipient of local, district and zone honors — and the Rotary International Service Above Self Award, in 2020.

Rick Benson, his wife Totney, and his Donald MacRae Peace Award.


STAR Inc. and Voices Center for Resilience present a special program: “A 22-Year Journey from 9/11 to Today: Helping Families and Communities Prepare for Emergencies” next Wednesday (October 18, 7 p.m., Westport Library).

Mary Fetchet — founding Director of Voices Center for Resilience — lives in New Canaan. Her son Brad died in the September 11 attacks.

She will share her personal experience and perspective on preparing communities in advance of a tragedy.

A panel discussion about emergency management in Westport will include 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, emergency management director and Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan, Deputy Police Chief Ryan Paulsson, Human Services director Elaine Daignault, and state Department of Emergency Services representative Robert Kenny.

Attendees will receive a tip sheet and emergency management packet.

For more information and to register,  click here.


Trick or treat!

Halloween is less than 3 weeks ago. These guys — at the corner of Clapboard Hill and Devon Road — can’t wait.

Then again, maybe they have all the time in the world.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” Saugatuck River photo comes from Sunny Sherman.

Her words are as meaningful as her picture: “It’s hard to forget the horrors happening in Israel right now. But I thought you and your readers might like to enjoy (unfiltered) what I am blessed to see almost nightly.”

(Photo/Sunny Sherman)


And finally … in response to Stefani Cohen and Cathy Malkin’s upcoming webinar (story above):

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. If you support local journalism, please support us. Just click here — and thank you!)


Roundup: Car Thefts, Police Reports, Cardiac Screening …

Andrew Colabella reports:

“Yesterday at 2:10 a.m., 2 vehicles were stolen out of a driveway in the Compo Beach/Hillspoint area. Keys were left in both cars.

“The thieves were flanked by another vehicle following, traveling at a high rate of speed circling the cul-de-sac multiple times trying to get out, waking up neighbors.

“At 3:42 a.m. they were seen on camera entering another driveway, looking into vehicles for any valuables.

“One car has been recovered.

“They’re known to be between the ages of 14-26, from the Waterbury/Torrington and New Haven areas, and carrying illegally obtained pistols.

“Reminder: Remove valuables from your vehicle at night, so they are not in plain sight. Lock your vehicles, whether in the driveway, garage or carport, at all times.

“Keep key fobs far from your vehicle, as they might be able to start it within only a short range of distance.

“If you see anything suspicious, call 911 or 203-341-6000.”

Car thieves in Westport don’t have to break in, or jimmy locks. By leaving doors unlocked, with keys in the ignition, we make things easy for them.


Speaking of police: Westport officers made 3 custodial arrests between September 6 and 13.

After a hit-and-run accident on Post Road East at Turkey Hill, an officer spotted the driver northbound on I-95. The driver was stopped at Exit 25, and charged with evading responsibility; operating an unregistered motor vehicle; driving with a suspended license; failure to register a motor vehicle; failure to drive right, and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Following a complaint about a check that was stolen, altered and deposited, a man was charged with larceny, criminal attempt at larceny, and forgery.

After a traffic stop for going straight in the “left turn only” lane on Post Road West at Riverside Avenue, a man was charged with 2 counts of failure to appear, based on active re-arrest warrants in Bridgeport and Fairfield.

Westport Police also issued these citations:

  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations 11 citations
  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 5
  • Failure to obey traffic control signals 2
  • Failure to renew registration: 2
  • Traveling too fast for conditions: `
  • Unsafe passing: 1
  • Failure to comply with passing on the right side rules: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 1
  • Failure to register a commercial vehicle: 1

An extreme case of unsafe passing.


Speaking still of police: They may soon be called to the corner of Post Road West and Riverside Avenue (see above) — not for failure to turn properly, but for this accident that is waiting to happen:

(Photo/Ken Warren)

Ken Warren — who took the photo — says, “I can loan them a level if they need it.”

They do.


The Westport Public Schools will offer free, confidential cardiac screening for students.

The voluntary event 14-point screener and EKG screen can identify risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest.

In A Heartbeat — a Connecticut nonprofit — will provide the screenings October 4 (3 to 7:30 p.m., Staples High School cafeteria). Parents will receive EKG results within 2 weeks. Click here to register.

Volunteers are needed for medical and non-medical duties. Email mike@inaheartbeat.org to help.


“06880” shies away from “rankings” stories.

They’re clickbait, and often based on arbitrary criteria. Besides, if (for example) our school system is #1 one year, and #2 the next, people push the panic button and wonder what the hell is wrong.

So I was about to delete the “World Atlas” rankings of “13 Small Towns in CT That Were Ranked Among US Favorites.”

But then I read the writeup. It’s bizarrely interesting. “World Atlas” writes:

There are many waterfront towns in Connecticut — and then there is Westport. This Connecticut treasure boasts the most ocean waterfront in Connecticut. So if you are looking for a blue-space gem, complete with refreshing breezes and beaches, look no further.

And it is not just about the oceanfront area. Westport also boasts the largest riverfront in the state. Aside from the serene waterfront vistas that define Westport and its sand-fringed beaches, Westport, unknown to many, is a bibliophile’s dream destination. It plays host to the Westport Library, for instance, the only 5-star library in the state.

Aside from this idyllic, one-of-a-kind community gem, you will love to spend an afternoon (or an evening) strolling through Westport’s Library Riverwalk and Garden, a stunning walkway that runs along the scenic Saugatuck River.

Here’s the photo that ran with the story. (Hat tip: Richard Stein)

(Photo courtesy of Miro Vrlik Photography)


The first event of the second season for Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — is next Wednesday (September 20, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Toquet Hall).

Called “Reconnect, Renew & Karaoke Too,” it’s a chance to meet old friends, make new ones, and sing along.

Snacks are available ($1 to $3). The Westport Book Shop provides popcorn for all. (Parents can head over to the Book Shop for a “sip and chat” with artist Maj Kalfus). Click here to register.


One of the fall’s best events is Push Against Cancer.

It’s also one of the most strenuous.

And most worthwhile.

The 14th annual PAC takes place Sunday, October 15 at Staples High School’s Jinny Parker Field.

The all-fitness-level/all-ages event begins at 9 a.m. There are 2 registration types. A 40-minute family-friendly pushup event challenges individuals or groups to do as many push-ups as possible in 40 minutes. The contenders division is a competitive 1-hour pushup contest. Championship belts go to the male and female who complete the most pushups in an hour.

All proceeds benefit children with serious illnesses and their family members through The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Click here to register or donate, and for more information.

A small part of the Push Against Cancer.


Sorelle Gallery’s new exhibit showcases Connecticut artist Carol Young.

Her work explores America’s rural and coastal landscape, in energetic, vibrant and nostalgic ways.

Her paintings are on view from tomorrow (September 15) through the 24th. Carol Young’s original paintings will be on view through Sunday, September 24th. Click here for more information. Works by Carol Young


Totney Benson spotted this the other day:

(Photo/Totney Benson)

She writes: “A young man assembled these horseshoe crab carcasses today on the beach near the eastern end of Compo Beach. It’s molting season!”

And to the young carcass assembler: Smile! Your carcasses are today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.


And finally … Larry Chance, the leader of the classic doo-wop group the Earls — died last week in Florida. He was 82, and suffered from lung cancer. Click here for a full obituary.

(Remember: “06880” relies on reader’s contributions! Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)


Roundup: Elvira’s, Club 203, Rhone …

Elvira’s is gone. The popular store has been replaced by the equally popular Old Mill Grocery & Deli.

But Elvira’s pizza will soon be back.

Harry Yiovanakos is following in his family’s footsteps. Elvira’s Pizza will open just over the border on Norwalk’s Belden Avenue.

“06880” will let readers know as soon as the first pie comes out of the oven.

Elvira’s Pizza opens soon. (Photo and hat tip/Andrew Colabella)


Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — returns for another year soon.

And the lineup of activities is bigger and better than ever:

  • September 20: Reconnect and renew friendships at Toquet Hall
  • October 12: Halloween Bingo & Barbeque at the Senior center
  • November 15: “Get Your Turkey On” at Earthplace
  • December 4: Holiday bash at MoCA
  • January 15: Splash and celebrate 2024 at the Westport Weston Family YMCA
  • February TBD: Valentines at the Westport Country Playhouse
  • March TBD: Celebrate the luck of the Irish at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399
  • April TBD: Rock on at the Westport Library
  • May TBD: Bowling event
  • June 5: Beach bash at Compo.

Sign up for all events for $100; individual events are $15 each. Click here for more information, and to register.

Questions? Email club203ct@gmail.com, or call 203-418-7672.

EJ Zebro (far right) and friends have fun at Jesup Green in April.


Rhone — Main Street’s new men’s store — celebrates its grand opening next Saturday (August 26), with a full day of activities.

C0-founders Nate and Ben Checketts will host:

  • 10 a.m. to noon : Ribbon-cutting with the Westport Downtown Association; bagels and coffee from Popup Bagels and GG & Joe.
  • Noon to 2 p.m.: Ice bath with Edge Theory Labs; first 30 customers receive a free pair of Rhone swim trunks.
  • 2-4 p.m.: Recovery with Restore Hyper Wellness; juices and snacks from Green & Tonic.
  • 4-6 p.m.: Drinks from Two Roads Brewing and Athletic Brewing Co.

Customers get 20% off their purchase, plus a free pair of Essentials boxer briefs or trunks with all purchases over $350.

Plus: It’s the final day of Connecticut’s Tax-Free Week..

Rhone is ready for business.


The Levitt Pavilion’s summer series continued last night, with DJ Rekha playing Bollywood tunes.

Tonight’s show features Bill & the Showmen. Tomorrow, it’s the always popular Frank Mastrone & Friends. Click here for more information.

Bollywood night at the Levitt. (Photo/Sarathi Roy)


Speaking of music: Yesterday’s “06880” preview of CLASP‘s “Rockin’ Halloween Bash” (October 20, Fairfield Theatre Company) — a benefit for the organization providing group homes and other services for people with autism and intellectual disabilities — included incorrect information about the music.

CLASP now says that the danceable, great rock from artists like Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, Journey, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and more will be provided by Stephanie Harrison (powerhouse leader of the band Fake ID), Anthony Gadaleta, Crispin Cioe (Westport saxophonist who toured with the Stones), Pat Marafiote, Marcos Torres Jr. (Cosmic Jibaros), and Rob Fried, Band Central founder.

The pre-party starts in the FTC gallery at 6:30 p.m., with light bites. Click here for tickets, and other information.


MDSolarSciences is a Westport sunscreen and skincare brand.

On Tuesday (August 22), CEO Renee Plato and employees will travel around Fairfield County, to donate sunscreens to lifeguards, fire and police departments, and others. They’ll also offer advice and tips on sunscreen application techniques, and the role sun protection plays in maintaining healthy skin.

The event begins in Westport.

MDSolarSciences says: Sunscreen is important!


On Wednesday, members and guests of the Y’s Men of Westport & Weston toured Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park. It was part of the group’s New York historic walking tour series.

Warren Jahn led the informative and fun event.

Y’s Men at Prospect Park. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Tomorrow (Sunday, August 20, 2 p.m.), high school sophomore and Connecticut Entomological Society member Lukas Keras leads a bug walk in Sherwood Island State Park’s West Woods.

Lukas looks forward to inspiring visitors to love the natural world as much as he does. Entrance to the state park is free for vehicles with Connecticut license plates.


Michael Chait provides both a stunning photo, and an appropriate caption, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

“The cruelty of Mother Nature. One life ends and one continues, high above the Saugatuck River.”


Jerry Moss — the “M” in A&M records, the label behind the Carpenters, the Police, Janet Jackson, Peter Frampton and (the “A” in the name) Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass — died this week in Los Angeles. He was 88.

Click here for a full obituary.


(Here’s our usual potpourri o’ stuff. To help keep it coming, please click here. Thank you!)


Roundup: Birds, Gardens, MoCA …

It’s been a while since we checked in with our ospreys.

Carolyn Doan visited the Fresh Market raptors on Saturday. She reports:

“I found mom on the very top of a neighboring pine tree. She was giving herself full view of the action around her.

“To her left, the first of her 3 chicks had fledged and was enjoying space away from his sisters. To her right, 2 female nestlings were front and center in the nest, getting ready for their first flight. It may happen this week!”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


Speaking of our fine feathered friends: “Birdbrain” is not a compliment.

But for the past few years, birds have been bright enough to build nests on top of a fire alarm signal box in the Playhouse Condominiums parking garage.

It’s warm. It’s protected from both weather and predators. And because they’re birds, “home” is a lot easier to access than residents who battle the shopping center traffic every day.

Still, bringing a chick into the world is not easy. In years past, the condo’s cleaning crew has dismantled the nest; other times, the parents abandoned it.

But this year, all’s well in birdland.

The Playhouse Condos proudly announces its newest resident:

Chick, atop the fire alarm box. (Photo/Dick Truitt)


Speaking still of nature:

On Saturday, the Westport Community Gardens held an open house.

Dozens of residents of all ages flocked to the Hyde Lane oasis. They toured the 100-plus plots; marveled at the wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers grown there; enjoyed the pergola and bocce court, and toured the Long Lots Preserve that rings the plots.

Gardeners shared tips — and some of their bounty too.

Enjoying the Westport Community Gardens… (Photo/Lou Weinberg)

… and some of the bounty. (Photo/Karen Mather)


As summer heats up, so does MoCA.

Last week, members of Club203 enjoyed art classes at the museum. The next Club203 art class is August 14 (6 p.m.).

The organization — Westport’s social club for adults with disabilities — is just one of several MoCA Gives Back partner groups.

The goal of the MoCA program is to offer art experiences to all, through high-quality programming, and strong outreach to under-resourced populations.

MoCA Gives Back is successful, thanks to dedicated volunteers and instructors. 

An exhibition on August 27 will showcase works created by MoCA Gives Back participants. 

Meanwhile, Friday night’s MoCA Some Noise: Open Mic Night offered performers a chance to share poetry, readings and acoustic music in the gallery. More are planned.

Click here for a full MoCA calendar.

Club 203, at MoCA Westport.


Sure, yesterday was a washout.

But that gives us 4 days for the weather to clear before Thursday’s 9th annual “06880” blog party.

We’re all set for 6 p.m (July 20). The site is Compo Beach — the alcohol-is-okay South Beach, by the trees (the opposite end from the cannons).

Bring your own food, beverages (no glass bottles!), beach chairs and blankets. We can always use a folding table too.

Our blog party is a community gathering – a chance to meet and mingle with the diverse “06880” community (both online and real). It’s fun, un-fancy, and free!

We extend a special welcome to all our new “06880” readers. And those who have never come to our bash. See you July 20!

Patti and Doug Brill and friends say: “Come to the blog party!”


Longtime Westporter Bernard Dorogusker died on June 29, with his family at his side. He was 97.

The Bronx native was born to immigrant parents. Times were not easy, but he and his 2 siblings experienced a full New York City childhood. He helped in his father’s store, and sold comics on the corner and hot dogs at Yankee Stadium. At 13, he attended the 1939 World’s Fair.

Bernie served in the Army in the European Theatre under General George S. Patton, Jr.

After his service he attended RCNY and the RCA Institutes for post graduate work in radio and electrical engineering. He loved everything about computers, instrumentation and technology, and started his career building computers at IBM.

This led to a decades long engineering career at the Perkin Elmer Corporation. He worked on government projects, including instrumentation for aircraft and the Hubble Space Telescope.

He met his wife, Barbara Helen Zepko, at Perkin-Elmer. They married in 1959, settling down to start a family near Compo Beach.

Bernie’s passion for all things sports included racing cars, skiing and sailing. In the early 1960s he turned in his iconic Austin Healey to focus on One Design competitive sailing.

Bernie was fascinated by wind patterns, aerodynamics and sail performance, and spent years studying data and research.

Cedar Point Yacht Club became his second love (after his family), and Bernie and his Thistle #1124, “Zelda III,” were a fixture of an award-winning fleet for many, many years.

He was instrumental in growing various fleets at the club, and was a master technical scorekeeper for all things racing at CPYC. After decades of successful racing he retired his boat, and became principal race officer for the cruising fleet. The cruising class honors him every year with the Bernie Dorogusker Trophy for every division in their Wednesday night series.

Bernie also was instrumental in publishing a book on Cedar Point’s history.

Seth Vanbeever honored him with a social media post. Seth wrote:

“35 years ago I was in the junior sailing program at Cedar Point. I wanted to race on the big boats, the cruising class, in the Wednesday night series. No one wanted to take a 12-year-old on the boat.

“I went to the race committee and asked if they needed any help. Bernie, who was in his 60s, said, ‘Shuuuuur’ in his New York accet.

“Bernie didn’t put me to work. He taught me to how to do race committee. He took me under his wing (while explaining Bernoulli’s principle) for the next several years.

“I did race committee on Wednesday nights, raced Thistles on the weekends with Bernie and Walt Stuebner. We even sailed in the Frostbite Series at Essex Yacht Club.

“these two men taught me a tremendous amount about the sport of sailing. I will always remember Bernie.”

Bernie is survived by his wife Barbara of Trumbull; daughters Robin of Boxford, Massachusetts and Laurie of Trumbull; grandsons Erik and Alex Weisensee; brother Alvin, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Renie Zinsmeister.

A graveside service with military honors will be held this Friday (July 21, 11 a.m., Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fairfield). A memorial service at the Cedar Point Yacht Club will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or the American Cancer Society. To sign his online guestbook, click here.

Bernie Dorogusker


Johanna Keyser Rossi almost inadvertently squished this tiny praying mantis the other day, on one of the Riverwalk steps near the Levitt Pavilion.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

It’s a good thing she didn’t. For one thing, it’s Connecticut’s official state insect.

For another, we wouldn’t have today’s “Westport … Naturally photo.


And finally … Andre Watts died last week, at his Bloomington, Indiana home. He was 77, and suffered from prostate cancer.

The New York Times called him “a pianist whose mighty technique and magnetic charm awed audiences and made him one of the first Black superstars in classical music.”

He was “an old-world virtuoso — his idol was the composer and showman Franz Liszt — with a knack for electricity and emotion. He sometimes hummed, stomped his feet and bobbed his head while he played, and some critics faulted him for excess. But his charisma and his technical powers were unquestioned, which helped fuel his rise to the world’s top concert halls.” Click here for a full obituary.

(If you enjoy our decade of osprey coverage — or anything else “06880” does — please consider a contribution. Just click here — and thank you!).

Roundup: Mill Rate, Animal & Boat Rescues: Club 203 & MoCA …

On Saturday, Westporters received their municipal tax bills.

They’re driven, of course, by the mill rate.

In this week’s edition of “Westport … What’s Happening,:  1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker discusses that mill rate. How does it affect property owners? How does it compare with neighboring towns?

Click below to listen. The podcast is a service of the Y’s Men of Westport & Weston.


Animal Control officer Peter Reid had a busy Friday.

Both highlight the need for residents to be more careful about what they toss in their yard, and use to handle “pests.”

On Friday he fielded a call about a groundhog in distress. Its head had become stuck in a discarded peanut butter jar.

Groundhog with a peanut butter jar …

Peter wrapped the trapped creature in a towel, and carefully removed the jar. The groundhog ran happily away.

Later that Friday, he received a call about a robin caught in a trap that was placed in a yard, perhaps to capture a chipmunk, squirrel or mouse.

… and robin, snared in a trap.

Peter freed the bird. Wildlife in Crisis is now caring for its broken leg.

Julie Loparo — a longtime local animal advocate — says, “In both instances, human carelessness caused great duress. We can do better. And I am very appreciative of a responsive town Animal Control, and having such a great resource such as Wildlife in Crisis in our back yard.”


A rescue of a different sort took place yesterday. Jonathan Prager reports:

“A boat was stranded on a sandbar between Compo Beach and Longshore for the better part of an hour.

“After the ‘women and children’ were successfully evacuated by a passing motorboat, TowBoat US arrived to push the boat safely to the nearest yacht basin.

“It’s nice to know recreational boaters enjoy the Sound with ample support.”

Help arrives! (Photo/Jonathan Prager)


Club 203 — Westport’s social club for adults with disabilities — plans an exciting summer.

“Art Explorations” at MoCA are set for July 10 and August 14 (6 to 7:30 p.m.; $10). It’s a chance to relax, create art, hang out with friends and meet new ones. Click here for details and registration.

Members are also invited to a book club at the Fairfield Library. It meets every other Tuesday (4 to 5 p.m.). Email club203ct@gmail.com for details.


It’s been a banner year for dogwoods.

Rick Hochman shot today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo this past weekend, at the Weston Historical Society.

(Photo/Rick Hochman)


And finally … in honor of one of Friday’s animal rescues (story above):

(Westporters are grateful for Wildlife in Crisis. Please support it. And while you’re at it — please support “06880” too. Just click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Cribari Bridge, Mahackeno, Bedford Wind Ensemble …

The state Department of Transportation is working on the Cribari Bridge from 10 a.m. through noon today.

They plan intermittent openings and closings. Police officers will be stationed on both sides of the bridge — with one at Post Road West/Wilton Road/Riverside Avenue, and one on Post Road East/Imperial Avenue — to assist with traffic, as it is diverted to the Post Road.

Traffic congestion will be heavy. Drivers are urged to avoid the area if possible.

The Cribari Bridge will be closed intermittently through noon today. (Photo/Adam Goldberg)


The Westport Weston Family YMCA had a split decision this week.

The Planning & Zoning Commission agreed to their requests to increase the capacity of their Mahackeno camp from 360 youngsters to 400, and for 1 more hour of morning practice for the Water Rats swim team.

No whistles may be used at the pool, and someone must be available 24/7 in case of neighbors’ concerns.

But the board denied a request for extended hours for the splash pad and large slide.

The Mahackeno Outdoor Center pool.


Lou Kitchner has had some great bands, during his 16-year career as a beloved Westport music teacher.

But none ever received a 99 score (out of 100) at the Fantastic Festival — an adjudicated event — until this year’s Bedford Middle School Wind Ensemble.

They’re also his first concert band to win 1st place. They beat out 65 bands from 4 states for that honor.

Lou told parents: “A professional trumpet player with a degree in performance commented she has never heard a band at this age, this good. She said, ‘your band puts high school bands to shame. I cannot believe they are middle schoolers and can play like this.’ She went on to compliment their tone, style, mechanics and musicality.”

Congratulations, Lou and all the musicians. Staples High School looks forward to hearing you play! (Hat tip: Maggie Gomez)

The Bedford Middle School wind ensemble. Director Lou Kitchner is in the back row, center.


Speaking of middle school: This year’s 5th graders are headed there next year.

These Kings Highway Elementary School friends are ready for their next adventure. Go get ’em, guys!

From left: Dylan Rosen, Jacob Selzer, Gavin Nash.


The newest Staples Tuition Grants named award honors Dick and Paula Leonard.

For decades, they were fixtures in the Westport community. As a long-time English teacher at Staples High School, president of the Westport Education Association and a labor lawyer, Dick inspired educational excellence for generations of Westport students.

A successful real estate broker, Paula gave generously of her time in many ways. She helped lead construction of the Westport Senior Center and convert the original Saugatuck Elementary School into The Saugatuck, providing moderate income housing to aging town residents.

Paula Leonard died last month. A celebration of her life is set for June 25 (3 p.m., Senior Center).

The award commemorates the spirit of community and volunteerism that Paula and Dick embodied. Click here to donate; click here for the Staples Tuition Grants home page.

Paula and Dick Leonard.


Rindy Higgins was inspired by yesterday’s “06880” story on the Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee, and their work to help a Syrian family find a home in Stratford.

The longtime Westporter works with the extended family of 11. She helped get household supplies, offered job ideas, and provided tutoring and love. She’s especially excited at the great progress made by their 6-year-old.

She notes that the 16-, 14- and 11-year-olds need pro bono tutors in math, reading and English. Volunteers can email 06880blog@gmail.com; I’ll pass your information on to Rindy.

Volunteer tutors are needed for 3 Syrian younsters.


Club 203 wrapped up its fantastic first year yesterday, with karaoke at the Westport Library.

The social organization for adults with disabilities welcomed dozens of partiers. CRUMBL Cookies donated goodies, MoCA took care of the art, CTFSN presented on taking new friendships to the next level, and volunteers made everyone feel welcome.

Club 203 kicks up again in September. Click here for more information.

Club 203 karaoke at the Westport Library. (Photo/Stacie Curran)


As if traffic wasn’t bad enough yesterday — the Cribari Bridge was stuck in the “open” position for a while — this supposedly licensed driver ignored the “One Way/Do Not Enter” sign, plus 2 lines of cars facing him, to cause chaos on Main Street.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

We’re used to seeing occasional wrong-way automobile drivers. We seldom see wrong-way truckers.

Jamie Walsh describes what happened around 2:30 p.m.: A state trooper pulled the driver over. Cars had to back up onto the Post Road to let the truck pass.

The trooper followed him with lights on, presumably to a safer location to continue their conversation.

Perhaps the trooper could say: “Don’t you know? There’s a cut-through in Parker Harding Plaza!”


Speaking of downtown: Luke Molina is tonight’s (Friday) featured musician on Church Lane.

The Staples High School graduate plays old-school music — Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Hot Tuna — with new flair.

Music for diners and strollers comes courtesy of the Westport Downtown Association. Click here to help support the musicians.

Luke Molina


Everyone in Westport — and, thanks to “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” far beyond — knows the Black Duck.

And everyone in Athens knows it too.

Their Duck does not have sloping floors, and a view of the river. It’s not a former barge.

But, according to Beth Berkowitz — who visited the outdoor café and found it packed with locals (not a tourist in sight) — it too is very relaxing.

“It’s our tour guide’s favorite place for true Greek coffee,” she says.

“More like an espresso shot than like our coffee. And it’s served only black or with a pinch of sugar — no cream or milk. It was great!”

Russ and Beth Berkowitz at the Black Duck — Athens version.


Work on the Evergreen Avenue sewer system between Myrtle Avenue and Washington Avenue begins July 5, and runs through August 4. Through traffic will be detoured from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays. Evergreen Avenue will be open to the residents of the area.

Markings are made for the Evergreen Avenue sewer project. (Photo/Mark Mathias)


The 2nd annual Westport Pride drag show is set for tomorrow (Saturday, June 17, 5 to 8 p.m., MoCA Westport).

“Light Up the Night” is family friendly. The evening includes neon face painting, hair and makeup services, a photo booth, custom pizzas and cocktails.

The show itself begins at 6 p.m. MC Desmond reads from their book “Be Amazing: A History of Pride.” After 3 performers, there’s a Q-and-A about their journeys.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Kevin Mashia died Wednesday, at his Norwalk home. He was 54, and began his career at Westport Tile & Design, using his creativity and eye for design well. He then moved on to Hastings Tile.

Kevin is survived by his parents, Richard and Martha; his sister Stephanie, niece Sydney, and many friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial is set for Tuesday, June 20 (10 a.m., Assumption Church). The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Monday (June 19, 4 to 7 p.m.). Click here to leave online condolences. Contributions in Kevin’s name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Kevin Mashia


“Westport … Naturally” has been swamped with dozens of deer photos.

This is the only one, though, that includes a “dear” little kid.

Yash Lorenzato got acquainted with 2 fawns, in his North Bulkley Avenue yard.

(Photo/Gianni Lorenzato)


And finally … here’s a salute to all the 5th and 8th graders in Westport. It’s time for you to be movin’ up … and:

(Before you move on, please consider a donation to “06880.” We’re a non-profit; it’s tax-deductible. Just click here — and thank you!)