Tag Archives: Compo Beach Point to Point Swim

Roundup: Bike Lights, Jim Himes, Beechwood Arts …

=====================================================

“06880” gave the wrong date yesterday for the 42nd annual Compo Beach Point to Point Swim. The correct date is Sunday, July 18.

The rest of the story was correct. Its a ton of fun — and a key fundraiser for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s aquatics program.

There are awards for the top 3 male and female finishers, and t-shirts for all. To register, click here. For more information email jrojas@wesetporty.org, or call 203-226-8981, ext. 139.

=======================================================

John Richers writes:

On Monday night I drove on Hillspoint Road, from the Post Road to the Mill Pond. Just before 10 p.m., I saw 3 separate groups of 2 or 3 teens (or “tweens”) on bikes with no lights heading north, probably from the beach.

It was scary! I want parents to know: Please set your kids’ bikes up with lights. A set of rechargeable white front headlight and red taillight can be ordered through Amazon for under $20. A priceless investment! (Most safety-conscious bicyclists use strobing lights in broad daylight to increase visibility and safety.)

Just a moment of driver inattention or distraction could have tragic consequences. Parents need to know the dangers their kids are facing!

=====================================================

Got a question, complaint or (even) praise for Jim Himes? Tell him in person.

Our congressman holds a “town hall”-style meeting at the Westport Library on Saturday, July 17 (11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.). Seating is limited; click here to register.

Congressman Jim Himes, at a previous “town hall” meeting at Bedford Middle School. (Photo/Dan Woog)

=======================================================

Speaking of politics: As one of the youngest state politicians in the country, 2014 Staples High School graduate (and state senator) Will Haskell often gets calls from students and recent graduates. They ask how to run for office.

He doesn’t have all the answers. But he’s put his thoughts together in a new Simon & Schuster book. “100,000 First Bosses: My Unlikely Path as a 22-Year-Old Lawmaker” describes his 2018 campaign, and first year in the Connecticut Senate.

Haskell’s book goes on sale in January. It’s available for pre-sale now. Click here to order, and for more information.


=======================================================

Beechwood Arts’ most popular annual event returns August 1 (2 to 6 p.m.).

The grounds at 52 Weston Road will be open. That’s fitting. This year’s theme is “Opening Up.” It’s Beechwood’s first full, in-person arts immersion experience since fall of 2019.

The event marks Beechwood’s 10th year. Favorite musical artists from the past will be on hand; there are special arts installations too, along with spontaneous community performances, an outdoor artist market and sculptures, all on Beechwood’s beautiful property.

Artists and performers are welcome to share their talents. Click here for tickets, and more information on how to take part.

=======================================================

When the Westport Rotary Club and Westport Soccer Association partnered on a gently used uniform and equipment drive, they expected a few donations.

What they got was astonishing: over 200 pairs of cleats, 150 soccer balls, dozens of jerseys, backpacks, shin guards, cones, even referee equipment.

It will all be shipped to a club in Nicaragua, which will use all of it. Score a big win for Westport!

Leslie Roberts, former Westport Rotary Club president, with a small portion of the donated soccer gear.

======================================================

The Westport Police has joined the Gillespie Center food pantry drive.

Now through August, residents can drop items off at the Gillespie Center courtyard (behind Don Memo restaurant, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays), or the Westport Police Department lobby, across from the Gillespie Center men’s shelter on Jesup Road (any time, 24/7).

Non-perishable items needed include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, pasta sauces, hot and cold cereals, canned fruits and soups, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, mac and cheese, paper goods and reusable bags.

Questions? Call 203-226-3426, or email info@hwhct.org.

===============================================

Maya Konig and Kathy Belzer met when their children were in Westport preschool. During the pandemic, they tried to think positively. Their combined love for exploring, experiencing and finding beauty in simple things led them to create Local Luxe Co.

It’s a “gift-giving company.” They source local products from artisans and “emerging makers” throughout the Northeast, and offer them online in seasonal collections. Options include real estate broker closing gifts, and corporate and special events.  

Products include environmentally friendly beach bags made from oyster traps, home accessories, eco-friendly wellness and beauty products for adults and tweens, and snacks and drinks.

Among their local partners: The Two-Oh-Three, Allison Daniels Designs, Laurel & Vine and Rustic Ridge.

A portion of proceeds will be given to Breathe4ALS, the foundation started by Westporters Jonathan and Iris Greenfield. (Click here for the Local Luxe Co. website.)

Gift options from Local Luxe Co.

======================================================

Noted artist Barbara Bernstein died last month, from chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. She was 86.

A colorist whose work evokes the legacy of the French Impressionists, she produced landscapes and interiors in both oils and watercolors. She was a founding member of Art/Place Gallery.

Barbara participated in more than 200 group and national juried shows, and won more than 40 awards. She was a juried artists member of the Connecticut Watercolor Society, Connecticut Women Artists and the New Haven Paint and Clay Club. Her works are in the collections of General Electric Corp. the town of Westport and many others.

Passionate about art and education, she received two graduate degrees, in teaching and education. She taught art in the Westport school system for many years.

Barbara was also known for her commitment to social justice. She participated in the 1963 March on Washington, and protested the wars in Vietnam and Iraq in weekly vigils. She was arrested for civil disobedience while protesting the mining of Haiphong Harbor and escalation of the war in Vietnam.

Barbara was also passionate about travel, often bringing her sketchbooks and watercolors on diverse treks. She traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America and New Zealand.

Barbara was preceded in death by her brother Albert and sister Alice. She is survived by her husband Joseph; children Eric, Sara and David; 2 nephews and many cousins.

Services are private. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Planned Parenthood or the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. For information or to sign an online register, click here.

Barbara Bernstein

======================================================

“Naturally … Westport” offers up today’s beautiful image:

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

=======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1889, the Wall Street Journal published its first issue.

Also today in 1932, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level of the Great Depression. It closed at 41.22.

Roundup: Lifeguard Save, Point To Point Swim, Art Show …

======================================================

Despite the urgent alert on cellphones, last night’s severe thunderstorms skirted Westport.

Other parts of the state  were not so lucky. Nearly 20,000 Eversource customers in central and northwestern Connecticut lost power; 81 roads were blocked.

The utility is now preparing for the remnants of Hurricane Elsa. We may get rain tomorrow, into Friday.

=======================================================

Westport Public Works employee Don Saunders has always been proud of his daughter Morgan.

These days, the entire department is proud of her.

Last week, the 17-year-old Calf Pasture Beach lifeguard saved a 9-year-old from drowning. She spotted the child face down in the water, sounded an alert and raced to help.

When she found no pulse, Morgan began CPR. It worked. The girl started breathing on her own.

Morgan is a rising senior at Norwalk High School, and a member of the swim team. This is her first full year as a lifeguard.

She’s already proven she’s a pro.

(Click here for a CBS New York story on Morgan’s rescue. Hat tip: Liz Lyons)

Morgan Saunders

======================================================

What a combination! MoCA Westport and the Westport Farmers’ Market are collaborating on a new project. It culminates in an exhibition in late August.

“Between the Ground and the Sky” will feature photography from the “Who Grows Your Food” initiative, a photographic journey celebrating the farms and farmers associated with the WFM.

As part of the collaboration, a Family Day (Saturday, September 11) at MoCA includes art, food and music.

The centerpiece of “Between the Ground and the Sky” is over 50 large photographs of local farms by Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff. They tell a compelling story of the importance of local farms and farmers.

Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran says, “This program embodies the essence of our organizations. Bringing together art, education, community and knowledge of agriculture, featuring the hands that tend the land, results in more than a fun event – it creates an impact that will last a lifetime.”

MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes adds, “We are thrilled to partner with the Westport Farmers’ Market to share this important aspect of our economy and our lives with the public.”

“Lost Ruby” by Ashley Skatoff — part of the Farmers’ Market/MoCA exhibit.

=======================================================

Get your goggles on!

The 42nd annual Compo Beach Point to Point Swim is set for July 21  18 It’s a ton of fun — and a key fundraiser for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s aquatics program.

There are awards for the top 3 male and female finishers, and t-shirts for all. To register, click here. For more information email jrojas@wesetporty.org, or call 203-226-8981, ext. 139.

=======================================================

The Westport Library and Artists Collective of Westport are collaborating on their first live, all-member show since December 2019. The theme could not be more apt: “Community.”

The 2-part exhibit — on view from July 10 through September 28 — will occupy all 3 Library galleries.

“Piece by Piece” is a 5’ x 12’ installation created by 60 Artists Collective members. Each artist received a 12” x 12” blank panel, and a 6-inch square section randomly selected from an iconic painting.

Each artist thencreated an individual piece, replicating a part of the larger painting in their own style. They will not know what the final painting looks like until it is revealed when the exhibit opens.

Each 12” x 12” piece can be purchased online for $100. Proceeds support the Library and the artist. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Along with the exhibits, there is an art trunk show in the lower parking lot this Sunday (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Part of the Westport Library/Artists Collective show.

=======================================================

The 59th annual event Westport PAL Golf Tournament — named for former Police Chief Samuel Luciano, a staunch PAL supporter — tees off on September 13, at Longshore. With the 4th of July fireworks canceled for a 2nd straight year, this is PAL’s biggest — and most important — fundraiser.

The day begins at 7 a.m. with a continental breakfast and putting contest. There are 2 tee times: 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

There’s a shotgun start, scramble format; lunch; more golf, then dinner, raffles and prizes (hole-in-one, hula hoop, longest drive, closest to pin).

The cost is $175 per golfer, $700 per foursome. Sponsorships are available too, from $150 to $5,000 (largest sign at first tee, banner on dinner tent, complimentary foursome). Click here to register, sponsor — or just donate to PAL.

=======================================================

And one more upcoming event: “Pitch Perfect,” at the  Remarkable Theater drive-in (Monday, July 12 9 p.m.; gates open for tailgating at 8 p.m.). Click here for tickets and more information.

=======================================================

There have been some scintillating games at this year’s Euro 20 (the European soccer championship, postponed from last year).

Games are particularly great on a big screen. There’s no bigger screen than the one at Vivid-Tek. That’s Mark Motyl’s store a few doors from Fortuna’s. He sells 110-inch theater screens — which, with the tap of a button, hides in a customized credenza or bench when not in use.

Mark invited me over yesterday to watch the Spain-Italy semifinal. We were in Westport, not Wembley.

But it was hard to tell the difference.

Mark Motyl, minutes before the Euro 2020 semifinal.

=======================================================

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Wally Meyer, former Westport 2nd Selectman and longtime member of the RTM.  He served with my predecessor, Marty Hauhuth from 1985 to 1989.

“Wally was also an active participant in making Westport a better place by helping found Project Return, and through his many years of service and leadership with the Westport Rotary Club.

“Wally was a special Westporter — always willing to share his opinion, but also willing to lend a helping hand.  He will be missed by all who knew him. My deepest condolences to his many friends and to his family.”

Wally Meyer

=======================================================

Today’s “Naturally … Westport” photo shows a dog.

Not just any pooch, though. This one has great taste. He is first in line, waiting patiently for Joey’s by the Shore to open.

(Photo/Jeff Fiarman)

======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1992, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.

Liz Fry Conquers Cook Strait

Cook Strait separates the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It connects the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean, and is near the capital city of Wellington.

It’s beautiful. It teems with dolphins and whales. It’s also got some of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world.

There’s no reason you or I would even think of swimming Cook Strait.

But you and I are not Liz Fry.

The 1976 Staples High School graduate is a long distance swimmer.

Liz Fry

Not just any one of that hardy breed, though. Liz has already completed the “Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming”: the English Channel, California’s Catalina Channel and circumnavigating Manhattan Island.

Twice.

She double-crossed the English Channel (England to France, then back). She’s swum 2 of the Great Lakes, and in Japan.

But — until earlier this month — Liz had never swum Cook Strait.

There were plenty of reasons why, even beyond the danger and distance. Liz is not a professional swimmer. With an undergraduate degree from UConn and a master’s from Fordham, she’s got a thriving career in finance. She works with global markets on tax initiatives.

Fortunately, today’s technology allows her to work remotely. So — even though training and preparing for a long distance swim takes a spectacular amount of time and effort — Liz is able to pursue her passion.

She loves the physical challenge of fighting tides, jellyfish, hunger and pain to get from Point A to Point B (though the route she takes is seldom the shortest).

Liz also loves to travel. She sees new places, meets new people and learns new cultures. “I’m living the dream,” she says.

New Zealand, though, was a dream deferred. Liz first hoped to swim the strait in 2012. But Superstorm Sandy hit, and its aftermath took precedence.

Four years ago, she applied for one of the few Cook Strait slots. High winds and treacherous seas limit the number of attempts.

A ferry plows through Cook Strait.

She was chosen for a final spot this season. It’s fall now Down Under, with air temperature already dropping to the 50s.

Liz’s entourage included her sister Peggy, a 1975 Staples grad now living in Seattle who has served as crew chief on previous swims; Peggy’s husband, and Staples ’83 friend Debbie Masso.

In late March they all gathered in Wellington. As 50-mile an hour winds blew — with gusts up to 80 — Liz trained in a nearby pool.

Word came that she might be able to go soon. She adjusted her eating and sleeping schedules. But she would not find out until 7 p.m. Friday that she’d be swimming early the next morning.

Liz was accompanied by a large “mother ship,” and a smaller Zodiac. Peggy was in that boat. She fed her sister, and kept her upbeat.

Liz Fry prepares for her swim.

Liz swam with Nora Toledano — the first Mexican woman to complete 6 of the famed Oceans 7 open water channel swims. Cook Strait would be her last, after the Molokai Channel, English Channel, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Strait, the Strait of Gibraltar and the most brutal: the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, ice cold and filled with jellyfish .

New Zealand mark Liz’s 6th of the 7 famed swims. Only the North Channel remains.

The pair left from a rocky shoreline near Wellington. Their destination — Arapawa Island, a small spit of land — was 18 miles away as the crow flies.

But Liz and Nora are not crows. Strong currents and gnarly conditions added quite a bit to their route.

The swimmers made good headway. At the 5-hour mark, they were about 5 miles from shore. Liz figured they were 2 hours away.

Liz Fry (farthest from the Zodiac) and Nina Toledano, in action.

But within minutes the water temperature dropped from the 60s to 57. Currents picked up. It took 4 1/2 hours for the women to complete their swim.

The last hour was the toughest swimming Liz has ever done. Normally, she was fed every 45 minutes. But the waters were so strong, it was too difficult to eat.

Still, she felt joyful. “I was working hard,” Liz notes. “I could see the shore coming closer.”

Finally, she and Nora were there. They hauled themselves up a sheer wall. Together, they had conquered Cook Strait.

Liz Fry, at the sheer wall ending point: Perano Head (Marlborough), on South Island.

I’m exhausted just writing this. I can’t fathom what a long distance swim feels like.

Yet Liz knows. “I love it!” she exults. But it’s more than just the satisfaction of overcoming extreme physical and mental challenges.

“I’m fairly introverted,” Liz says. “Swimming has helped me come out of my shell. I’ve met incredible people, and helped others meet their goals. I’ve seen the most beautiful places. And it’s fun!”

What was not fun was the trip back. She arrived home. Her luggage did not.

Which raises the question: If Liz Fry can swim from North Island to South Island, why can’t Air New Zealand put her bags on the right plane?

But — true to form — she is undaunted.

Liz is already looking forward to another “Sound” swim: Westport’s Point to Point, at Compo Beach.

It was one of the first “long distance” ones she did.

She’s “shore” come a long way.

(Hat tip: Debbie McGinley)