Tag Archives: Compo Beach

Pics Of The Day #1470

Ned Dimes Marina by day … (Photo/Karen Como)

… and at sunset … (Drone photo/Daniel Johnson)

… and Long Island Sound, from Compo Beach (Drone photo/Daniel Johnson)

Roundup: Remarkable Movies, Compo Parking, Y Animals …

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Everything about the Remarkable Theater has been easy — parking, viewing, exiting.

Everything, that is, except the website. It was hard to find out what was playing, and when.

No longer. Westport’s amazing drive-in movie venue just rolled out a redesigned website (http://remarkabletheater.org). Now there’s no excuse not to see a show.

But I’ll make it easy. Here’s this week’s schedule:

  • Tuesday, April 27: “Singin’ in the Rain.” Perhaps the most memorable movie musical ever. Half-price Tuesday!
  •  Wednesday, April 28: “Sixteen Candles.” Perhaps the most memorable teen flick ever.
  • Friday, April 30: “Pitch Perfect.” Fun with an all-girls singing group.
  • Saturday, May 1: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” This Avengers film is a fundraiser for myTeamTriumph. Tickets are $125; all proceeds benefit this great group, which helps people with disabilities participate in triathlons and 5Ks.

Gates open at 6:45 p.m. Pre-show content starts at 7:15. The feature film begins around 7:45. See you there!

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Several readers have asked whether daily parking will be allowed for out-of-town vehicles this summer at Westport beaches.

The answer is: yes — at Compo only. 100 daily passes will be available, at the gate. They’re $45 on weekdays, $70 on weekends.

Out-of-town visitors were not allowed last year, due to COVID-19.

Westport Parks & Recreation staff will sell parking passes for out-of-towners this year.

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Peter Stuart Swann — a Westport resident for nearly 50 years — died peacefully this month, with his wife Patria by his side. He was 83.

Born in New York City, he had been a Westport resident since 1972. He attended the University of Colorado and served in the United States Navy.

Peter enjoyed a long career in the newspaper representative business, retiring as director of research for the Papert Company. He was a former president of the Media Research Directors Association.

Peter was also an active community volunteer. He served as treasurer for Save Westport Now, Friends of the Westport Library, and the “River of Names” mural fundraiser for the Library. Until COVID, he helped stock the Westport Book Sale’s free books carousel at the Saugatuck train station.

For many years he performed patient outreach for Trinity Episcopal Church of Southport, playing piano for patients at the Ludlow Health Center.

In addition to his wife he is survived by a brother, Sherwood Lee (Mary) of Newport, North Carolina; a dear cousin, Lawrence Tuttle of Munson, Massachusetts; 2 nieces and a nephew.

A graveside service will be held Friday (April 30, 11 a.m.) at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Peter’s memory may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church, 651 Pequot Avenue, Southport, CT 06890. Click here to offer an online condolence. (Hat tip: Richard Lowenstein)

Peter Swann

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Westport gets more gorgeous by the day. These tulips are among many in the Greens Farms area.

(Photo/Kathleen O’Keefe)

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For years — well, at least since it opened in 2014 — members of the Westport Weston Family Y have marveled at a cow, visible on the roof through windows nearly the lobby.

Now it’s got company.

There must be a back story. But I have no idea what it is.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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Saturday was Westport Clean-Up Day. Jerry Kuyper went out on his own, to do his part.

In an empty lot on Spicer Road, near Rayfield Road, he found a number of empty cigarette packs.

It was not the first time he saw such a collection of litter. So he wonders: Did someone methodically deposit one pack every day or so? Or store them in a bag in their car for a week, before flinging them out the window? Consciously not throw them on a neatly kept yard, but find an overgrown one irresistible?

The mind boggles.

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

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And finally … memories of Ye Olde Bridge Grille flooded back when I heard of the death of its longtime owner, Dave Reynolds.

It was a “Cheers”-like bar the likes of which Westport may never see again. In one corner sat a jukebox. In all the years Dave owned the Bridge, I don’t think the records ever changed. The song I remember most — it was played over and over, night after night after night — could not be more apt. It’s a fitting epitaph for a great bar, and its big-hearted, much-loved owner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicholas Rossi

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

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

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

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

This driver has plenty of beach stickers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo/Jeff Seaver)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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

(Photo/Amy Saperstein)

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

 

Marpe’s COVID Update: Regulations Eased, But Vigilance Needed

1st Selectman Jim Marpe issued this COVID update:

As of last Friday, the percentage of Westporters receiving at least the first COVID-19 vaccination dose is:

  • Age 65+: 93%
  • Ages 45-64: 83%
  • Ages 15-44: 50%

These vaccination statistics are encouraging. It is recommended that all residents who have not received the vaccine do so as soon as possible. Click here to find a provider near you, and book an appointment. To register for an appointment via telephone, call 877-918-2224.

Given the success of Connecticut’s vaccine rollout, Governor Lamont recently announced significant easing of COVID restrictions.

  • Effective May 1, all restaurants will be allowed to remain open until midnight.  Beverage-only service outdoors will be permissible, and the 8-person limit on outdoor dining will be lifted.
  • Effective May 19, all remaining gathering restrictions will be lifted;  however, masks will continue to be required in all indoor public settings where social distancing is not possible.

Westport municipal buildings remain open to the public by appointment.  Residents are encouraged to continue accessing town services online. Members of the public may also schedule appointments for in-person meetings or other services that require additional assistance.

Residents can make appointments for Town Hall business. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Governor Lamont’s declaration for remote public meetings remains in effect through May 20. Town officials are monitoring changes to the declaration, and legislation that might allow in-person “hybrid meetings” (with both in-person and remote participation). In the meantime, public meetings will continue to be conducted via Zoom.

Planning continues for opening or expanding town amenities and activities:

  • The Senior Center and Toquet Hall are planning for possible outdoor and limited indoor programming in late spring or early summer.
  • As of May 1, parking emblems will be required on all vehicles to enter Compo and Old Mill Beach parking lots, and on May 29 for Burying Hill Beach. Parking emblem purchases must be made online at www.westportrecreation.com. Daily parking for non-residents will be allowed this summer at Compo Beach and Burying Hill Beach. Visit www.westportrecreation.com for daily parking rates.
  • The Parks & Recreation Department and Selectman’s Office continue to plan for a Memorial Day parade. July 4th fireworks are still under consideration, pending further guidance from the state.

Bill Vornkahl looks forward to a 2021 Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Carmine Picarello)

  • The Parks and Recreation Department is preparing to open its facilities, and plans to offer programs not available last summer due to COVID.
  • Longshore golf course is open for play, as are several tennis locations. The Compo Beach pickleball courts, skatepark facility, platform tennis, Compo basketball courts and playgrounds are open as well.
  • The Board of Selectmen approved the closure of Church Lane, for expanded outdoor dining.
  • The Levitt Pavilion is planning its season, to be held in compliance with COVID considerations related to outdoor venues.
  • Today, Progressive Diagnostics opened a same-day public testing site at the Saugatuck railroad station parking loto adjacent to Exit 17 on Saugatuck Avenue. Services are available weekdays (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Saturdays (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Plans for townwide reopening and a “return to normal” are encouraging, but we should be cautiously optimistic. According to the state Department of Public Health, 122 municipalities out of 169 (including Westport) remain in the highest COVID alert level (red). This is cause for concern, though more recent daily statistics indicate a downward curve in the spread.

It is also important to understand that being vaccinated does not prevent individuals from being COVID positive and transmitting the virus. Ccontinue to remain informed, and balance COVID safety with personal priorities for physical and mental well-being. This includes being empathetic to those around you, and the individual choices they make.

I encourage those who are vaccinated to be respectful of those who are not, or have differing opinions about the current guidelines and status of the pandemic. Westport town officials will continue to follow and employ science experts’ advice and guidance, so that all in our community will be safe and healthy.

Despite rising vaccination rates, masks continue to be important.

Roundup: Compo Beach Bench, Walter Mondale, COVID Uptick …

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Last month, Martin Crouse’s memorial bench disappeared from the peninsula near Ned Dimes Marina.

“06880” posted the heart-wrenching story. Less than 48 hours later, Westport Police located it.

Westporters celebrated. Soon, we can all celebrate even more.

Martin’s wife Laurie reports that the bench is at the Parks & Recreation maintenance facility, awaiting a more secure installation.

“Debbie Detmer (Parks & Rec administrative assistant) has been amazing,” Laurie reports.

Yesterday, the women met at the site. Debbie brought signage (photo below), attached to a stake. So soon — when a crew delivers the bench back to the beach —  they’ll know exactly where it goes.

And from then on, it’s not going anywhere.

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Walter Mondale led quite a life. His death yesterday, at 93, resonated deeply with Andy Meyers.

In 1979, the Staples High School senior took part in a Washington internship program created and administered by social studies teacher Dave Harrison. Meyers worked with Vice President Walter Mondale.

He continued his association long after Mondale left the Carter administration. This morning Meyers — now living in Wilton — said, “He should be an inspiration to all of us to dedicate our lives to making the world a better place for humans to live together.”


Andy Meyers (left) and another staffer in Berlin, New Hampshire in the summer of 1983, in the very early days of preparing for the New Hampshire primary. Walter Mondale went on to win the Democratic nomination for president in 1984, but lost badly to incumbent Ronald Reagan.

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A Westport native, Staples High graduate and mother of students currently in the Westport schools writes this open letter to town officials:

“I am very very concerned about the uptick in coronavirus cases.

“I have spoken to at least 7 families in the last week that had COVID over the last 2-3 weeks. I have no doubt that with the amount of people who traveled last week and shared photos of all the places they were visiting (and not everyone was fully vaccinated), that we will have a big spike over the next 2 weeks.

“I am concerned about kids playing sports over the next 2 weeks as well.

“The families that caught it have very similar symptoms: fever, weakness, chills, cough for over 2 weeks. It needs to be emphasized by everyone in Westport that we will have another super-spreader again if we continue not adhering to the guidelines, and everyone starts going back to normal. We are not on the other side of this virus yet.

“I encourage you and the town leadership to send emails daily about this rise in cases, and emphasize that people need to get tested and quarantine.”

“Masked COVID Portrait” (Dereje Tarrant, age 14)

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Got excess prescription pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers or sedatives lying around the house? Maybe some vape pens?

This Saturday (April 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the Westport Police Department invites will collect them, at the Senior Center (21 Imperial Avenue). It’s part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

It’s free anonymous — no questions asked.

The collection site cannot accept liquids, needs or sharps — only pills or patches. Click here for the disposal of vape pens. For more information, click here.

There’s a year-round collection bin at Westport police headquarters. Prescription drugs can be disposed of at any time there.

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The Westport Library’s Verso Studios will host 2 film camps for teens this summer. Documentary Filmmaking will be led by documentary filmmaker Mick Davie (National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History, Channel, CNN, NBC), while TV News Reporting is run by former ABC News journalist Jay Schadler.

The 5-week Filmmaking program runs June 21 through July 22. It includes 3 two-hour virtual workshops each week, 1-on-1 virtual sessions with Mick, and additional instruction on editing and technical issues with experts in film and television.

It is limited to 24 students, working in teams of 3 or 4. Their finished products — short documentary films — will be available on the Library’s YouTube channel.

finished product will be a short documentary film that will be uploaded to the Library’s YouTube channel.

The 4-week TV News Reporting camp (also limited to 24 students) runs July 12 to August 5. With virtual and live classes, it culminates in a newscast with video stories found, developed, shot and edited by participants.

For more information and to register, click here.

Part of the Westport Library’s Verso Studios.

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Attention all restaurant owners! Winfield Street Coffee owner Breno Donatti sends along news that the Small Business Administration is administering $28.6 billion in pandemic funds to small restaurants, caterers, food trucks and others hit hard by the pandemic.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a streamlined process. Click here for details.

Small restaurants like Winfield Street Coffee are eligible for federal COVID relief funds.

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New York Adventure Club is headed to the ‘burbs.

A special webinar this Thursday (April 22, 5:30 p.m.) brings viewers — from anywhere in the world — to Westport. The topic F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s summer here.

Robert Steven Williams — director of “Gatsby in Connecticut,” one of the New Yorker’s best films of 2020 — will talk about the author’s background; an overview of Westport in the 1920s (Prohibition was not always prohibitive), and the town’s influence on The Great Gatsby. He’ll share video clips too, and never-before-seen photos of Westport and New York from the ’20s.

Williams hosts a Q-and-A afterward too. Click here for tickets. (They include access to the full replay for one week.) (Hat tip: Dennis Jackson)

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Today’s wildlife shot: a pair of eagles at Sherwood Island State Park …

(Photo/Debra Kandrak)

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And finally … because today is 4/20:

 

Pic Of The Day #1458

Peaceful Compo morning (Photo/Roseann Spengler)

Pics Of The Day #1455

The weekend in Westport. A beautiful Saturday …

These Park Lane trees were planted in 1960 (Photo/Elisabeth Keane)

Magnolia reflections on Post Road West (Photo/Amy Schneider)

… bracketed by Friday and Sunday clouds and fog.

Sherwood Island State Park (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Old Hill Road (Photo/Luisa Francoeur)

Compo Beach (Molly Alger)

 

 

Roundup: Remarkable Theater, Clear Cutting, Coffee An’ …

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Art imitated life last night, at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

A 40-foot movie screen was erected for the Remarkable Theater’s 2nd season — and a cameraman was there to film it.

The (metaphorical) curtain rises tonight at 7:30 p.m., with “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” “Sneak previews” follow through Tuesday. Click here for details and tickets.

(Photo/Doug Tirola)

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A reader writes:

“We residents on Pequot Trail are very upset by this week’s clear cutting of a lovely wooded area that provided privacy for multiple properties around the entrance to our street. Every time I turn onto the street now, my heart sinks.

“We’re sad enough that the charming house is being torn down — we get that this is inevitable — but did all of the mature trees and coveted privacy for multiple homes need to be callously destroyed?

“I called the town and was told that initiatives to restrict tree cutting have failed multiple times. I wonder what needs to happen to get our town, which prides itself on being so ‘green,’ to put a stop to this kind of environmental desecration?

“To preempt  any comments about ‘city people’ moving in, this property was bought by a Westport family. That makes it so much more disappointing.

Clear cutting, around the house that will be demolished.

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When COVID canceled last year’s annual plant sale, the Westport Garden Club planted a sign: “See You in 2021.”

True to their promise, this year’s in-person (sale is set for Friday, May 14 (9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). The new location is Jesup Green.

Gardeners can purchase plants the day of the sale, or online starting May 1. Click here for information.

Online orders will be available for curbside pick-up. And club members will be on hand during the sale to offer expert advice.

In more Garden Club news: “Friday Flowers,” the campaign initiated in the dark days of last spring to lift spirits and beautify the town, returns this summer. The first installation (May 7) is at Saugatuck Congregational Church. Floral arrangements made by club members will be displayed each Friday through Labor Day.

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The annual Compo Beach grooming project is underway. As the weather turns nice — and more folks are vaccinated — it comes not a moment too soon.

The work is impressive to watch on the ground.

And even more impressive by drone.

(Photo/Daniel Johnson)

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For a long while, Coffee An’ was open for takeout only.

They’ve now got indoor seating too. It’s limited, socially distanced, safe — and within amazing aroma distance of their wide selection of donuts (an’ more).

There are plenty of great breakfast and lunch places in town. Coffee An’ is at the topo of any list.

(Photo/Katherine Bruan)

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Amy Mandelbaum is vice president of the OUT Foundation, which encourages the LGBTQ community to participate in fitness, health and wellness activities.

She also owns CrossFit Westport. There’s no better place to encourage the inclusion she champions.

So on Saturday, April 17 (9:30 a.m. to noon), her gym — just over the Norwalk line, at 19 Willard Road — sponsors an “OUT Athletics” event. The warmup and workout is fun, doable — and everyone is welcome.

There’s food, coffee, and gift bags from sponsors like Garnier and Goodr sunglasses. Each heat lasts 45 minutes to an hour; then comes (socially distant) socializing.

For more or information or to sign up, click here.

Amy Mandelbaum

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With little rainfall and low humidity recently, Westport’s brush fire danger is high.

The Fire Department responded to 2 brush fires yesterday — simultaneously.

The one on Sherwood Island Connector was quickly extinguished. The other — between Parsell Lane and I-95 — brought 30 firefighters and officers from Westport and Fairfield, with 7 engines and 1 ladder. It burned 3 1/2  acres, but there was no property damage or injuries.

Westport Firefighters were dispatched to two simultaneous brush fires, one on the Sherwood Island Connector at Nyala Farms Road and the other on Parsell Lane.

Be careful out there!

(Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

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This is amazing! Who would have guessed that “the friendliest curbside experience in America” is located right here in Westport? At our Fresh Market!

A cynic might demand proof.

I just want to know: Is this “the friendliest curbside experience” for supermarkets throughout America only? Or does it include everything: restaurants, bookstores, hardware stores, liquor stores, whatever?

Either way, this is very, very impressive.

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If you missed Monday night’s TEAM Westport Teen Diversity Essay Contest livestream — or read the essays on “06880” the next day, and want to watch the winners’ powerful deliveries — click below.

Spoiler alert: They’re great.

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“06880” has faithfully reported on ospreys: their return, their nests, even their empty platforms.

But they’re not the only wildlife to admire. Sherwood Mill Pond teems with more than ospreys. Matt Murray snapped this shot of a heron yesterday.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … today is the birthday of songwriter Yip Harburg. He was born on the Lower East Side in 1896. he survived the blacklist of the 1950s, and died in 1981.

Pic Of The Day #1449

Searching for British ships at Compo Beach? (Photo/Nicola Sharian)

Roundup: Vaccine, Beach, Tennis …

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Over 100 pharmacies will soon be administering COVID vaccines — and one of them is in Westport.

That’s Achorn Pharmacy, in the Playhouse Square shopping center.

Governor Ned Lamont’s office said the sites will open over “the next several days.”

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Lifeguards won’t be back at Compo Beach until Memorial Day. But right before Easter Weekend, crews were hard at work getting Compo Beach ready for the season.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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For over 20 years, Joseph Oyebog has taught tennis all over Westport.

The former Cameroon Davis Cup player retains strong ties to his homeland. In 1999 he founded the Oyebog Tennis Academy. Westporters have been strong supporters of the project, which provides Cameroonian children with coaching, education and life values.

John McEnroe is a supporter too. He called his friend Yannick Noah. After the French star visited OTA in February, a video went viral.

But money is tight. The annual fundraiser at Intensity was canceled by COVID — for the second straight year.

Board members — many of whom live in Westport — are searching for a corporate sponsor, as well as donations of any amount. Click here to help.

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Up on Weston’s Kellogg Hill, Jolantha looks forward to Easter.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

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And finally … on this day in 1964, Beatlemania had taken over America. The lads from Liverpool had the top 5 — five! — songs on Billboard’s Top 100. From #1 on down: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me.”

But that’s not all. The Beatles had 7 — seven! — other songs on the list: “I Saw Her Standing There” (#31), “From Me to You” (#41), “Do You Want to Know a Secret” (#46), “All My Loving” (#58), “You Can’t Do That” (#65), “Roll Over Beethoven” (#68) and “Thank You Girl” (#79).

Take that, Harry Styles!