Tag Archives: compost

Question Box #10

Our Question Box is  full. 

That doesn’t mean I have all the answers.

But I’m sure our readers — in their collective wisdom — do.

Please chime in with any additional information. Click “Comments” below.

And, as always: If you have a question for our box, email 06880blog@gmail.com.


Who isi responsible for the upkeep and oversight of electric vehicle chargers on Westport town property?

There are 4 in the railroad station parking lot next to Donut Crazy. Two of them have not worked for months. No one seems to be doing anything about it.

Is the town paying a company to provide these chargers? Are we receiving subsidies for having chargers? (Anonymous)

The Police Department oversees railroad parking, so I asked Police Chief Foti Koskinas.

He said the town owns the charges. The first generation — installed in 2012 — required less voltage than the current ones. So now, there’s enough voltage only for 2 chargers.

They’re aware of the situation. Within a few weeks, all 4 will be operational.

The town gives the power away for free, at the train station and at all other charging stations on municipal property.

However, Foti says, the Selectwoman’s office, under the direction of operations director Tom Kiely, is looking at a new policy under which users would pay a fee.

An electric charging station at the Saugatuck train station. (Photo by Paul Schott/Westport News)


Where does the compost from the dump collection bins go? And is the ripe compost available for customer? (Chuck Hill) 

I went to Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich for this one. He says: “Some goo to Southington to an aerobic digester. Some go to composting farms in Danbury and the New Milford area.

There is no compost available for customers.


How did Imperial Avenue get its unlikely name? (Dick Seclow)

A great question — and one I’ve often wondered about.

Westport historians: Please let us know. And please include whether you’re passing along a fact, local lore, or something in between.

Imperial Avenue, in the fall. (Photo/Carmine Picarello)


When hanging out at Compo Beach, exactly what Long Island town are we looking at across Long Island Sound? (Kevin McCaul)

It’s between Northport and Stony Brook, according to this map.

But I don’t know exactly. Nor do I know what those very visible large stacks are.

Long Islanders: Feel free to weigh in!


Mr. Mailbox charges $800 to put in a new post and box. Can you completely ditch a mailbox and just use a PO Box? Is there a law that every house needs to have a street mailbox?

As best as I can determine, there is no law regarding mailboxes. It seems you can have a mail slot in your front door, so long as you tell the post office.

Without either option, the US Postal Service will mark your first-class mail “Undeliverable” and return it to the sender. Other mail will be discarded.

You can rent a PO Box at the Post Office — or through a private service, like the UPS Store.

You can also have your mail addressed to “General Delivery,” with a specific Post Office and ZIP Code. But you’d have to wait in line there to pick up your mail.

Colorful Compo Road North mailboxes. (Photo/Mark Mathias)


 I was raised in a Marine family, and was taught to address any adults as “sir” or “ma’am.” My brother was actually told to stop calling his teacher “sir,” because he thought he was being mocked.

Today, young kids and teenagers seem to think it is okay to call adults by their first name. What do Westporters think? (Jo Ann Miller)

I have no idea, ma’am. Readers: Please click “Comments” below.

Marine Lt. Gen. Thomas H. Miller — Jo Ann’s father — in 1960.

(The Question Box is one more service of “06880.” Our question is: “Can you help support what we do?” Please click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Staples Players, Mattress Recycling, Pet Photos …


The Staples High School auditorium has been dark for 14 months.

But later this month, Staples Players will be back on stage.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday, May 8) for a unique show. “Words Words Words … And Music” is a feel-good, very funny journey through 5 short plays by award-winning (and witty) playwright David Ives, plus 2 mini-musicals and a smattering of songs and monologues.

The curtain goes up May 20 and 21 (7:30 p.m.), and 22 (2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.). Socially distant seating is available tomorrow (click here). NOTE: Cultural starvation and fewer seats may create a toilet paper-in-2020 situation.

A virtual livestream is set for June 6 (6 p.m.).


Who wouldn’t like free compost?

Just bring a container (no larger than a kitchen trash can) to the mattress and box spring recycling event at Earthplace tomorrow (Saturday, May 8, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.). Boy Scouts will fill it!

Sustainable Westport is thanking Westport for making the food scrap recycling program such a success. Started less than a year ago, residents now divert 10 tons of food scraps a month. (That’s in addition to me compost piles.)

That’s great. But the goal is to double participation in the Zero Food Waste Challenge in the next 6 months. For options, and guidance, click here. For more information on tomorrow’s event, email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org or call 203-293-6320.

Free compost at Earthplace!


Speaking of Earthplace: This year, their annual fundraiser has been turned into a special “Cocktails & Clams To Go” have-your-own-picnic event.

100 boxes of Copps Island oysters or clams (your choice) are on sale (along with a shucking knife, cocktail sauce and mixer, Harbor Watch car magnet, and raffle entry.

Each basket purchased allows Harbor Watch to continue its fight against pollution in local waterways. Click here for more information, and to purchase your shellfish.


Ever since she opened Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates, Aarti Khosla has helped people and organizations in need in Westport, Bridgeport and throughout Fairfield County.

Now she’s helping people in her native land.

As COVID causes havoc in India, Aarti is helping raise funds to mobilize oxygen concentrators and other equipment. “No amount is too small to make a difference,” Aarti says. She is working with Vibha, a non-profit whose tagline is “Save lives. Save India.” Click here for details, and to contribute.

She is also donating 20% of all sales from Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week to Vibha. So this is the perfect time for some fantastic chocolate — and to help an important cause.


Tickets for individual Westport Country Playhouse virtual performances are now on sale.

This season’s online offerings include a comedy (“Tiny House,” June 29-July 18), a Script in Hand (“The Savannah Disputation,” June 14-20), a classic (“Man of La Mancha 2018,” August 23-September 5), and a gripping drama (“Doubt: A Parable,” November 2-21).

Virtual tickets start at just $20. Click here for more information, and to order. Questions? Call 203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.


Staples junior Katie Davitt has found a way to combine her passions for art and advocacy. She draws pet portraits for families — and donates 100% of the proceeds to causes she cares deeply about, like racial justice (Equal Justice Initiative), animal welfare (Connecticut Humane Society) and combating climate change (Environmental Defense Fund).

So far, she has raised and given away over $1,500.

Katie says, “the pandemic has given me an opportunity to look inward and realize what is truly important to me: family, friends, pursuing my passions. At the same time it’s opened my eyes to injustices in the world. I feel like I am doing my small part in making a difference.”

Katie is busy with schoolwork. But anyone interested in pet portraits this summer should send a photo of the pet, its name and your background color preference to kateedavitt@gmail.com. She charges $65 for a printed portrait in a 9”x11” black frame with a white matte, $45 for a digital file.

One of Katie Davitt’s pet photos.


Westport Transit director Peter Gold writes:

“Ten days ago, I urged the community to ask the RTM to support public transit in Westport by restoring funds cut from the Westport Transit District’s budget for the Wheels2U Westport shuttles.

“The response was overwhelming. Over 100 letters were sent to the RTM from individuals and organizations in favor of restoring the funding. The RTM heard your voice, and voted 32-to-1 to restore the budget and keep Westport’s Wheels2U shuttle running and growing!

“Wheels2U Westport was launched in October 2020 to support Westport residents and businesses. It provides a convenient and environmentally-friendly way for Westport residents and reverse commuters to travel between the train stations and their homes, employers and downtown. Wheels2U is now an integral part of Westport.

“We cannot thank you enough! A diverse group of residents, commuters and key Westport organizations came together to share your stories, explain the shuttle’s benefits, and lend your voice to restoring the budget.

“There are exciting things planned for Wheels2U Westport in the next year. We look forward to keeping everyone up to date about our growth and new initiatives.”


Westport’s wonderful spring continues. Judith Katz spotted these tulips on Myrtle Avenue, across from Sconset Square. Just a few of the many colorful flowers that make our town so beautiful.

(Photo/Judith Katz)


And finally … in Vienna today in 1824, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was first performed. It’s considered the composer’s greatest work — and one of the finest musical achievements of all time. Groundbreaking in its use of voices, it is also one of the most performed symphonies in the world.

Of course, Beethoven never heard his masterpiece. When he began composing the 9th Symphony in 1822, he was already deaf.

Pic Of The Day #888

Yesterday’s Lobster Fest was a sellout success. A crowd of 1,200 helped the Westport Rotary Club raise tens of thousands of dollars for charitable causes here and abroad.

On the day after an international climate change awareness day, the event had a sustainable bent. Nearly everything was recycled or reused — from steak bones and corn husks to plates, trays and cups.

Plus 2,400 lobsters, and plenty of oysters. At the end of the day, a company hauled away all those shells, for compost. Score one more success for our Westport Rotarians!

(Photos/Sharon Lipper)

One Man’s Trash…

Alert “06880” reader Ed Paul had already put 75 bags of leaves on North Avenue. He was worried he’d have to start blocking the sidewalk if the town did not come by soon to pick them up.

As he hauled the next group of 20 bags over the other day, he noticed a pleasant-looking older man, with a very long silver ponytail, placing Ed’s filled bags into his own pickup truck.

Ed asked if he’d been contracted by the town to remove the bags.

No, the guys said. After a pause, he said sheepishly, “You caught me in the act.”

Hauling away some of Ed Paul's leaf bags.

Hauling away some of Ed Paul’s leaf bags.

Turns out, he takes the leaves to bury his fig trees.

Apparently they need to get bent toward the ground, then staked in place. This fellow surrounds them with leaves and compost, keeping them above the frost line in winter.

Ed learned something. And that gave him idea.

If anyone else needs extra leaves to bury their trees, he says, feel free to stop by and help yourself. The bags are on North Avenue, just south of Cross Highway — across from the ABC house.

Take only the leaf bags, though. Nothing else is up for grabs!

Go Soil Yourself

Some teenagers will spend this summer babysitting, or at the beach or camp.

Four Staples girls plan to pick up your garbage, compost it, then return it for use as natural fertilizer.

The only thing better than their idea is the new company’s name:  Soil Yourself Composting.

From left: Sasha Berns, Casey Richardson, Venetia Stanley, Molly Pieper.

From left: Sasha Berns, Casey Richardson, Venetia Stanley, Molly Pieper.

The great green idea germinated with Casey Richardson’s research paper.  She chose urban agriculture, and learned that small steps can have major environmental impacts.

She and fellow juniors Sasha Berns, Molly Pieper and Venetia Stanley realized they could take those steps.  They batted around ideas like delivering organic food to Westport homes.  Eventually they settled on a logical, doable project that is practical, important, and involves something everyone has:  trash.

Starting June 22, Casey and her cohorts will go around town.  Utilizing 5-gallon buckets they’ll pick up kitchen scraps, dead plants, lawn clippings — anything natural — and bring them to Casey’s back yard.  There they’ll be dumped into 1 of 4 composters, and nature will begin working.

They’ll repeat the process every Monday.  When the composting is done — it takes a few weeks — the girls will deliver it back to the “owners.”  Compost — similar to potting soil — is far better than chemical fertilizer.  It cleans contaminated soil, reduces carbon dioxide and methane, saves landfill space and prevents land erosion.  (For more composting facts, visit Soil Yourself’s website).

The cost is $5 per week.  The buckets — all recycled from area stores — are free.

The Soil Yourself girls are as green — as in ecology — as they come.  They bought used composters at a New York City urban agriculture seminar.

“We went to the Lower East Side to learn about composting,” Sasha says.  “There were a lot of ex-hippies and Brooklyn hipsters — and us.  We were the only people there who actually had lawns.”

Their friends and families are not certain what to think.  A few have said, “So you’re going to be a garbageman?”

Others totally get it.  Fellow junior Caroline Hershey came up with the Soil Yourself name.  A few classmates — mixing the environment with entrepreneurial zeal — have offered to invest.

Right now, the profit motive is less important to Soil Yourself than the idea behind it.

“If you don’t want to sign up and pay $5 a week, at least check out our website,” Casey says.  “You can learn how to do composting yourself.  That’s free, and it’s totally fine.”

(To sign up, click on Soil Yourself’s website.   They’ve also got a Facebook page.)

Soil Yourself Composting