Tag Archives: Congressman Jim Himes

Local Election Results: Democrats Sweep

Every Democrat on the ballot in the “06880” area appears to have won double-digit victories last night.

With 95% of the vote reported, unofficial results show:

Ceci Maher halted Toni Boucher’s attempt to reclaim her former 26th Distrct State Senate seat. She leads, 57% to 43%.

Jonathan Steinberg won his 7th consecutive race for 136th District State representative. He leads Alma Sarelli, 69%-31%.

Dominique Johnson captured the open 143rd District State Representative seat. She is ahead, 57% to 43%.

Lisa Wexler retained her Probate Judge seat over Patricia Zucaro by a wide margin.

4th District US Congressman Jim Himes returns to Washington. He is ahead of Jayme Stevenson, 59% to 41%.

In statewide races, Governor Ned Lamont was re-elected over Bob Stefanowski (currently 55-44%), and Senator Richard Blumenthal was re-elected over Leora Levy (57-43).

In addition, a referendum question to allow the General Assembly to consider early voting passed, 59% to 41.

Turnout in Westport was approximately 57% of registered voters.

Democracy in action. (Photo/Jo Shields)

Congressional Candidates Himes, Stevenson Speak At Staples

Most Staples High School students are not yet eligible to vote.

But Connecticut’s 4th District congressional candidates made their cases yesterday to 120 students, from a half dozen social studies classes.

Scheduling issues prevented an actual debate between Democratic Congressman Jim Himes and his challenger, Republican Jayme Stevenson. They appeared at different times.

But both offered opening statements, and responded to written questions from the teenagers.

Himes began by noting his experience, and his accomplishments during his 7 terms in Washington. He highlighted large spending packages passed by Democrats, like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment Act.

Congressman Jim Himes speaks at Staples High School.

Stevenson detailed her experience as Darien’s former first selectwoman, and how she hopes to change the political environment in the nation’s capital.

Questions covered a wide-range of topics, including inflation and the economy, crime, school safety and education, climate change, and energy policy.

Himes defended the Democrats’ record under President Biden, highlighting in part the American Rescue Plan while conceding that it did influence inflation.

Stevenson discussed how an all-of-the-above energy policy is necessary to combat gas prices. She said that her oil bill is $500 more this year than last.

Congressional challenger Jayme Stevenson addresses students. Event organizer Spencer Yim is behind her.

Himes was passionate about school safety and guns, promising to deliver more legislation if reelected. He said that the bipartisan gun control bill was a worthwhile step that lacked ambition.

Stevenson explained her proposal to fund school resource officers. She said she supports universal background checks, and has a pistol permit.

On the issue of education, Stevenson advocated for greater parental rights and school choice for low-income students.

Himes seemed open to late-term abortion restrictions, and said he would support returning the standard to Roe v. Wade.

Stevenson explained her pro-choice stand with “common-sense” restrictions, saying she would not support the 15-week abortion ban proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham.

On climate change, both candidates expressed the urgent need for action. Himes called it a “national security threat,” while Stevenson discussed  conservation and innovative sustainability efforts.

Part of the large crowd at the Staples High School library yesterday.

Both candidates received the same final question: Despite the political tension and climate, what is one thing you respect about your opponent?

Himes pointed to his “strong working relationship” with Stevenson. He commended her for her leadership in Darien, and her anti-Trump opposition to election denialism.

Stevenson emphasized Himes’ family roots as a father.

The event was organized largely by Staples High School senior Spencer Yim, with help from both campaigns, social studies teacher Suzanne Kammerman and school administrators.

Bringing the candidates to Staples was a goal of the Your Vote Matters Club, which Yim founded. Kammerman is the faculty advisor.

“Today was an amazing opportunity to hear directly from the candidates themselves,” Yim says.

“Even though many students won’t be able to vote in this election, I hope this experience empowered them to explore, engage civically in the community, and be educated about the various issues and candidates so that they can be informed voters in the future.”

Roundup: Riverfront, Banned Books, Banned Dogs …

If you’ve lived here for more than 6 minutes, you’ve got some ideas about downtown.

Don’t keep them to yourself.

The master plan for downtown parking and pedestrian areas — called “Reconnecting the Riverfront” — has moved into the “public engagement” phase.

Click here to take a survey. The link also offers a “Comments” section, for various parts of the proposal.

The survey follows a “visioning charrette” last month. There will also be pop-up displays at downtown locations this fall.

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

Irony is not dead.

A lone protestor took to the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge yesterday. In what looks like a reference to Monday’s controversial Board of Education meeting about a banned books display at Staples High School, he urges the teaching of reading:

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

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

Speaking of the local controversy: Fox News has taken notice.

The network includes a story about the Westport Board of Ed meeting on its website. The piece is illustrated with video from a Southington Board of Education meeting about a “woke worksheet,” and 2 photos from a Virginia Board of Ed protest about Critical Race Theory.

Click here for the Fox News story.

Screen shot of the Fox News story.

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

The Westport Library and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce are serious about democracy.

On October 18 (noon, Trefz Forum), they’ll sponsor an interactive candidate forum.

State Senate District 26 candidates Toni Boucher and Ceci Maher, State Representative District 136 hopefuls Alma Sarelli and Jonathan Steinberg, and State Rep District 143 nominees Nicole Hampton and Dominique Johnson will appear.

The debate will be moderated by Chamber director Matthew Mandell, and archived on Vimeo.

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

Two sides of the same coin:

An “06880” reader sent this photo of a new sign at Wakeman, the athletic fields adjacent to Bedford Middle School:

She writes:

“Many people feel it’s hard to have a dog in Westport. So many restrictions, especially during the warmer months. But now this new sign just went up in a few places at Wakeman.

“It was all the talk this morning with the moms and dads, where many walk their dogs, and bring them to weekend soccer, baseball and lacrosse games. It’s a shame our town can’t be more accommodating.”

But a youth sports coach had a different reaction.

“It’s about time,” he tells “06880.” “Now maybe I won’t have to walk the fields before practice every day, picking up poop.”

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

Frank Accardi writes that yesterday at 7:45 a.m. on Whitney Street, a woman driving a gray Volvo SUV began honking repeatedly as a school bus stopped to pick up children.

Several times, the driver attempted to pull into the opposite lane to pass the bus. Its lights were still flashing.

“If ever there was an instance of thumbing your nose at the community, this is it,” Frank says.

Sure, it’s a pain to be behind a school bus that stops every few feet.

But attempting to pass it, while children are getting on?

That’s worse than any Entitled Parking photo I’ve posted, for sure.

Those lights are there for a reason.

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

A proposal to restrict the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in Westport — scheduled for the October Representative Town Meeting — has been removed from that agenda. Discussion and a possible vote will be postponed to a future date.

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

Next week, the very local Westport Farmers’ Market will be the site of an effort for international aid.

Lawn signs supporting Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression will be on sale next Thursday (October 13, Imperial Avenue parking lot). 100% of all money raised will go to Ukraine Aid International, organized by Westport native Brian Mayer. UAI provides food and medicine to Ukrainians isolated near the Russian border.

Westporter Ken Bernhard and Weston Kiwanis Club member Amy Jenner have already raised $3,000. They have 200 signs left.

If you can’t get to the Farmers Market, email kbernhar@optonline.net for details on purchasing a lawn sign.

Amy Jenner, Ken Bernhard and their Ukrainian lawn signs.

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

Congressman Jim Himes is featured at a “Rosé and Reproductive Rights” event (October 11, 7 p.m., Westport Woman’s Club). He’ll discuss the impact — both nationally and locally — of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, and take questions from audience members.

In May, Congressman Jim Himes spoke at a Westport rally protesting the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade ruling. Governor Lamont and Senator Blumenthal (left to right) spoke also. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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

Westport’s Unitarian Church hosts a potluck brunch Sunday (October 9, directly after the 10 a.m. Sunday service). The group will then carpool to Stamford, for a 2 p.m. Women’s march.

The Church invites everyone interested to attend. For more information, email janetluongo.wellness@gmail.com.

Unitarian Church members making signs for the women’s march.

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

Staples High School squash players were among a large crowd that packed Intensity Fitness yesterday.

They saw a great exhibition match between 2 top players. Paul Coll is ranked #1 in the world; Diego Elias is #4.

The Wreckers hope to duplicate some of that success soon, when their season begins.

Intense exhibition squash at Intensity. (Photo/Seth Schachter)

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

It’s osprey time again!

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows one of our favorite raptors, enjoying a meal in Ester Clanton’s neighbor’s yard.

(Photo/Ester Clanton)

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

And finally … today’s “06880” Roundup features a number of signs: on the Ruth Steikraus Cohen Bridge, Wakeman Fields, Farmers’ Market, and for reproductive rights and the women’s march.

So of course our featured song is …

Roundup: EV Charging, Drywall, Dinosaur …

Standing outside an EV charging station yesterday, Congressman Jim Himes and State Senator Will Haskell lauded Westport for leading efforts in sustainability.

Fresh from congressional passage of a sweeping climate change bill, Himes noted that the new legislation, plus partnerships between public and private sectors like Connecticut-based EV charging company JuiceBar, can have a great impact on carbon reduction.

Congressman Jim Himes discusses Westport’s role in sustainability, at the Westport Library. Also taking part (from left): State Senator Will Haskell, Juice Bar chief strategy officer Paul Vosper, 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, and Library director Bill Harmer.

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

Jen Ogilvie just bought a house in Westport. But it’s clear she already knows what it means to be part of a community dating back hundreds of years.

She writes: “We’re in the Old Hill area. We were changing a few things, and found this.

“We thought it was sweet, and that the family that did it might want a picture of it, or even see it before we drywall over it again.”

If you’re the family that made this memento, email jen@jbotravel.com.

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

Speaking of homes: William Raveis realtors usually drive clients around Westport, showing off the town.

Now they’re looking for bicycle riders and walkers. They invite everyone — longtime residents, newcomers, homeowners, renters, young, old) — to the 2022 Ride + Walk (September 18, Calf Pasture Park, Norwalk.

The event includes two2 bike rides (12 and 24 miles), a 5K walk (or run), and a 100-yard dash for kids.

Sign up as part of the “Way to Go Westport” (as a Westport office participant), or form your own team. Click here to register, and for more details.

All proceeds go directly to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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

Spotted at Trader Joe’s:

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

Hope he didn’t get a hold of the Sunrise Rotary Club’s Sunny the Duck.

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

We’ve run some colorful photos for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

But I’m not sure if there’s ever been one as beautiful as today’s, from Sherwood Island State Park:

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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

And finally … on this day in 1979, Stephen Biko was arrested at a police roadblock under South Africa’s Terrorism Act. He died from injuries suffered during the arrest. His death brought important attention to the nation’s apartheid policies.

Corey Hausman’s Safety Bill Goes National

Four years ago, Corey Hausman died after falling from his skateboard on a steep path at the University of Colorado. A freshman, he had graduated from Staples High School just 3 months earlier.

His parents and 2 older siblings mourned the loss of the bright, energetic runner and skier.

Then — determined to make something good out of the tragedy — they went to work.

They formed College911. The non-profit helps prepare college students for medical emergencies, while improving campus safety.

Corey’s mother Nanette spearheaded an effort in the Connecticut General Assembly to make universities safer, by ensuring that serious incidents are included in their safety reports.

Corey Hausman and his mother Nanette.

Now the initative has gone national.

Connecticut Representatives Jim Himes and Joe Courtney introduced House Bill 8406 this year. The “COREY Safety Act of 2022” would require colleges nationwide to report campus accidents that result in the serious injury or death of students.

They include “transportation incidents (on foot, bikes, scooters, skateboards, longboards or cars), ground level and high height slips and falls, alcohol or drug overdoses and choking or drowning,” ABC News says.

The bill’s name is an acronym for the College Operational Reporting of Emergencies Involving Teens and Young Adults. Of course, it’s also an homage to Corey Hausman.

Last week, it was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

The Hausmans say that CU knew the area where Corey was skateboarding was unsafe. In addition, he was taken to a community care center after his accident — but died 7 hours later. A transfer to a Level 1 trauma facility was not considered.

Nanette Hausman says that right now, colleges are required to report only crimes and fires. However, accidents are the leading cause of college deaths.

(Click here for a full story from ABC News. Click here for more information on the bill. Click here for the College9111.net Medical Emergency Checklists for parents and college students. Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

(“06880” is a reader-supported blog. Please click here to donate.)

Corey Hausman (center) with his brothers Lucas (left) and Casey.

“Rally Against Regression” Draws Hundreds To Bridge

For the 3rd time in less than 2 months, hundreds of residents thronged the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, to show support for reproductive rights.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

This time, they protested what they only feared twice before. On Friday, the Supreme Court declared Roe v. Wade — for 49 years, settled law affirming a right to abortion — unconstitutional.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

The rally marked the second time that Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes delivered forceful remarks about a woman’s right to choose to a Westport crowd.

Congressman Jim Himes speaks. Senator Richard Blumenthal and rally organizer Darcy Hicks look on. (Photo/Charlie Scott)

Other speakers included Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewiez, Governor Ned Lamont’s wife Annie, State Representative Stephanie Thomas, and DefenDemocracy rally co-organizer Darcy Hicks.

They spoke against a backdrop of flags of 193 nations — part of Westport’s annual jUNe Day celebration yesterday.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker — who issued a statement yesterday affirming her commitment to protecting women’s rights to choose — was among the large crowd.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, at today’s rally. (Photo/Charlie Scott)

Protestors included men as well as women, and families with young children.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

(Photo/David Vita)

They were all ages, too.

(Photo/David Vita)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

Crowds gather early, on both sides of the bridge. (Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

(Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

Many drivers honked in support. This one had their own sign. (Photo/David Vita)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

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

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

But WTF was swarming with Democrats yesterday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of sustainability:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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

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

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

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile:

Hundreds Rally For Abortion Rights

Galvanized by news that the Supreme Court seems poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, 500 people gathered in downtown Westport today.

The crowd on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge included women and men; girls and boys; parents, grandparents and grandchildren, and Governor Lamont, Senator Blumenthal and Congressman Himes.

A portion of the crowd, near the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. Congressman Jim Himes (center, behind the blonde woman) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (right, blue jacket) mingled with attendees.

They held signs. They chanted. They cheered when passing drivers honked in support.

They listened intently to speakers — not just politicians, but two obstetricians, and women with close experience with illegal abortions.

Educator Joy Colon addresses the crowd. Signs held up behind describe resources to help women in states with restrictive abortion laws.

Lamont — who will sign a first-in-the-nation bill protecting medical providers and patients seeking abortion care here, and expanding the type of practitioners eligible to perform abortion-related care in the state — noted that the downtown bridge is the site of many rallies. He called it “the conscience of Connecticut.”

“Keep your hands off our women, our doctors, our justice,” he warned those seeking to curtail abortion rights.

Lamont introduced State Representative Matt Blumenthal, who was a driving force behind the new Connecticut law, also spoke.

Blumenthal introduced his father. The US senator said he was “proud to be in this fight for decades.”

The crowd included many young people — including boys.

Himes said that people who “claim to be conservative want to overturn 50 years of settled law.” He praised 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker — standing at the front of the crowd — as a Republican ally. 

(From left): Governor Lamont and Senator Blumenthal listen to Congressman Jim Himes.

Rally organizer Darcy Hicks then noted that it was time for women to speak.

Rally organizer Darcy Hicks

Dr. Janet Lefkowitz — a Westport native, Staples High School graduate, and prominent OB/GYN and assistant professor at Brown University who provides abortion care in Southern states — recounted her difficult experiences in Mississippi and Alabama. She did not become a doctor to get involved in politics, she said — but it has become part of her patient care.

Fellow OB/GYN Dr. Shieva Ghofrany of Stamford said that people who are pro-choice “truly honor the living.” Noting that comprehensive sex education reduces unwanted pregnancies, she urged those who are pro-life to embrace education, maternal leave, and contraception.

Teacher and Trumbull Town Council member Joy Colon spoke of the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade on people of color. “People who look like me should not die because they don’t want to be pregnant,” she said.

(All photos/Dan Woog)

Roundup: River Dredging, Beach Cleanup, Ukraine …

The other day, 1st Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker, Congressman Jim Himes and Senator Richard Blumenthal took a boat tour of the Saugatuck River. They surveyed conditions, and announced $2.81 million in federal funding for proposed dredging.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich were on board too.

Tooker calls the river “one of Westport’s greatest assets. Westport is fortunate that this long-needed project is on the near horizon. For years, the sediment coming down the river has caused shoaling of the federal channel, and has diminished the multi-use capacity of the river.

“With funding now earmarked for this important dredging program, the outlook for downtown, the Saugatuck neighborhoods and the river shoreline is positive and vibrant for our businesses and our residents.“

Ratkiewich adds, “the dredging project will increase recreational opportunities on the river, allow for maritime connectivity between downtown and Saugatuck, and most importantly will enhance the ability of our emergency services to respond to emergencies that happen on or near the river.”

From left: Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich, 1st Selectman Jen Tooker and Congressman Jim Himes on the Saugatuck River. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Himes’ office)

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

Sustainable Westport, the Zero Waste Committees of all Westport schools and ZenWTR join together to sponsor a community Compo Beach cleanup this Saturday (April 30, noon to 2 p.m.).

Everyone is invited to help. Meet at the pavilion by the volleyball court and playground.

Questions? Email zwcstapleshs@westportps.org.

Beach garbage, from a previous cleanup. (Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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

As reported last week, Lynsey Addario is back in Ukraine.

The 1991 Staples High School graduate  — and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, and MacArthur “genius grant” fellow — captured grim scenes of Orthodox Easter services yesterday along the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region.

“Hopes for a cease-fire over the holiday weekend were quickly dashed,” the Times reported, “as Russian artillery fire and missiles continued to strike Ukrainian infrastructure, government buildings and residential homes.”

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for The New York Times)

Her fellow Times journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner — and Staples ’88 grad — Tyler Hicks has been in the embattled nation all along.

Today his photos illustrated a story about 12 people who have chosen to stay in the basement of a shattered school building. Click here for the piece.

The view from a bombed-out apartment in Saltivka, one of Kharkiv’s most brutalized neighborhoods. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

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

“The Art of Nature” — Earthplace’s first benefit art show and sale — opens this Thursday (April 28, 5 to 9 p.m.).

Each artist has up to a dozen pieces. All are inspired by the natural world.

Westporters in the show include Jennifer Williams, Kris Toohey and Nancy Breakstone.

The opening reception includes wine, light bites donated by Rizutto’s, and a $15 donation to Earthplace. 35% of each piece sold is tax-deductible.

The show continues with free admission Friday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

Kris Toohey’s “Sunkissed Marsh” is one of dozens of works at Earthplace’s art show.

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

It takes all kinds.

And all kinds were out in force the other day, posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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

And finally … on this day in 1792, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle composed “La Marseillaise.” It became the French national anthem.

Quelle coincidence! France is in the world headlines this morning, thanks to a very important election yesterday.

Roundup: Tyler Hicks, Jim Himes, Emil Gilmutdinov …

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

First came Willowbrook Cemetery’s “Miracle Mile.” Then came Debra Kandrak’s town-wide planting project. Now, Westport has become the Daffodil Capital of — if not the world — at least the area.

Among the yellow beauties bringing joy to us all: 7,000 lining Prospect Road.

These were planted, thanks to Debra, to remind everyone about the issue of bullying. It’s just not cool — for victim or the bullies themselves.

Cindy Shumate — who had both a literal and figurative hand in the projects — says that anyone who has suffered from bullying, or knows a person who has, is welcome to clip a bouquet for themselves.

(Please take them only from the roadway in front of #11, 13, 21 and 25 Prospect Road, owned by Melissa and John Ceriale).

“It’s a small token to let someone know that they are safe with you, and to open a conversation if that someone is ready,” Cindy says.

Prospect Road connects Hillspoint Road with Greens Farms Road. It’s worth a drive even without clipping a daffodil bouquet!

Hillspoint Road daffodils (Photo/Cindy Shumate)

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

As the Russian war in Ukraine grinds on, Tyler Hicks’ photos continue to illustrate the gruesome state of life and death there.

The 1991 Staples High School graduate’s latest work in the New York Times is from the village of Husarivka. The Pulitzer Prize winning photographer’s images illustrate a story about the depravity of Russian soldiers, as they harass, terrorize and kill farmers and their family members. Click here for the full story, and photos.

Lubov Dvoretska, 62, a biology teacher whose husband was killed in a bombing. Her neighbors buried his body in the garden behind their house. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

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

The Y’s Men attract an A-list of speakers for their Thursday meetings. Last week’s was particularly impressive and insightful.

Congressman Jim Himes offered thoughts on some of the major news stories, then answered questions on a broad array of topics.

Click below to see and hear Himes’ session. All that’s missing are the Y’s Mens’ famous coffee and donuts,

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

Emil Gilmutdinov was born in Russia. He moved to New York in 2009. He worked in the food and beverage industry for nearly a decade, but lost his job during the pandemic.

That’s when he rediscovered his passion for drawing and painting. A self-taught artist working with both pencil and oil paint, he constantly experiments and hones his skills. His work includes both black-and-white graphic prints, and oils reflecting nature.

His first-ever solo exhibition is set for Steam, the coffee spot across from the Westport train station on Railroad Place. There’s an opening reception tonight (Monday, April 18, 6 to 9 p.m.).

Emil’s work is on display at Steam, for purchase, through June 12.

Pencil work by Emil Gilmutdinov.

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

In a few days, this tree will be bursting with color.

Right now, it’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” featured photo.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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

And finally … Happy Patriots’ Day, to our readers in Massachusetts and Maine.

The official state holiday commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War, at Lexington and Concord in 1775.