Tag Archives: COVID-19

Finding Joy: COVID Edition

Last week, “06880” highlighted the many lessons learned by Staples High School students during COVID. It was powerful proof that shafts of light can break through this horrible darkness.

That story fit well with an email I got from alert reader/talented photographer Lauri Weiser. She had an idea: “a feel-good story, asking people about the most fun thing they’ve done during the pandemic.”

It might, she added, give readers ideas of things to do, while waiting for a vaccine appointment.

Great idea! So I followed up by asking her to go first. Lauri replied:

I have really enjoyed ‘coming into my own’ and having the courage to submit pictures to “06880.”

SLauri Weiser captured this scene at chlaet’s Point …

When I was in my 20’s and living in New York, my girlfriends and I went to a psychic for fun. She told me I’d be a famous photographer. I laughed and went back to my day job working in HR for a law firm.

I have a very “corporate” background. But I have really discovered the artistic side of myself — first in jewelry-making, now in photography.

I also enjoyed hanging out with a “pod” of my fellow Westport Woman’s Club members. One of the girls has a pool, and each Monday afternoon we headed to her house. We socially distanced, standing in the pool and laughing

I turned 60 last May, and had planned to throw myself a party. I was going to make damn sure that 60 would be fabulous.

It was — just not in the way I expected. I had 3 Zoom birthday get-togethers. Although I would definitely have preferred to have seen everyone in person, this worked out great for a pandemic.

As always, I guess it’s the little things in life that actually bring one the most joy, Sometimes we just have to look a little harder to find it!

That’s Lauri’s story. What’s yours?

We want to hear what has brought you joy during the past few months. What can others do to find joy too?

Click “Comments” below. And as always, please use your full, real name!

… and this, at Sherwood Island. Photo/Lauri Weiser)

Change In The Air At Saugatuck Rowing Club

You’d think the Saugatuck Rowing Club‘s biggest COVID concern is its regattas.

Sure, races are held outdoors. But rowers are packed tightly together. They breathe heavily. The cox shouts.

The coronavirus did impact competitors. All 2020 regattas were canceled. Junior rowers are still not allowed to practice until at least January 19.

But fewer than 20% of Saugatuck Rowing Club members actually row. Most adults join for the state-of-the-art fitness center (and social activities).

Saugatuck Rowing Club (Drone photo/Ward French)

So when SRC opened up again in June, one of the most important issues was air quality and circulation in the weight and cardio room.

Which led the club to something most rowers and coaches never think about: ionization.

After diligent research, SRC installed “needlepoint bipolar ionization” —a technology used in hospitals, airline terminals and office headquarters around the country that deactivates airborne bacteria and viruses by up to 99%, while reducing allergens and mold — in their 9 HVAC systems.

They overhauled their infrastructure, making the entire building — including the restaurant — as safe as possible. 

Ionization work at the Saugatuck Rowing Club fitness center.

The $12,000 job was completed in November.

“You can’t put a price on safety,” says director of marketing, membership and events Diana Kuen. “It was important to do more than just open windows and hope for the best.”

That’s not all. Owner Howard Winklevoss took advantage of the downtime to replace the entire back wall with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, creating a sweeping view of the river.

New full-length windows in the Regatta Room.

He’s adding a full-service café, and replacing the carpet with (cleaner) hardwood floors.

A big party is planned — as soon as large crowds can gather again.

Meanwhile, a new app allows the club to monitor usage (only 12 people are allowed on the gym floor at a time), and trace contacts. (As much fitness training as possible is still done outdoors.)

Outdoor workouts, at the Saugatuck Rowing Club.

A special website allows members to take classes from home (Zoom or livestream), or in person. There are over 100 group fitness videos in the library.

Because only 4 junior rowers are allowed on site at a time, the club lent 70 indoor rowing machines to those who did not already have them. They’re continuing winter training via Zoom, 5 times a week for 2 1/2 hours a day

Meanwhile, Kuen continues to coach the breast cancer survivors (“Survive-OARS“) 3 days a week.

The pandemic has not slowed them — or any other member — down.

And when they work out inside, they are grateful to do so surrounded by newly ionized air.

(To learn more about the ionization technology, email SRC general manager Scott Armstrong: sarmstrong@saugatuckrowing.com.)

Westport Masks Winding Down

In the first frightening days after COVID-19 brought Westport — and the world — to a locked-down, uncertain halt, a group of women found a way to help.

In a month, they made over 1,000 masks — and gave them all away.

Recipients included Westport’s Public Works, Parks & Recreation and Highway departments; the post office; elderly residents; Open Door Shelter in Norwalk; Food Rescue US; Thomas Merton Family Center in Bridgeport; Stamford Hospice, Norwalk Hospital and more.

Two of Westport Masks’ many creations.

Then they pivoted. “Westport Masks” — a name as simple as their generosity was boundless — continued to donate to frontline and vulnerable groups. But they also created masks for friends, family, children and the general public.

In return for small financial donations, the women used 100% of the funds to buy supplies. They suggested $10 — but they never let anyone go without a mask if they needed one.

They’ve been going strong every since.

But nearly a year later  — with masks readily available, vaccines available and the hope of some normalcy some time ahead  — Westport Masks is closing down.

Their legacy: over 5,600 masks made, $2,500 donated to local food pantries, and 5,000 meals funded.

“Closing Westport Masks is bittersweet,” say co-founders Virginia Jaffe and Marisa Zer.

“Our mask making journey is ending, but it also means that hope is on the horizon. We will have a small team of volunteers continuing to make masks for charitable donations only, until our supplies run out.

“Everything Westport Masks achieved over the last 10 months was due to the generosity of local residents, coupled with the generosity of time and skills given by over 20 Westport volunteers, cutting, sewing and delivering so many masks,” the founders say.

“This endeavor not only helped  our community, but also provided an amazing distraction from the chaos of the pandemic. It gave everyone who helped a sense of taking back some control over an uncontrollable situation.”

Westport Masks is selling their final stock of 2-layer, quality cotton, adjustable masks with a removable neck strap. A variety of styles are ready for pickup, in large, medium and kids’ sizes.

Email westportmasks@yahoo.com for details; pay by Venmo or with cash at pickup.

Staples Students Pack Trunks. You’ll Be Amazed What’s In Them.

As last year staggered to an end, Staples High School English teacher Ann Neary had an idea.

She asked students in her AP Literature and AP World Literature classes to reflect on what they’d seen, felt and observed since the pandemic struck. The assignment: “Pack a trunk with the positive things you learned and/or came to appreciate in 2020, and want to travel with in 2021.” 

The answers were perceptive, poignant, and beautifully expressed. I asked Ann if it was okay to share them with “06880”; the students agreed.

Here are a few. As you read them, you’ll be inspired. You’ll tear up.

And you’ll know that the future is in great hands.

I started learning things I enjoy on my own time.

The importance of patience.

Lots of introspection.

Crocheting so many shirts.

Learning to live with and find joy in being by myself.

Seeing the beauty and value in the small things around me.

One Staples High School student’s trunk.

In high school we all go with the flow and let life carry us in the direction it does. But without sports and less social activities, quarantine forced me to control what I did on a daily basis, and be more proactive in living the life I want to live.

I grew to love rock climbing even more.

Really having to focus on self-discipline.

I learned to appreciate simplicity in life.

Once I came to terms that there are things out of your control that will affect you, and that all you can do is improve yourself through things you can control, life is a lot happier.

I became a better reader.

I took more opportunities to help my community.

The Staples lacrosse team was one of many student groups that embraced community service.

I became more confident, outgoing and assertive.

Dinners and 1,000 piece puzzle moments with my family that I really valued, and hope to see more of.

How much I value normal school, going daily, packed cafeterias, etc.

I developed deeper and more meaningful relationships with people.

I became more self-sufficient.

Noticing how everyone is working together, and trying their best to make things work.

I understood that my happiness isn’t dependent on other people, and life is what I make of it.

I started meditating.

Strengthened current friendships, and made new ones.

Hanging out with friends — as in this 2017 photo — became more precious and meaningful.

I developed a better and more diverse appreciation for music.

I realized how much I genuinely like being home. I also realized how much goes into keeping our house going, like doing laundry, cooking, grocery shopping and taking care of our dog.

Bought my truck, and furthered my interest in automotive work.

I realized how much fun and work can be had at any time. There’s always so much to do.

Writing poetry is therapeutic.

We can’t just take family for granted, at least for us who are lucky enough to have loving and kind parents and siblings.

How to handle disappointment, and deal with things that are less than ideal.

How to be a productive member of society, and advocate for change that doesn’t affect me personally.

Many Staples students were galvanized by summer protests about systemic racism.

To prioritize my mental health.

I realized how much I took for granted.

Patience, flexibility, motivation, gratitude, time management, getting out of my comfort zone.

How to be content with only my own company in quarantine. How to entertain myself without copious stimuli.

It’s okay to spend time learning about what you love and what you want to do, instead of always being around people and trying to please others.

Nothing went the way we planned this year, but for the most part things worked themselves out. They usually will.

Taking time to appreciate the outdoors and our yard, and little things like feeding the birds.

(Photo/Lexi Gay)

Mental health is a lot more important than always trying to prove myself to be perfect.

I’ve picked up new hobbies like aquarium keeping.

Be kind not only to people around you, but especially the people less fortunate than you.

Reading and watching the news; becoming more aware.

Hikes and walks at the beach.

Seeing what other families have gone through with COVID or other issues makes me feel so grateful that my family is healthy and safe.

Whenever I was stressed I would drive around Fairfield County and listen to music.

Learning to appreciate nature when I walk my dog.

In-person school becoming something I look forward to.

Many Staples students realized how much they missed their high school. (Photo copyright Lynn U. Miller)

Time to pause and make sure I’m doing okay and improve myself, instead of just worrying about improving my grades.

There is such great value in complimenting others — especially in the few moments we get to see people in person.

I seriously read epic poetry of my own volition. It’s a unique way to tell stories.

It’s much more challenging to spend time with friends, so I try to live in the moment and enjoy it when I am able to do that.

Cook new foods.

Lack of school-related stress.

I have a new understanding of and respect for my family.

Never expect what is expected. Situations arise instantly. We are always responsible to face them.

I got perspective on the small but important things we may not think about when we have them freely, and in abundance.

My sister is usually at boarding school. I’m grateful she was in quarantine with me, because she makes everything more fun.

I’m proud of learning to value my feelings more. In the past I have been a bit of a people pleaser. This year I finally allowed myself more joy in doing what I wanted, while obviously making sure others were okay.

I love going on 6-mile walks with my friend at 6 in the morning.

Spending every single moment with my family for 4 months allowed me to create amazing memories.

The bond I created with my football team. Despite playing only a few games, we always stayed hungry and excited to play whenever we could.

2020 allowed me to surround myself with the people I love.

Evan Stein’s Radiologists Rise To The COVID Occasion

In the early days of the pandemic, New York hospitals were scrambling.

Unsure how to fight COVID-19, they were overwhelmed by patients. Some were being treated in temporary tents. Doctors had to get out of their comfort zones, and help.

At Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, administrators asked department chairs to free as many residents and attendings as possible to serve on coronavirus floors.

Director of neuroradiology Dr. Evan Stein jumped in to help. Radiologists are not experts on an infectious, airborne disease. Yet the situation was dire.

Dr. Evan Stein

Stein reworked his schedule, operating his department with as few doctors as he could. He partnered across disciplines to do things they’d been asked before.

His message to his staff was simple: The hospital and community need our help. We must do whatever we can.

And not just residents. “I made it clear that I would ask our attendings and technologists to step up in ways we’d never asked them to before,” he says.

Stein knows how to solve problems. At Staples High School, the 1992 graduate captained both the math and wrestling teams, and was very involved in WWPT-FM.

He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University — in just 3 years — as a bio-chem major. He now lives across the street from NYU Medical School, where he earned his MD/Ph.D degree.

A  story on the American College of Radiology website — titled “The Meaning of Grit” — describes his work.

At Stein’s suggestion, Maimonides created a team of residents and physicians to place central lines and bring simple procedures directly to patients, at bedside.

That would eliminate the need to transport them “through areas of unknown levels of infection … and keep IR suites available for more urgent procedures.”

Stein oversaw the residents still in his department, and also those on the line team. Meanwhile, he ensured that the radiology residents’ education continued.

Two weeks later, Stein was asked if radiology residents could act as medicine interns on CVOID floors and in the new surge ICUs. That was a vast increase in responsibility.

Stein’s residents rose to the occasion. He worried about their time away from their radiology duties. But, he realized, many were “exercising skills in competencies — communication, systems-based practice, and patient care to name three — that they don’t always get to practice.”

Despite feeling added stress, the radiologists handled it well. They — and Stein — learned plenty.

One of the first lessons was among the most important: “Our residents had the intangible characteristics of grit and determination.

“This virus creates a lot of fear in people. At first I didn’t appreciate how big of an impact that would have on me and the residents. But they all rose to the occasion and contributed a tremendous amount to patient care.”

(To read the entire American College of Radiology story, click here.) 

Haskell Proposes COVID Memorial

State Senator — and Staples High School Class of 2014 graduate — Will Haskell writes:

I was 5years-old on September 11, 2001 when my mom picked me up early from school and we drove to Sherwood Island State Park. Standing on the shores of Long Island Sound, we stared silently across the water and saw the smoke rising from lower Manhattan.

Today, Sherwood Island is home to Connecticut’s 9/11 memorial, a 9-foot, commemorative granite stone, etched with the names of fathers, mothers, siblings and friends who were lost 19 years ago.

The 9/11 memorial at Sherwood Island State Park honors the names of all Connecticut residents killed on 9/11. Several were from Westport. (Photo/David Squires)

As a state and a community, we build public memorials to help us process the catastrophes we witness and the holes they leave in our hearts. They serve as reminders to subsequent generations that life is precious and subject to the most unexpected and uncommon disruptions.

This year, I am proposing legislation for the creation of a Connecticut COVID-19 memorial.

COVID-19, of course, is a different sort of tragedy. It has ended lives in lonely ICU units, forced families to say farewell over FaceTime and required healthcare workers to put their lives on the line to keep others safe. The necessities of social distancing has limited our ability to gather for funerals or memorial services. The chaos of 2020 — from learning how to educate students over Zoom to tracking the development and distribution of vaccines — have pulled attention away from the enormity of the loss that our state has experienced.

As we entered 2021, Connecticut surpassed 6,000 lives lost due to the virus: greater than the total number of state casualties from both world wars. Indeed, in the nearly 400 year arc of Connecticut’s history, it’s challenging to think of any equivalent concentration of strife or personal tragedy. The victims of this pandemic, their families, and the healthcare workers who served them in their final moments, deserve a permanent monument of remembrance.

The coronavirus is a worldwide tragedy. Staples High School graduate and Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Tyler Hicks captured this makeshift cemetery in Brazil, for the New York Times.

This month, I will introduce a bill calling for the Connecticut Office of Public Arts to initiate a process for members of the public to submit proposals for a memorial. A committee of sculptors, architects, and landscapers would then review the submissions and select a fitting tribute. The end goal will be a permanent, physical memorial for the victims of COVID-19 that will sit in one of our 139 state parks and forests.

A memorial is not going to end this pandemic or reverse its economic effects. On the list of 2021 legislative priorities, it falls below vaccine distribution, nursing home support, remote learning, and a host of immediate concerns that my colleagues and I will be grappling with in the next few months. But I believe it’s important, in the middle of this sad, strange time, for us to plan our memory of it.


Roundup: Winter Storm, Bingo, Wreath, COVID Cases, More


It was touch and go, but I survived last night’s monster storm.

You can see the damage to my patio in the photo below. As soon as things ease up, I’ll head outside and clean up that newspaper wrapper that blew in from somewhere. Wish me luck!

(Photo/Dan Woog)

All told, 5 (!) Westport customers lost power. Three are still out.

But the storm that missed our town hit other parts of the state. At its height, over 56,000 Eversource customers were out. As of noon, service had been restored to 30,000. Sharon was the worst hit locality, with 70% of customers powerless.

Early in the pandemic, Stan Witkow started a virtual Bingo game. Winners donated their pots to a non-profit of their choice.

Players came from around Westport — and around the country. Each week, the game grew.

Now, Stan says, virtual bingo ends 2020 having raised $10,200.

“My wife Susan and I think this may be one of the best things we’ve ever done.  We can ‘t believe how committed friends, neighbors and strangers (to us) have been to this effort.”

Major beneficiaries have been Connecticut Food Bank, Homes with Hope, Bridgeport Hospital’s special COVID relief fund, and numerous other  organizations here and around the US.

And, Stan reports: “Best of all, everybody wants the game to continue next year. So it will!”

A scene from the Virtual Bingo game.

Christmas wreath, 2020-style:

(Photo/Gene Borio)

As of yesterday, Westport had 884 COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic (772 confirmed, 67 suspected). The number of new cases in the week — 45 — was down slightly from the previous week.

There were no deaths from COVID within the past 7 days. Our cumulative total is 25. Click here for a full statewide report.

In May 0f 2019, Long Lots Elementary School 4th grader Brett Malizia wanted to help his friend and classmate Eden Kopreski. She had just been diagnosed with leukemia. He raised funds by running in a 5K race and half-marathon.

Brett — now 12 – is doing it again. This Sunday (December 27) he’ll do the Sono half marathon.

It’s a virtual event — every participant runs on his or her own — so there will be no crowds cheering. Brett’s mom — Westport native Ursual Richards Malizia — asked on social media for people to make posters. They’ll line the route, as a nice surprise for him.

Another way to support: Click here for a GoFundMe page. Money raised goes to help defray Eden’s medical expenses, as well as to a leukemia survivor organization.

Ursula and Brett Malizia

A Westport resident found the items below — and newspaper clippings, and more — at 378 Main Street, near Coffee An’. If they’re yours — or you know who they belong to — email lizziehwolf@gmail.com.

So how did you spend your Christmas Eve day?

These guys obviously finished their shopping, and had nothing else to do, so …

(Photo/Chris Tait)

And here was the scene a day later: 12:30 this afternoon…

(Photo/Dan Woog)

And finally … in the spirit of world peace, here is an African carol from Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert. It’s from 2010 — but it never gets old.

Spa Owner: “Save Local,” Or Lose Our Town

For many businesses, the holiday season makes the entire year.

But as Westport staggers through an ominous wave of COVID infections, many merchants and restaurant owners fear they’ll be broken.

And not just for the month or year.


Lori Dodd is one of those small business owners. For 20 years, her Dream Spa & Salon has provided clients with relaxing treatments. Her customers love her, and the feeling is mutual.

But love is trumped by a more powerful force: fear.

Lori Dodd

A small PPP payout helped in the spring. Summer brought a bit of hope, and returning clients. But the long-expected second wave of infections has been brutal.

Right now, Lori is operating at 30% of her usual business. That has nothing to do with capacity restrictions. It’s clients staying away.

Stress is everywhere. Masked employees worry about exposure to unmasked women during facials. Some clients snap at employees for little things. Others balk at or refuse to pay a 5% surcharge Lori instituted to pay for PPE and related costs.

Little kindnesses help. Lori’s sign maker, Marty Rogers — a small businessman himself — offered his services gratis as Lori prepared for a grand reopening. A few clients have been very understanding when Lori rescheduled them, because it wasn’t worth opening the doors one day recently and playing desk staff, electricity and housekeeping.

Where the holiday season means merchandise to many stores, Dream Spa sells gift certificates. With widespread uncertainty about the coming months, those sales have been slow.

Dream Spa,, on Post Road East near Greens Farms Elementary School.

Lori knows she’s not suffering alone. When she picks up takeout from local restaurants, they’re empty. Sometimes, if COVID strikes the kitchen, they close.

Often, Lori says, she’s wanted to cry.

Instead she hatched a plan.

“Buy local” is not enough, she says. “The public is numb to that phrase.”

The byword should be “Save local.”

“More impactful action is needed,” Lori explains. “If we are to survive — if we don’t want to lose restaurants, retailers, salons, spas, fitness centers — we don’t have the luxury of idly sitting by, waiting for more PPP and a holiday season that is not going to cut it.

“We need community support. And we need it now.”

She created an Instagram: @SaveLocalWestport. She’s asking small businesses to DM her for details. She’ll organize a Zoom meeting with interested owners.

Lori envisions signage to be placed around town, and a GoFundMe page. Donations will be divided among members, based on need (assessed by a CPA, hopefully a donated service).

Visitors to the Instagram page will be encouraged to buy gift certificates at their favorite stores and restaurants.

In a perfect world, Lori says, if every household in Westport and Weston gave $100, all the members of @SaveLocalWestport could survive.

“People need to help,” she says with emotion. “If they don’t, this will not the town I’ve lived in for 25 years. It won’t be the town you moved to, or the one you thought you knew.”

Francoise Jaffe: Teachers’ Anxieties Are Real

Francoise Jaffe read yesterday’s “06880” post about the Candlelight Concert with interest.

The longtime Westport psychoanalyst was impressed with how hard it is to bring this event about, and “how impossible it is for the public to understand the enormous effort and dedication it takes to maintain this hallowed tradition.”

She wants a light shone on “the dedication and creativity of the teachers, parents and students involved.” Done!

But Francoise hopes readers will understand something else too. She writes:

Everyone needs to know that their actions affect so many others. When people gather for parties, sports events or large family meals, they do not just put themselves in jeopardy.

The ripple effect is enormous.  The school system was humming along until Halloween. It fell apart afterwards. Students and teachers alike were affected in many ways. 

Teenagers stay in their cars, practicing social distancing — but hang out together at Longshore. (Photo/Kimberly Paris)

Working with patients from many different walks of life and backgrounds gives me a privileged look into their lives, for which I am enormously grateful. I would never have realized how COVID impacts teachers had I not been lucky enough to hear in detail the obstacles they have had to surmount since last March.

One does not understand the workings of any system until confronted with it. I believe that most people have no idea what the life of teachers during COVID has been. Some of my patients are educators.

I think we would all benefit from a closer look at what this professions endures right now.

My patients mention many challenges. At first it was figuring out how to adapt their curriculum to an online environment. This was much harder for some subjects than others, and some teachers more than others.

Some teachers were not familiar or comfortable with technology, so just adapting to it was problematic.

But they had no choice, and no time to climb the learning curve. Some schools switched immediately from in-person to online.

Last spring, Staples students prepared for the “We the People” competition online.

How to make an effective online lesson plan requires training that was not available. This created a lot of stress and pressure.

Another issue is asking students turn on their video function so they can be seen by teachers and peers. Many don’t, for many reasons: the absence of privacy, shame about their living situation, not being motivated to get dressed and groomed as they would if they went to school in person, to cite a few.

Summer afforded teachers the possibility to get up to speed and plan for new ways of presenting their materials, but then they were called back in school in person and had to prepare 2 different sets (or more) of lesson plans for different scenarios (in-person or remote). That was both onerous and time-consuming.

It became even more complicated for the mixed models: half the students are in person, but another half is being taught remotely, sometimes simultaneously.

Classrooms are much emptier these days.

Teachers could only hope that the protocols put in place would actually work. In some school districts, they were not given a choice of working remotely if they had health issues. They were forced to take a leave of absence, unless they had been exposed to COVID themselves.  Some lost health insurance as a result.

Teachers rely on not only verbal but non-verbal clues from students to be effective. If you cannot see your students or get a physical sense of what their mood, attention and body language reveal, teachers cannot be as effective. Knowing their limitations can be anxiety-provoking for educators.

In addition, rhere is pressure to project confidence and an upbeat outlook for students (and their parents), something many teachers do not feel internally.

However, little thought has been given to helping professionals with their struggles. But being given the sense that only a positive attitude is acceptable makes depression more likely. It is isolating and guilt-inducing.

Many therapists are now online.

These are unusual and challenging circumstances. They have gone on for a long time. Normalizing feelings of discouragement, loneliness and anxiety (to name a few) go a long way to helping overcome them.

Teachers should be celebrated, for the right reasons: Their job is hard and sometimes thankless, but they get up every day to do it.

I think that one of the many reasons we cannot abate the spread of COVID is that it is such an invisible disease. Those affected go into isolation. If they end up in hospitals, it is far away from view from most of us.

It is easy to “not see it.” We have to make it more visible and more vivid to help with the very understandable fatigue that has overtaken all of us. Rebuilding a sense of communal responsibility begins with eliciting empathy, which can only be done by sharing information.

Roundup: Arts Funds, Big Buck, Turtle Update, More

Five Westport nonprofit arts groups have received a total of $536,100 in COVID relief funds. The money — part of a $9 million Connecticut COVID Relief for the Arts package — is administered by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Recipients include

  • Friends of the Levitt Pavilion: $55,200
  • JIB Productions (Play With Your Food): $11,900
  • MoCA Westport: $97,700
  • Westport Community Theatre: $5,500
  • Westport Country Playhouse: $365,80

(Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

The Westport Country Playhouse received a grant for COVID relief.

Speaking of art: Mysterious monoliths appeared recently in Utah, California and Romania.

Also: Burying Hill Beach.

Nothing concrete is known about any of them.

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

Remember the loggerhead turtle rescued by Mystic Aquarium on Monday?

David Loffredo sends this update:

Our turtle is a male, 5 to 10 years old. [Uh-oh. “06880” first called him a her — who knew?]

The aquarium warmed him up from 53 degrees to 70. He did suffer quite a blow to his head. They think he was hit by a propeller earlier in the fall, so they are watching him to make sure he recovers.

That’s most likely why he wound up in Long Island Sound this late in the season, and on our beach. His buddies are already way further south. He would not have survived for much longer.

So now we wait.  It’s like having a child.  We try not to call daily….

My wife asked if they’ve named him. The rescue people said they don’t name rescue animals until they’re sure they’ll survive, so right now our guy is #2. We are praying he gets a name!

If and when he does, we’ve been invited for a visit and a behind-the-scenes tour. You know it will be thoroughly documented.

(Photo/David Loffredo)

Speaking of animals: A nearby resident spotted this guy in the Greens Farms Church cemetery. He and his girlfriend then wandered over to her side door. They seem to have settled in for the winter.

As of yesterday, Westport had 699 cases of COVID-19 since March (642 confirmed, 57 probable). There have been 24 deaths (16 confirmed, 18 probable). Click here for full statistics.

And finally … happy 69th birthday to Gary Rossington. The guitarist is a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd — and the last surviving original member.