Mark your calendars for September 18. Its fall benefit — “The Art of Jazz” — features silent and live auctions, and live music by Grammy Award-winning tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery. Guests will be entertained by DJ Mo.
The live auction is hosted by Westporter Dave Briggs, former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor.
Can’t be there? Bidding opens September 4 for the silent auction, with plenty of items from Westport businesses (and more).
Tickets go on sale to MoCA members July 28, and the general public August 4. Click here for details.
Speaking of parties: The Levitt Pavilion is hardly a secret. Westporters flock there all summer, for over 50 nights of all kinds of entertainment.
But the covered patio at the top of the amphitheater is one of the town’s hidden jewels. Many days, it’s a great place to congregate and picnic before the show (and away from whatever heat or rain might mar the evening).
Other times, it’s a perfect place for a party. Businesses use it to thank their customers and clients. Organizations use it to show off what they do. Individuals book it for celebrations.
Last night, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 90th birthday there.
The next time you see a group underneath the Levitt roof happily eating, drinking and chatting, think ahead. Yours could be there too.
Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell welcomes members and friends to the Levitt Pavilion party last night.
Excitement is building in the Staples High School auditorium. The curtain rises this Thursday (and Friday, and twice on Saturday) for the first Staples Players live production in 14 months.
David Ives’ “Words Words Words … and Music” is a truly funny series of mini-plays (with 2 mini-musicals to boot). But even though each audience is limited to only 300 seats, tickets remain.
It it because the show is unfamiliar? Perhaps there’s residual pandemic fear (click here to see the precautions taken). Maybe audiences have forgotten just how professional-quality Players’ acting and music are.
Whatever the reason: The program needs community support. For 63 years, that support has sustained Players, and allowed it to thrive,
Westport cherishes the high school acting troupe. But Westporters may not realize how important it is for all 300 tickets to sell out for each show (Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m., and May 22 at 2 p.m.).
“Words Words Words … and Music” is laugh-out-loud funny — and very family-friendly. Young audiences, in fact, are the future of Players. They’ve missed a year of shows, so this is the perfect time to bring them back.
Click here for tickets and more information. See you at the show!
Sophie Rossman, Benny Zack and Samanath Webster in “Words Words Words.” Fully vaccinated actors will perform in clear visors. (Photo/Kerry Long)
Here’s the back story, courtesy of Erika Brunwasser:
“Few stop, many ‘pause,’ and a bunch fly through without even pausing.
“I have 2 little girls, ages 2 and 5. It’s scary and unacceptable. I called the police several times and asked about a flashing light, a speed bump and a sign to monitor speed. I’ve been told none of these are possible.
“They promised me that someone would monitor the area. This happened less a handful of times. The other day I sat in my front yard screaming at people, and realized I needed a better plan.
“I brought in the help of my next-door neighbor, artist Lilie Fortino (who was raised in Westport) to make a sign. We put it up Saturday evening. It made an immediate difference. Everyone has stopped (if only to glance at the beautiful sign — that’s fine with me). It worked.”
It shouldn’t take a sign and a stop sign to get drivers to stop roaring through residential neighborhoods (or anywhere else).
But if that’s what it takes — we’ll take it.
Lilie Fortino and her 1-year-old. Erika Brunwasser and her children. SLOW DOWN!
Speaking of yesterday’s Roundup: It also included mention that Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson would read The Sly Fox of the Mind — a children’s book by Westporters Brooke Olstein and Lee Scharfstein — on her YouTube channel, “Story Time with Fergie and Friends.”
Click below to watch. It’s a wonderful book — made even greater when read in the Queen’s English.
Speaking of books: Financial journalist and author Michael Lewis will be interviewed by noted former New York Times writer Lisa Belkin.
Lewis’s newest book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story follows 3 main characters – a biochemist, public health worker and federal employee – as they confront COVID, and find that the response from the US government is woefully inadequate.
The event is June 15 (7 p.m.). Click here to register.
The Westport Woman’s Club’s 6th annual Art Show this Saturday and Sunday (May 22-23, 2 to 6 p.m.) features an all-star list of 14 area artists. They include Nina Bentley, Amy Bock, Trace Burroughs, Susan Fehlinger, Judith Orseck Katz, Tom Kretsch, Susan Leggitt, Kerry Long, Michael Ledner, Carole McClintock, Bernard Perry, Jon Puzzuoli, Katherine Ross and Jo Titsworth.
Plus light snacks and wine, of course. It would not be an art show without them.
Everyone at Staples High School knows Laura Blair. She runs the copy machine room, and is a tireless fan of Wreckers sports teams.
She’s also one of STAR’s greatest fundraiser. For years she has participated in the non-profit’s annual Sherwood Island walk. Funds help serve hundreds of area people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This year’s STAR Walk is virtual. But Laura is working as hard as ever. So far her team has raised over $6,000 — more than half of her $12,000 goal.
“Stars” are just $1 each. Click here to help. To learn more about STAR Lighting the Way, click here.
So Homes with Hope — the umbrella organization for the Gillespie Center, and a much-utilized Community Kitchen — is running a food drive. It’s this Saturday (May 1, 1 to 4 p.m., Gillespie Center, behind Barnes & Noble and Don Memo on Jesup Road).
It’s contactless: Just pull your car up, and pop the trunk.
The most needed items: canned meats (chicken, tuna, salmon, Spam); cold and hot cereals; canned soups and stews; peanut butter and jelly; mayonnaise; pasta sauce, canned vegetables.
In addition, Homes with Hope’s Community Kitchen program is gratefully accepting prepared lunches and dinners, 7 days aw eek. To become a Community Kitchen volunteer, click here. Click here for volunteer guidelines.
NOTE: During COVID, the Gillespie Center and Hoskins Place buildings are closed to the public. Staff serves all meals to shelter guests.
The Westport Library’s thought-provoking WestportREADS programming continues with virtual events this spring.
Tuesday, May 4 (7 p.m.): Ty Seidule discusses his new book, Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause, with Maggie Mudd. He describes how he confronted the racist legacy at the core of his identity, and challenges the persistent myths of the Lost Cause. Click here for information, and to register.
Wednesdays, May 5 and 19, June 2 (7 to 8:30 p.m.): Me and White Supremacy: The Challenge Continues. Small group discussions on Layla Saad’s groundbreaking book. Click here for information, and to register.
Thursday, May 6 (7 p.m.).: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. The Library hosts a virtual screening of Keith A. Beauchamp’s documentary, followed by a conversation with Beauchamp and the film’s producer, Steven Laitmon. Click here for information, and to register.
Saturday, May 8 (7 p.m.): Beechwood Arts presents the 2nd AMPLIFY Festival at the Westport Library. Black artists present music, song, and theatrical works. Click here for information, and to register.
Tuesday, June 1 (12:30 p.m.): In her book, We Need New Stories: The Myths that Subvert Freedom, Nesrine Malik examines 6 political myths used to deflect and discredit demands for social justice with Catherine Lewis. Click here for information, and to register.
The state clinics note which vaccine is being offered at each location.
Appointment availability is updated throughout the day. New clinic sites and appointments are added regularly.
A few days ago, “06880” posted a comprehensive list of Connecticut vaccine options, thanks to Sarathi’s HR department. Click here for information on CVS, Walgreens, Yale New Haven Health, Stamford Health and VAMS sign-ups.
In addition to that list, Sarathi adds:
Check your town’s website for information and clinics available only to residents. You may be able to register in advance or receive a call for available appointments or excess doses.
Connecticut’s Vaccine Assist Line (877-918-2224) operates 7 days a week, from 8am-8pm. Agents can schedule appointments at state-run clinics. If you call early and are given the chance to leave a message, you should. They accept a certain number of messages each day, then call those people back throughout the day to assist in booking appointments. Once the maximum number of calls for the day has been reached the message option is turned off.
You can now search additional locations, including supermarkets and local pharmacies. A great tool to see who is administering the vaccine in your area is Vaccinefinder.org. Search a zip code, make note of the providers nearby, then search for booking websites.
Did you miss last night’s webinar on the many housing bills making their way through the state’s General Assembly, and their possible impact on Westport?
Planning and Zoning chair Danielle Dobin gave a comprehensive overview. Our 4 local legislators — Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang, and Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Stephanie Thomas — tackled the pros and cons. Viewers asked questions. It was a wide-ranging, engaging 80 minutes. (And I would say that even if I had not served as moderator.)
It’s now available to watch — or re-watch — at your leisure. Click here for the link.
Everything you wanted to know about zoning — including sewers — and more.
One of the few positive parts of the pandemic: Many more Westporters have had time to walk.
Because we practice social distancing, we’re not always on the sidewalk. And — as Tammy Barry’s photo of Hillspoint Road at Schlaet’s Point shows — the result is some barren patches where grass once grew.
I’m sure saltwater flooding had something to do with t too.
Here’s hoping the town can find some resources to bring this beautiful stretch of waterfront back to what it once was.
Today’s osprey report comes courtesy of Chris Swan.
He wants Westporters to know that there are 3 platforms near Sherwood Island State Park.
One is in the saltmarsh behind the Nature Center, midway to the last house off Beachside Common.
The second is in the saltmarsh on the eastern shore of Sherwood Mill Pond, several hundred feet above the Compo Cove homes. It’s visible from the path on Sherwood Island’s western edge, above the fire gate to Compo Cove.
Both platforms are occupied by returning osprey pairs.
A 3rd location can be seen from the saltmarsh shore of the northeastern corner of the Mill Pond, looking west. This was erected last fall. No osprey pair has yet staked their claim.
A 4th platform is at the entrance to Burying Hill Beach, in the marsh across New Creek. Chris has watched it for 10 years, but has never seen it occupied.
He thinks it’s too low. He believes old utility poles make the best platforms — citing the ones at Fresh Market, Longshore’s E,R. Strait Marina, and Gray’s Creek.
Chris should know: He spent his professional career with Eversource.
The newest osprey platform in Sherwood Island Mill Pond. A house on Grove Point is visible behind it. (Photo/Chris Swan)
Congressman Jim Himes holds a Facebook Live session today (Wednesday, April 7) at 3 p.m. He’ll discuss how constituents can benefit from the American Rescue Plan. Click here to watch live. To watch later, click here.
And finally … on this day in 1940, Booker T. Washington became the first African-American depicted on a US postage stamp.
In November 1944, Booker T. Jones Jr. was born in Memphis. He was named after his father, Booker T. Jones Sr., a high school science teacher — who himself was named in honor of Booker T. Washington, the educator.
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.
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).
Beginning this Thursday (April 1), all Connecticut resident and employees 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Supplies are increasing; more locations and appointments are added weekly.
Alert — and helpful — “06880” reader Sarathi Roy got a ton of info from her company’s very caring HR department, here in Fairfield County. It’s the most comprehensive list I’ve seen.
He asked me to pass it along. Feel free to forward widely to others!
NOTE TO READERS BETWEEN 16-45 YEARS OLD: Not all sites update their eligibility questions at midnight, but you are able to book appointments starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Select the age eligibility box for 45+, then use your real age and accurate date of birth in the booking process.
If you don’t get an appointment right away, be patient. New appointments are added daily. Patience and persistence pays off.
Or you can schedule by phone weekdays, 8 .m. to 5 p.m.: 203-276-7300.
VAMS is a federal and state tool for registering and booking appointments. It is not required in Connecticut. You can use it as an option for scheduling, but you do not need to register in VAMS in order to book appointments with any of the above providers.
Once registered, you will receive several emails. The first will confirm your registration; the next (from CDC) will ask you to complete your profile in VAMS. Then it will allow you to schedule an appointment at a state-run clinic.
Check your town’s website for information and clinics available only to residents. You may be able to register in advance, or receive a call for available appointments or excess doses.
Connecticut Vaccine Assist Line (877-918-2224) operates 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Agents can schedule appointments at state-run clinics. If you call early and are given the chance to leave a message, you should. They accept a certain number of messages each day, then call those people back throughout the day to assist in booking appointments. Once the maximum number of calls for the day has been reached, the message option is turned off.
Vaccinefinder.org will show which locations in your area are administering which vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson).
Earlier his week, Westport firefighters assisted the Westport Weston Health District and Department of Human Services by providing COVID vaccinations to homebound residents.
And … while delivering the vaccines, Fire Department members performed home safety inspections, including inspecting flammable substance storage, and checking and installing smoke and CO2 alarms.
Then yesterday morning, our firefighters helped Human Services by loading and unloading food boxes from the Connecticut Food Bank. 60 will be distributed to food-insecure households in Westport. Two more pick-ups are scheduled next month.
For more information on food resources, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-341-1050.
Kudos to all involved. It takes a village — and ours is a great one. (Hat tip: Jennifer Gallini Petrosinelli)
Firefighter Liz Ferguson helps with food distribution.
Yesterday, the Board of Selectman unanimously adopted this resolution:
WHEREAS, Asian-Pacific American communities are suffering acts of discrimination, hate crimes, and microaggressions, which have been exposed and heightened due to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, anti-Asian rhetoric and sentiment is stigmatizing, tends to incite fear and xenophobia, and numerous Asian-Pacific Americans are experiencing increased racial profiling, hate incidents, and, in some cases, hate violence; and
WHEREAS, in an effort to bring attention to baseless and xenophobic actions, hate speech, and bias, and most particularly, those against the Asian American and Pacific Island community, the Town of Westport must demonstrate its support for neighbors, families and friends who are adversely affected and traumatized by these acts.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Westport Board of Selectmen emphatically denounces xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment. The Town of Westport joins municipalities, counties, and states across the country in affirming its commitment to the safety and well-being of Asian-Pacific Americans and in combating hate crimes targeting Asian-Pacific Americans; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Westport remains committed to condemning all manner of racism, stigmatization, hate speech, hate crimes, xenophobia, discrimination and violence. Protecting residents, business owners, workforce members, and victims of hate through supportive programs and policies that embrace inclusivity, diversity, civil discourse, and acceptance for all, remains at the forefront of our intentions as a community to combat hate and racial injustices.
After 38 years as founder and chair of the Susan Fund — where she oversaw raising and distributing nearly $2 million in scholarships to 285 Fairfield County students diagnosed with cancer — Ann Lloyd has stepped down from her role.
Incoming chair Jeff Booth’s first official act was to name Ann chairman emeritus.
That’s her second recent honor. Last month, the indefatigable Westporter was an “06880” Unsung Hero of the Week.
And speaking of sports: Dave Briggs is a great interviewer. (He should be: He spent more than 2 decades at Fox News, NBC Sports and CNN.) His Instagram Live sessions have become must-see viewing for ever-larger audiences.
It helps that he snags great guests.
Today’s is Jay Williams. The NBA analyst and ESPN radio host is — like Dave — a a Westport resident.
It’s live at 2 p.m. today (Thursday, March 25; @WestportMagazine). The 2 guys welcome your questions. Shoot!
The chain offers “wholesome, healthy food that not only tastes great, but makes you feel great.” Food is “carefully sourced … from farmers and purveyors we trust, guaranteeing all of our food is gluten-free and better for you.”
The menu includes make-your-own rice and quinoa-based meals, poké and other bowls, vegetable sides, and breakfast sandwiches, parfaits and oatmeal.
Little Beet would open that summer, I confidently said.
COVID and (perhaps) other issues intervened. The storefront sat empty. But now, work has begun.
Last week’s Unsung Heroes were all the folks — young and old, family and friends and strangers — who help others schedule COVID vaccine appointments.
This week we honor the men and women who actually give the shots.
They include EMS volunteers, like Westporter Nicole Donovan. She was at the Lord & Taylor parking lot last weekend.
I was there getting my shot. I did not see her — or any other Westport EMS members. But I did see a slew of National Guard folks. The men and women were uniformly polite, well-organized, efficient — even fun.
During my 15-minute wait after the shot — making sure there was no allergic reaction — I bantered with a Guardsman. He’s a mortgage specialist by trade, but he’s worked full time in the Lord & Taylor lot for a couple of months. He appreciates the opportunity to help.
I sure appreciate his work, and that of every other National Guard member, EMT, doctor, nurse and other medical professional who is helping stem the pandemic’s tide.
It’s not easy. They come in contact with hundreds of folks a day, and that puts them at risk. But we would not be safe — and getting safer — every day without them. Thanks for their service!
National Guardsman at the Lord & Taylor vaccine site. (Photo/Dan Woog)
Connecticut — already in the Top 5 states nationwide for its COVID vaccine program — took a huge step forward yesterday.
Governor Lamont announced the expansion of the vaccine to everyone over the age of 16. The planned date to begin scheduling those shots is April 5. That’s significantly ahead of the previous target date.
This Friday (March 19), scheduling opens to all residents age 45 to 54.
For information on making appointments and finding the closest available clinic. click here. You can also call Connecticut’s vaccine appointment assist line: 877-918-2224 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Other vaccine providers include:
Yale New Haven Health
Sign up online here, or call 833-275-9644
CVS Health (limited locations)
Sign up online here, or call 800-679-9691.
Walgreens (limited locations)
Sign up online here, or call 800-925-4733
Sign-up online here, or call 203-276-7300.
Sign-up online here, or call 860-827-7690.
Infants are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine. Maybe soon though …
The best selling book on Amazon yesterday was LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light.
And by “best selling,” I mean just that. Westporter Melissa Bernstein’s book about her battle with existential anguish and depression was #1.
Not just in the self-help category. Not in “books by women authors.” Not in any of the dozens of other categories that Amazon uses to try to create buzz.
Lifelines was Amazon’s best selling book, among the bajillions of titles the retail behemoth sells.
It may have gotten a boost from fellow Westporter David Pogue’s segment about it on “CBS Sunday Morning,” the day before.
But it also benefits from being a very important book, by a well-known and very honest writer, at a time when talking (and reading) about mental health is crucial.
Alec Lobrano graduated from Weston High School in 1973. Until he landed a job in the Paris office of Women’s Wear Daily, his experience with French cuisine was limited to browsing cookbooks at the Weston Library, where he worked as a teenager.
But he carved out a niche as a food critic in Paris. The lessons he learned from leading culinary figures helped him master fine dining, and also find his place as a gay man navigating the alluring city and his exciting career.
Lobrano has won several James Beard Awards. He writes on food and travel for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Food & Wine, Eater, Condé Nast Traveler and more.
His memoir — My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris — will be published June 1.
The book is filled with vivid descriptions of Parisian restaurants, his favorite and least favorite meals, and run-ins with figures from like Julia Child and Ruth Reichl. It’s also a coming-of-age story about the healing power of food. Click here for details.
And not just with their annual showcase of all things scientific, environmental, magical and cool.
As Makers picked up on all the vaccine buzz — and noticed how eager folks are to let others know they’ve gotten the shot — they had their own Archimedes “Eureka!” moment.
Quickly, they created 9 pins in 2 sizes for people to buy, wear, and show their commitment to eliminating the virus.
But wait! There’s more! All proceeds help fund Remarkable STEAM — Maker Faire’s parent organization.
In true Westport Maker fashion, the pins were all designed — and made by hand — here.
Remarkable STEAM offers “06880” readers a 25% discount on all pins. Just click this link.
COVID vaccine pins “make” great gifts for friends, relatives, employees, customers — anyone who is vaccinated, in fact. For quantity pricing and other questions, contact Mark Mathias by phone (203-226-1791) or email: email@example.com.
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Or Zelle: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)