Kathy Mahieu — a Westporter who teaches in a Bridgeport elementary school — asked if I could write about the differences between our school district and theirs. I had a better idea: I’d post her 1st-person account. Her words would be far more meaningful than mine.
“A Tale of 2 School Districts” provoked a powerful response. Dozens of commenters offered thoughts. Many wondered what they could do to help.
The answer: Plenty. And here’s where this story really gets good.
Catherine Walsh called Kathy, and provided cartons of paper for the Read School. That simple gesture solved an enormous need.
Simultaneously, Jimeale Hede and Carolyn Russo got involved. Using Facebook, they installed “room moms” in every pre-K through 3rd grade classroom. The women published wish lists on their grassroots Brighter Lives for Kids Foundation website. Classroom supplies poured in.
Kathy Mathieu in her Bridgeport classroom. Very few teachers have whiteboards.
In just one week this month, over $71,000 was raised. Much of that came from a Cushman & Wakefield fundraiser. The money will pay for the purchase of 90 Chromebooks with educational programs, as well as field trips and a soccer program.
“06880” readers — and others in an ever-widening circle — volunteered to address other needs. Teachers are identifying students who need shoes or a backpack, for example, as well as requesting items like rugs, headphones and books for their classrooms.
Help is on the way Cesar Batalla Elementary School too.
Read Elementary School
Watching the generosity unfold brought Catherine to tears. Westport and surrounding communities rallied around the needy school. Importantly, she says, they’ve “committed themselves long-term” to aiding these children and their families.
One of the Westporters who helped with Pamela Long. She heard about a toy drive for the Cesar Batalla and Read Schools. She bought some, but was chagrined to learn that donations were slow.
She asked “06880” for help. Again, I was happy to help. Again too, I asked for the story in her own words.
Pamela was eloquent. “These kids are in desperate situations — the highest poverty brackets, shelters, you name it. 100% of these children are fed breakfast and lunch at school,” she wrote. “Their families have no money for basic necessities — let alone holiday gifts.
“Westport: We can do better. Every child deserves the joy of opening a gift this season. We’ve got 4 more days to come together as a community and show our compassion, by helping those who do not have our good fortune. Open your hearts and your wallets — and get shopping!”
Westporters — and readers far and wide — responded instantly. Taking advantage of an Amazon link — and thanks to a generation donation from locally based/internationally known toymakers Melissa & Doug — they blew past the goal.
Plenty of people also helped with the logistics: wrapping, transporting, and making the toy magic happen.
Some of the holiday gifts that poured in to the Read and Cesar Batalla Elementary Schools.
So — when it’s almost time for boys and girls all over America to enjoy the wonder of Santa Claus — let’s pause to thank the men and women (and kids) of our “06880” community (real and virtual) who helped bring smiles to kids a few miles away.
And let’s vow to keep helping the boys and girls of Bridgeport every day in the coming year.
The commercial real estate listing is pretty straightforward: An 11,000-square foot brick and stone office building on Saugatuck Avenue, close to I-95 and the train station.
There’s a photo —
— and a name: The Eno Foundation Building.
But the listing doesn’t give a hint what the Eno Foundation was.
It’s named for William Phelps Eno. He was a Westport businessman known as the “Father of Traffic Safety.” His innovations included the stop sign, pedestrian crosswalk, traffic circle, 1-way street, taxi stand and pedestrian safety island. He designed traffic plans for New York, Paris and London.
For many years, his worldwide traffic institute was headquartered on Saugatuck Avenue, near the Norwalk line.
Believe it or not, Westport — with all our traffic woes — was once the place where transportation ideas that transformed the world were hatched.
William Phelps Eno — who (you can’t make this up) never learned to drive — is no longer around to solve our current traffic issues. He died in 1945. If he were, he could start right around the corner from his headquarters, then work his way through town, ending up at the Merritt Parkway Exit 42/Weston Road/Main Street/Easton Road goat rodeo.
But you can now buy his building. It’s a beauty.
And there’s plenty of on-site parking.
William Phelps Eno was honored with a plaque at the old Westport YMCA.
(For more information on the real estate listing — or to buy it! — click here. Hat tip: Kate Schwartz.)
Splash — the much-loved Longshore restaurant/patio bar — closed recently. Off-season business at its off-the-beaten-path location was not strong enough to make up for the summertime gold rush.
It’s now on the market. And — according to commercial realtor Skip Lane of Cushman & Wakefield — a top-notch restaurant operator ought to make a great go of it.
“It’s a fabulous location,” Lane says. He’s right: The handsome building shares space with an inn, sits smack in the middle of a golf course, fronts a postcard-perfect waterfront, and is steps away from tennis and paddle courts, a pool and skating rink.
Lane says one key is for the new owner to work more closely with all the non-summer activity (including that skating rink, and cross country skiing).
Interested in making a new splash at Longshore? Contact Lane: 203-326-5892.
According to Skip Lane — who brokered the deal for Cushman & Wakefield — Mario Batali’s new Charles Street restaurant will be called: Tarry Lodge Enoteca & Pizzeria.
When “06880” broke this story on Monday, we suggested a Saugatuck-themed name. Well, at least the famed restaurateur/chef tips his toque to the area’s Italian heritage with the 2nd half of the new name.
“Enoteca” is Italian (from Greek). According to Wikipedia, “it literally means ‘wine repository’ … but is used to describe a special type of local or regional wine shop that originated in Italy.”
Urban Dictionary‘s definition is spicier: “like a wine cellar; a place where you drink wine, get drunk, and get sweet hookups.”
Everyone knows what a pizzeria is — and Westport’s got pizzerias a-plenty — but what about “Tarry Lodge”?
Batali’s already got a trattoria and market by that name in Port Chester. According to his website, a lodge is “a meeting or dwelling place” that “fosters gathering and community.”
As for “tarry,” it means to “stay for a time, especially longer than intended.” Another definition is “to delay or be tardy in going or coming.”
Ah! Given the new restaurant’s location just a few steps from the railroad station, it all makes sense now.
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