Tag Archives: Dale Najarian

Roundup: Staples Rugby, Sky Show, Wave Show …

Congratulations to Staples High School’s newest state champions: the rugby team.

The Wreckers romped over perennial powerhouse Greenwich 35-7, in Thursday’s final. That avenged a 30-12 loss to the Cardinals in the national tourney (when Staples was saddled with injuries and illness).

During the regular season, Staples defeated Greenwich 28-16.

Well done, coach Neal Seideman and the gang!

The joyful Staples High School rugby team.

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The Remarkable Bookcycle has a new home: Old Mill Grocery.

It’s a great spot for the popular free library. It will get even more use when the deli/market opens. As the sign promises, it should be soon.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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The Westport Astronomical Society’s astro-photographers are lighting it up again.

A new show — “How Beautiful, the Universe” — opens at the Stamford JCC’s Art Gallery this Tuesday (June 14, 7 p.m.). Photographs showing the beautiful objects found just by looking up in the night sky will be on display through August 31.

Among the WAS photographers showing works: Shannon Calvert, Steven Labkoff, Carl Lancaster, Michael Southam, Stuart Stakoff, Dana Weisbrot
and Kurt Zepetello

Proceeds from images on sale will support new observatory domes on the WAS campus (Bayberry Lane, behind the Westport Weston Health District).

Photos from the Westport Astronomical Society exhibit.

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Speaking of art: Westport artist Dale Najarian is among 8 female painters featured in George Billis Gallery’s new show: “Ride the Wave.” Her works in this exhibit were influenced by Westport photographer Stacy Bass.

The summer group show runs June 19 through July 23, at Billis’ new 180 Post Road East space. An opening reception is set for July 7 (4 to 7 p.m.).

Other artists include Maureen Chatfield, Kristin Coates, Kerry Irvine, Lori Leckliter, Wendy Briggs Powell, Diana Tremaine and Margery Gosnell-Qua.

“Salt Pond” — oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

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“06880” would not normally post a photo of a guy in a kayak.

But, as Jamie Walsh — who took the image — notes:

“This is my neighbor, dear friend and longtime fellow Westporter Ed Perrault. He recently built this amazing kayak at home. He commissioned it yesterday.”

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Congratulations, Ed!

PS: Thanks for making me feel like a slug.

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Former Westport Planning & Zoning Department planner Carolyn Warnow Makover died last month in Danbury. She was 83.

The Cornell University graduate worked in publishing, marketing and graphic design, while raising her family. She found her calling while attending the Conway School of Landscape Design, and received a Master of Arts in Landscape Design in 1986.

Besides the P&Z, she worked at Tate & Associates and Frederick P. Clark Associates as an Environmental Planner. She later served as webmaster for the town and several non-profit organizations, and remained active in local initiatives. Throughout her career and in her volunteer work, she focused on utilizing good design and communications to support people and communities. Carrie also cared deeply about keeping family and friends connected.

During the pandemic, she used her technical skills to ensure that her personal and professional groups could easily move to online gatherings. With her brother and sisters, she founded Reckless Night Music to help preserve the musical legacy of their father, composer Raymond Scott.

Carrie is survived by her daughter Kathryn, son Daniel, long-time partner Richard Stein, and many friends and family members.

A memorial gathering will be announced at a later date. Click here to leave online condolences. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or the Regional Hospice in Danbury.

Carolyn Makover

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Patti Brill describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“This is the time of year that turtles lay their eggs. I caught this one today doing that at Covlee Beach. I took this quick shot without disturbing its task. They do not like to be interrupted while hiding the eggs in the sand. I didn’t want to get too close.”

(Photo/Patti Brill)

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And finally … in honor of the new George Billis Gallery show, “Ride the Wave” (story above) — well, this is close enough:

Roundup: Shorebirds, Costumes, Paul & Joanne …

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Shorebirds are nesting at Compo Beach.

As usual, Parks & Rec is on the case.

Department staff has staked out an area near the site, keeping people away from the fragile birds and their eggs. A sign offers information about the threatened wildlife.

Stay away! It’s their beach too.

In fact, they were here first.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Speaking of shorebirds: A week from tomorrow is Earth Day. But the big events at Sherwood Island State Park are Saturday, April 23.

Friends of Sherwood Island offer several events. They include:

Friends’ Garden Team Activities (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Friends’ table on East Beach across from the Nature Center).

🌱Bring a reusable water bottle; get a “Protect Our Wildlife” sticker (while supplies last).

🌱Tour the Dunes Restoration project site; plant a stem of American Beach Grass.

🌱Learn about native plant species planted for wildlife at the park; get a list for planting at home.

“Why Reducing Food Waste is Critical to a Sustainable Future” (9:30 to 11 a.m.).Host: Pippa Bell Ader, Sustainable Westport Zero Food Waste Challenge. Ongoing at the Friends’ table outside the Main Pavilion.

“Walk Through Sherwood Island’s History (From 12,000 Years Ago)” (noon to 1:30 p.m.). Host: Cece Saunders, owner of Historical Perspectives in Westport. Guided walk. Meet at the Friends’ table outside the Main Pavilion.

“Salt Marshes and Marsh Migration at Sherwood Island” (12:30 to 2 p.m.) Host: Michele Sorensen, environmental educator, captain of the Friends’ garden team. Guided walk; also pick up plastic waste on the marsh. Gloves and bags provided. Meet at the Friends’ table on East Beach across from the Nature Center.

“Environmental Role of Trees at the Park” (2 to 3:30 p.m.) Host: Louis Pietig, Friends’ of Sherwood Island Advisory Council member. Guided walk. Meet at the Friends’ table outside the Main Pavilion.

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Did you miss VersoFest? Or do you just want to relive last weekend’s Westport Library first-in-any-library-anywhere music and media festival?

Click below for a short highlight video. Jerri Graham and Verso Studios’ vivid photos will bring it to life. And get you psyched for the 2023 show, already in the planning stages.

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The curtain came down on “The Descendants” last weekend. But the final act came later.

Staples Players’ talented costume crew — the behind-the-scenes students and parents led by Christie Stanger, who designed and created so many wonderful outfits — had a great idea:  bling out a young audience member’s own clothes to look just like the costume of one of the Descendants!

This lucky, randomly chosen winner had her jean jacket and leggings made to look just like Evie’s. She also got a bunch of cool Evie-like accessories. She even got to meet Evie after the show.

Thanks for spreading joy, Costume Crew!

Lucky winner holds her Evie costume.

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Speaking of entertainment: Not much gets by Fred Cantor.

The other night he watched “The Drowning Pool.” The 1975 noir film starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward streamed on TCM.

At the end — yes, Fred watched the credits — he saw that it was “A Coleytown Production.”

Digging further, he found that “Coleytown Productions Inc.” is a California corporation formed in 1969. It dissolved in 2014. Joanne Woodward was the CEO.

Other copyrights held by Coleytown Productions included 2 other Paul Newman films: “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean” and “Pocket Money.”

Screenshot from “The Drowning Pool.” (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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The other day, “06880” noted that Drew Coyne was named Connecticut’s Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year.

Now the highly lauded and popular Staples High School social studies instructor is vying for national Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year honors.

Every nominee for the $10,000 demonstrates “a commitment to engaging students in historical  learning through the innovative use of primary sources,  implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical  thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest.” The winner will be announced in June.

Drew Coyne

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After 7 years of providing a dedicated gluten-free, organic, non-GMO-certified commercial kitchen, C&K Community Kitchen no longer maintains its gluten-free status. It still “enthusiastically stands on its  devout organic, non-GMO foundation.”

Questions? Contact Sarah Kerstin Gross (candkcommunitykitchen@gmail.com), or call 203-226-0531.

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Dale Najarian is the Westport Book Shop’s latest guest exhibitor.

The Westport artist is showing several abstract landscapes on wood panels. She  works in several mediums, including watercolor, acrylics, mixed media and oils.  She also has a passion for photography.

Najarian earned a BFA from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. She worked for over 15 years as a graphic designer and art director at design firms and advertising agencies in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

She serves on the advisory board for the Norwalk Art Space, the executive board of the Artists Collective of Westport, and is a board member and project manager for #UNLOADusa.org, a nonprofit organization using arts to talk about gun violence in America. She is also an active member of the Greenwich Arts Council and the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.

Dale Najarian at the Westport Book Shop.

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Longtime Saugatuck Co-op resident Johanna Straczek died peacefully last month, at 96. Her family says she “lived a full and vibrant life.”

She started her own accounting firm and worked daily at a front desk, even after selling the company years ago.

“Always dressed with taste and seldom without a signature chapeau, her slight but powerful presence graced our town with a genuine air of European culture,” her obituary says.

Born in Austria in 1925, Johanna learned multiple languages and studied opera in  Vienna before coming to the US. She attended Sacred Heart University, sharpening her business acumen.

She became a fellow of the National Tax Institute, was a longtime Rotarian, and member of several tax associations.

As treasurer of the Saugatuck Co-Op on Bridge Street, where she lived, she is remembered for her dedication volunteer work, and her soprano voice that she gifted at holiday parties (especially “Stille Nacht/Silent Night”).

Johanna is survived by her sister, Vera Romatko and brother Carlo Romatko.  She was predeceased by her husband John and sister, Nadia Romatko Krower.

A celebration of her life is set for April 20 (Unitarian Church, 11 a.m.).

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The other day, David Ader searched for wild mushrooms at the Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum.

Instead he found this tree. He writes: “What you see are fresh scratches from a claw. Given where they were on the tree, I assume it was a small bear. The claw marks are very different from, say, a deer rubbing antlers, which would be higher up.”

He has not seen the bear this year. He is, however, “hopeful.”

(Photo/David Ader)

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And finally … Bridgeport’s Sound on Sound Festival features some big names September 24 and 25. Among them: Dave Matthews, the Lumineers, Stevie Nicks and Brandi Carlile,

The biggest might be Ringo Starr. He kicks things off September 23.

That’s quite a coup. You know he don’t come easy. (Hat tip: Mark Yurkiw)

Downtown Murals Disappear

Animals are not the only thing disappearing at an alarming rate.

Downtown murals are vanishing too.

Then again, that’s the plan.

This week, the Artists Collective of Westport introduced an intriguing public art project.

“Vanishing Species/Vanishing Murals” showcases temporary works by Westporters Susan Fehlinger, Jana Ireijo, Day Moore and Dale Najarian.

Each piece — displayed on exterior walls inside Bedford Square, next to Jeera Thai, below Amy Simon Fine Art and in front of Anthropologie — will depict a different endangered species.

Downtown locations for vanishing murals.

The art is created using non-permanent materials like charcoal forged in the heat of destructive wildfires, supplemented by non-toxic chalk.

Exposed to the elements, each mural will disappear — echoing what’s happening to many beautiful creatures across our planet.

Jana Ireijo’s koala disappears.

“The process of aging, fading and degradation speaks to the attention span of our fast-paced world, and offers its own lesson on the ephemeralness of art and life itself,” the Collective says.

As the image fades, and the stains and seams of the wall reappear, viewers are prompted to think about how change is constant, and life is fleeting and fragile.

The future cannot be pushed away. Time continues to unfold at its own pace.

It is incumbent on us, as world citizens, to see and appreciate our world more fully, in real time, so that we can act in ways that honor and respect our world and our future.

The murals are being created this week. They’ll take a few months to decay. Watch for them, now and all winter long.

(The Artists Collective of Westport thanks the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, David Waldman and Roger Leifer for their help with this project.)

Pearl’s Gem

Westporters are used to seeing art everywhere.

Thanks to WestPAC — the Westport Public Art Collections — we enjoy museum-quality pieces in our schools, Town Hall, even fire headquarters.

Murals by noted local artists hang in Patagonia and Banana Republic.

Now art while you eat is on the Pearl at Longshore menu.

Gallery@Pearl hangs in the handsome lobby space of the popular restaurant. Exhibits vary in media, and rotate every 10 to 12 weeks.

The works are the brainchild of Cathy Colgan. As an arts events producer for the Westport Downtown Merchants Association — think the Fine Arts Festival and Art About Town — she developed a deep appreciation for the depth of talented artists in our community, and their desire to show their work in varied venues.

“Morning Glow” by Dale Najarian.

Pearl was happy to help. So far Nancy Landauer, Sholeh Janati, Janet Samuels and Elizabeth Marks have all exhibited.

This Tuesday (September 12, 5 to 7 p.m.), Pearl kicks off a show by talented painter Dale Najarian. She paints abstract landscapes of local scenes, like Compo Beach. All work is for sale, and will be up through November.

But Pearl is more than just a place to eat (and see art). Like many local businesses, it’s embedded in the community.

Several times a year, for instance, Pearl hosts the philanthropic group Women Who Care. Last week, while munching on complimentary food on the porch — a space usually filled with paying diners — members voted to award $10,000 to Fairfield County Hospice House.

Last weekend, Pearl was the site for a Summer Soiree. The sold-out fundraiser for Westport and Fairfield first responders raised more than $10,000.

The recipients — including Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Fire Chief Rob Yost — promptly decided to send the funds to their counterparts in Houston. Right now, they need it more than we do.

It was a feel good/do good moment for all.

And — despite the rain — the setting wasn’t too shabby either.