Tag Archives: Dave Briggs

Roundup: Joey’s, Captain America, COVID …

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A year after Elvira’s reopened as Joey’s By the Shore — Featuring Elvira Mae’s Coffee Bar,” there’s more news from Old Mill/Compo’s favorite food spot.

The building is for sale. But Joey Romeo and Betsy Kravitz are not going anywhere. They’re keeping the business just as is — with great eats, an ordering window and a beachy vibe, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A long-term lease protects the business.

That’s the good great news. Now if only we had some good news about that long-halted home construction project on the site of the former Positano restaurant, a few yards diagonally across the street …

Betsy Kravitz and Joey Romeo, ready for another season.

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Both myTeam Triumph-CT and Remarkable Theater support the special needs community.

It’s no wonder they’re partnering for mTT’s “Spring Into Action” season-opening event. On Saturday, May 1 (gates open at 6:30 p.m.; movie at 7:30), myTeam Triumph sponsors a showing of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”  — the Marvel adventure film — at the downtown drive-in.

It’s not just that the Remarkable Theater employs people with disabilities for screenings at the Imperial Avenue lot. Or that myTeam Triump pairs children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities with volunteers, who join them in triathlons and road races.

The volunteers are called “angels.” The special needs participants are called … “captains.” So the May 1 film is very fitting.

All proceeds from the event will be shared by Remarkable Theater and myTeam Triumph-CT.

For more information and to buy tickets, click here. To learn more and volunteer with mTT (you don’t have to be an athlete!), click here. To donate, click here.

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Starting tomorrow, there’s another COVID testing center in town.

Progressive Diagnostics opens at 8 a.m. in Saugatuck railroad station parking lot #8. That’s the one off Saugatuck Avenue, between I-95 and the Exit 17 entrance/ exit ramp. They promise same-day PCR and antibody test results.

Weekday hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Speaking of COVID: Who better to answer questions about the virus than Dr. Scott Gottlieb — former FDA commissioner (and Westport resident)?

And who better to ask those questions than Dave Briggs — longtime journalist (and fellow Westporter)?

The event is on InstagramLive today (Thursday, April 22, 6 p.m., @WestportMagazine). You can ask questions now: DM@DaveBriggsTV.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

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Looking for a special Mother’s Day gift? Head to the farm!

Wakeman Town Farm offers spring arrangements, through Hedge Floral. Options include a garden bouquet in twig-wrapped vessel ($95) and posies in upcycled tin cans ($30).

Hedge designs each arrangement with the best of what’s available in early May.  That probably means Queen Anne’s lace, mustard, lilac, pieris, euonymus, viburnum, azalea, honeysuckle and spirea.

Click here to order. Deadline is noon on May 5. Pick-up is Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m. to noon at WTF.

A garden bouquet option.

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Speaking of nature: Jolantha celebrated Earth Day today with a few friends, on Weston’s Kellogg Hill:

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We’ve spent the past 13 months urging Westporters to wear masks.

Looks like we need to talk about helmets too.

An “06880” reader sent this photo, from earlier this week at the Compo Beach skatepark. Several other helmet-less youngsters were nearby, he reports.

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And finally … Jim Steinman died Monday in Danbury. He was 73, and had been in poor health.

His New York Times obituary explains that Steinman “wrote all the songs on Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf’s operatic, teenage-angst-filled 1977 debut album, which remains one of the most successful records of all time.”

Meat Loaf was one of Westport’s many famous musician residents. When he wasn’t recording operatic, teenage-angst-filled songs, he played softball at Compo Beach and Greens Farms Elementary School, and coached it too.

Just another normal neighbor. (Hat tip: Adam Stolpen)

Roundup: Longshore Inn, Outdoor Dining, Ospreys …

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The new operators of the Longshore Inn have big plans.

This afternoon (Wednesday, March 31, 5:30 p.m.), Charles Mallory — CEO of Greenwich Hospitality Group, which runs the very successful Delamar Hotels — joins Dave Briggs on Instagram Live to reveal what’s ahead.

Listen — and respond in real time — via @WestportMagazine. You can send questions on Instagram ahead of time too: @DaveBriggsTV.

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The Westport Transit District recently replaced its previous fixed route system with Wheels2U Westport service, an on-demand, door-to-train station group shuttle service.

As part of the changeover, posters advertising the 50-year-old fixed route service at the Saugatuck train station were replaced with new ones highlighting the advantages of Wheels2U.

The Westport Transit District donated one of those now-historic fixed route posters to the Westport Museum for History & Culture yesterday. for its collection.

With Metro-North ridership beginning to pick up again, Wheels2U provides a convenient, reliable, and inexpensive way to get to and from the Westport and Greens Farms train stations. It serves a larger portion of Westport and meets more trains than the prior fixed route service.

Riders can order a ride using the Wheels2U phone app, be picked up at their door and then dropped off at the station platform at any time between 5:45 and 9:45  a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m. Reverse commuters can take the shuttle from the train station to their jobs almost anywhere in Westport for less than other alternatives.

Future plans for the WTD include getting more employees to their jobs, shoppers to stores, and seniors to the Senior Center.

For Wheels2U Westport’s service area, fares and other information, click here.  For information about Westport Transit’s door-to-door services for the elderly and people with a disability, click here.

Westport Transit District director Peter Gold presents Westport Museum of History & Culture collections director Nicole Carpenter with a now-historic Westport Transit District poster.

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Yesterday, the State Senate unanimously approved legislation to extend outdoor dining in Connecticut through March 31, 2022.

Local zoning or planning officials still have the final power to permit or expand outdoor dining. The law minimizes paperwork like site surveys or traffic studies, in order to expedite the process.

Earlier this month, Westport’s Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to extend outdoor dining here until further notice.

Outdoor dining on Church Lane last year.

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The ospreys are back — and not just at Fresh Market.

Chris Swan spotted one pair of the magnificent raptors at the nesting platform on Sherwood Mill Pond. He saw another on the saltmarsh at the end of Beachside Common, behind the Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park. Welcome home to those two happy couples!

A Fresh Market — not Sherwood Island — osprey. (Photo.Carolyn Doan)

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Patagonia is holding a food drive for Homes with Hope. Bring non-perishable goods like canned chicken, tuna, salmon and soup, mayonnaise, peanut butter and jelly, cereal and pasta source to the downtown store.

They also sell “Patagonia Provisions” — items that can be bought, then given away. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Taylor Whiteside (Whitey) Bailey, a Wesport native and member of a prominent Westport family, died March 18 in Escondido, California of natural causes. He was 88 years old.

He was the 5th child of Franklin and Mary Alice Bailey. His mother was well known here as the assistant to Miss Irene Comer at her dancing school, held in the second floor ballroom of the Westport YMCA. His father was the stepson of Arthur Dare Whiteside, a founder and president of Dun & Bradstreet, and one of the early developers of the Sylvan Road and Nash’s Pond areas of Westport.

Bailey’s brother and sisters included Mary Bailey Beck, Ann Bailey Hall, Franklin Bailey, Jr. and Dare Bailey Wells, all deceased. Joan Whiteside was his step-sister.

Bailey attended Bedford Elementary School and Bedford Junior High School, and was a 1950 graduate of Staples High School. He was a competitive swimmer at Longshore Country Club and a lifeguard at Compo Beach.

He joined the U.S. Marines after high school, and served overseas from 1950-53 during the Korean War. While stationed with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, he was chosen to be the jeep driver in the movie “Retreat, Hell.”

Bailey and his first wife, Allison Norris Bailey, moved to California from Westport in the late 1950s. The former sales manager of Pace Arrow motor home company, he spent the last 25 years of his life in Fallbrook, California.

Allison Norris Bailey and Mr. Bailey’s second wife, Jan Bailey, are deceased.
He is survived by twin sons Kim W. Bailey and Timothy Norris Bailey, both of Westport; Will Mason Bailey of Maui, and 3 grandchildren.

Taylor Whiteside Bailey

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Sure, you can have all the apps and video games you want. But there’s nothing like flying a good old-fashioned kite.

The good news: Tomorrow will be windy. The bad news: It may rain.

Amy Schneider spotted this colorful kite yesterday, at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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And finally … happy 336th birthday, to Johann Sebastian Bach!

Roundup: Chiller Island, State Street, Senator Blumenthal, More

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Wendy Crowther helped create the Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve, at the site of the old Allen’s Clam House. She thought she knew everything about that amazing area.

But the other day on Google Maps, she saw a reference to “Chiller Island.”

That’s the tiny spit of land — not an island at all — near the tidal gates leading out to Compo Cove. There were once 3 small homes there. One was destroyed by a 1950s storm. The other 2 were demolished a few years ago, after being damaged beyond repair in another storm.

The area is now a pocket park. Should we call it Chiller Island Park?

If so, we’d need some history. If you know where the name came from — and when and why it fell out of use — click “Comments” below.

Christmas tree at the pocket park on “Chiller Island.” (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Of course, that’s not the only throwback name Google Maps uses in Westport. Some sections of the Post Road are still called “State Street.”

That was changed in the 1970s. Right around the time Sergey Brin and Larry Page — the founders of Google — were born.

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The Westport Library is slowly reopening. Hours are still limited, and restrictions apply.

The Library’s digital services, meanwhile, are available to cardholders 24/7/365.

Popular books, magazines, audiobooks, music and movies — it’s all there.

You don’t have to be a technical wizard to access it. Staff members can help, with everything from setting up accounts to choosing and selecting materials.

Click here for details. And don’t overlook the little blue “Help” button on the bottom right.

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Do you have a question for Senator Blumenthal? Go to Instagram, and DM @DaveBriggsTV.

Westporter Dave Briggs — former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor — interviews him on IG Live at 4:30 p.m. today (Tuesday).

You can catch the conversation @GreenwichMag.

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Snow has canceled several Red Cross blood drives. The pandemic has made collections even slower.

There are several drives upcoming. Appointments can be made on the Red Cross blood donor smartphone app, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 800-733-2767.

Click here for a full list of sites. Among the local drives:

FAIRFIELD

  • Feb. 23 (today): 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Scandinavian Club, 1351 South Pine Creek Road
  • March 3: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Scandinavian Club, 1351 South Pine Creek Road
  • March 8: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Black Rock Church, 3685 Black Rock Turnpike
  • March 8: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Black Rock Church, 3685 Black Rock Turnpike

NORWALK

  • Feb. 23: 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., St. Philip’s Church, 25 France St.
  • March 3: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., St. Philip’s Church, 25 France St.
  • March 12: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., United Church of Rowayton, 210 Rowayton Ave.

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And finally … Peter Fonda was born today, in 1940. He died in 2019.

Roundup: Pre-Apprentice Program, Library Studios, More

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Staples High School students have many possibilities.

Here’s one most have not heard of: the Connecticut Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program.

The free state Department of Transportation project offers work-based opportunities through Staples’ guidance department — and after graduation.

Virtually, students learn about real-life trades: carpentry, electricity, ironworks, masonry and engineering.

Students will be placed in Westport Department of Public Works internships — with the possibility of paid employment later.

They earn OSHA 10-hour, flagger and CPR/First aid/AED certification. They’ll be eligible for resume review, interview preparation, and to receive employment opportunity notifications.

The program is aimed at seniors who want to enter the workforce after graduation, and juniors hoping to explore the workforce and/or an engineering trade after high school.

The program runs Wednesdays from 12:30 to 2 p.m., from March 3 to May 5.

“This is perfect for kids who don’t want to spend their work life behind a computer, or who are unsure about college,” says Staples counselor Victoria Capozzi. “It’s great too for potential civil engineers.”

For more information, email vcapozzi@westportps.org.

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Former State Senator Toni Boucher’s husband, Henry “Bud” Boucher, died on Sunday, suddenly and peacefully.

An Air Force veteran who worked as an energy, finance, insurance and healthcare management consultant, he was very involved in Wilton organizations like American Legion Post 86, Wilton Rotary and Knights of Columbus.

A socially distanced wake will be held this Saturday (January 30) from 9:30 to 11 a.m., with a limited seating service to follow at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilton. The service will be livestreamed on YouTube and the church website.

For a full obituary, and to leave online condolences, click here(Hat tip: JC Martin)

Henry “Bud” Boucher

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Just a few months after its Transformation Project was complete, COVID forced  partial closure of many services.

But the recording spaces have been as active as ever.

Verso Studios — the new name for its media studios — was used recently by Ports of Spain. The cutting-edge New Haven band recorded, mixed and mastered a music video, “All You Can Carry.” It includes a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a professional recording studio. Click below to see.

Verso Studios offers training programs and virtual drop-in clinics on podcasting and video production. For more information, email dbibbey@westportlibrary.org.

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Westporter Dave Briggs continues to score great interviews with on Moffly Media magazine Instagram feed.

Tomorrow (Thursday, January 28, 2 p.m.) the former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor chats with ABC News chief White House correspondent and “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.

Search @ncdmag for the livestream.

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Yesterday’s snowfall was just a dusting.

But it was enough for Doug Fierro to make a snowman in his backyard. It sits — literally — “on top of the world.”

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And finally … today is the 136th anniversary of the birth of Jerome Kern. He composed over 700 songs, for more than 100 stage works. Nearly a century later, many still endure.

 

Roundup: Candlelight Concert, Dead Fish, Gingerbread Houses, More


Staples High School’s 80th annual Candlelight Concert will look nothing like the previous 79.

But it will still look very cool.

Yesterday, “06880” described this year’s COVID format: a livestream on December 19, with recorded performances and intriguing interviews. (Click here for details, and a registration link.)

Staples senior Brandon Malin was the lighting director for last weekend’s taping. It was a professionally produced event, as befits the music department’s traditional, beloved gift to the town.

Here’s what it looked like, when the masked, socially distanced musicians arrived:


Dead fish continue to pile up on the shores of Compo and Old Mill Beaches.

They’re bunker. They form large colonies, deprive themselves of oxygen, and die. It’s unusual though for it to happen so late in the season.

Patricia McMahon composed this grim but natural collage:

(Photo collage/Patricia McMahon)

Who doesn’t love gingerbread houses? But who has time to make them?

Members of the Westport Woman’s Club, that’s who.

They’ve created 20 gorgeous (and non-edible) houses for a special fundraiser.

Click here to see all of them. For a $20 ticket, you’ll be entered in a random drawing. It’s a great way to help the Woman’s Club fund many worthy projects. Tickets can be purchased at the link above; in person at the club (44 Imperial)Avenue, or mailed to the above address.

A few of the gingerbread houses.


Bruno Guiduli is a key defender on Staples High School’s soccer team.

But this winter, he’s scoring — not preventing shots. He’s shooting on a small cutout banner in his yard. By scoring 2,020 times, his “goal” is to raise money and increase awareness of TOPSoccer, a nonprofit that embraces children and teenagers with intellectual, emotional and/or physical disabilities. Players develop at their own pace, in a safe, fun and nurturing environment.

Bruno has set up a page for donations, while he shoots. Funds help special needs players participate. “No one should be turned away due to financial challenges,” he says.

“Soccer has been a source of competition, challenge and discipline,” Bruno says. “It has taught me the value of teamwork and reaching a goal (no pun intended). So I want to help kids of differing abilities reach their goals. and experience a similar love for the game as I do every day.” Click here to donate.

Bruno Guiduli, with the TOPSoccer goal he’s shooting at.


Dave Briggs is a pro.

The former CNN, Fox News and NBC Sports anchor’s Instagram Live interviews (@WestportMagazine) are consistently compelling and clever.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m his guest today (5 p.m.). Check us out!


The other day, Nile Rodgers testified before Parliament. The world-famous singer/guitarist/musician/arranger/producer told British lawmakers that streaming platforms should pay musicians more. He said he realized the situation when COVID curtailed his touring.

I’ve never been inside his Saugatuck Shores home. But if the Daily Mail photo below of his testimony — livestreamed, of course — was taken there, it’s got some pretty impressive decorations. (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

(Photo courtesy of Daily Mail)


And finally … today marks the first night of Hanukkah. Don’t let the light go out!

Roundup: Alysin Camerota, Artists Collective, Subtle Racism, More


Former CNN anchor Dave Briggs interviews his former colleague — current anchor of CNN’s “New Day” — Alisyn Camerota on Instagram Live today (Saturday, October 3) at 5 p.m. The pair of Westporters will talk about their town, and the world. Just search on Instagram for @WestportMagazine.


The “Playhouse at the Drive-In” event just got more remarkable.

As noted yesterday, the Westport Country Playhouse celebrates its 90th season on Saturday, October 17 (5 p.m.) with a a benefit event and screening at the Remarkable Theater drive-in (the Imperial Avenue parking lot).

Yesterday, The Artists Collective of Westport got approval from the Playhouse to hold their Affordable Art Trunk Show that afternoon, at 3.

Over 25 artists will be masked, in (socially distanced) cars — and as much “affordable art” as they can display on easels and tables.

The volume and flow of pedestrian traffic looking at the art will be carefully monitored by Collective volunteers.

The Playhouse and Artists Collective enjoy a great partnership, including meeting and exhibition at the WCP’s Sheffer Barn.


This Monday (October 5, 8:30 a.m.), the Coalition for Westport sponsors a Zoom talk on “subtle racism in Westport.” TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey is the guest.

To register, email kbernhar@optonline.net.

 


Lindsey Baldwin is a Staples High School senior. She’s an EMT. And she just received kudos from State Senator Will Haskell, for another type of community service.

Last year Lindsey set up donation bins at various pharmacies and dental practices. She collected 2,000 toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss cartridges. She also created a fundraiser on Facebook, and collected $1,430.

In February, Lindsey traveled to Honduras with CapeCARES. The on-profit sends volunteers to remote areas. They provide free medical and dental care.

She brought those 2,000 dental products with her. Many villagers had never had access to toothbrushes. It was an important moment for them — and for Lindsey, who returned to Westport grateful for all she has, and the opportunity to serve.

Lindsey Baldwin, in Honduras.


And finally … of course:

 

Roundup: Laddie Lawrence, Christian Siriano, Stephanie Szostak, More


Starting Monday (September 21), the Board of Education will resume in-person meetings.

Board members, administrators and invited speakers will all be present. Members of the public can participate via real-time broadcasts, and comment via Google Docs.

“Unfortunately, we cannot predict or control the turnout at our meetings, and a large gathering at a public meeting of the board could pose a public health risk,” the Board says.

“In evaluating the viability of a limited number of socially distant seats for the public in person, the logistical challenges of ensuring social distancing and mask-wearing, determining who is allowed into the meeting and who is turned away, etc., are substantial and might interfere with the work of the board in real time.

“We are heartened by the substantial increase in public participation through our use of Google Docs. This method will continue to afford anyone who feels uncomfortable about coming out to a public meeting during a pandemic a voice in our decision-making process.”


As Architectural Digest notes, fashion designer Christian Siriano moved to a modern house near Compo Beach a few months ago.

And as alert “06880” reader Mary Hoffman notes (via the Wall Street Journal), the backyard of that home was the site yesterday for a fashion show. Among the guests: Billy Porter.

Siriano famously dressed Porter in a tuxedo ballgown for the Oscars.

Billy Porter in Westport. (Photo/Charlie Sykes for AP)


After 55 years as a summer staple, the Westport Parks & Recreation Roadrunner races went virtual this year.

The weekly events — starting first with a couple of miles, increasing each Saturday to a 10-mile run just before Labor Day — are the baby (and now near senior citizen) of Staples High School’s longtime track coach and guru Laddie Lawrence.

The most recent Road Race Management newsletter — aimed at race directors and industry professionals — highlights Lawrence’s long involvement with the series. There’s an extensive interview looking back on 55 years, and vintage photos. Click here to see.

Laddie Lawrence, at a Roadrunner race finish line.


The Westport Library edges one step closer to normalcy. On Monday (September 21), the Library Store begins offering personal shopping appointments.

The 15-minute sessions can be in person or virtual (via FaceTime or WhatsApp). Slots are available weekdays, from 2 to 6 p.m. Click here to schedule.

The Store accepts credit cards, checks, Apple Pay and Google Pay — no cash. Purchases made virtually will be scheduled for pick up weekdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, click here.


Last night’s Remarkable Theater screening of “Top Gun” — a fundraiser for the Catch a Lift Fund — drew a great crowd to the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Fall is almost here. But Westport’s love of the pop-up drive-in theater — and support for excellent causes — has not wavered one bit.


Dave Briggs’ intriguing Instagram Live interactive interviews continue today (Friday, September 18, 6:30 p.m.). The former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor’s guest is Westport’s own noted actor Stéphanie Szostak (“A Million Little Things,” “The Devil Wears Prada”).

You can listen — and participate — on Instagram:@WestportMagazine.


The other day, “06880” mentioned Positive Directions’ new Teacher Support group. It meets weekly via Zoom. The cost was $40.

Now, however — thanks to the generosity of Positive Directions’ board of directors –this group will be underwritten. It’s now free to all teachers and school personnel. Email amiceli@positivedirections.org, or call 203-227-7644 to reserve a spot.


Groove is known for its trendy clothes, for women, children and babies.

But on Saturday, October 24 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), the Post Road West boutique welcomes Dana Ciafone to a book signing. The author of Celebrating Bentley — the kids’ book about a boy and his dog — will be there. All profits go to Little Black Dog Rescue.


And finally … in these days of wildfires, hurricanes and much more, it’s nice to hear James Taylor’s soothing voice. No matter how dark the lyrics. (Hat tip: Jerry Kuyper)

Dave Briggs TV: Live Interviews With Lively Westporters

Dave Briggs is a gifted interviewer.

After a career spent in sports and political broadcasting, he knows how to make a subject feel at ease. Conversation flows naturally; insights pour forth.

After 12 years in Westport — and more than 2 decades at Fox News, NBC Sports and CNN — Briggs’ contact list bulges with big names.

Many of them live here. So it’s natural that for his new gig — an Instagram Live series of interviews for Westport Magazine — Briggs would chat with our town’s megastars.

He’s already snagged “Today” co-host Craig Melvin, best-selling author Jane Green and former NFL analyst/current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky.

But it’s a testament to Briggs’ chops as an interviewer — and his belief that his series include local names we all can relate to — that his session with Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas drew twice as many viewers as Melvin’s.

Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas, live.

If you missed that — or any of Briggs’ other interviews, like 1st Selectman Jim Marpe — no problem. They live forever on Westport Magazine’s Instagram page.

You can find them — and upcoming interviews which may include CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, actress Anne Hathaway, former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, musicians Nile Rodgers and Michael Bolton, billionaire businessman/Milwaukee Bucks owner Mark Lasry, and songwriter Justin Paul, plus superintendent of schools Tom Scarice, downtown developer David Waldman and police chief Foti Koskinas — by following @DaveBriggsTV on Instagram.

The Denver native did not expect to be sitting here this year, drinking bourbon (or tequila, or another beverage of choice), chatting with his neighbors.

But this year is unlike any we’ve ever known before.

Briggs always wanted to be a sportscaster. A broadcast and journalism major at the University of Colorado, he ascended the typical “pay your dues” ladder: covering high school sports and rodeo in Rapid City, South Dakota; college sports in Tulsa, and then the right-place-at-the-right-time Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics for Boston’s NBC station.

From there it was on to “a terrific” 5 years co-hosting “Fox & Friends”‘ weekend show with Camerota; handling the Rio Olympics, Stanley Cup, NASCAR and NCAA basketball for NBC Sports, and — most recently — 3 years as anchor of CNN’s “Early Start.”

Dave Briggs

Early is right: The show airs from 4 to 6 a.m. Briggs woke up every morning at 1:30.

That did not leave him much time to know Westport, where he, his wife Brandi and kids moved in 2008. She is deeply involved in the town: RTM representative, Westport Young Women’s League, the schools.

Briggs wanted to feel more connected. His chance came, surprisingly, from the same source that, he says, “punched my career in the face”: COVID-19.

The coronavirus put an end to his NCAA hoops work for Turner Sports. He talked to ESPN Radio about openings, but after cuts in other areas they filled those spots internally. A sports podcast called “Home & Home” was also canceled.

“It’s been a tough year for me,” Briggs admits.

But the Westport Magazine/Instagram Live interviews have been a huge bright spot.

He’d always known that many very successful, fascinating people live here. When everyone was quarantined, disconnected and frustrated, he realized an interview series could be interesting — and doable.

Jane Green, live.

Instagram Live is the perfect platform. It’s easy to use (and users get instant notifications when an interview begins). Anyone can ask ask real-time questions. And the format could not be more casual.

Whether his guests are big names nationally or just locally, they all want to talk about their home town. Why did they move here? Why do they stay here? What’s their ideal day here?

Those are staple questions. Craig Melvin was as happy to answer those as he was talking about national issues. He also discussed what it’s like broadcasting the “Today” show from his Westport home.

“People learned he’s not just a talking head. He’s of the smartest, most knowledgeable and analytical people in the industry,” Briggs says. “Plus, he’s nice!”

Dave Briggs and Craig Melvin, live.

Briggs shared drinks and a meal with Bill Taibe, at his new Don Memo restaurant.

For Jane Green, there was tequila. Many of her devoted readers asked direct questions. Whether they lived here or not, they learned how Westport inspires her.

The interview with Staples principal Stafford Thomas offered 3 surprises for Briggs. There were many more viewers than for some bigger names. Briggs learned “there may not be a better educated principal anywhere.” And the interviewer discovered that Thomas has been to every Major League Baseball Stadium in the country.

Feedback to the Westport Magazine/Instagram Live interviews has been superb. In fact, it’s so positive that the series — originally planned just for the summer — will continue indefinitely.

And without a 1:30 a.m. wakeup call.

Westporters Will Be Prominent At Rio Olympics

Westport may not have any athletes competing at this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

But our town will be represented, just the same.

In typical fashion, we’re all over the media — on camera, and behind the scenes.

Four Westport residents will play big roles as commentators.

Rebecca Lowe

Rebecca Lowe

Rebecca Lowe hosts her 2nd Olympics for NBC, following her debut at Sochi in 2014. She’s well known as the 4-year host of NBC’s Premier League soccer coverage, including live pre- and post-match shows from the Stamford broadcast center.

Paul Burmeister will announce water polo. He’s an NFL studio host and play-by-play announcer. Right now he’s in Europe, covering the Tour de France.

Rob Simmelkjaer also heads to Rio, reprising his 2012 role as MSNBC studio host. MSNBC will carry men’s basketball, beach volleyball, rugby, soccer, volleyball, water polo and more. Currently senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures, he’s also a member of Westport’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Dave Briggs will be back in Stamford, making his Olympic debut hosting tennis on Bravo. He’s currently a host and anchor for NBC Sports Group, working on a wide range of sports including “NASCAR America” and NHL coverage.

Jeff Clachko — NBC Sports Group’s senior vice president for ad sales — will also be in Brazil.

If you’re going to Rio — for work or pleasure — please let us know. And if you’re headed there as an athlete, we really want to hear from you!

NBC Sports Group