Tag Archives: David Grann

Roundup: Swan, Safety, Sports Sustainability …

Great springtime news!

The “Saugatuck swan” — the one Westporters have watched in wonder, as she hatched her eggs by the Saugatuck River, a few feet from Parker Harding Plaza — has given birth.

Claudia Sherwood Servidio reports on the delivery, adding: “the male was very attentive, looking for reeds to reinforce the nest from water with the high tide.”

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


Remember last year’s traffic and safety sessions, each for a different RTM district?

An update is set for April 27 (7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium). First Selectwoman Jen Tooker, along with officials from the Public Works, Planning & Zoning and Public Safety Departments, will discuss progress on the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Summary Report.

There will be time for discussion and input from residents about traffic and safety concerns in their neighborhoods.

An additional meeting will be held this fall.

Typical traffic on North Avenue, at Bedford Middle School. (Photo/Adam Vengrow)


To celebrate Earth Day this Saturday (April 22), the Democratic Women of Westport will show how to make recreational sports more environmentally friendly. The event is called “Sustainability on the Sidelines.”

The DWW will man — er, woman — tables at Wakeman Field, and baseball and softball diamonds. The goal is to provide info on small steps families can take to reduce their sports cleat footprint.

Included: some of Sustainable Westport’s efforts, and a handout with tips (examples: carpooling, no idling, and participating in a uniform exchange).

They’ll also give away Gatorade powders to encourage reusable bottles instead of single use plastic

Adult and youth volunteers are needed for Saturday, and to make posters to decorate the tables. To help, or for more information, email jessica@theparentcollective.com.

One of the children’s posters, for Saturday’s Democratic Women of Westport Earth Day event.


Speaking of sports … this year marks a milestone: It’s 10 years since Westport’s exciting journey to the Little League World Series championship.

Equally important: It’s the 10th anniversary for the “Westport Winners.” They’re the local team in the Little League Challenger division, for special needs youngsters.

Opening day is this Saturday (April 22, 11:30 a.m., Meyer Field at Town Farms). Everyone is invited.

A decade ago Beth Cody and her son Jack had a dream. With help from Stacie Curran, Westport Little League officials and many others, they made it happen.

Play ball!


David Grann’s new book “The Wager” — about the 1740 wreck of a British warship off the coast of Chile — has gotten plenty of publicity.

Last night the New Yorker staff writer — and 1985 Staples High School graduate — got the full “60 Minutes” star treatment.

Grann spoke about his meticulous research process; his adventures following the harrowing path of the shipwrecked craft, and much more.

Click here for the very interesting interview.

David Grann, with rare documents in London.


Westport Country Playhouse opened its 93rd season Saturday night with the Tony Award-winning musical, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Opening night guests included Richard Maltby, Jr., who co-conceived the show, and André De Shields, an original Broadway cast member.

The musical — about Fats Waller and musicians of the Black Renaissance — runs through April 29. Click here for more information.

From left: Jeffrey Page, director and choreographer of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” and Andrew De Shields. who starred in the show on Broadway 45 years ago. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)


If you’ve ever wondered what happens at the end of life, or how to care for a loved one or yourself — and who among us has not? — put May 11 (7 p.m., Westport Library) on your calendar.

Panelists will explore what dying can look like, how to have important conversations, and palliative care and hospice. The discussion will be led by Julia Portale, executive director of Fairfield County House, Fairfield County’s non-profit hospice.

Click here for more information.


A year ago, Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall had an idea: turn VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 into a music venue.

On April 27, “Jazz at the Post” celebrates its first anniversary with a gala event.

Over 20 of favorite performers — including Brian Marsella, David Morgan, Sarah Cion, Mike Mossman, Tim Horner, Phil Bowler, Rob Henke, Joe Corsello, Dave Childs, Kenny Wessel, Rale Micic, David DeJesus — join in a benefit concert for the weekly event’s sponsor, the Jazz Society of Fairfield County.

The VFW acoustics are terrific. The vibe is cool. The restore Village Gate piano has never sounded better.

Tickets ($100 per person; higher levels for supporters and benefactors) include non-stop music and dinner from Chef Derek. Cocktails, beer and wine are available too.

On the horizon next month: clinics for Westport students, conducted by headlining Jazz at the Post artists. On May 11 and 25, students will perform as opening acts.

Also ahead: Jazz FC’s broadened relationship with after-school programs in Norwalk and Bridgeport, partnerships with senior centers and facilities serving underserved populations, and more.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Claudia Sherwood Servidio provided the photo (top story) about the swan and her babies, at the Saugatuck River near Parker Harding Plaza.

She also took today’s “Westport … Naturally” image: a serene scene, not far from the swan’s nest.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … today is Nothing Like a Dame Day. It celebrates “all the English actresses that have been bestowed with the title of Dame.”

Here at “06880,” that means:

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Roundup: Beach Weather, Hazardous Waste, Challenged Books …

Yesterday was a beautiful beach day.

The temperature soared to the mid-80s. Schools are on spring break, so nearly everyone who was not in St. Barts or Portugal headed to the beach.

Except employees of Hook’d.

Hook’d has not yet opened for the season. Don’t hold your breath. This photo was from last year, a few days before Memorial Day. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

I got several emails about the beach concessionaire. Amy Schneider’s was typical: “Too bad Joey’s is gone. It would have been open today, unlike the current one which is closed.”

Earlier this week, a reader asked when Hook’d would open. I relayed the question to Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava.

As of this morning, I have not heard back.

Compo Beach, April 13, 2023. (Photo/Dick Kalt)

There was this beach scene too:

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

I didn’t make it to the beach yesterday.

But when I got in my car at 3:50 p.m.:

(Photo/Dan Woog)


It was not quite as warm Tuesday — just in the 70s — but that did not stop these youngsters from celebrating a week off from school.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

Do they know how good they have it?

When I was their age, I sure didn’t.


One of Westport’s most popular events — Household Hazardous Waste Day — falls on a propitious date this year: Earth Day.

The Department of Public Works’ annual collection is set for Saturday, April 22 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Greens Farms railroad station).

There is no charge for residents of Westport, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich who wish to safely dispose of household hazardous wastes.

Among the wastes accepted at the station: gasoline, kerosene, spray paint, paint strippers, paint thinners, solvents, paints, stains, turpentine, varnishes, wood preservatives, degreasers, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, bleach, charcoal lighter, cleaning chemicals, drain cleaners, mercury thermometers, moth balls, pet flea shampoos, photo chemicals, rug shampoos, spot removers, art supplies and paints.

The following items are not acceptable: ammunition, flares and commercial hazardous waste.

Before bringing material to the collection site:

  • Make sure items are clearly labeled. Never mix chemicals!  Incompatible products may react, ignite or explode, and mixed waste may become non-recyclable.
  • Keep products in original labeled container.
  • Place leaky containers in clear plastic bags.
  • Tighten lids of all containers. Pack items in sturdy cardboard boxes lined with paper.
  • Put boxes in the trunk or in the back of the vehicle, away from passengers.
  • Leave pets and children home.
  • Keep your windows open. Drive directly to the collection site.
  • Do not smoke or eat while handling hazardous materials.

REMINDER: Westport residents may also recycle antifreeze, motor oil, batteries of any type, light bulbs and electronics at the transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector, weekdays between 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon.

Questions? Call 203-341-1793.


The next step in the long process following a resident’s complaint about 3 books in the Staples High School library takes place Monday (April 17, 3:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium).

At its last session, the superintendent’s ad hoc review committee took 3 votes. All were 10-0, in favor of retaining “Flamer,” “Gender Queer” and “This is So Gay.” Tara McLaughlin took issue with them, and had previously been given an hour to air her concerns.

On Monday, the committee will review a draft of their recommendation to superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice, and take a final vote on it.

The meeting is open, but residents cannot comment. Public comment may be allowed at a future meeting.

Committee members met at Town Hall, earlier this month. (Photo/Brian McGunigle)


Ain’t Misbehavin’” — the Broadway musical about jazz great Fats Waller — is drawing crowds at the Westport Country Playhouse. The show ends April 29.

Then, the historic theater will get ready for more — including 2 productions just for kids.

“The Pout Pout Fish” (Sunday, May 21, 1 and 4 p.m., grades pre-K through 2) features whimsical puppets and live performers, in an oceanic adventure.

“The Magic School Bus” (Sunday, June 4, 1 and 4 p.m., grades K through 5) is a musical adaptation based on the Scholastic book series.

All tickets are $25. Click here for more information.


Staples High School freshman midfielder Natalie Chudowsky — a star on the Wreckers’ state champion soccer team, and a New York SC club player — is one of 23 girls chosen to attend the US Under-15 national team’s training camp in Kansas City.

In February, she attended the training camp in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Congratulations, Natalie!


New Yorker staff writer — and 1985 Staples High School graduate — David Grann has a new book.

After six years of research into the wreck of a British warship off the coast of Chile in 1740 — including his own journey to the inhospitable island where the castaways washed up — “Grann has delivered what will likely endure as the definitive popular account of the demise of the H.M.S. Wager,” the New York Times says.

It adds:

An engrossing survival story, “The Wager” is a knotty tale of moral compromises and betrayal and a metaphysical inquiry into the elusive nature of truth and the power of stories to shape history and our perceptions of reality.

The book, which Doubleday will release on April 18, has drawn enthusiastic early reviews. It is being adapted into a feature film by the director Martin Scorsese and the actor Leonardo DiCaprio — who also teamed up on a forthcoming movie based on Grann’s book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

To read the full Times story — headlined “A Swashbuckling Tale of Mutiny Took Him Where ‘The Soul of Man Dies'” — click here(Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

David Grann


Nine new members were sworn in Wednesday, as members of the Westport-Weston Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

All are clergy members in nearby towns. They completed a training course, learning how to render aid in a wide range of emergencies.

.New CERT members hold certificates. Fifth from the left is Sergio Roque, a team member and clergyman who encouraged new members to take the training. To his right is Mike Vincelli, president of Westport-Weston CERT. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Congratulations to the Weston History & Culture Center. They received the Connecticut League of History Organizations Award of Merit for their reinterpretation of the Coley House, the historic Weston Road farmhouse that is their headquarters.

The award calls the project “a true gem, reflecting excellent research, a wonderful balance of micro- and macro-histories, and a thoughtful and creative combination of exhibition and historic room interpretation …. (it) stands out as an example of interpretation of a period rarely covered by historic house museums in Connecticut.”

Rooms on the first floor have been interpreted in the 1941-45 period, when 3 generations of the Coley family occupied the home.

Beginning this Sunday (April 16), the Coley House will be open every Sunday and Thursday, with tours at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.


Former 2nd Selectman and Board of Finance chair Avi Kaner will be honored next month, by the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Kaner — co-owner of New York’s Morton Williams Supermarkets — is set to be feted May 11 (6 p.m., Chelsea Piers). Click here for tickets and more information.

Avi Kaner


Johanna Keyser Rossi provides today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, and this background:

“I spotted this bird at the beach, called killdeer. I thought they ate fish, but I looked it up and found they eat bugs, and sometimes seeds. I was a able to zoom in and take pictures.”

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … summer’s here! And the time is right …

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David Grann Writes About Now — And Then

David Grann is a staff writer at the New Yorker. Before that he was a senior editor at the New Republic, and executive editor of The Hill. He’s written for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington PostBoston Globe, Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. He was a finalist for the Michael Kelly Award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth.”

He’s the author of The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. It traces the footsteps of explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett, whose expedition disappeared in the Amazon in search of a secret civilization. Last year, the best-selling book was adapted into a 2017 film.

David Grann

Grann’s  latest book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, explores tragic, mysterious murders in Oklahoma in the 1920s and ’30s, and the investigation that followed. The book was optioned for $5 million..

He holds master’s degrees in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and creative writing from Boston University.

Grann is also a 1985 graduate of Staples High School.

The other day, Jonathan Small talked to Grann for his “Write About Now” podcast. The series features authors talking about their craft. In this one, Grann reveals how he finds, researches and writes riveting stories. (Click here for the link.)

Staples graduates do amazing things. Each one has quite a story.

And some — like David Grann — spend their lives telling compelling stories to the rest of us.