Tag Archives: David Pogue

Roundup: Fireworks Traffic, David Pogue & Titan …

Longtime Westporters know the drill.

Newcomers may not.

The annual PAL fireworks display is set for this Thursday (June 29; rain date, Friday).That means tons of traffic,

Compo Beach closes at 4 p.m. Only vehicles with fireworks passes hanging on their rearview mirrors are allowed to remain. All others will be ticketed or towed.

The beach usually reopens to ticket holders by 5 p.m.

Access to the fireworks is through South Compo Road only. Hillspoint Road south of Greens Farms Road is open only to residents south of that intersection.

Fireworks attendees should hang their ticket on their rearview mirror. A few tickets ($50 per car) are still available at the Westport Police station (50 Jesup Road) and Parks & Recreation office (in Longshore Park), during business hours. The event is a fundraiser for the Westport PAL, thanks to sponsorship by Melissa and Doug Bernstein.

Vehicles without tickets will not be permitted beyond the Minute Man monument.

People arriving by Uber, Lyft, or taxi will be directed straight past the Minuteman on Compo Road South. They can walk from Soundview Drive to the beach.

NOTE: Return service by those methods will not be available until after 11 p.m., due to 1-way traffic exiting the beach.

Just prior to the conclusion of the fireworks, 2-way traffic will be suspended on Compo Beach Road and South Compo Road to the intersection of Greens Farms Road. There will be two lanes of northbound traffic on these streets until the beach is cleared.

Residents of this area will encounter delays getting to their homes for about one hour, or until traffic has cleared from the beach.

Residents who will pick up family members in the beach area should also plan for delays.

Don’t worry. The traffic is worth it. Enjoy the show — and thanks, PAL and Melissa and Doug!

Welcome to the fireworks! (Photo/Dan Woog)


In the wake of last week’s implosion of the Titan — the submersible that brought adventure-seekers to the wreck of Titanic — David Pogue offered some of the most respected and insightful views.

Last year, the Westport correspondent/writer/podcaster/tech expert reported on the Titan. As a guest of the submersible’s company, OceanGate, he traveled to the North Atlantic for a “CBS Sunday Morning” report.

Pogue’s own attempts to see Titanic were scrubbed. The closest he got was 37 feet  underwater. (Click here to see that video.)

But his questions of CEO Stockton Rush — one of 5 who died — about the safety of the vessel took on new resonance last week.

Yesterday, Pogue was featured in a 10-minute “CBS Sunday Morning” feature, exploring his trip and the aftermath.

The story — which includes interviews with Rush and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French maritime expert and Connecticut resident who also perished — is a clear, compelling, compassionate but honest look at a modern-day Shakespearean story that gripped the world. Click below to see:


Jonathan Prager “spotted” this excellent specimen for our “Westport … Naturally” feature yesterday:

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)


And finally … on this day in 1927, the Cyclone roller coaster opened on Coney Island.

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Remembering Wilbur

It’s never easy to lose a beloved pet.

Most of us mourn our losses in private. Sometimes there’s a little burial ceremony, or a poem or story written by a grieving child dealing for the first time ever with death.

Leave it to David Pogue to turn his cat’s demise into a celebration that is warm, witty and wonderful.

But why not? That’s the Westport writer/television correspondent/podcaster/ musician’s brand.

“I’m sad to report that Wilbur the Wackjob Cat has gone to the great laptop keyboard in the sky, just shy of his 23rd birthday,” Pogue emailed friends last weekend.


“He was known to many as the hilarious, inexplicable cat who inserted himself into every TV story and Zoom call.”

Wilbur lived his life on his own terms, for sure. And for nearly a quarter century Pogue documented it all, with a seemingly infinite number of photos and videos.

Then he stitched them all together, in a commemoration of his “fuzzy little screwball.”

The internet is full of cute cat videos.

This may be the best one of all.

Roundup: David Pogue & Titanic, SHS Grad Video, Wrong Way Entrance Ramps …

As the search continues for the submersible, lost in the Atlantic Ocean during a dive to the wreck of Titanic, media outlets cite David Pogue’s report on the company catering to the ultra-rich.

Last November, the Westporter and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent described his own dive — and the warnings that preceded it. “06880” wrote about that now-noteworthy segment.

Our piece included a link to his broadcast:

There was a link to his “Unsung Science” podcast too. Click here, then scroll down for his 2-part series on his experience with the vessel.

This week, Pogue has been quoted in print and broadcast media outlets around the world. He has become the world’s go-to expert, both from personal and professional experience.

Here’s his report, from CBS:


Missed the Staples High School Class of 2023 graduation last week?

Maybe you were there, and want to see it not from behind your cellphone camera lens?

Or perhaps you’d like to show it off to grandparents, siblings or anyone else who could not make it to Paul Lane Field?

Jim Honeycutt did his usual spectacular job of recording the event, then turning it into a video for the whole world to see.

Click below to see it all: processional, recessional, and everything in between.


Large red and technologically advanced “Wrong Way” signs will be installed soon at the northbound and southbound I-95 Exit 17 entrances.

They’re part of a statewide program to cut down on head-on collisions — often fatal — resulting from drivers entering highway exits.

The state Department of Transportation has identified 236 high-risk ramps. Many are like Exit 17, where the on- and off-ramps are in close proximity. The highest priority goes to ramps that are near to places that serve alcohol.

The new signs will include cameras that identify when cars drive the wrong way. When that happens, lights flash.

The signs will also notify the closest state police barracks, and DOT Highway Operations Center.

I-95 Exit 17 on- and off-ramps are right next to each other.


Speaking of traffic: The Westport Sunrise Rotary’s annual Great Duck Race is this Saturday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). The Taylor parking lot (between Jesup Green and the Saugatuck River) will be closed beginning Friday evening.

Also this weekend: the downtown Sidewalk Sale (Friday through Sunday). Expect extra traffic — both vehicular and pedestrian.

Oblivious to the upcoming closing of the Taylor parking lot. (Photo/Mary Sikorski)


Since 2019, Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace and the Westport Garden Club have promoted Westport’s “Pollinator Pathway.” It’s part of an area-wide effort to restore and connect habitats for ecologically crucial pollinators.

This Saturday (June 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the group has organized a second annual Pollinator Pathway tour. It features 2 private and 4 public gardens. Other Fairfield and Westchester County towns are also involved.

Westport locations include:

  • 4 Deepwood Lane
  • Earthplace
  • Prospect Gardens (13 Prospect Road)
  • Sherwood Island State Park Nature Center
  • Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve
  • Wakeman Town Farm

All sites except Earthplace will have guides and/or gardeners on hand to answer questions, and provide information about plant choice and best practices to support biodiversity using earth-friendly practices for healthier lawns and gardens.

Earthplace will be a self-directed tour.

Click here for more information on participating gardens, and an interactive map with descriptions, photographs, and directions. Click here for a list of Northeast native pollinator plants.

Part of the Sherwood Island State Park Pollinator Pathway. (Photo/Kelle Ruden)


A few days after the end of the legislative session, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg addressed the Westport Rotary Club at yesterday’s weekly meeting.

“We hope Connecticut can get back to where it was pre-pandemic,” Steinberg said, referring to the local economy. Election initiatives such as early voting and new election technology, and sensible gun reform, are other priorities for Governor Lamong.

The legislator also discussed Westport’s crippling traffic. He said, “We need to do more work on improving traffic in Westport, We have no choice not to.”

Though a proposal to levy highway tolls failed in the past few years, Steinberg hopes to keep the issue alive. He says it could help alleviate congestion.

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, at the Westport Rotary Club. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)


At 57 Diane Meyer Lowman set off on a life-changing adventure: a “senior year abroad” studying in the MA program at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon.

She learned a lot.

She wrote a lot too.

Her memoir –“The Undiscovered Country: Seeing Myself Through Shakespeare’s Eyes” — will be published in September.

Diane details her “transformative experiences, both personal and academic,” as she immerses herself in the world of Shakespeare. She learns as much about herself as she does about the Bard.

“Undiscovered Country” is available for pre-order. Click here for details.


Former Westport resident Patricia Lane Willett died unexpectedly on June 8. She was 83, and lived in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Her family calls her “a devoted wife for nearly 6 decades to William H. Willett, a loving mother of 5, a loyal friend, an active philanthropist, and an extraordinary hostess. Pat embraced life with boundless energy, a competitive spirit, and a knack for timely humor.

“Her infectious smile, unwavering desire to please, and unmatched passion for entertaining ensured that every gathering she hosted was unforgettable and filled with laughter.

“She possessed a remarkable ability to spoil her cherished grandchildren, showering them with affection, Nana kisses, and indulgences that will forever hold a special place in their hearts. Pat’s dedication to philanthropy revealed her depth of competitive spirit as she tirelessly pursued charitable goals, all the while expressing immense gratitude for those who supported and shared in her endeavors.”

Patricia was preceded in death by her siblings Mary, Judy, Linda, Joe, Paul, Chubby, Greg, and daughter-in-law Shannon Willett. She is survived by her husband; children Wendy Sellers (Rick), Chris Willett, Jeff Willett (Lisa), Brad Willett (Jennifer) and Elizabeth Johnson; sister Joanne Lane; 16 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests considering donations in Pat’s memory to Autism Speaks, a cause close to her heart.


In our never-ending quest to bring unusual flora and fauna to “Westport … Naturally,” we offer this cactus:

(Photo/Ken Yormark)

It’s courtesy of Ken Yormark’s garden, on Saugatuck Shores.


And finally … summer arrives soon (at 10:57 a.m., to be exact). So shouldn’t it be warmer?

I had thousands of songs to choose from today. This tiny smattering popped into my head.

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Roundup: AI, Free Haircuts, Change For Lyman …

David Pogue’s talk the other day about the potential and perils of artificial intelligence had everyone who saw it, well, talking.

Now the Westport Library — which hosted the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston event — has posted it online.

Whether you’re excited or ambivalent about the future of AI — or don’t know what to think — click below.

It may be one of the most important hours you’ll spend as a human being.


Yesterday’s announcement of LymanAID — the July 9 event thanking Westporters for their support of our sister city in Ukraine, and kicking off the next phase of help — created plenty of excitement.

And it brought a great offer from Felicia Catale. She’s not even waiting until July.

Felicia — the owner of Salon Nash, on Post Road West — is offering free haircuts on any Monday in June, for anyone who donates at least $60 to Lyman.

Those cuts and blow dries — for men, women and kids — usually go for a lot more than that.

Click here to donate via the Ukraine Aid International website (under “Designation,” choose “Westport-Lyman” from the dropdown menu).

Then call or text Felicia (203-747-9753) to make an appointment. Be sure to bring your donation receipt to enjoy your free, generous hair session!

Felicia Catale


Speaking of LymanAID: Staples High School sophomore Sam Rossoni is doing his part to help too.

It’s a big one.

He’s joined with Connie Caruso and a few other volunteers to run “Change for Ukraine: Making a Difference, One Cent at a Time.”

They bought boxes of plastic jars, and are distributing them to businesses, organizations and locations throughout Westport and nearby towns.

They in turn will give jars to individuals or families. Staples students can pick up jars at school.

Between now and early July, participants will try to fill each jar with bills, change and checks (payable to “Ukraine Aid International”). Each holds about $65 worth of coins.

Anyone who fills up a jar will have their lid entered into a raffle. One lid will be selected at random, during the July 9 LymanAID event. The winner gets a $1,000 cash prize.

Want a jar? Or want to contribute? Call or text Sam Rossoni: 917-535-0327.

Collection jars for Lyman.


One of the most dangerous intersections in town just got a bit safer.

Two new stop signs have been added to the north and south sides of West Parish and Hillandale Roads.

Previously, there were — confusingly — only 2 signs. Now drivers coming from all 4 directions must stop.

New north side stop sign on West Parish Road. (Hat tip and photo/Bob Weingarten)


Speaking of accidents: There was a bad-looking one yesterday at the Long Lots Road/North Avenue intersection.

I’m surprised there aren’t more. Between the volume of traffic, the 3-way stop that includes a dip in the road, 2 options southbound from North Avenue and westbound on Long Lots, plus the tempting roll-through-the-stop-sign-and-take-a-right from Long Lots, it’s (as the saying goes) “an accident waiting to happen.”


It’s more than a Teardown of the Day. Call this the Teardown of the Season.

Demolition has begun on the old Westport Inn. The 120-room Post Road East property — first built in 1960 as the New Englander Motel — is being developed by Delamar into an 85-unit boutique hotel.

Upgrades include less building and site coverage, and more green areas.

Delamar owns popular hotels in Southport, Greenwich, West Hartford and Traverse City, Michigan. A couple of miles from the old Westport Inn, they’re also redeveloping the Inn at Longshore.

The demolished front section of the Westport Inn. (Photo/Dan Woog)


As Westport prepares for Memorial Day, our beloved Minute Man is ready.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

But those American flags didn’t fall out of the sky.

Kudos to Westport Hardware for their donation.

And to Andrew Colabella, who has placed them at the base every year since 2008.


Another Memorial Day weekend tradition:

This morning, Scouts from Troops 39 and 139 placed American flags on veterans’ graves, at cemeteries around Westport.

This was the scene at the Green’s Farms Congregational Church Upper Burial Ground:

(Photo/MaryAnn Meyer)


“Below Surface” — the 19-minute documentary short film highlighting Patty Kondub’s life-changing Westport Weston Family YMCA Aquafit class — has earned raves. And awards.

On June 9 (7 p.m.), the Westport Country Playhouse hosts a special screening.

After the show, Patty joins the movie’s producers for a panel discussion. Tracey Knight Narang — a Tony Award-winning producer, and a playwright — moderates.

Admission is free. Click here to register.


Just a few days after another “06880” report on another delay in the ongoing saga of the Bayberry Lane bridge …

… it’s open!

Andrew Colabella was there early yesterday morning, to see the finishing touches put on the long-running project — and to (happily and helpfully) move the “Road Closed” sign out of the way.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


Sotheby’s auction of a vast collection of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s personal belongings — from chairs and rugs to a “White Stag Speedo Leisure Tennis Suit Worn by Newman” — has begun.

“A Life & Legacy: The Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman Collection” is live through June 12. Click here to bid.

Or just gawk. (Hat tip: Debbie O’Malley and Bill Kutik)

This photo of Paul Newman and fellow Westporter Michael Brockman at the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona race is valued at $800 to $1,200. Bidding starts at $200.


Comp Beach lifeguards return on Monday (Memorial Day).

But at least one was in the guard shack yesterday. Among the duties: updating the popular informational/inspirational sign, for the 2023 season.

(Photo/Karen Como)


The newest member of Westport’s deer community poses for its first “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Scott Weiner)


And finally … Ed Ames, whose long career stretched from lead singer of the Ames Brothers, to Fess Parker’s Native American companion on “Daniel Boone,” died last Sunday in Beverly Hills. He was 95.

Click here for a full obituary. And click not just on 2 of his most memorable songs, but on one of the most famous moments ever in Johnny Carson history. (Watch to the end!)

(Sure, it’s a holiday weekend. But “06880” is still at work, bringing you all the information you need about Westport. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: AI, Anna Diorio, SLOBs …

Can’t get to the Westport Library this Monday (May 22, 7 p.m.) to hear David Pogue’s “Artificial Intelligence Gets Real!” talk?

Click here for the Zoom link.

Warning: AI is really real. Buckle up!


You gotta love SLOBs.

Yesterday afternoon, a group of SLOBs — more formally, Staples Service League of Boys — stopped by Westport Fire Department headquarters.

They handed a check for $1,340 to the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation. The money — proceeds from a fundraising basketball tournament — will help buy smoke alarms for hearing impaired people.

Not too shabby!

SLOBs deliver.


Speaking of Staples: Anna Diorio has won a national writing award.

The Staples High School senior earned 3rd place in the National Federation of Press Women Education Fund contest. Nearly 2,000 students participated.

Anna qualified by taking first place in the Connecticut contest, for her Inklings opinion piece and May 2022 cover story addressing gender normativity, “The Damaging Effects of: ‘I’m Just teasing.“

Meanwhile, Staples’ broadcast news program “On the Wreckord” took first place in the state, and honorable mention nationally, for “Best Newscast: Radio or Television” for Episode 6. The executive producer was Finnegan Courtney; the team included broadcast directors Diorio and Abby Nevin; anchors Zach Brody, Diorio and Ela Shi; intro producer Diorio, and other students who provided content and theme music.

Joseph DelGobboo and Mary Elizabeth Fulco serve as advisors for Inklings and “On the Wreckord.”

Anna Diorio


The 10th annual Dale Hopkins Memorial Golf Tourney will be held today, on Armed Forces Day. Fittingly, it is his birthday.

The event — this year, in Bermuda — raises money in honor of the man Carl Addison Swanson calls “everybody’s giant.” The Staples High School Class of 1966 athlete gained All-FCIAC honors in football and basketball. But it was his easy-going, friendly nature that attracted so many people of all ages to him.

After graduation, Dale served 2 tours in Vietnam as a Marine. He then moved into the construction business. he died in 2008.

The Dale Hopkins Memorial Fund, in correlation with the Semper Fi Fund, Annie and John Charitable Foundation and the Swanson Charitable Trust, was formed to assist a homeless classmate. It then assisted other Staples alumni who needed helping hands, and the Semper Fi Fund. 84% goes directly to veterans.


The New Works Initiative — the Westport Country Playhouse opportunity to see the first public meeting of a new play (and meet young playwrights) — continues June 5.

The play — “Quick Service,” by May Treuhaft-Ali — is about the precariousness of the food service industry. Four employees of a Chicago empanada shop try to make it through the dinner rush as something sinister rises up from the basement, ex-workers enact their revenge, and the oven has a mind of its own.

All tickets are $25. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Punk rock from New York-based Darling blasted in MoCA Westport’s gallery Thursday — a different part of the usual “Cocktails and Conversation” event.

The evening also included a talk by Emann Odufu, curator of MoCA’s “Rainbow in the Dark” exhibition of German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle. Inspired by punk and heavy metal, his color palette utilizes Day-Glo colors as an outgrowth of his fascination with psychedelic and punk aesthetics.

The next “Cocktails and Conversation” (Thursday, May 25, 6 p.m.) features a discussion on design and female entrepreneurship with Barbara Sallick of Waterworks and Shari Lebowitz of Bespoke Designs, moderated by Jen Berniker of Designport. Click here for tickets.

Emann Odufu at MoCA.


Bob Gill, a longtime Westport resident and Boy Scout leader, died peacefully at home on Monday. He was 96.

After Trenton High School where he won a New Jersey diving championship, Bob enlisted in the Navy. He became a pilot, serving in the Pacific out of Hawaii’s Hickam Field until 1949.

Upon his discharge Bob was hired by American Airlines as a New York-based pilot. He married Olivia, a stewardess for American, in 1953.

In 1963 they and their 5 children moved to Westport. The next year he became a captain at American. A

As a young man Bob had enjoyed his time in the Boy Scouts, earning Eagle Scout His sons joined Troop 36. Bob became scoutmaster, spending much of his free time organizing monthly hikes and campouts throughout Connecticut. He also led the troop to national and international jamborees.

Bob took great pride in seeing his sons earn their Eagle Scout award, as well as grandson Odin, and watching daughter Kirsten participate in Girl Scouts. Even after his children left scouting, he continued on for years with the troop.

He was also an active board member of the Compo Beach Improvement Association, member of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston, and a volunteer Red Cross driver.

Bob also flew for 20 years in the Naval Reserves, retiring as a commander.

After 36 years with American Captain Gill retired in 1987, He continued his love of aviation by piloting his Mooney 252, flying all over the US until he was 87. He was named an FAA Wilbur and Orville Wright “Master Pilot” for 50 years of accident-free flying.

Bob was proud and honored to have his children take up professional flying with the major airlines. His granddaughter Amelia become a flight instructor.

In retirement, Robert and Olivia traveled the world by sea and air. He enjoyed physical fitness training, sailing and skiing. He marched in many Memorial Day parades as a scoutmaster, and in his Navy uniform.

He was a member of the Grey Eagles, a retired American Airlines pilots’ organization, and of the First Church of Christ Scientist Westport.

Bob was predeceased by his brother, sister, and oldest son Gary. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Olivia; their children Robert of Hawaii; Jeffrey (Dana) of Elgin, Illinois; Steven (Sally) of Exton, Pennsylvania; Kirsten (Steve Bartie) of Westport, and 10 grandchildren.

Services will be held tomorrow (Sunday, May 21, Harding Funeral Home; viewing at 10:30 a.m., funeral at noon).

Bob Gill


Sometimes, “Westport … Naturally” photographers have to work quickly. Birds, bobcats, and most other creatures tend to move rapidly.

Rowene Weems had no such problem Thursday, at the Library Riverwalk. This trio never budged — not before she snapped her shot, or long afterward.

They may still be there.

(Photo/Rowene Weems)


And finally … on this day in 1927 Charles Lindbergh took off for Paris from Roosevelt Field in Long Island. His Spirit of St. Louis landed in Paris 33 1/2 hours later: the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic.

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Roundup: Pizza, Pogue, AAPI …

The Saugatuck space that housed Parker Pizza — which, like its next door neighbor Parker Mansion, closed in March — will have a new tenant soon.

It will be …

… another pizza place.

No further word on Renato’s Brick Oven is available.

Including whether it’s any relation to another Renato’s: the popular jewelry store, across town near the Southport line.

(Photo and hat tip: JD Dworkow)


Earlier this month, David Pogue wowed a Y’s Women crowd with his talk on AI.

Next Monday (May 22, 7 p.m.), he’ll address the same subject — “Artificial Intelligence Gets Real” — for the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

You don’t need to be a Y’s Man to go. Wisely, the public is invited.

A Q-and-A follows the Westport tech/media personality’s talk. Click here for more information on Pogue’s event.

David Pogue


Westport’s Business Network International chapter invites professionals to its upcoming Visitors’ Day.

Each business category has only one member. Classifications that are open now  include printer, security systems, HVAC, photographer, travel agent, caterer, florist, event planner, credit card processing, home inspector, moving company, carpet cleaning, flooring, electrician, dentist, personal trainer and clothing/ accessories.

The event is May 25 (United Methodist Church). Open networking takes place from 7 to 7:30 a.m.; a business meeting begins at 7:30.

Pre-registration is required; email cara.mocarski@welcomewagon.com. Click here for more information.


The AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Westport Book Club’s next meeting is May 31 (7 p.m., Westport Museum for History & Culture.

They’ll discuss “From A Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement” by Paula Yoo. a young adult novel.

AAPI also hosts a happy hour at MoCA this Thursday (May 18, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.).


The Staples High School sailing team made history last weekend.

For the first time ever, 6 members competed in Boston for the New England Schools Sailing Association Fleet Racing Championships’ O’Day Trophy.

The Wreckers finished 12th overall, in a field dominated by private and boarding schools (and beat Darien High by 10 points).

They finish the season with the Fairfield County Sailing League tomorrow, the state regatta this weekend, and the NESSA girls championships the weekend after.

Staples sailing team coach Gavin Meese (far right) with, from left: Camryn Harris, co-captain Witt Lindau, Tucker Peters, Caitlyn Schwartz, Claire Harris and co-captain Alan Becker.


Organ great Brian Charette makes his first appearance at Jazz at the Post this Thursday (May 18; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner begins at 7; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399; $15 cover).

He’s joined by longtimefriend and mentor Bob Devos, plus drummer Jordan Young and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

Jazz at the Post shows have been selling out. Email JazzatthePost@gmail.com for reservations; include the number of people, which show, and your cell phone.


Cactus in Westport?

Who knew?

Johanna Keyser Rossi does. She spotted these plants — today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — near the 1 Gorham Island office building, off Parker Hardin Plaza. They’re on the side facing the river.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … in honor of the rare (for Westport) plant above:

(From cactus to new pizzerias: If it happens in Westport, you’ll read about it on “06880.” Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: Fire Chief, Pulitzer Prize, Bike Repair …

Veteran Westport firefighter Nicholas Marsan will be the Department’s acting chief, following the retirement of Chief Michael Kronick on May 15.

Marson will also serve as the town’s emergency management director.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker announced those appointments yesterday.

Marsan has been a member of the WFD since 2007, with extensive experience in emergency operations and fire safety.

He is a graduate of the Connecticut Fire Academy, and is a nationally certified Fire Service Instructor III, Fire Officer III and a state-certified fire marshal.

Marsan earned a master’s degree in history at Western Connecticut State University, and a master’s in public administration and emergency management at Sacred Heart University.

He has received numerous awards for his public safety work, including 2 Westport Rotary Public Protection & Safety Awards, 3 unit citations, and 2 department honors.

Marsan served in the US Army and Connecticut Army National Guard, with a deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.  He is also a fire instructor for the New York Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Nicholas Marsan


Speaking of firefighters:

The Westport Fire Department and International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1081 invite residents to a memorial service, recognizing members who  died in the line of duty.

The 38th annual Bridgeport Area Retired Firefighters event in June 6 (6 p.m.), at Assumption Church. A collation will follow at Westport VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.


Lynsey Addario’s stunning image of the immediate aftermath of a Russian attack in Irpin, in the early days after their invasion of Ukraine, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography.

The 1991 Staples High School graduate did not win.

But she — and her New York Times photography colleague, 1988 Staples grad Tyler Hicks — were part of the prestigious journalism awards nonetheless.

The Times staff received a Pulitzer for International Reporting, for its “unflinching coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” Addario and Hicks contributed many photos to those stories.

Both Addario and Hicks are previous Pulitzer Prize winners, for their individual work.

Congratulations to them, to the Times staff, and all the other winners.

Ukrainian soldiers trying to save the only person in a group of 4 who had a pulse, moments after a mortar attack in Irpin, near Kyiv, in March 2022. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)


For years, if your car broke down at Compo, Old Mill Beach or Town Hall, you called AAA.

But what about a bicycle issue?

New this year: bike repair stations. They’ve got an array of handy tools — all secured by cables against theft — for a rider who needs a quick fix.

The repair stations were installed by the Public Works Department. They’re just one more example of “little things mean a lot.”

The Compo Beach bicycle repair setup is located near the main bathrooms, between Hook’d and the lifeguard station. (Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


If spring cleaning includes getting rid of old mattresses and box springs — hold on until May 20.

That morning Earthplace, Sustainable Westport and Bye Bye Mattress will sponsor a free mattress and box spring recycling event. Up to 90% of them can be recycled into carpet pads, exercise equipment and bike seat cushions, insulation, air filters and steel materials.

The event runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., at Earthplace.

Can’t transport your mattress or box spring? No problem!

Boy Scout Troop 36 will provide pickup service, for a small donation. Click here to sign up.

Saving the planet, one mattress at a time. (Photo and hat tip: Pippa Bell Ader)


David Pogue drew a standing room only crowd yesterday, for his Y’s Women’s talk on AI.

It was informative, fun — and a bit scary. The Westporter/”CBS Sunday Morning” and PBS “Nova” correspondent described coming changes in many fields, from writing, music, art and movies to politics.

He also noted “preventive measures.” The large crowd at Green’s Farms Church — all actual human beings — was very appreciative.

David Pogue with (from left) Y’s Women vice president Vera DeStefano and president Margaret Mitchell.


Westporters love Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti.

Now the small, scrumptious shop in the Joe’s Pizza Main Street shopping center just north of Avery Place has gotten national attention.

Forbes magazine features it on their Lifestyle/Dining page. “Decadent Treats with a Huge Helping of Goodwill” describes owner Aarti Khosla’s surprising career path, and honors her constant giving back.

Aarti’s donations of chocolates to first responders, students and many others get a shout-out; so does her fundraising for a variety of causes.

Click here for the full, well-deserved story. (Hat tip: Kristin Schneeman)

Aarti Khosla, in her Le Rouge store. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


Staples High School students Ryan Sunjka, Jack Schwartz, Jackson Tracey and Lucy Barney are members of the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital junior board.

They’re helping organize a May 20 event at Row House, in Compo Acres Shopping Center.

Contestants see which team of 3 people can row farthest on the machines in 30 minutes. The students’ goal is $10,000. Each team is asked to raise $300 (plus a $10 entry fee per person). They’ll be eligible for prizes — for both the distance rowed and the money raised — like Knicks, Nets, Yankees and Red Sox tickets, and a signed Derrick Rose basketball.

Click here to sign up, and for more information.

Junior board members promote the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital Row House event.


Dozens of volunteers showed up this weekend, to help make the Long Lots Preserve a reality.

Phase III of the project — which is taking shape around the perimeter of the Westport Community Gardens, just south of Long Lots Elementary School — includes planting Connecticut natives like sweet gum and winter king hawthorn.

All ages took part. Among them, in the photo below: Emma and Melody Wilkinson. “They’re planting trees for the future, working with nature’s creatures,” says proud grandfather Joe Wilkinson.


Every Thursday, Jazz at the Post is special.

This week though is extra special.

The music series at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 continues its celebration of one of the greatest jazz bandleaders ever: drummer Art Blakey.

An all-star lineup will play classics from the ’80s: Antonio Hart (alto sax), Michael Mossman (trumpet), David Morgan (piano), Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall (tenor sax), David Berkman (piano), Phil Bowler (bass) and Tim Horner (drums).

Even more special: Staples High School jazz combos will play at 7 p.m., before the shows.

Advance tickets are available here for the 7 p.m. show (guaranteed seats, including dinner at 6:45); click here for the 8:45 p.m. show (with dinner). For the 8:45 show without dinner, click here.


Who says the Board of Selectwomen don’t have their finger on the pulse of the town?

There are 5 items on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting (9 a.m., Town Hall auditorium; livestream on www.westportct.gov; televised on Optimum Channel 79).

Item #2: “Acting as the Local Traffic Authority, upon the recommendation of the Westport Police Department, to take such action as the meeting may determine to approve a request to the Office of the State Traffic Administration – Division of Traffic Engineering, to increase the exclusive green light left hand turn timing at the State-controlled traffic signal located at the intersection of CT Route 1 (Post Road East) and Myrtle Avenue.”

Changes ahead?


Longtime Westporter Audrey Magida died last week. She was 93.

She was a lifelong lover of New York City, where she was born, raised, and graduated from George Washington High School.

She moved to Westport in 1961. Audrey had a long career as a real estate broker, most recently with Prudential Real Estate.

She was an honorary life member of Temple Israel, having served as president of the Sisterhood, board member, and vice president of the congregation.

Audrey was an avid book reader and bridge player, theater devotee, classical music concert-goer, ballet and dance connoisseur, and enthusiastic sailboat passenger.

She was married for 65 years to Nathan Magida. She is survived by her children Dan (Nancy), Meg, and Matt (Pat); grandchildren Ben, Sarah, Jane, Emily and Sam, and great-grandchildren Nathan and Aiden.

Contributions may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


High Point Road is a popular spot for new Westporters.

Yesterday, Staples High School sophomore Max Saperstein photographed the latest arrivals, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Max Saperstein)


And finally … we honor Westport’s new bicycle repair stations (story above) with the oldest recording ever featured on “06880”:

 (As always, today’s Roundup is jam-packed with news you can [hopefully] use. If you enjoy this daily feature, please click here to support “06880.” Thank you!)

Roundup: Music Honors, Library Book Sale, Twiddle …

It’s getting to be routine. But it never gets old.

For the 11th year in a row, the Westport Public Schools have been named a “Best Community for Music Education,” by the NAMM Foundation.

The honor goes to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.

The application process includes questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. The Music Department cites partnerships with organizations like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTA Cultural Arts, WestPAC and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.


Westport music instructors take bows, at the Levitt Pavilion Pops Concert.


The Westport Library’s spring book sale starts today (Friday).

Thousands of gently used books for children and adults are available in over 50 categories, plus vintage children’s and antiquarian books, music CDs, and movie and television DVDs.

Of special interest: Books donated from the homes of former US cabinet member Joseph Califano; NBC Sports producer Ricky Diamond, and philanthropist and educator Elisabeth Luce Moore, sister of Henry Luce (Time-Life founder). Many of the books in the Califano collection have been signed political, journalist, literatary and entertainment figures.

Plus a collection of works by or about James Joyce, and an extensive collection of history books, especially US and world politics, and World War II.

The “Fiction for $1” room is back by popular demand, filled with hardcover fiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy and young adult fiction, plus paperbacks, just $1 each.

Vinyl records, graphic novels and manga will be available at the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green from the Library.

  • Friday, May 5: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 6: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 7: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; almost everything half-price.
  • Monday, May 8: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: fill a logo bags for $8 (or fill your own equivalent-sized bag for $5), or purchase individual items for half price.

Westport LIbrary Book Sale


Years ago, as a student at Providence College, Alison Reilly became interested in American Sign Language.

This year she began exploring how to add it to the Staples High School curriculum. She cites the benefits of learning any language, including improved memory, attention and problem-solving skills, and increased cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Studies have shown that learning ASL can have cognitive and academic benefits for students. Learning a second language has been shown to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills, and ASL is no exception. In addition, learning ASL can help students become more culturally aware and sensitive, and demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Schools like Brown, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Berkeley, Michigan, Penn and Yale all accept ASL as fulfilling students’ world language requirement for admission.

Fairfield, Wilton and Greenwich already include ASL in their course offerings, Reilly says.

Assistant superintendent of schools of teaching and learning Anthony Buono says, “We currently offer ASL online as an elective. We have had conversations about offering it as a World Language option, but nothing formal has transpired.

“One significant challenge is finding certified teachers. Darien is currently searching for a teacher and has been unable to find one.”

Reilly says she’ll keep “06880” posted on the progress of her initiative.

Artist/photographer Miggs Burroughs created “Signs of Compassion,” by asking 30 Westporters to sign a different word, in Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name.


In his work with “CBS Sunday Morning,” PBS’ “Nova,” the Missing Manuals tech guides and more, David Pogue calls himself a “professional explainer.”

At Monday’s Y’s Women meeting (May 8, 11:15 a.m., Green’s Farms Church), he’ll explain something all of us have heard about, but few understand: artificial intelligence.

It’s useful — and terrifying. An app can write anything you ask it to: Letters, song lyrics, research papers, recipes, therapy sessions, poems, essays, software code.

Other apps create music, perfectly mimic anybody’s voice, and generate complete video scenes from typed descriptions.

His talk is so important, the Y’s Women are inviting everyone to come. So be “wise”: Go hear David Pogue.

And get even wiser.

David Pogue, professional explainer.


The Westport and Fairfield Senior Centers co-hosted a “Meet the Authors  yesterday, in Westport Nearly 2 dozen local authors chatted informally about their works (and sold copies).

Susan Garment buys an autographed copy of “I Pried Open Wall Street In 1962: Overcoming Barriers, Hurdles and Obstacles – A Memoir” from author Winston Allen. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Twiddle — the Vermont-based ensemble that played to sold-out Levitt Pavilion crowds last summer — returns for a 2-day, 4-set festival July 21-22. (Click here for a great video of that weekend.)

It’s extra special, because soon after, they’ll take an indefinite hiatus from touring.

The Twiddle Festival also includes Lespecial, Kung Fu, Oh He Dead, and one more band to be announced soon. Click here for tickets, and more information.


The Levitt Pavilion recently announced a new slate of free shows, too.

The Suffers — an 8-piece Gulf Coast Soul/rock/country/Latin/Southern hip hop/Stax and Muscle Shoals band from Houston — take the stage July 14.

Calexico’s “Feast of Wire 20th Anniversary Tour” is August 17.

Click here for free tickets, and more information.


Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — heads to Longshore for their next event.

The picnic at Evan Harding Point includes card games, MoCA art, the Super Duper Weenie food truck, a giveaway, and a special surprise.

The date is May 25 (6 to 7:30 p.m.). Click here to RSVP, and for more information.


Do you have questions about aging, like who will protect your financial assets, how to navigate healthcare, and whether you can age in place?

The Residence at Westport hosts a panel on “Navigating Senior Care Options” (May 16, 2 p.m., 1141 Post Road East).

Representatives from Cohen & Wolf, Constellation Health Services, Growing Options, Hartford Healthcare Geriatric Medicine, Moneco Advisors, National Heath Care Associates, Privatus Care Solutions, Stardust Move Managers, The Carolton and William Raveis Real Estate will join The Residence experts.

RSVP: lscopelliti@residencewestport.com; 203-349-2002.

The Residence at Westport.


Westport artists Dale Najarian and Tomira Wilcox are featured in the “Shadows Revealed” exhibit at Sono1420 craft distillers in South Norwalk.

Proceeds from a portion of sales, and an artwork raffle at the opening reception May 11 (6 to 8 p.m.) benefit The Rowan Center sexual assault resource agency.

Artwork by Dale Najarian.


Laurel Canyon comes to Westport on May 13.

Voices Café’s next concert (8 p.m., the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport) features with The Bar Car Band. Their “Songs & Stories of Laurel Canyon” — with the music of Carole King, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and more — is a benefit for the Green Village Initiative.

The Bar Car Band includes Nina Hammerling on vocals, Russell Smith on guitar and vocals, plus Joe Izzo (drums), Scott Spray (bass), Tim DeHuff (guitar), Tim Stone (keyboards), David Allen Rivera (percussion), Amy Crenshaw (vocals) and narrator Hadley Boyd.

There’s café-style seating (at tables) or individual seating, plus room for dancing. Bring your own beverages and snacks; snacks are available for purchase too. Tickets are $25 each. Click here for tickets and more information.

The Bar Car Band


LaBeaute Artistry Brow & Nails has just opened, in the rear of the 234 Post Road East building that is anchored by Calico (just east of Imperial Avenue).

Owners Penny Yi and her sister, and their team, specialize in designs and nail extensions. They offer mani and pedi, microblading, brows lamination, tinting, waxing and other services.

Right now, there is 20% off for promgoers and new clients. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 203-349-5655.

Nails by LaBeaute.


The first rainbow of the year rose yesterday evening.

Mary Beth Stirling spotted it over Compo Beach. She notes that it’s just in time for today’s Full Flower Moon.

And Cinco de Mayo.

(Photo/Mary Beth Stirling)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is more proof — not that any is needed — that spring has arrived. Sunil Hirani captured this image on Riverside Avenue.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … in honor of Voices Café’s Laurel Canyon show (story above):

Roundup: Supper & Soul, Winslow AED, Grace Salmon Art …

The pedestrian struck by a motorist on Saturday night has died.

Matthew Balga of Norwalk succumbed at Norwalk Hospital, He was 54.

The Riverside Avenue crash, near the William F. Cribari Bridge, remains under investigation by Westport police, assisted by the Fairfield Accident Team.


Johnny Cash is coming to Westport.

Well, not exactly. The Man in Black has been dead nearly 20 years.

But Johnny Folsom 4 — a great tribute band — headlines the next “Supper & Soul” concert. It’s Saturday, May 13, at the Westport Library.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event is tons of fun.  For $85 a ticket, you get a 3-course dinner at one of 11 downtown restaurants, plus the show.

After the concert, show your ticket at any of the restaurants, and get happy hour pricing on drinks.

Participating restaurants include 190 Main, Arezzo, Basso, Capuli, Casa me, De Tapas, Don Memo, Nômade, Spotted Horse, Goji and Walrus Alley.

Click here for tickets, and more information. (Concert-only tickets are available too — they’re $35.

Johnny Cash was famous for playing in prisons. This may be his — well, his tribute band’s — first library gig.


Alert “06880” reader — and nearby Winslow Park neighbor — Dick Truitt writes:

“Just inside the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot entrance to the Winslow Park dog run is a box containing a defibrillator, placed there to help save people who suffer emergency heart issues.

“The box has gathered filth over the years. But the bin on top has been a sort of lifesaver itself to folks who might find they have lost small and sometimes critical items in the vast park.  It’s the informal “lost and found” headquarters.

“The other day it contained a pair of glasses, a right-hand glove, a tube of lip balm, a military-style dog tag, 3 key tags and, most importantly, 4 residential-style keys — all apparently from someone’s front door.

“A dog walker reported that there is a regular turnover of items in the bin. She noted, however, that no one has yet showed up with a brush and bottle of soap.”

Lost and found at Winslow Park. (Photo/Dick Truitt)


Meanwhile, over at Grace Salmon Park off Imperial Avenue, paintings have mysteriously been hung on trees and placed on benches.

It’s a mystery. Or course, this being Westport, it’s an artistic one.

Here’s the latest scene:

(Photo/Paul Delano)


Nick Diamond was a varsity soccer player at Staples High School. After graduating in 2004, he moved to Seattle.

Nick’s 3-year-old son Noah was recently diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome. Known also as “childhood Alzheimer’s,” it is a rare and terminal disease.

With continued research and advocacy, a cure is possible. Nick and his wife Kristen organized Plunge for a Cure, o raise awareness and funds to support the fight against this disease.

Philip Halpert — Nick’s best friend from Staples — took the plunge yesterday at Compo Beach. His wife Carrie joined in.

Philip Halpert takes the plunge.

To learn more about the plunge — and contribute — click here. (David Halpert)


We seldom think about it, but nearly everything we rely on in our homes — clocks, speakers, kitchen equipment, even toys — contains silicon chips.

David Pogue thinks about it. And because CBS pays him to think about — and explain — things like this, chips were the focus of his story yesterday on “Sunday Morning.”

What makes his piece “06880”-worthy — besides the fact that he is our Westport neighbor — is that when he needed props (to smash with a hammer), he headed to our local Goodwill.

He found all the chip-stuffed stuff he needed. And spent a grand total of $9 on it.


“Westport … Naturally” has highlighted many types of living things. Today’s Compo Beach feature, though, is a first:

(Photo/Monica Buesser)


And finally … speaking of starfish on the beach:

(It’s always the season to support “06880.” Please click here to contribute — and thank you!)

Orphenians Sway To “Aloha Cabaret”

It’s winter in Westport. Plenty of folks are dreaming of Hawaii.

The Orphenians will actually go there.

Well, not until June. But Staples High School’s elite a cappella choral group is already making plans. And rehearsing.

And raising funds.

The trip to the International Luau of Song Festival, with director Luke Rosenberg and conductor Pearl Shangkuan of Calvin College, will include learning about cultural music, performing, and touring on both Oahu and the Big Island.

All 42 Orphenians are going. They’ve set a goal of $45,000, to cover expenses of those who cannot afford it all.

So think leis and grass skirts, and get ready for an “Aloha Cabaret.” It’s set for January 22, at the Westport Library.

Broadway and Metropolitan Opera star, Tony Award-winning Kelli O’Hara — a Westporter, and Orphenians fan — will perform. Choral alumni like Clay Singer, Georgia Wright and others joins her on stage.

Rosenberg will sing too. For those who know him only from the back, as he wields his baton, that’s a special treat.

The emcee is David Pogue. Among many other talents, the “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent is a former Broadway arranger and conductor (and father of Orphenians).

A silent auction includes an array of items, from Caribbean stays and jewelry to lessons and coaching. There are Hawaiian-themed light bites too.

Just what we need for a cold — but also very cool — January night.

(VIP tickets are $225 per person; they include 6 p.m. early entry, choice seating, and a meet-and-greet with performers. General admission tickets are $150 per person, for 6:30 p.m. entry. Click here to purchase. To make a donation without purchasing, click here. Questions? Email Staples.Music.Parents.Assn@gmail.com.)

Click below for the Orphenians’ most recent Westport Library event. They performed holiday music, and selections from their fall concert.