Tag Archives: Dogs

Roundup: Dogs, Deer, Teenagers …

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Yesterday’s rally against antisemitism drew Westporters of all faiths and ages.

Bedford Middle School 8th grader was there too. He took this compelling photo, capturing some of the sentiment at the scene.

(Photo/Preston Siroka)

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Staples Tuition Grants’ annual awards ceremony is one of the high school’s premier events.

Last year’s was particularly impressive. The organization — founded in 1943, with a $100 grant from the PTA — awarded $350,000 in need-based scholarships, to 129 students. Nearly half are seniors who graduate this month; the rest are Staples grads, currently in college.

The grants — ranging from $500 to $5,000 — will help them attend a total of 77 institutions, in 24 states.

Guest speakers included longtime STG donor Dick Fincher, and past recipient/current educator, EMT and Westport Local Press publisher Jaime Bairaktaris.

But — as always — the “stars” were the students. To learn more about Staples Tuition Grants, and donate, click here.

Staples Tuition Grants honorees. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

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As your dog enjoys the great outdoors, remember: June is dog license renewal month.

All dogs over 6 months old must be licensed. Fees are $8 for neutered male or spayed female, $19 for others. Additional fees apply for online applications.

A $75 infraction will be issued for any non-licensed dog, and any dog not wearing a current dog tag.

Click here for everything you need to know about dog licenses.

Can I see your dog’s license?

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Kami Evans is all about connections.

Usually she connects Westport shoppers and merchants, and businesses with businesses. Now she’s working with teenagers, through a Teen Job Fair.

ConneCTalent owners Jasmine Silver and Runa Knapp will talk about interviewing and follow-up skills, and conduct mock interviews.

It’s set for June 13 (10 to 11:30 a.m., MoCA Westport, 19 Newtown Turnpike).  Click here to register. The Teacher Marketplace is sponsoring the event.

How can teenagers get jobs? The Teen Job Fair can help.

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Speaking of teenagers: Westport Farmers’ Market‘s 5th annual Young Shoots Photography Contest opens soon. And you can be even younger than 13 to enter.

There are 3 age categories: 8-10 years old, 11-14 and 15-18. Any photo taken at one of the Thursday Farmers’ Markets is eligible. Judging is by a panel of local artists, and the public.

The contest runs from a week from today (June 10) through July 18. Winners — who earn cash prizes, special swag and membership to local art organizations — will be celebrated at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, with catering by Sugar & Olives. Click here to submit photos.

“Starstem” by Calista Finkelstein placed 1st in the 2016 contest, in the 8-10 category.

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What does it mean to be Asian American? That’s the title of a conversation next Thursday (June 10, 7 p.m.) Presented by the Westport Library, TEAM Westport and AAPI Westport, there’s limited seating at the library. But everyone around the world can tune in virtually.

Professors Erika Lee and Jason Chang are the guests. The discussion will be moderated by Westporter Heather Lee. They’ll explore Asian American life through a wide historic lens, as well as the current wave of anti-Asian discrimination and physical attacks, and AAPI communities uniting with others to create an inclusive and equitable society.

To register for in-person seating at the Westport Library, click here. To register for the Zoom link, click here.

A scene from Westport’s Asian-American rally, outside the Library.

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An event last night at Mancini Salon honored owner Carla Morales. The staff surprised her with a party, thanking her for all she did to get them through the pandemic year. She kept all her employees on, under difficult circumstances — and kept them and their patrons safe. The salon reopened exactly a year ago.

Congratulations, Carla. Here’s wishing you and Mancini a great summer! (Hat tip: Patti Brill)

Cheers at Mancini Salon.

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Sustainable Westport’s Zero Food Waste Challenge matching grant has a month left to meet its $7,500 goal. The deadline is July 2.

The aim is to double our town’s food scrap recycling participation in the next 6 months. Funds raised will educate and inspire residents about the project. Click here to donate.

Food scrap recycling – it’s easy!

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Tired of bears? For today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, let’s go back to our old favorites: deer. Lauri Weiser spotted this cute one (in between nibbles) at her Lansdowne condo complex.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Speaking of deer: At least one baby was born yesterday, at Willowbrook Cemetery. May it rest — and romp — in peace.

(Photo/Danny Amoruccio)

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Westport Country Playhouse’s popular Script in Hand play reading series continues with “The Savannah Disputation.” The comedy — filmed on the Playhouse stage — will be broadcast virtually. It premieres June 14 at 7 p.m., and streams on demand from June 15 through 20.

In “Savannah Disputation,” Mary and Margaret are feisty Catholic sisters living in Georgia, who forget about Southern hospitality when a young Pentecostal missionary knocks at their front door to shake up their beliefs. The women call in their local priest for backup, in this entertaining examination of what it means to truly believe.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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And finally … in honor of Kami Evans’ initiative to prepare teenagers for the job market:

Roundup: Granola Bar, Pruning, Pups, More

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When COVID hit, restaurants needed fast, to-go-friendly food. The Granola Bar scaled back their menu.

Many customers missed their oatmeal and turkey chili.

Great news: They’re back!

So is the kids’ menu. And the expanded bakery now includes cookie dough brownies, plus paleo and traditional chocolate chunk cookies.

There are specials each week. Coming soon: a robust catering department.

The Granola Bar has closed down their  pop-up taco bar. But more evening pop-ups will be announced soon. Follow @thegranolabar on Instagram for details.

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Pruning a tree, and raising a dog.

They’re all in a day’s work — well, 2 — at Wakeman Town Farm.

On February 8 (7 p.m.), master gardener/composter and Westport Garden Club civics chair Nathalie Fonteyne Gavrilovic offers the fundamentals of pruning. She’ll cover techniques, tools and timing. Click here to register.

On March 8 (7 p.m., Zoom), Dr. Jessica Melman discusses diet, crate training, vaccination schedules, flea/tick/heartworm prevention, common house hazards and more. She’ll answer questions too.

It’s perfect for all the new pandemic puppy owners. Click here to register.

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As a junior on the Boston College women’s rowing team, 2018 Staples High School graduate Brooke Schwab has spent more hours than she can count on the erg machine. It’s the workout rowers love to hate.

But today (Tuesday, January 26), she’ll erg 100,000 meters — with joy (and sweat).

A usual BC workout is 2,000 meters — 5,000 tops. These 100,000 meters — equivalent to 63 miles — will take 10 to 12 hours to complete.

The goal is to raise money for pancreatic cancer research, through the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

She’s honoring a close family friend, who was diagnosed last year at just 18.

Brooke is doing the heavy lifting — er, rowing. To do the easy thing — contribute — click here.

Brooke Schwab

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Published today: “The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance.”

Author Rich Diviney — a 1991 Staples High School graduate — is a retired Navy SEAL commander. In 20-plus years, he completed more than 13 overseas deployments — 11 to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was intimately involved in the SEAL selection process, whittling a group of exceptional candidates down to small cadre of the most elite.

His new book examines what it takes to be those optimal performers.

Diviney was often surprised by which candidates washed out and which succeeded. Some had all the right skills yet failed; others he might have initially dismissed rose to the top.

Seemingly objective criteria did not tell him who would succeed in the toughest military assignments. It is just as hard to predict success in the “real world.”

Diviney explores the lessons he’s learned about attributes –including cunning, adaptability, courage, even narcissism — that determine resilience, perseverance. situational awareness and conscientiousness.

He shares stories from the military, business, sports, relationships and parenting.

Click here for more information. (Hat tip: Celia Offir)

Rich Diviney

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Many Americans honored Martin Luther King last week. STAR Lighting the Way is celebrating him all year.

The non-profit — which serves people of all ages impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families — is collaborating this year with Open Doors Shelter and Person-to-Person. Together, the organizations will address local food insecurity and hunger.

Volunteers will collaborate with STAR clients to prepare, deliver and serve hot meals to Open Doors Shelter, and collect non-perishable food to deliver to Person-to-Person.

The first meals were prepared by chef Luis Solis, owner of Don Carmelo’s. Dessert came from Sweet P Bakery in Norwalk, founded by Westporters Bill and Andrea Pecoriello. Both institutions are longtime STAR cooking class supporters.

The initiative was launched on the MLK Day of Service. Officials lauded a $20,000 grant from The Arc-US and AmeriCorps, to help the effort.

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Karen Veronica — founder of Bread & Roses, the AIDS care center in Georgetown — died yesterday at her home in Ohio.

Her path to helping hundreds of people — at a time when many communities turned backs on them — began when her ex-husband contracted AIDS.

She, his lover and her 2 teen-age daughters — students at Staples High School — cared for him during the 18-month illness that kept him bed-ridden until his death in 1988.

Her grief turned to activism. Bread & Roses opened the next year. Click here for Jarret Liotta’s story on her impact from the New York Times.

Karen Veronica

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Bernie Sanders continues to hang around town.

Now he’s waiting impatiently for the start of Westport Country Playhouse’s 2021 season.

(Meme courtesy of Bruce Miller)

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And finally … today is Australia Day. (Well, it is still January 26 in the US. In Australia, it’s already tomorrow.)

The holiday marks the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in New South Wales, and the raising of the British flag at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip. Aboard the ships: 750 British prisoners, and 250 military men.

 

Pic Of The Day #1143

Everyone gets into the swim of things, at Ned Dimes Marina (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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Early morning dog walk at Compo (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)

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Dog day at Compo Beach. (Photo/Anthony Carafa)

Daphne’s Gift

Dogs are quick to make friends. A sniff here, a wag of a tail there, then a tiny poodle and huge Rottweiler head happily into the woods.

Dog owners are a friendly breed too. The folks who are led by their pets to the paths and benches of Winslow Park form their own tight community. As Fido and Fifi romp, their parents bond.

So it was nice to see this big box — and accompanying note — the other day there:

The flyer said that Daphne — a golden — had died a few days earlier, from injuries in an accident. She was a month shy of 3 years old.

Her owner Carrie wrote:

Daphne was such a joy and full of love. This park was her home away from home. Winslow was her happy place and the community of people and dogs here were part of her family….She befriended any dog that was willing to play and chase. Daphne was a friend to all and always had a smile on her face.

Carrie will miss her daily walks with Daphne. But, Carrie said, a box of tennis balls had been delivered just before Daphne died. Her dog “couldn’t wait to get her paws on them. She would want her friends to have them.”

There they were: tons of tennis balls for the taking.

Carrie concluded: “Hug your fur babies a little extra for me today.”

(Hat tip: Lindsey Blavais)

A Buoy And His Dog

 

Buoy and dog - Chip Stephens

Just as great as this photo is the fact that the snow is actually melting.

Soon — before we know it — the beach will be packed with people.

And dogs will be back on leash.

Dog Days Of Westport

In 2007 Michele Wan was in grad school at Columbia University.  But she and her husband were tired of New York City living.  They searched the tri-state area for someplace nice and green.

An acquaintance suggested Westport.  It seemed far, but they checked it out anyway.  It was autumn; a realtor took them to Compo Beach.

“Dogs were playing,” Michele recalls.  “They looked so happy.  So did all the people.”

Michele and her husband were sold — and the realtor had a sale.

Michele’s focus on dogs at the beach was not random.  She’s finally finishing her Ph.D. in psychology — and her dissertation is “The Dog-Human Relationship and Individual Differences in Behavior and Social Cognition.”

Michele Wan and Tiger.

She makes her living as the study coordinator for Columbia’s Studies on Dog-Human Communication.  (She also works as a private behavior consultant.  The number is 203-227-DOGS.)

Some folks are “dog people.”  Michele is a dog expert.

In Westport, she’s come to the right place.

“I immediately sensed that this was a dog-lover’s town,” Michele says.  “It was not only the beach — cars had dog bumper stickers, and of course there’s Winslow Park.”

Westport seems much more “doggy” than her native New Jersey, the dog-human researcher says.  The reason may be related to “the family focus here.  Kids and dogs go together.”

Michele was not around for 2 iconic Westport/dog controversies:  allowing dogs off-leash at Compo and Winslow Park.

“I understand both sides,” she says.  “Not every dog is appropriate for every situation.  I know not everyone likes dogs.  Maybe someone had a bad reaction to dogs when they were younger.”

Ya gotta love it -- right?

The compromise at Compo — letting dogs in some, but not all, areas of the sites, and during only certain months at the beach — “sounds smart,” Michele says.  She is irked by people who open their car door at Winslow and allow Fido to run around; the area near the parking lot is not off-leash.

With her background, it was natural for Michele to join Westport’s “dangerous dogs appeals board.”  She was thrust into a famous case, involving a dog and its owners in the close confines of Old Mill.

“That was very emotional for everyone,” is all she says.

Michele is happier talking about a trend she notices here:  “There seems to be more attention paid to the behavioral health of dogs.”  Referring to “puppy socialization,” she says that “people are getting help when they need it” — either through a professional trainer or a veterinary specialist.

Despite the recession, she says, demand for pet services remains strong.

What’s her favorite dog?  “The one in my lap,” Michele answers instantly.  It’s a Maltese named Tiger.

Are there any dogs she does not like?

“No!” she says.  “I love them all — all breeds, purebred, mixed.”

Even the difficult ones?

“I really love working with them,” she replies with passion.

Not — perish the thought — that there is such a thing as a difficult dog anywhere in Westport.

Driving Dogs

Out West, “drive ’em, dogie” means moving motherless calves along the trail.

Here in Westport it refers to a new trend:  people driving cars with their dogs on their laps.

An alert “06880” reader emailed us about this disturbing development — one we’ve noticed too.

What is it about our town that turns normally intelligent people into spectacularly poor decision-makers?

(Photo courtesy of Dogster.com)

Are folks here so attached to their pooches that they can’t bear to leave home without them?  Do they think their pets will be so bereft sitting in the passenger (or, worse, rear) seats that they need to plop them (the dogs) in their (the drivers’) laps?

We’ve already seen an epidemic of texting, reading, nail clipping and mascara applying while driving.

What’s next?

We’re afraid to ask.