Tag Archives: Earth Animal

Roundup: Hamlet At Saugatuck, Police Arrests, Leaf Pickups …

The Planning & Zoning Commission took no action last night on the retail and hotel project known as The Hamlet at Saugatuck.

Discussion, including comments from the public, ranged from building heights and setbacks to where the proposal fits in the town’s affordable housing plans.

Conversations on the text and map amendment requested for The Hamlet will continue on November 14.

Part of the Hamlet at Saugatuck proposal.

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Wakeman Town Farm has many traditions.

The Thanksgiving Pie Sale is only 3 years old. But it’s already one of the most anticipated of all WTF events.

Plus, it’s for a good great cause. Thanks to a partnership with Earth Animal, the Farm and Westporters will raise funds for Connecticut Food Share, helping neighbors in need.

Oronoque Farms is baking up a storm. Choices include apple and blueberry pies (traditional and crumb), and the holiday classic pumpkin pie.

Click here for pie sizes, prices, and pickup dates and times. Orders end November 18.

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The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the October 26-November 2 period.

Three people were detained in custody. Two were charged with identify theft. One was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny, forgery and the sale of a controlled substance.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast (8)
  • Cell phone, 1st offense (6)
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation (4)
  • Misuse of plates (4)
  • Operating an unregistered vehicle (4)
  • Failure to display plates (3)
  • Discussion, act or intent to commit a crime (2)
  • Larceny, 6th degree (2)
  • Speeding (1)
  • Improper passing/cutting off (1)
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license (1)
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension (1)
  • Failure to have stop lamps/turn signals (1)
  • Stop sign violation (1)
  • Failure to obey control signal (1).

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Speaking of cops:

The WPD and Stop & Shop are again sponsoring a Thanksgiving Food Drive. All donations support Homes with Hope’s Food Pantry at the Gillespie Center. and Westport Human Services’ Food Pantry.

Police officers and volunteers will accept non-perishable food items and cash donations at Stop & Shop this Saturday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Suggested items include: Applesauce, Brownie/Cake/Pie mix, Breakfast Bars, Boxed Macaroni & Cheese, Canned Sweet Potatoes, Canned Vegetables, Canned Fruit, Canned Gravy, Canned meat/tuna, Cereal, Cranberry Sauce, Dry Milk Envelopes, Hamburger or Tuna Helper, Hearty Soups, Instant Mashed Potatoes, Oatmeal, Pasta Sauce, Peanut butter & Jelly, Rice, and Stuffing. No glass jars!

Items needed for Saturday’s food drive (without the glass jars!).

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It’s leaf collection time!

The Department of Public Works begins curbside leaf collection on Monday (November 7).

All leaves must be placed in biodegradable paper bags near the curb of a town street by December 5. Residents living on private streets must place their leaves behind the curb of an intersecting town roadway. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be picked up.

There is no need to call for a pick-up. Crews will complete pick-ups as schedules allow. For further information, call 203-341-1120 or click here.

Meanwhile, extended fall hours begin at the Bayberry Brush Facility (180 Bayberry Lane, behind the Aspetuck Health District.

The yard waste site is now open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. 3 p.m. Extended Saturday hours are in effect through December 10.

Westport residents with valid proof of residency may dump up to 6 30-gallon bags or containers full of leaves without a fee. Plastic bags are not allowed.

Any van, pickup or tag-along trailer exceeding the 6-bag limit will be charged $40 per load. Any vehicle or trailer larger than a conventional pickup with a 4-foot by 8-foot bed will be charged $90 per ton.

Any vehicles with a 9-foot body or vehicles changed to significantly enlarge their factory design size will be charged $90 per ton, estimated at 2 ton without weigh slip ($180).

Dump tickets must be purchased at Town Hall, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or by Department of Public Works, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

(Photo/Scott Smith)

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It’s been awhile since we’ve had major flooding here. (Knock wood.)

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and the Public Works, Planning & Zoning, and Conservation Departments have arranged a series of open meetings to discuss stream flooding and the town’s responses to it.

Officials and personnel experienced in flooding issues and flood plain management, as well as regulations and oversight authority, will attend.

Each meeting will cover specific streams in Westport. There will be a general overview, followed by a forum for anyone to raise specific issues. Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting specific to their neighborhood, but may attend any session they choose.

Information from these meetings will be analyzed, and sent to the Flood and Erosion Control Board to determine flooding priorities.

The meetings will take place in Town Hall on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. The full schedule:

Date Topic Room
11-10-2022 Indian River Auditorium
11-17-2022 Silver Brook & Willow Brook 201
12-01-2022 Muddy Brook Auditorium
12-15-2022 Pussy Willow Brook Auditorium
01-12-2023 Sasco Creek & New Creek Auditorium
01-19-2023 Deadman Brook Auditorium
01-26-2023 Stony Brook & Poplar Plains Brook Auditorium

Myrtle Avenue flooding in 2018.

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Yesterday morning, “06880” reported on a new stop sign on the corner of Greens Farms Road and Bulkley Avenue South. Drivers blew right past it.

Yesterday afternoon, it was gone.

That was fast!

Just like the drivers who ignored it.

Now you see it … now you don’t!

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Popular Westport photographer Tom Kretsch is being featured at Picture This – Nylen Gallery, the custom frame shop. The theme is “Chasing the Light.”

There’s a reception November 10 (5:30 to 7:30 p.m.). It’s a chance to relax — just like the moods of his local scenes. For more information, click here.

“Chasing the Light” (Tom Kretsch)

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Many members of the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston spent years working in New York City.

Their hours were long, the commute hard. They didn’t have a lot of time to see a lot of the city.

Now — with many of them retired — they’re enjoying New York walking tours.

Tuesday’s — the 6th in the series — included a jaunt over the Queensboro Bridge. Also called the 59th Street Bridge (by Simon & Garfunkel) and the Ed Koch Bridge (by no one), it connects Manhattan with Long Island City, via Roosevelt Island.

Check out the photo below. Looks like the Y’s men were feelin’ groovy.

Y’s Men members (from left) former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, tour director Warren Jahn and Bob Mitchell near the peak of the Queensboro Bridge. (Photo and hat tip: Dave Matlow)

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CAMP Gallery’s newest exhibit is a solo show by Westport artist Liz Leggett. It’s a new venue for the well-known MoCA curator.

Leggett’s vibrant abstract work formed a perfect background when she posed (below) with fellow Westporter Ifeseyi Gayle.

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Westport attorneys Ken Bernhard and Ted Freedman have again joined forces for a “Soles4Souls” collection. They’re gathering donations of shoes from residents to help lift people out of poverty, and support those who are homeless in the US and around the world.

From now through Thanksgiving, there are collection boxes at Town Hall, police headquarters and the Senior Center. Donors can drop off new or gently used shoes (with no holes or mold). Please tie the laces together, or use rubber bands to keep matched pairs joined.

In the past, Soles4Souls has collected 3,000 pairs of shoes. Bernhard and Freedman hope for at least 500 pairs this year. For more information, click here.

(From left): Ken Bernhard, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Senior Center director Sue Pfister, Ted Freedman and Westport Police Officer Ashley Delvecchio start the Soles4Souls drive.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo looks like a painting.

This fall has been the season that keeps on giving. We are lucky indeed to enjoy scenes like this.

(Photo/Nora McIlree)

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And finally … in honor of the Y’s Men’s trip to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge (story above):

(Also groovy: Supporting “06880.” Please click here to help.)

Roundup: Parks & Rec Survey, Death With Dignity, Staples Girls Sports …

The Parks & Rec Department has held open houses on its Longshore Capital Improvement Plan. Residents weighed in — pro and con.

Now there’s another way to provide feedback. They’ve posted a survey on the project website, along with all the concepts already presented. It’s open through November 9.

Click here to take the survey. Be sure you have some time — it’s comprehensive.

The full project website is available at Stantec Longshore Club Park.

What changes would you like to see at Longshore?

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A new, revised leaf blower ordinance got its first reading at last night’s Representative Town Meeting.

Because there are a number of changes from the original proposal — including the elimination of fines — there was no vote. After new committee hearings, the ordinance may be voted on in January.

Click here to read the full proposal.

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Actor/director/Weston resident Jim Naughton writes:

“State Senator Will Haskell has told me that when he visited senior centers in several of the towns in his 26th District, he found that ‘Medical Aid in Dying’ was the bill they most wanted passed.

“This did not surprise to me. When my wife Pamela, having battled pancreatic cancer for 4 years, got to the end of her journey, she said to me, ‘Jimmy, I don’t want to wake up anymore.’ If Connecticut had made it available to her then, she would have used it.

“Also known as ‘Death With Dignity,’ the law has been adopted in 10 states and the District of Columbia. It came within one vote of making it out of the Connecticut Legislature’s Judiciary Committee last spring. A Gallup poll determined that 75% of Connecticut residents want it.

“I urge our neighbors to know where the candidates stand on the issue before voting next week.  It will be revisited in the next session.”

Pam Naughton

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Earth Animal cares about pets — and the humans who love them.

For the 15th straight year, they’re participating in the Mitten Project, for Connecticut Food Share. Last year, they raised over $40,000. This year — with increased need for help — the goal is $45,000.

Froom now through December 31, people can buy “mittens” at the store (and others in the area). Each “purchase” is a $5 donation.

In addition, cashmere mittens, Advent calendars and wreaths will be sold December 3 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at Earth Animal. The store will match every dollar donated.

Special “Sip and Shop” events will also benefit CFS at:

  • J. Mclaughlin (342 Pequot Avenue, Southport,, November 17, 1-5 p.m.)
  • The Post (1799 Post Road East, November 17, 3 to 6 p.m.)
  • Millie Rae’s (1011 Post Road East, December 8, 4 to 6 p.m.)
  • Scout & Molly (283 Post Road East, November 16, 2 to 6 p.m.)
  • Outdoor Design and Living (1301 Bronson Road, Fairfield, November 17, 4 to 7 p.m.)
  • Mo’s Wine and Spirits (957 Post Road, Fairfield, December 8, 7 to 9 p.m.)
  • Milestone Restaurant (2 Main Street, Redding, CT, December 8, noon to 5 p.m.).

In addition, a homemade pie sale (apple, apple crumb, cherry, cherry crumb, pumpkin) at Wakeman Town Farm will send all proceeds to Connecticut Food Share. Click here to order between November 14 and 18. Pickup is November 22, from 3 to 7 p.m. at WTF.

And … Earth Animal is selling wreaths December 3 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), also for the CFS cause.

Want to make a donation without a purchase? Click here.

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Sami DeWitt scored on a pair of corner kicks, and Annabel Edwards knocked in a third goal, as Staples High School’s girls soccer team downed Greenwich 3-1 last night, in the FCIAC tournament semifinals. A late Cardinal goal ruined Cami Kolek’s shutout bid.

The Wreckers — defending state and FCIAC champs — look to add another league title in tomorrow’s championship match against longtime rival St. Joseph (Thursday, November 3, 7 p.m., Wilton High School’s Kristine Lilly Field).

The Wreckers  are ranked 3rd in the tourney. The Cadets are first. St. Joseph won the teams’ regular season match 2-1, less than 2 weeks ago.

Staples High School girls soccer Senior Day.

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Congratulations too to the Staples field hockey team!

They also play for an FCIAC championship tomorrow (Thursday, 7 p.m.,  Brien McMahon High School).

The #3-seeded Wreckers topped #2 Wilton 3-1 last night. Their opponents tomorrow are top-rated Darien. Staples will seek to avenge a 3-0 loss to the Blue Wave earlier this year.

The Staples field hockey team, after last night’s FCIAC semifinal win. (Photo courtesy of Inklings/India Ahl)

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Stacie Curran writes:

“Without much fanfare, a new stop sign appeared at the intersection of Greens Farms Road and Bulkley Avenue South.

“It seems that no one is observing it. Waze and other apps direct traffic this way when I-95 get congested- The morning (race car) commuters are in their zone, and blissfully unaware of this change.

“Without some police presence (or the addition of a stop  sign 🛑 to map-apps), this interaction is actually more dangerous now.”

Greens Farms Road, looking west. South Bulkley Avenue is to the right; Stop and Shop (not pictured) is off it. (Photo/Stacie Curran)

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Yesterday was the day after Halloween — November 1.

Time to put up the Christmas lights!

This was the scene on Hillspoint Road. One homeowner — well, the landscaping crew — was already hard at work.

You’ll have an extra hour to see them twinkle soon. Daylight Savings ends on Sunday.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Michael Chait has a large and well-deserved following for his original photographs, which he blends with aspects of paint technique. He is particularly fond of photographing Westport and New York City.

His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Natural History and the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

Now — just in time for the holidays — he’s got a new website. Click here to explore.

Michael Chait’s flag over the Saugatuck River.

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Folk and other music lovers know Voices Café — tucked inside Westport’s Unitarian Church — is a hidden gem.

Now kids can enjoy it too.

A special Voices youngsters’ event brings Dan and Claudia Zanes back to Westport this Saturday (November 5, 4 p.m.). They entertained a large Levitt Pavilion Chidren’s Series crowd a couple of years ago.

Voices Café is a sensory-friendly, open environment. There’s space up front for movement and fun.. Tickets are $25 per adult, $15 per child ages 2 to 17; children under 2 are free. A 15% discount is available for families of 4 or more. Click here for tickets and more information.

Claudia and Dan Zames.

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There are many things to love about the Saugatuck Rowing Club. High on the list this time of year: the view from the river.

Rachel Halperin stopped long enough from her workout to snap today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot.

(Photo/Rachel Halperin)

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And finally … Happy 2nd Day of the Dead!

======================================================= (On this Day of the Dead, help keep “06880” alive. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: Beach Dogs, Earth Animal, Salmon Trees …

Tomorrow is October 1.

Every dog owner — and probably every dog — knows what that means.

From Saturday through March 31, canines are allowed back on Compo Beach.

They’re prohibited from the pavilion, playground and walkways. They must be leashed in all areas, except the off-leash area (south of the pavilion, including South Beach).

And it goes without saying — though the Parks & Recreation Department says it anyway, because some dog owners don’t care about this crap — “you are required by law to pick up your dog’s feces.”

Oh happy day! Frank, Oggy, Utah and Winston (Photo/Nicola Sharian)

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Speaking of animals:

Earth Animal has donated $20,000 to build a new barn at Wakeman Town Farm. It will provide shelter, feed storage and veterinary care space.

The funds came through a 6-month Little Barn Project. A percentage of store sales — including WTF merchandise — went to the farm. Earth Animal then matched the funds.

“My sister Abbey and I fell in love with the farm and all that it does for the community, the animals, children, families and their dedicated sustainability mission,” says Merritt Goldstein, whose family owns Earth Animal.

“We asked what we could do for the farm and began supplying food for the animals. We realized that the existing barn was run down, and needed to be rebuilt.”

Wakeman Town Farm barn.

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Aquarion has requested a revenue increase of $49.9 million — a 25% increase. If approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, it would add about $4.25 per month to the bill of a typical residential water customer using 72,000 gallons of water annually.

Public hearings will be held next Thursday, October 6  (via Zoom; click here) and Tuesday, October 25 (via Zoom; click here). (Hat tip: Jeff Manchester)

For more information, click here and here.

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As if Westport does not have enough traffic and school bus problems:

Andrew Colabella reports that a bus broke down in this most inopportune spot prior to starting its route today:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

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Ribbons around trees usually mean they’re coming down soon.

Probably not so at Grace Salmon Park.

These pink ribbons are undoubtedly in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

But it might not hurt to get rid of these particular ones.

They’re trees of heaven — a very invasive species.

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Some people don’t look at food expiration dates.

Jarret Liotta does.

The native Westporter sends this photo:

(Photo/Jarret Liotta)

He writes: “This is probably my third in the last couple of months. Perhaps you can suggest a new ‘06880’ game: Readers can search Stop & Shop for their favorite expired products.”

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The Joggers Club is moving from Greens Farms train station to Compo Beach.

There are fun runs every Saturday at 8 a.m. (parking available even without a sticker). There are short (3-5 miles) and long courses (6 to 9 miles) each week.

The cost is $50 (not each time!). New Joggers Club members receive a Brooks racing shirt.

The club also introduces a new members-only track night, every Wednesday at 6:15 p.m., at the Staples High School Track.

Got kids? The Joggers Club Jr. welcomes youngsters in kindergarten through 8th grade. They work on speed, strength and how to love the sport.

The Joggers Club was founded in 2007 to help runners build friendships, form bonds,  have fun (and run).

For more information, click here, or go to Instagram (@TheJoggersClub.CT),
Facebook or Strava for weekly courses and local running chatter.

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Speaking of sports: Tennis fans would give anything to watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal up close and personal. When they do, it costs big buck$. And they’re surrounded by thousands of other people.

Squash aficionados can watch their heroes — Paul Coll (ranked #2 in the world), Diego Elias (#4) and Faraz Kahn (#53) — on October 6.

The site is Intensity — the tennis/squash/fitness/dance center just over the Norwalk line. (It’s also home to the Staples High School squash teams.)

The event starts at 5 p.m. with junior clinics. Adult clinics follow at 6, with the pro exhibition matches beginning at 7.

Admission includes food, drink, and photo and autograph opportunities — something else you’d never get with Federer or Nadal. Click here for tickets.

Paul Coll — the #2 squash player in the world — comes to Intensity.

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Slava Ukraini!

Last week, Westporters Anna Dubchak, Steve Taranko, Vitaly Yakubovskiy and Mark Yurkiw, plus Luba Zam from Norwalk, held the first meeting of the
Ukrainian Society of Fairfield.

The group hopes to assist Ukraine cope with the horrors of the Russian invasion.

Non-Ukrainians are welcome to help too. For more information, email: UkrainianFairfield@hotmail.com.

The Ukrainian Society of Fairfield.

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There’s always something going on at Sherwood Mill Pond.

Matt Murray spotted this great blue heron yesterday. Today, it’s our handsome “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … rapper Coolio, the rapper and Grammy winner of hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 59. Click here for a full obituary.

This may be the first YouTube video I’ve ever linked to with over 1 billion views.

(“06880” is your source for all local news (and worldwide hit songs). Please click here to support this blog.

 

Roundup: Long Lots Preserve, Hemp, Traffic …

The Long Lots Preserve is one step closer to reality.

But the ecologically important, sustainably sound and very natural project around the perimeter of the Westport Community Garden needs our help.

Under the direction of Lou Weinberg — and with the help of many volunteers and businesses — neglected public open space, overrun with invasive plants and pests, is being turned into a native New England environmental oasis.

The project includes the removal of non-native plants. Then comes dense planting with native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. They attract and sustain hundreds of year-round and migrating organisms. including the endangered monarch butterfly and native mason bees.

If the Long Lots Preserve gets $7,500 from at least 70 people, Sustainable Connecticut will match it with $7,500 more.

All money raised will purchase plants at wholesale cost. All deductions are tax-deductible.

Click here to donate online, and for more information. Checks can be mailed to Long Lots Preserve, 1630 Post Road East, Unit 129, Westport, CT 06880.

PS: Partners include Connecticut Audubon, Aspetuck Land Trust, Earthplace, Bartlett Tree Experts, AJ Penna & Son, Robbie Guimond, SIR Development, Southwest Conservation District, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Service Forestry Program,  Community Gardens members, many private citizens and 2 Staples High School interns.

The Long Lots preserve weed suppression team (from left0: Lou Weinberg, Darryle Kowalsky, Frank Rosen, Julie O’Grady, Andrew Coleman.

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New England Hemp Farm has transitioned from its Brooks Corner store, to an online and wholesale business.

But you can still buy its full line of products — for yourself and your pet. They’ve partnered with Earth Animal, on Post Road East.

CEO Matt Bannon says, “Since humans and their pets both have an endocannabinoid system and suffer from similar conditions such as inflammation, anxiety, autoimmune and sleep cycle issues, this is a unique opportunity to keep a local presence.”

It’s a great fit for several reasons. “Earth Animal is committed to a health and wellness philosophy for pets and humans. They’re friendly and welcoming people who allow us to provide all of our products to clients who prefer to shop in-person. And this allows us to support another business right here in town.

 

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When classes resume Tuesday, the Westport Police Department will increase traffic enforcement in school zones. Officers will look for drivers on cell phones, speeding and disregarding bus signals.

The department says: “We urge commuters to allow extra time, as they will be sharing the roads with school buses making frequent stops, as well as children who will be walking and/or biking to school. Obey the school bus laws, which include slowing down and preparing to stop for yellow flashing school bus lights and stopping for red flashing school bus lights.”

They urge parents to discuss safety with their children — and with young or inexperienced drivers at home.

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Speaking of safety:

I got 2 emails within half an hour yesterday. As Westporters return from summer trips, and we head into even busier traffic times, both are worth noting.

Shelly Sherman writes: “Please emphasize the need for cars to slow down. and stop at crosswalks on Compo Road South. More than once I’ve had to sprint across with my dogs to avoid being run over by cars speeding to ???

“This area of Westport has so many runners, walkers and bikers, it’s amazing more people haven’t been hurt. Pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way — but I’d not want to test that theory every morning.”

Carol Sampson describes another danger, in a different part of town:

“Despite the sign saying ‘State Law Yield to Pedestrians’ at Post Road and Bay Street, it is clear from my experience today that few people actually stop. (One did, but the others whizzed by.) What is wrong with drivers in this town?”

Hmmm…let me think…

Entitled? Distracted? Selfish? What have I missed?

It’s a beautiful day. Just don’t try to cross the Post Road here. (Photo/Carol Sampson)

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Staples High School Class of 2012 graduate Sam Reiner met Mallory Silliere 2 years ago this month, on a dating app.

On their second date, he took her kayaking on the Saugatuck River. They pulled up to the Black Duck for lunch. It’s remained one of their favorite dates.

Last Saturday, Sam proposed to Mallory — on the dock behind the Duck.

A small group of family and friends helped celebrate.

Wedding plans are TBD. It may not be at everyone’s favorite dive bar. But there are still bachelor and bachelorette parties to plan …

A Black Duck proposal.

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Last month, “06880” reported on the Wings4Peace national art-and-gun safety awareness project.

Yesterday, artist Darcy Hicks provided an update. She says:

“Today marks 3 months since the Uvalde massacre. This morning, part 2 of the Wings4Peace message reminds communities everywhere to remember those children – and all children who are affected by gun violence.

“Last night, people across the country put out the second set of wings, which say ‘in America,’ making the message so far, ‘Peace in America…’

“Each month on the 24th the sentence grows, with the mission to inspire people to take action against gun violence. Art has always inspired societal change.”

For more information, click here.

Darcy Hicks’ “Wings4Peace” artwork, at the Westport Museum for History & Culture.

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Speaking of back-to-school (see above): Are you ready for winter and spring break?

Builders Beyond Borders is already planning service trips to Ecuador. To learn more, students and families are invited to a pair of open houses: this Sunday (August 28, 3:30 to 5 p.m.) and September 14 (6 to 7:30 p.m.) at the B3 office (66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk). RSVP here.

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The other day, Tricia Freeman headed down the internet rabbit hole. She ended up at a 1950 New Yorker story about Ernest Hemingway.

In the piece by Lillian Ross, the author has just arrived in New York, heading to Europe. There are 2 Westport references, starting with:

“Where I like it is out West in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and I like Cuba and Paris and around Venice,” (Hemingway) said. “Westport gives me the horrors.”

Is that Westport, Connecticut? With so many of them in the world — and so many non-East Coast places mentioned in the quote — who knows?

But the second one narrows it down:

“Hunting is sort of a good life,” Hemingway said. “Better than Westport or Bronxville, I think.”

That’s it.

Besides his long friendship with the late author A.E. Hotchner, did Papa Hemingway have any connection at all with our town?

If you know — or think you do, click “Comments” below. And if you want to read the entire (long) New Yorker piece, click here.

A.E. Hotchner and Ernest Hemingway.

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cARTie — Connecticut’s first (and only) non-profit mobile art museum bus — bridges inequities in education and arts access across the state.

Each year, they exhibit a juried art show of diverse high school student art. It’s interactive, designed to inspire young students and families.

Several current and former Staples students have exhibited with cARTie.

This year’s event is Sunday, September 18 (3-5 p.m., Westport Museum of History & Culture). The afternoon includes “paint and sip,” live music, a silent auction and raffle, awards and food. Click here for more on cARTie.

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Yesterday’s “06880” noted the ongoing drought, and asked for photos.

Stacy Prince sent this, of the Aspetuck River at the Coleytown Road and North Avenue corner.

(Photo/Stacy Prince)

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Jonathan Prager describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“A nifty bumblebee blissfully nestled into the blossom of a sedum spectabile sponging up its nectar. I hope you enjoy this as much as s/he enjoys it!”

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … as back-to-school traffic picks up, and traffic continues crazily in other parts of town (see above):

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Roundup: Mask Mandate, Downtown Stores, Another Olympian …

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Masks in schools may not be required statewide after February 28.

Governor Lamont announced yesterday recommending lifting a mandate for students and staff.

The topic has been a hot one. Last week, a group posted “Unmask Our Children” signs around town. Others countered that masks are still needed, to prevent vulnerable populations.

School mask decisions will now be made by local authorities, such as boards of education. Westport Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice — who is empowered to make the decision, based on town COVID protocols — said at last night’s Board of Ed meeting that he’ll consult with medical experts and others, before making a recommendation.

A number of parents spoke at last night’s session, urging an end to Westport’s mask mandate.

Last December, participants in Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert wore masks. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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The Planning & Zoning Commission also met last night. Members adopted 2 downtown text amendments. One will eliminate a prohibition on retail operations above the first floor. The other allows will allow stores over 10,000 square feet (after applying for a special permit).

The P&Z continued to tweak zoning language for permitted uses at Baron’s South.

The Gap (left) has been grandfathered in for retail above the first floor. That will now be permitted elsewhere downtown.

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A bit of personal news: To celebrate my retirement as Staples High School boys soccer coach, I’ve helped endow a fund.

The Dan Woog Staples High School/LGBTQ Fund brings together my passion for high school soccer and LGBTQ advocacy, and my work with United Soccer Coaches — the 30,000-member professional organization I’ve served since 1983.

The fund will enable high school coaches who have shown commitment to the LGBTQ sports community to attend annual conventions, for education, networking and professional growth.

As founder of United Soccer Coaches’ LGBTQ & Allies member group, I’ve worked closely with Black, Latino, Native American, AAPI, disabled and faith-based groups. I’m honored to give back to this inclusive, progressive organization, which helps grow the sport of soccer for all coaches and players.

For the full press release, click here. To contribute to the fund, click here; then click “Select for a list of funds to support,” then “Options,” then scroll (way) down. (You may have to click “View More” at the bottom of the list …)

This poster greeted visitors to last month’s annual United Soccer Coaches convention in Kansas City.

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Speaking of Staples soccer : As Westporter’s celebrate the silver medal of our neighbor, Julia Marino, in slopestyle at the 2022 Olympic Games, we’ve got another nearby athlete to cheer for too.

Freestyle skier Mac Forehand grew up in Southport. His father — Ray Forehand — was on the Staples soccer team in 1976. Click here for details. Click here for a story about Ray and his wife, as they watch Mac compete half a world away.

Mac also competes in freeski slopestyle. (Hat tip: Rick Leonard)

Mac Forehand

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You know Earth Animal for its steadfast commitment to dogs and other creatures.

But since 1979, the local business has cared for people too.

Last year, the Post Road East store’s Mitten Project raised $40,000. Thanks to CT Foodshare, those funds will help local residents who struggle with food insecurity.

The Mitten Project began in 2007, with Earth Animal founder Susan Goldstein. She raised $300 that year.

Now, there’s plenty of help from area businesses, neighbors, friends, proceeds from the Earth Animal store, and matching contributions from Earth Animal Ventures in Southport.

Special thanks go to J. McLaughlin, Millie Rae;s, Farmer Sal, Outdoor Design & Living, Appleberry Farm, BP Provisions, Pine Creek Deli, KL & Sam, and Westport Hardware.

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Voices Café honors Black History Month with the noted duo Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway. Their signature performance — “Deeper Than The Skin” — comes to the Westport Unitarian Church’s long-running live music venue on Sunday, February 20 (7:30 p.m). It will also be livestreamed.

“Deeper Than The Skin” is a deeply personal presentation, in story and song. of race in America. Harris and Greenway face down racial injustice with creative resistance, friendship, music and joy.

Proceeds from Voices Café’s performances benefit local social justice causes. Future guests include Westporter Suzanne Sheridan (March 12) and Connecticut’s creative artists Caravan of Thieves (April 9).

Click here for more information about Voices’ spring season, and for tickets.

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The Westport Library’s strong support of the arts continues. A generous grant from the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center will support upcoming exhibits.

Next up: “Stepping Out on Faith: The Art and Journey of Charles Joyner.” The event — with the world-renowned (and Staples High School graduate) artist opens with a panel discussion and reception on March 10.

This exhibit, with a corresponding podcast series and musical performance, is also supported by a grant from CT Humanities.

“Village @ Ntonso” (Charles Joyner)

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature has highlighted wild turkeys. But none have been as close-up — and wild-looking — as this shot by David Vita, from Lyons Plains Road:

(Photo/David Vita)

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And finally … want a little taste of Voices Café’s Black History Month presentation of “Deeper Than the Skin” (above)? Click below:

Photo Challenge #366

Last Sunday’s Photo Challenge drew a ton of responses — way more than I figured, on the day after Christmas. Was everyone stuck indoors, quarantining?

Bob Weingarten’s photo showed a walkway of engraved stones (click here to see). Most readers quickly thought: The Riverwalk, between the Westport Library and Saugatuck River.

Good guess. But wrong.

For one thing, as Rindy Higgins noted: “too easy” to be there.

For another, most of those memorial bricks have eroded, making them difficult to read.

For a third: Look closely. The stones all honor dogs. Many include paw prints.

And, as Bill Strittmatter — who obviously enlarged the photo, to read every brick —  said, one read “Riggins Loves Earth Animal.”

That’s right The photo shows the entrance to Earth Animal, the pet supply store on Post Road East, next to Patio.com.

A hearty “good boy!” to the readers who barked up the right tree for this one: Andrew Colabella, Robin Jaffee Frank, Bill Strittmatter, Jane Dally, Shirlee Gordon, Elaine Marino, Lynn Wilson, J. Scott Broder, Beth Krane, Betty Walker, Lauren Sussman and Cheryl Elliot.

This week’s Photo Challenge shows a plaque of some sort. It reads “JCGA Official Fire Station,” with some names underneath.

(Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)

If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

 

 

Roundup: Staples Girls Soccer, Holiday Shopping, Earth Animal …

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The Staples High School girls soccer team has done it again!

Madison Sansone’s goal in the 5th minute was the difference — along with stout defense from, among others, central defenders Samantha DeWitt and Gaby Gonzalez, plus keeper Camille Kolek — as the #4 Wreckers shut out #6 Wilton 1-0 last night at Fairfield Warde High School.

It’s the 2nd league title in a row for Staples. They won it in 2019. There was no championship game last year due to COVID, but the Wreckers won their 5-team division then too.

Congratulations to coaches Barry Beattie, Mackenzie Pretty, the rest of his staff, and of course this remarkable group of young women.

The state tournament begins next week for girls and boys soccer, and field hockey. Pairings will be announced today.

The Staples High School girls soccer team at the Push Against Cancer …

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Get your holiday shopping done early — like, today!

WestportMoms’ Holiday Boutique Bash runs today (Friday, November 5, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m) in the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot.

The 5th annual event features over 30 vendors. It’s free, open to all — and there will be a food truck with coffee and warm food right there.

In return, WestportMoms asks for contributions of coats for adults and children. They’ll be donated to Homes with Hope, for our neighbors in need.

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Long before the pandemic, Earth Animal was helping Westport’s four-legged creatures.

And those with only 2.

 The 14th annual Mitten Project is the Post Road store’s fall initiative to support the Connecticut Food Bank. Last year’s effort raised over $38,000. This year’s goal is even higher.

It runs now through December 31. For $5, people can buy “mittens” at Earth Animal, to sign and hang in the store windows.

There are also holiday items for sale. All proceeds go to the Mitten Project total.

And donation boxes will be placed at area stores during the holiday season.

Earth Animal does even more: They’ll match every penny donated. 

 For more information on how to donate, email merritt@earthanimal.com.

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Wakeman Town Farm serves Westporters of all ages.

Including the very youngest.

Its “Little Farmer: Mommy & Me” program — for infants through age 3 — offers an hour of quality time each week. Developmentally appropriate experiences foster social skills and independence.

“Creative Nature Sprouts” is for 3-to-5-year-olds. It’s largely outdoors, exploring the wonders of WTF’s farm and barns.

“Fantastic Farmhands” (kindergarten through 5th grade) offers care and education about animals, pollinators, compost and more, through hands-on activities. Youngsters also enjoy farm crafts and games.

The “Farm Apprentice Program” (grades 6-8) concentrates on organic farming and gardening.

Click here for more information.

Learning about life at Wakeman Town Farm.

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Following 1st Selectman Jim Marpe’s announcement yesterday that the indoor mask mandate is lifted for most locations, the Westport Library has followed suit.

Masks are no longer required in the building — except for people who are unvaccinated.

Masks continue to be required in the Children’s Library, and for indoor children’s programs for everyone over 24 months old.

One step closer to normal at the Westport Library. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

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Nikki Gorman is more than a beloved Village Pediatrics doctor.

She’s on the board of the Unite the World With Africa Foundation. Next Thursday (November 11, 5 to 9 p.m.), she’s opening her home for a cocktails and open house “Heal the World” awareness-raising event.

All are welcome. Click here for details, and to RSVP.

Speaking of pediatrics: Dr. Nikki’s practice is holding COVID vaccine clinics today and tomorrow. They’ll be inoculating as many newly eligible 5-to-11-year-olds as they can.

Slots are all filled. But it’s good news indeed, on the continuing fight against the pandemic.

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Last night’s freezing temperatures did not keep sunset lovers away from Old Mill Beach.

Photos like this never get old.

(Photo/Rick Benson)

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A few hours earlier — not far away, on Sherwood Mill Pond — Peter Swift snapped this blue heron, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Peter Swift)

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And finally … happy 80th birthday to Art Garfunkel!

COVID Roundup: New Grocery Store; Church Outreach; Earth Animal Art; Face Masks; More


And the newest grocery store in Westport is … Via Sforza.

The popular Post Road West Italian restaurant now sells a wide variety of produce, meat, dairy products, pasta, rice, sauces, spices, herbs, beverages, snacks, and pantry and household items. They’re open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Of course, they still offer their great takeout and delivery lunch and dinner menus too. Click here for more information, or call 203-454-4444.


Last year, Green’s Farms Church kicked off an ambitious “Church of the Future” campaign. Now is not the greatest time to be in the middle of a fundraiser. But they’ve been around for 309 years. They plan to be here for centuries more.

They’re renovating the facility, parts of which are 170 years old. That includes work on the meetinghouse, refurbishing the pipe organ, and making meeting areas more open and flexible. Local groups like AA will benefit as well.

But in this time of great need everywhere, Green’s Farms Church is thinking beyond its walls. Some of the funds raised are earmarked for local non-profits. The congregation has helped them in the past; now they’re ratcheting up that support even more.

GFC is donating $25,000 each to 4 groups: Homes With Hope, Mercy Learning Center, Pivot Ministries and the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. 

Church leaders hope these challenge grants stimulate additional donations to each of these groups by others. And they hope as their own fundraising campaign continues, they’ll be able to help these and other groups even more in the future.


In the last 35 days, Westport Masks have made over 1,100 masks — and given them all away. Recent recipients include Westport’s Public Works, Parks & Recreation and highway departments; Westport Post Office; elderly residents through Westport’s Department of Human Services; Open Door Shelter in Norwalk; Food Rescue US; Thomas Merton Family Center in Bridgeport; Stamford Hospice, Norwalk Hospital and more.

While continuing to donate to front line and vulnerable groups, they’ll also create masks for friends, family, children and the general public in return for small financial donations. Westport Masks uses 100% of the funds to buy supplies. They suggest $10 — but they never let anyone go without a mask if they need one.

All masks are 2 layers of 100% cotton. They’re washable, with a filter pocket for added protection. They even have neck ties, so they can be worn all the time.

If you are confident with your sewing machine — or cannot sew but can cut fabric, or have spare fabric or good quality bed linen to donate, or want to one of your own — email WestportMasks@yahoo.com.

“We’ll keep going until no one else needs a mask,” promises co-founder Virginia Jaffe.


Yesterday marked the return of the Westport Farmers’ Market to the Imperial Avenue parking lot. Gratified shopper Emily Mikesell reports:

“Besides being as safe as possible, it was an unexpectedly sweet, positive experience. It ran like the most cheerful Swiss watch you’ve ever seen! It was wonderful to see so many familiar vendors, even behind masks. And though I felt sad not being able to over-buy from wandering and browsing, I’ll put myself in that mood over the weekend when I order for next week.

“Until then I will enjoy delicious raw milk and yogurt, farm fresh eggs and just-baked bread.

“Yes, the experience is different. But it still supports the vendors we love. It’s a real day brightener!”

To order online and for more information, click here.


Pets (and pet owners) love Earth Animal. Now artists do too.

Through May 31, they’re collecting artwork from all ages. Sketches, watercolor, chalk — whatever works is fine. So are group entries. The only rule: nothing bigger than 24″ x 36″.

Put your name on the back; drop it off at the store, or mail it to 925 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Drawings will be hung in the store — and whoever created their favorite will win a $500 gift card.

Questions? Call 203-222-7173.


A couple of months ago, the message on this sweatshirt spotted on Beachside Avenue would have drawn puzzled looks. These days, it makes perfect sense.

(Photo/Ed Simek)


And finally … what better way for the King’s Singers to share Billy Joel’s beautiful tune than by asking 732 people around the globe to join them in a “Stay at Home” choir? Kudos to all (and everyone behind the scenes too). What a lovely way to end the week.

Earth Animal Helps Fight Hunger

Earth Animal‘s gourmet kitchen for dogs was filled with humans yesterday.

Earth Animal’s gourmet dog kitchen.

They were celebrating the popular Post Road store’s 12th annual contribution to the CT Food Bank.

Every holiday season, Earth Animal donates 1% of all proceeds back to people, animals and the earth.

The check was $25,390 — the company’s largest donation ever.

They’re definitely barking up the right tree.

Earth Animal Paves The Way For Johnny

When Earth Animal moves into their new digs, they’ll do so without John R. Mancinelli.

The longtime employee — a comedian, healer and humanitarian, loved by colleagues and customers for his big heart and boundless energy — died nearly 3 years ago.

But he won’t be forgotten.

The natural-alternatives pet store is creating a memorial walkway at the entrance to the new location: the old Post Road Starbucks (and before that, Krazy Vin’s), next to Patio.com.

John R. Mancinelli

There will be bricks for Johnny. Customers can purchase others, to honor family members and friends (of both the human and furry variety).

All proceeds benefit Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

The walkway will be dedicated as part of Earth Animal’s grand opening on October 6 — the first anniversary of Johnny’s death.

It takes several weeks to engrave the bricks, so orders close August 12. Click here for details, and ordering information.