Tag Archives: Earthplace

Roundup: Staples Players, Mattress Recycling, Pet Photos …

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The Staples High School auditorium has been dark for 14 months.

But later this month, Staples Players will be back on stage.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday, May 8) for a unique show. “Words Words Words … And Music” is a feel-good, very funny journey through 5 short plays by award-winning (and witty) playwright David Ives, plus 2 mini-musicals and a smattering of songs and monologues.

The curtain goes up May 20 and 21 (7:30 p.m.), and 22 (2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.). Socially distant seating is available tomorrow (click here). NOTE: Cultural starvation and fewer seats may create a toilet paper-in-2020 situation.

A virtual livestream is set for June 6 (6 p.m.).

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Who wouldn’t like free compost?

Just bring a container (no larger than a kitchen trash can) to the mattress and box spring recycling event at Earthplace tomorrow (Saturday, May 8, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.). Boy Scouts will fill it!

Sustainable Westport is thanking Westport for making the food scrap recycling program such a success. Started less than a year ago, residents now divert 10 tons of food scraps a month. (That’s in addition to me compost piles.)

That’s great. But the goal is to double participation in the Zero Food Waste Challenge in the next 6 months. For options, and guidance, click here. For more information on tomorrow’s event, email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org or call 203-293-6320.

Free compost at Earthplace!

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Speaking of Earthplace: This year, their annual fundraiser has been turned into a special “Cocktails & Clams To Go” have-your-own-picnic event.

100 boxes of Copps Island oysters or clams (your choice) are on sale (along with a shucking knife, cocktail sauce and mixer, Harbor Watch car magnet, and raffle entry.

Each basket purchased allows Harbor Watch to continue its fight against pollution in local waterways. Click here for more information, and to purchase your shellfish.

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Ever since she opened Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates, Aarti Khosla has helped people and organizations in need in Westport, Bridgeport and throughout Fairfield County.

Now she’s helping people in her native land.

As COVID causes havoc in India, Aarti is helping raise funds to mobilize oxygen concentrators and other equipment. “No amount is too small to make a difference,” Aarti says. She is working with Vibha, a non-profit whose tagline is “Save lives. Save India.” Click here for details, and to contribute.

She is also donating 20% of all sales from Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week to Vibha. So this is the perfect time for some fantastic chocolate — and to help an important cause.

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Tickets for individual Westport Country Playhouse virtual performances are now on sale.

This season’s online offerings include a comedy (“Tiny House,” June 29-July 18), a Script in Hand (“The Savannah Disputation,” June 14-20), a classic (“Man of La Mancha 2018,” August 23-September 5), and a gripping drama (“Doubt: A Parable,” November 2-21).

Virtual tickets start at just $20. Click here for more information, and to order. Questions? Call 203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.

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Staples junior Katie Davitt has found a way to combine her passions for art and advocacy. She draws pet portraits for families — and donates 100% of the proceeds to causes she cares deeply about, like racial justice (Equal Justice Initiative), animal welfare (Connecticut Humane Society) and combating climate change (Environmental Defense Fund).

So far, she has raised and given away over $1,500.

Katie says, “the pandemic has given me an opportunity to look inward and realize what is truly important to me: family, friends, pursuing my passions. At the same time it’s opened my eyes to injustices in the world. I feel like I am doing my small part in making a difference.”

Katie is busy with schoolwork. But anyone interested in pet portraits this summer should send a photo of the pet, its name and your background color preference to kateedavitt@gmail.com. She charges $65 for a printed portrait in a 9”x11” black frame with a white matte, $45 for a digital file.

One of Katie Davitt’s pet photos.

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Westport Transit director Peter Gold writes:

“Ten days ago, I urged the community to ask the RTM to support public transit in Westport by restoring funds cut from the Westport Transit District’s budget for the Wheels2U Westport shuttles.

“The response was overwhelming. Over 100 letters were sent to the RTM from individuals and organizations in favor of restoring the funding. The RTM heard your voice, and voted 32-to-1 to restore the budget and keep Westport’s Wheels2U shuttle running and growing!

“Wheels2U Westport was launched in October 2020 to support Westport residents and businesses. It provides a convenient and environmentally-friendly way for Westport residents and reverse commuters to travel between the train stations and their homes, employers and downtown. Wheels2U is now an integral part of Westport.

“We cannot thank you enough! A diverse group of residents, commuters and key Westport organizations came together to share your stories, explain the shuttle’s benefits, and lend your voice to restoring the budget.

“There are exciting things planned for Wheels2U Westport in the next year. We look forward to keeping everyone up to date about our growth and new initiatives.”

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Westport’s wonderful spring continues. Judith Katz spotted these tulips on Myrtle Avenue, across from Sconset Square. Just a few of the many colorful flowers that make our town so beautiful.

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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And finally … in Vienna today in 1824, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was first performed. It’s considered the composer’s greatest work — and one of the finest musical achievements of all time. Groundbreaking in its use of voices, it is also one of the most performed symphonies in the world.

Of course, Beethoven never heard his masterpiece. When he began composing the 9th Symphony in 1822, he was already deaf.

Roundup: Earth Day, Animals, Toilets …

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Earth Day crops up soon. And Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace for a month of activities. Here are 2.

Today (Sunday, April 11, 1 to 1:45 p.m., Zoom, free) or next Sunday (April 18, 1 to 2:30 p.m., in person, $10 per person), join naturalist Veronica Swain for sessions on invasive plant identification and non-chemical removal. Click here to register for today; click here for next Sunday.

This Tuesday, (April 13, 12 noon, Zoom) the topic is toilets.

In “Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet,” award-winning science journalist Chelsea Wald dives into the future of thrones with Peter Boyd, Sustainable Westport chair. They’ll profile scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and activists focusing on making toilets accessible and healthier for humans and the planet. No s*it!

Click here to register. Click here to buy copies of the signed “Pipe Dreams” book.

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Weston celebrates Earth Day too.

A “Trash to Treasure Hunt” is set for Lachat Town Farm (April 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Local artist Andy Reiss will show how to create sculptures from items that would otherwise be thrown away.

For the first time, visitors can walk the farm’s new mile-long nature trail, and enjoy Lachat’s animals, woods and pond.

Experts will offer advice about recycling and seed planting. They’ll also launch a new environmental initiative in Weston: a bottle bank at the transfer station to recycle glass.

Every family that attends will get a free native tree sapling to plant at home.

Other Weston Earth Day events include Green Up Day (April 24, Norfield Church with Weston Kiwanis), and an online information session about recycling trends (April 29, transfer station).

Throughout April, Weston Library offers recycled children’s crafts both online and as packs to pick up. There’s also a book display in the children’s room about the environment and gardening.

For more information and how to register for all the events, click here. http://facebook.com/sustainableweston.

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Speaking of nature: Gil Ghitelman spotted this visitor near the Westport Library yesterday. He (or she) was waddling out of the Saugatuck River, and appreciated the steps.

(Photo/Gus Ghitelman)

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Staples’ spring sports teams are back in action, after missing the entire 2020 due to COVID.

Two squads made impressive debuts. Carter Kelsey (6 innings, 12 strikeouts) and Matt Spada (1 inning, 3 strikeouts) combined for a 6-0 no-hit win over Darien. It was the Wreckers’ first game since winning the 2019 state “LL” championships.

Boys lacrosse delivered a 7-3 victory over New Canaan, traditionally one of the top teams in the FCIAC league.

And looking back at winter sports: The boys ice hockey team reached finished 8th in the state Division 3 hockey rankings. Four players earned Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Division 3 honors: seniors Owen Sherman and Victor Sarrazin (1st team), and senior Zachary Schwartz and sophomore Aaron Kail earned (2nd team). Schwartz also received the state’s Hobey Baker Character Award, for outstanding performance on and off the ice.

Clockwise, from upper left: Owen Sherman, Victor Sarrazin, Aaron Kail, Zachary Schwartz.

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MoCA Westport has announced a Summer Open Calls. The juried exhibition  is open to all emerging, mid-career and established visual artists over 18.

It will be on view from June 25 to August 21, 2021. Submission deadline is May 21.

All mediums will be considered. There are no size limitations. Artists must submit digital samples of 5 to 10 works of art, a resumé and brief artist statement. Click here for applications. For more information email liz@mocawestport.org or call 203-222-7070.

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And finally … happy 89th birthday to Joel Grey!

Roundup: Outdoors, Suffragists, DMX …

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Spring is in the air. And there’s no better place to smell it — and enjoy the outdoors — than Wakeman Town Farm.

Westport’s sustainable jewel is back open. Visiting hours begin today (Saturday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), including the popular Meet the Farmer program.

Everyone 13 and older is welcome for a walk around the gardens and grounds. (All COVID rules are in effect.) For more information, click here.

Wakeman Town Farm is open once again.

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Speaking of the environment: The Parks and Recreation Department sponsors “Clean Up Westport Day” on Saturday, April 24.

Over 50 local organizations and groups will help. Individuals and families can show up at the Parks Advisory Committee’s sites — Riverside and Grace Salmon Parks — or any street or public space.

Formal groups should call Parks & Rec (203-341-5091) before April 16, to let them know the time and location of their cleanup efforts. After the event, the town will collect bagged garbage and debris from each site.

Free trash bags are available outside the Parks & Rec office (opposite the Longshore golf course pro shop) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on April 16 b8:30am and 4:30pm. Bags are limited to 6 per organization, and must be requested by April 15.

Cleaning up Grace Salmon Park.

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“Westport’s Suffragists — Our Neighbors, Our Crusaders: The 19th Amendment Turns 100” was the Westport Library’s best exhibit that no one visited.

Well, hardly anyone. It opened last year just days before COVID shut the town down.

But the Connecticut League of History Organizations knows about it. And they’ve awarded the Library an Award of Merit for it.

The awards committee was impressed with “how the exhibit fit nicely into a larger series of public programs and showcased the lives of local women in their fight for suffrage.”

Fortunately, the exhibit is online (click here). It explores the careers and political triumphs of suffragists who made Westport home. It also honors over 50 Westport women — many forgotten — who left their parlors for the streets, to fight for voting rights.

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The Remarkable Theater drive-in is back in action. Last year , the Imperial Avenue lot also served as the stage for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Supper & Soul Series. Next month, they return there.

Dark Desert Eagles — an Eagles tribute band — have been booked for Friday and Saturday nights, May 14 and 15. The Chamber urges attendees to get takeout from local restaurants and markets, and bring it to the concert.

Tickets for each show are $150 per car (5 person maximum). They go on sale this Monday, April 12 (10 a.m.). Click here to order.

Dark Desert Eagles

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Yesterday’s Roundup highlighted the mattress recycling program at Earthplace on May 8 (8:30 to 11:30 a.m.).

Not everyone has a mattress to get rid of. But you should still head to Earthplace that day.

Particularly if you’d like free compost. Bring a bucket, and Sustainable Westport will fill it. It’s open to all Westport residents, as a thank-you for making the food scrap recycling program such a success.

Sustainable Westport is collecting nearly 10 tons of food scraps a month from the transfer station (a free service for residents), and from the 2 licensed food scrap haulers (a paid curbside service). Over 500 Westport families are composting in some form.

Intrigued, but don’t know how to begin? Volunteers will sell food scrap recycling starter kits (with a countertop pail, compostable gags and 6-gallon transportation container) during the May 8 Earthplace event. (They’re free for income-eligible folks).

If you’re not into mattress recycling or food scraps — come anyway. It’s a family-friendly outing, with guided trail tours and animal feeding.

PS: Bring natural corks, used magic markers, mascara wands and batteries for recycling.

For more information click here, or email admin@sustainablewestport.org.

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Mark your calendar for these Sherwood Island State Park events. They’re presented by the Friends of Sherwood Island. That’s what friends are for!

Early Bird Earth Day (Saturday, April 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Kites and model airplanes; disc golf; information tables and more.

How to Grow Raspberries & Blueberries (April 18, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Mini-lesson — and 6 plants will be given away.

One Tree Planted Grant (April 23 and 24): 125 native trees and shrubs will be planted these days. Help is needed! Email michelemsorensen@gmail.com

Growing Potatoes (May 9, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Bring a potato with eyes to plant.

Plant corn, beans and squash (May 30, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Take home free seeds!

Connecticut Trails Day (June 5, all day). Kayak and walking tours, hikes.

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Judith Katz has just 2 words for this magnolia tree in her backyard at Harvest Commons: “At last!”

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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Long-time Westporter Sarah Kennedy takes after her great-aunt: Henrietta Cholmeley-Jones, a noted artist and supervisor of Westport’s WPA art project.

During the COVID lockdown, Sarah painted this acrylic of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

“They are inspirations to me,” Sarah says. “Anyone who keeps smiling and doing their duty at their age, I admire.”

After the news of Prince Philip’s death yesterday, at 99, she shares her work with the “06880” community.

 

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And finally … DMX — described by the New York Times as a “snarling yet soulful rapper … who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess,” died yesterday in White Plains. He was 50.

Roundup: Vaccines, Teacher Of The Year, Mattress Recycling, Jeff Immelt …

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Yesterday’s 4th Westport Public Schools’ vaccine clinic was another success.

Hundreds of educators — along with their colleagues in Weston and Easton — have now received their 2nd COVID dose.

Yesterday’s event in the Staples High School fieldhouse was an “all in the family” affair. In the photo below, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice receives his injection from Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician Ben Frimmer.

Frimmer’s name may sound familiar. That’s because his day job is theater teacher and drama director at Coleytown Middle School.

(Photo/John Bayers)

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Speaking of education: Eric Lawrence is the Connecticut PTA Outstanding Elementary School Teacher of the Year. The 18-year veteran is a technology instructor. Right now he also teaches 4th grade distance learning.

Yesterday, his Saugatuck Elementary School community came together to celebrate.

A parent said: “Mr. Lawrence, you have always been a truly outstanding teacher here at Saugatuck. But as we all know when we face really difficult times, the absolute best can come out in people.

“Many of us thought we could never express how much SSN (Saugatuck Seal News) meant to us from the early days of the shutdown through this year, but we hope we can express it now. The response to your nomination for this honor was overwhelming.”

She then presented him with a binder filled with letters from colleagues, parents, and leaders in the Cub Scout community, where his leadership also made a great impact.

Mr. Lawrence will be honored at a virtual celebration May 5.

Celebrating Eric Lawrence.

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You know that old mattress or box spring you’ve always meant to get rid of?

Now — well, on Saturday, May 8 (8:30 to 11 a.m.) — you can.

Earthplace hosts a free mattress recycling drop-off event. It’s sponsored by the Mattress Recycling Council, and they know what they’re doing. Each year they recycle more than 190,000 mattresses  — and that’s in Connecticut.

They’re not only diverted from the waste stream. They’re used to make other products, from carpet padding and insulation to filters and mulch.

Can’t transport your mattress to Earthplace on May 8? Boy Scout Troop 36 offers free same-day pickup. Spots are limited; click here to sign up.

If you miss this event, you can bring your mattress or box spring to Park City Green in Bridgeport, a non-profit that recycles mattresses. Call for hours of operation and drop-off instructions: 203-212-3860 or 203-209-6915.

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Want to chat with Jeff Immelt?

GE’s former CEO talks virtually on Thursday, April 22 (7 p.m.) about his 16 years at the helm. The Westport Library program is hosted by Westporter Steve Parrish.

Immelt’s first day on the job was September 10, 2001 — 24 hours before 9/11. His new book Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company details his proudest moments — and missteps — at the helm of the global giant.

Click here to register.

Jeff Immelt

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The Westport Country Playhouse internship program began in 1946. Four years later, 19-year-old Stephen Sondheim spent the summer at the already-famous stage.

The program — now named for longtime Playhouse benefactor Joanne Woodward — continues this summer.

Interns will join the development, education and marketing teams, from June 7 to August 13. They’ll work directly with Playhouse staff, gain practical skills, and hear guest speakers including visiting designers and artists, commercial producers and more.

With a virtual season, the internships are also virtual this year. There are limited in-person requirements, based on department needs.

Application deadline is April 21. Click here for more information.

Stephen Sondheim (crouching, top of photo), during his 1950 apprenticeship. Also in the photo: future film director Frank Perry (front row, left) and Richard Rodgers’ daughter Mary (2nd row, 4th from left).

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The Westport Weston Family YMCA has added over 150 live classes a week, and hundreds more on demand. They include cardio, endurance, strength, bodywork, dance, mind/body, seniors, adaptive, kids and family.

They’re all virtual of course — but available through a collaboration with 29 Y’s across Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.

You must be a YMCA member, of course. For details on the “Y Wellness 24/7” program, click here.

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Congratulations to Staples High School basketball co-captain Nicole Holmes. The senior was one of only 4 FCIAC players — and 10 overall — named to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State team, in the “LL” (extra large schools division).

Holmes helped lead the Wreckers to a sparkling 13-3 record this winter.

Nicole Holmes (Photo courtesy of The Ruden Report)

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Today’s gorgeous nature shot: a cardinal, courtesy of Karen Weingarten:

(Photo/Karen Weingarten)

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And finally … on this day in 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. That was the effective end of the Civil War, though skirmishes continued for several weeks.

Roundup: COVID Vaccine, Beach Stickers, The Remains, Invasive Plants …

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In case you missed it: Connecticut has moved up the date for all eligible residents 16 and over to get COVID vaccines. It’s now April 1 — no fooling!

An increased supply of vaccines will enable 200,000 doses to be distributed next week. That includes the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

You can call 877-918-2224, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Click here to schedule online.

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Beach stickers will be available this Monday (March 29). Click on the Parks & Recreation Department website, then “Memberships.”

At least a couple of beachgoers were ready yesterday for summer to begin:

(Photo/Karen Como)

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Westport hits the jackpot with this month’s Connecticut Magazine.

Local writer Michael Catarevas contributed an in-depth, insightful, and very intriguing look back at the Remains.

They’re the band — fronted by 1963 Staples High School graduate Barry Tashian, with ’64 alum Bill Briggs on keyboard — that packed clubs around New England, played “Ed Sullivan” and “Hullabaloo,” had a major recording deal — and in 1966, toured with the Beatles.

They were all set to be rock’s next big thing — until they weren’t.

I’ve written often about the Remains. Jon Landau nailed it, back in the day: “They were how you tell a stranger about rock ‘n’ roll.” Now Catarevas’ story — which includes details about their still cult-like status and recent tours — puts it all together, for a statewide audience.

Bonus cuts: There are sidebars about Briggs’ tour with the Kingsmen (“Louie Louie”),

Click here for the main story. Click here for one sidebar on ’71 Staples grad Fred Cantor’s off-Broadway play and film documentary on the Remains — and another on Prudence Farrow, the inspiration for the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.”

The Remains

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A reader writes:

“In light of the town support of our Asian community, I want to share what I saw in New Luxx Nail & Spa (near the old Calico) earlier this week.

“A gentleman in uniform came in. I’m not sure if he was a police officer or firefighter. I heard him speaking to the owner and workers, who are Asian.

“He warmly told them that we (I assuming he meant Westport law enforcement) are very proud of and value our Asian business community. He said ‘we are here to support you,’ &Sp and that anything they need, or any issues they might have, they should not hesitate to contact them.

“I am proud of our community and law enforcement, that they made this outreach to these wonderful people of whom I have grown very fond. It is these unseen acts that help make Westport the place that it is.”

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Invasive plants have invaded Westport. They crowd out natives and are harmful to our natural resources, disrupting biodiversity and ecological processes.

Earthplace has partnered with Sustainable Westport and the Town of Westport to host 2 events.

The first is an in-person walk this Sunday (March 28th, 1 to 2:30 p.m., $10). Click here to register.

The second event is a free webinar on Sunday, April 11 (1- to 1:45 p.m). Click here to register.

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The Assumption Church Youth Group holds a food drive this Sunday (Palm Sunday, March 28, 7:30 a.m. to noon). Non-perishables are needed. All donations go to their sister parish in need — St. Charles in Bridgeport — and to children in the care of Missionaries of Charity in Bridgeport.

Donors should pull into the back parking lot. Someone will unload your trunk.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Saturday, March 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Weston’s St. Francis Church holds a drive-through food drive in their parking lot on 35 Norfield Road. As with Assumption, volunteers will unload non-perishables from your trunk. All donations will be delivered to the Weston Food Pantry, and Norwalk’s Open Door Shelter.

Assumption Church, from Imperial Avenue (Photo/Patrick Goldschmidt)

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And finally … ladies and gentlemen: The Remains!

 

Roundup: Beach Stickers, Rizzuto’s Igloos, Blue Light …

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This is usually the time of year when we sign up for beach stickers, handpasses and the like.

In this year of COVID, the Parks & Recreation Department says:

Spring and summer are just around the corner. Our team is hard at work getting things ready to open up our facilities and provide programs!

We plan to provide offerings that we were unfortunately unable to offer last year due to COVID-19. Please anticipate modifications while we follow best practices and state guidelines as we strive to create safe environments for all facility users and program participants.

Keep watching for more information later this month on programs, beach emblems and more! Stay safe!

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Despite the loss of signature fundraisers like the Yankee Doodle Fair, the Westport Woman’s Club held strong to its 114-year tradition of helping local organizations in need.

Last year, the WWC concentrated its donations on groups that offer COVID-related help. They include

  • Bridgeport Rescue Mission
  • Center for Family Justice
  • Circle of Care
  • CLASP Homes, Inc.
  • Department of Human Services
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Center
  • ElderHouse
  • Family & Children’s Agency, Inc.
  • Filling in the Blanks
  • Food Rescue Us
  • Homes with Hope
  • Malta House, Inc.
  • Person-to-Person
  • Rowan Center
  • Town of Westport: Department of Human Services Visiting Nurses & Hospice of Fairfield County Westport Volunteer EMS

Fingers are crossed for a Yankee Doodle Fair this year. But whether there is a full, scaled-down version — or none at all — the Westport Woman’s Club will find a way to make Fairfield County a better place for all.

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Spring is (almost) here. But to ensure that diners feel comfortable outdoors, Rizzuto’s is adding personal igloos.

Much warmer than the Inuit variety, they’ve got personal electric heat and lights.

They should be available this weekend. Let’s hope they’re the least snowy igloos we’ve ever seen.

Rizzuto’s igloos (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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Earthplace is the place for all things environmental. And March is the time for Earthplace to spring into new programming.

A few offerings:

  • Teen Volunteer Club
  • Talking $hit in Westport (recognizing scat! — Tuesday, March 16, 7 p.m.)
  • “Restoring Soil to Fight Climate Change” (Zoom seminar — Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m.)
  • Family Campfire (Saturday, March 20, 4 p.m.)
  • Environmental Book Club (“The Genius of Birds” — Wednesday, March 31, 7 p.m.)
  • Nature Trivia (Thursday, April 22, 5 p.m.)
  • Science in a Box program (for 2 participants)
  • Summer camp registration

Click here for details.

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The “blue light” mystery has been solved.

On Tuesday, “06880” ran a photo of a mysterious sight photographed by Nancy Vener, from Saugatuck Shores. Other readers sent similar photos:

(Photo/Nancy Vener)

Ever-vigilant Wendy Crowther found this statement from NASA’ Keith Koehler:

A 3-stage suborbital sounding rocket was launched in the afternoon on March 3, for the Department of Defense from NASA’s launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch was to study ionization in space just beyond the reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.

After flying to an altitude of several hundred miles and about 500 miles offshore, the rocket’s payload released a small quantity of vapor into the near-vacuum of space. There is no danger to public health or the Earth’s environment from the vapor release.

In other words: It’s just vapor. Or so they say …

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MoCA Westport’s spring Exhibition, “Smash,” premiers April 2. It’s devoted  exclusively to the videos of contemporary artist Marilyn Minter.

Both grandiose and intimate, in settings throughout the museum’s galleries, Minter’s videos will be exhibited together for the first time in a public institution. Seeped in lush imagery and moving between figuration and abstraction, his works encapsulate feminism, pleasure, voyeurism and notions of beauty, desire and chance.

Her custom-designed AMC Pacer –featuring an interior, surround viewing of her work “Green Pink Caviar,” will also be exhibited for the first time.

Click here for more information.

“Smash,” by Marilyn Minter

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It’s not too early to think about Easter — well, the catering part, anyway.

Mystic Market across from the train station is early out of the box. Their appetizers and platters (artichoke jalapeño dip in a bread bowl, charcutier board…), salads, soups (carrot giner, potato leek), brunch quiche, breads, sides, dinners (roasted pomegranate lamb, potato-encrusted Chilean sea bass, roast beef tenderloin, salmon filet, beef lasagna…) and desserts) must be ordered by April 1.

I’ll take one of everything, please …

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The March/April issue of Westport Magazine is out now. It’s a look at “fresh starts for spring, like salons, skincare, what’s happening, and the local real estate market,

Also featured: outdoor spaces, from batting cages and home farms to a 16-foot firepit, across from a swimming pool’s transparent outer wall.

Westport Magazine is available at Barnes & Noble, Balducci’s, Whole Foods and CVS.

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And finally … on this day in 1963, Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash in Tennessee. One of the first country music artists to cross over into pop, she was 30 years old.

 

Roundup: Sidewalks, Masks, Climate Change, More

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It’s been 3 days since Sunday’s beautiful — but big — snowfall. Have you shoveled yet?

It’s the law!

The Department of Public Works reminds all commercial property owners that they are responsible for all snow and ice removal from the sidewalk within the town and/or state rights-of-way — for the total frontage of your property, and the entire width of the sidewalk.

You can be fined up to $90 — a day — for non-compliance.

And, reader Kristin Schneeman notes, homeowners are also responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their properties.

Many are still inaccessible. So stop reading, and start shoveling.

Or get your kid to do it.

From 2016. Although you wouldn’t have know if I hadn’t told you (Photos/Tracy Yost)

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Looking for a family activity that is both fun (s’mores!), healthy (take a hike!) and educational (what kind of animal makes which kind of tracks?).

Earthplace’s “Family Campfire” on Sunday, February 21 (1 to 2:30 p.m.) sounds great. Each family is assigned its own picnic table (bring your own roasting sticks).

The cost is $25 for member families, $30 for non-members. To register, call 203-557-4400 weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Westport Masks is scaling back. But — because everyone still needs to wear them (!!!!!!!!!) — volunteers will still be making them.

They’re no longer selling masks. But with plenty of supplies on hand, they’ll be donating them to people who cannot afford masks.

If you know of a community or charity desperate for masks — or if you can donate unused, good quality, pre-washed 100% cotton fabric — email westportmasksgiving@icloud.com. (Hat tip: Virginia Jaffe)

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Climate change is here. It’s real. So what can you do?

First, read David Pogue’s new book: “How to Prepare for Climate Change.”

Then, register for his virtual Westport Library on the topic (February 23, 7 p.m.).

Pogue — a local resident — will discuss all the basics: what to grow and eat, how to build and insure, where to invest, even where to consider relocating.

Pogue will also provide tips on managing your anxiety, and riding out the inevitable superstorms, wildfires, epidemics and tick bites.

Click here to register.

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Each year, Staples Tuition Grants awards over 100 need-based scholarships — worth up to $6,000 each — to high school seniors, and graduates already in college. Students can apply even if they did not apply or receive a grant in previous years.

It’s one of the best opportunities for college funding anywhere. But the deadline is near: March 7. Click here for more information, and to apply.

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And finally … Mary Wilson — a founding member of the Supremes and who sang on 10 of their 12 Number One hits — died on Monday in Nevada. She was 76.

Two days ago, she announced she’d be releasing new material soon. We’ll always remember her for songs like these:

Roundup: Stores, Staples Players, Sustainable Westport, Sports, More


In yesterday’s story on a new movie shot in Westport, I casually mentioned that Barnes & Noble is moving.

I did not mention where.

Its new home will be the former Restoration Hardware (and before that, Fine Arts I and II theater). Looks like the bookstore-and-more will be downsizing — after enlarging from its first Westport location (the old Pier One, just east of its current Post Road site — soon to be the new Saugatuck Grain & Grape).

So what will replace the current Barnes & Noble?

Word on the street is it’s a grocery store — possibly Amazon Go.

That would be fascinating — and not just because Westport is ripe for advanced shopping technology.

The other reason: The previous tenant, before Barnes & Noble, was Waldbaum’s.

Changes coming soon


There’s not much wonderful about 2020. But “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a wonderful 1946 film. And this Sunday (November 22, 6 p.m.) it will be a wonderful radio show, courtesy of Staples Players.

Though the high school is closed, dozens of students — actors, the tech crew, sound effects people — have been working remotely.

Which is exactly how audiences around the globe will experience the old-time, very cool show on Sunday. They’ll gather around their radios — and devices — to enjoy a wonderful experience.

In true “show must go on” fashion, directors David Roth and Kerry Long are devising ways for actors to multi-task, and come up with sound effects on their own. At the same time, they’re solving complicated technical problems.

“As always, they’re rising to the occasion,” Long reports.

To join the (free!) livestream fun, click  on www.wwwptfm.org. Westport-area residents can tune in to WWPT, 90.3 FM.

Colin Konstanty rehearses his George Bailey role, in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” before Staples High School went to full remote learning. (Photo/Kerry Long)


Sustainable Westport Advisory Team — a town body — will become simply Sustainable Westport. The new non-profit organization becomes a partner with Earthplace.

The group — which educates Westport residents and businesses to become a Net Zero community by 2050 — will continue to work with town officials.

Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich and operations director Sara Harris will be “sustainability coordinators” (aka “liaisons”).

If you think Net Zero by 2050 is far off — it’s not. It’s just as near to us as 1990.


COVID knocked out last spring’s high school sports season. Fall athletes played modified schedules. Now the virus has taken a toll on winter sports.

This morning, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference postponed the start date for tryouts and conditioning to January 19. Hundreds of  Staples students had been slated to start basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, indoor track, skiing, squash, swimming, wrestling and cheerleading around Thanksgiving.

Earlier this month, the state issued new rules for youth sports — those run by outside (non-high school) organizations.

High-risk sports — wrestling, tackle football, boys lacrosse, competitive cheer, dance, boxing, rugby and martial arts — were halted through the end of the calendar year.

Participants in medium-risk sports like basketball, gymnastics and ice — hockey — are required to wear face coverings.

In addition, youth teams can no longer travel out of state. Regional tournaments and competitions in high- or medium-risk sports cannot be hosted in Connecticut. Venues were urged to limit spectators, and devise contact tracing protocols for players and fans.

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And finally … did you know this is International Drum Month?

Photo Challenge #303

Who knew where last week’s photo of a carved owl was? (Click here to see.)

Susan Iseman, Jennifer Piseck and Elaine Marino, that’s “who.”

It’s at Earthplace. It’s just one small part of a magnificent, sometimes overlooked Westport facility. If you haven’t been to the science, conservation and education center off off Stony Brook Road, click here — then check it out in person.

This week’s Photo Challenge shows a different bit of nature. If you know where in Westport you’d see this watery scene, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

Roundup: Lynsey Addario, Bistro Du Soleil, More


Congratulations, Lynsey Addario!

The 1991 Staples High School graduate (and MacArthur “genius grant” award winner) has been named to the International Photography Hall of Fame. She’ll be inducted October 30.

The photojournalist has covered conflict and humanitarian crises around the Middle East and Africa for the New York Times, National Geographic and Time magazine for nearly 2 decades. Her work is powerful, thought-provoking, and very, very human.

The aftermath of a miscarriage in a Somali hospital. (Photo/Lynsey Addario, courtesy of NPR)

Lynsey joins such legendary figures as Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon and Mathew Brady. Click here to read more about the “pioneers of photography.” Click here for Lynsey’s website.

Lynsey Addario


Yesterday, “06880” highlighted outdoor dining in Westport. Jana Malakoff writes about her favorite restaurant — which has not added al fresco tables:

“Bistro du Soleil is open for take out only from Wednesday through Saturday.  They offer a wonderful 4 course dinner for only $32. Bistro is off the beaten track, south of Saugautuck center and north of the restaurants near the railroad station.

“I am a senior citizen and have not felt comfortable dining in or out, nor do I want a fine dining experience marred by faceless servers. I have enjoyed my weekly dinners from Bistro du Soleil since they opened for takeout earlier this year.

“I hope ‘06880’ readers know that Bistro Du Soleil is in business, and certainly worth ordering dinner from.”

Bistro du Soleil


Interested in statehouse candidates’ environmental stands?

Earthplace and Sustainable Westport are sponsoring virtual debates for local Senate and House of Representatives candidates.

This Tursday’s event (October 22, 6 p.m.) features State Senate hopeful Kim Healy and incumbent Will Haskell. Click here to register.

The next day (Friday, October 23, 6 p.m.) House of Representatives incumbent Jonathan Steinberg debates Chip Stephens. Click here to register.


POP’T Art’s new show, “96% STARDUST,” features Brendan Murphy. With a focus on “transmitting positive energy” through his work, he’s making his area debut — at a time when joy, inspiration and hope are needed more than ever.

The show opens to the public next Saturday (October 24), at the 1 Main Street gallery. Email haviland@havilandreed.com for timed reservations, and for private preview showings beginning October 21.

Brendan Murphy’s work.


And finally … in honor of the new “Stardust” art show at POP’T Art: