Tag Archives: Finding Westport

Roundup: Black Friday, Fire Department Tree, Cribari Bridge Lighting …

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First Selectwoman Jen Tooker delivers her first Thanksgiving message to Westport:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving, as well as a Happy Hanukkah for those celebrating.

“Westport has much to be thankful for. As we emerge from a global pandemic, we are grateful for our first responders, our town employees and staff, our teachers, colleagues and friends, and the numerous volunteers who gave unselfishly of their time, talents and resources. Most importantly, we are grateful for each other, and how we came together as a community to lift up, to help and to inspire during challenging times. Westporters are truly resilient!

“We are also keenly aware that there are those among us who need additional care and concern, especially during holidays. Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Let us remember that, as much has been given, much will be expected…and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips and shows itself in deeds.’”

“And so, at this Thanksgiving and for the days to come, I ask that we both reflect and act; to give of ourselves in word and deed; to express our appreciation for all that we do have, and to make simple acts of kindness the norm, not the trend.

“On a personal note, my sincerest hope is that you enjoy your Thanksgiving and upcoming Holidays with friends and families, and that you have the opportunity to be thankful for the simple blessings we all share. Thank you.”

Jen Tooker is thankful to celebrate Thanksgiving with her husband Mo and her father, Bob “Pops” Salmon.

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Just in time for Black Friday, “Finding Westport”‘s Jillian Elder has found local stores offering sales, customer appreciation days and more this weekend.

Click here for her list. If you prefer to shop from home, keep it local! Scroll down on her website for a list of Westport-based Etsy shops.

JL Rocks is one of many local businesses you can find on “Finding Westport.”

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Yesterday morning, the Westport Fire Department helped the Westport Downtown Association put up a Christmas tree at Parker Harding Plaza, across from Starbucks.

Check out the fire extinguisher “present” — and the firefighter’s hat on top!

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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Al’s Angels’ annual Cribari Bridge lighting ceremony is tomorrow night (Friday, November 26, 4 to 6:30 p.m., Saugatuck Rowing Club).

There’s Santa, cocoa (kids’ and spiked), hot dogs and popcorn. It’s a ticketed event ($20 adults, $10 children — plus an unwrapped toy), with all toys and funds going to (of course) Al’s Angels.

For over 20 years they’ve brought joy to children with life-threatening illnesses (and their families). And for 20 years they’ve kept the Cribari Bridge lit.

Click here for tickets. You can pay at the door too,

Tomorrow’s Cribari Bridge lighting rings in the holiday season. (Photo/January Stewart)

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There’s one more parking space today on Myrtle Avenue.

“Hank the Tank” — the Mercedes sedan that, since summer, sat in front of Town Hall since summer — was trucked away yesterday. He’s been donated to the Fire Department, for use as a training vehicle.

Hank has quite a back story. If you missed it earlier this month on “06880,” click here.

College girls — friends of the owner — say goodbye, moments before Hank the Tank is trucked away. (Photo/Frank Rosen)

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Speaking of cars: Traffic has been terrible lately. It’s the holidays. And a paving project on Riverside Avenue by the Cribari Bridge has funneled traffic onto already jammed streets.

This was the scene Thursday night:

(Photo/Jon Dworkow)

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Today, Westporters give thanks for many things. These “Westport … Naturally” featured creatures give thanks that they’re hanging out on Colony Road, not on someone’s carving board.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … I’m old enough to remember that, for my first couple of years at Burr Farms Elementary School right here in Westport, we opened the day by reciting the Lord’s Prayer (!).

In music class, we also sang “We Gather Together” every Thanksgiving — even after the Supreme Court ruled (8 to 1) that prayer and Bible reading were unconstitutional in public schools.

The things you learn when you’re young stay with you forever. I’ve always associated that hymn with Thanksgiving — and I still know all the words.

In fact, it’s one of only two Thanksgiving songs I know. Last year, I featured Arlo Guthrie. This year … well, let us give thanks, and pray.

Roundup: Christmas Music, Veterans Day, Pints For Players …

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Yesterday was November 9. Christmas is December 25. That’s 45 days away.

Which means 45 days of Christmas carols. Because I heard my first one of the season yesterday, at Fresh Market.

Guys … it’s not even Veterans Day yet!

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Speaking of Veterans Day: It’s tomorrow.

Joseph J. Clinton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399 hosts Westport’s Veterans ceremony in their Riverside Avenue parking lot.

The Westport Community Band plays patriotic music at 10:30 a.m., honoring all those who have served in the US military.

The 11 a.m. program includes posting the colors, remarks from State Senator Tony Hwang and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, an address by Staples High School senior Pierre Briand, and a firing salute by the Westport Police Department.

A special tribute honors World War II and Korean War veterans for their service. The public is invited to the outdoor event.

VFW on Riverside Avenue: site of tomorrow’s Veterans Day ceremony.

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A few spots remain for this Saturday’s free mattress and box spring recycling program (November 13 at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.). The project is sponsored by Sustainable Westport.

The project is run through the Mattress Recycling Council’s Connecticut Bye Bye Mattress program.

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Staples Players’ “Grease” is a hot ticket. And Cold Fusion is adding to the heat.

Owners (and Players superfans) Kelly and Eric Emmert have created a special “Pints for Players” promotion.

They renamed 3 flavors, to honor the show. Through closing night (November 20), customers can purchase pints of Pink Lady (strawberry stracciatella), Burger Boys (blood orange sorbet) and Ode to Olivia Newton-John (peanut butter Xanadu).

For more information on “Grease,” click here.

Rydell High cheerleaders enjoy some Cold Fusion gelato.

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Speaking of high school: MoCA Westport has put out a call for submissions from artists in grades 9-12. They’ll be part of an exhibition focusing on the theme of identity, to run concurrently with a show featuring works from the Westport Permanent Art Collections in January.

MoCA officials were impressed with the diversity and talent of last year’s submissions. This year, they hope to surpass those nearly 200 entries. Teachers from across Connecticut and New York played a huge role in bringing that exhibition to fruition. They’re engaged again this year.

The submission deadline is December 19. For details, click here.

A student work from last year’s “Hindsight is 2020” show.

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Jillian Elder — the creative force behind the “Finding Westport” information and merchandise site — checks in with more swag.

Her “Westport Love & Life” collection of t-shirts, mugs, blankets, tote bags and more includes our beloved Minute Man, in various forms of the words “Love” and “Life.” Click here to see the wide variety of products.

And Jillian hopes to post a list of Etsy shops based in Westport, for holiday readers. If you’ve got — or know of — one, email jillian@findingfairfieldcounty.com.

The Minute Man on a “Love & Life” hoodie.

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Time to network!

Local business professionals are invited to a “Virtual Visitors Day” on Thursday, November 18 (7:30 to 9 a.m. Zoom). The event is sponsored by Westport’s Business Networking International chapter.

BNI meetings are open to only one business per category.

They’re on the lookout for new members. People working in hospitality — event planners, florists, caterers, bakers, DJs and bands, liquor stores, limousine services and gift novelty shop owners — are particularly welcome

Other open categories include home inspectors, veterinary services, dentists, dermatologists, commercial sign companies, martial artists, trade schools, physical therapists, orthopedists, delicatessen owners and tutors.

Email curtis@health-directions.com or billhall747@gmail.com to sign up for the Virtual Vistors Day.

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The Westport Police Department and TEAM Westport are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food drive this Saturday (November 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). All donations support Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center and food pantry, and Westports Human Services Department.

Westport Police officers and volunteers will collect non-perishable food items and cash. Suggested items include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, canned cranberries, boxed stuffing, canned yams, canned corn, canned gravy, pasta, and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac and cheese, rice, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise.

Earlier this year, after another drive, Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers delivered food to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.

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Lauri Weiser calls today’s “Westport … Naturally” image “The Last Rose of Summer.”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … as noted above, yesterday was waaaaaay too early for Christmas music.

Two can plan that game. Take this, Fresh Market!

 

 

 

Roundup: Crosswalks, Cannabis, Cancer Fundraiser …

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Today is October 1. That’s the seemingly arbitrary date on which new laws take effect in Connecticut.

Among them:

An expansion of the law requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. it now includes a pedestrian who simply steps to the curb and raises a hand to oncoming traffic.

Drivers must also now stop, then proceed slowly while passing ice cream trucks (only while selling!).

It is now illegal for employers to require a jobseeker’s age, birth date or graduation date on a first application.

Medical marijuana patients 18 or older can now grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home. Starting July 2023, anyone 21 or older can grow plants at home. There is a cap of 12 plants per household.

New rules for crosswalks.

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Westport is filled with fundraising events: walks, runs, and “-thons.” All are worthy, and Westporters support them well.

But one of the most fun takes place this Sunday (October 3, Staples High School field hockey field). It’s the 12th annual Push Against Cancer.

And it benefits an organization with strong local ties.

The event — in which people of all ages do push-ups, in return for pledges — raises money for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. That’s the fantastic refuge for children suffering from serious illnesses, founded in 1988 by our own Paul Newman.

It costs $2,500 to send one child to the upstate Connecticut camp for a week. Since its inception by fitness expert Andy Berman, the Westport Push Against Cancer has raised over $725,000.

This year’s goal is to send 100 kids to camp. That’s $250,000. Groups like the Staples High School girls and boys have already raised over $34,000.

There’s still room to participate, or donate. Click here for information.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas, founder Andy Berman and First Selectman Jim Marpe banged out pushups at a previous event.

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The RTM is non-partisan. So is “06880.” (Most of the time.)

But we have to single out one candidate today. Not for his political views — but his sense of humor.

Fred Cantor received an email from the District 1 hopeful. It included the usual quotes and endorsements from voters. Boilerplate stuff.

But Fred and his wife Debbie found the final quote well worth reading: “‘Even knowing what I know now, I would still have married you.’ — Rick’s wife.”

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Nearly a week after the last ride stopped, and the final stuffed bunny was won, the Westport Woman’s Club continues to revel in the success of the Yankee Doodle Fair.

The annual event — an enormous fundraiser for the organization’s charitable activities — was moved from June to September , after being canceled in 2020 by COVID. But children (and adults turned out by the hundreds this year.

They had waited 27 months. The next wait will be much shorter. The Yankee Doodle Fair returns next spring, to its traditional Father’s Day/end-of-school weekend.

Last weekend at the Yankee Doodle Fair. (Photo/Joel Triesman)

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National Coming Out Day is October 11.

To support the LGBTQ community, Finding Westport will donate 10% of sales from t-shirts this month to Westport Pride.

The shirts show the Minute Man, silhouetted against the rainbow flag. To order, click here.

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A record fell at Wednesday’s girls’ swim and dive team meet. Staples High School beat Ludlowe 104-79.

Highlights included a record-breaking swim in the 50 meter freestyle — by a  freshman. Annam Olasewere. broke the school record with a time of 26.48. She also won the 100 meter freestyle (59.82).

Top performances also came from Annam’s twin sister Ayaan Olasewere, senior captain Jessica Qi, Kate Whitaker, Mia Guster, Ava DeDomenico, Ella Alpert, Dani Schwartz and Ali Chodash.

The winning 400 meter free relay team (from left): Annam Olasewere, Ayaan Olasewere , Ella Alpert, Jessica Qi,

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David Komansky — a Westport resident who as chief executive officer and chair of Merrill Lynch from 1996 through 2003 led a major international expansion of the firm’s key businesses — died Monday in New York. He was 82.

He was raised in the Bronx by his mother, an Irish Catholic who converted to Judaism when she married his father, a postal worker whose family had emigrated from Russia.

Komansky began his 35-year career at Merrill Lynch in 1968 as a financial advisor trainee in Queens, after living in Miami where he served in the Coast Guard, attended the University of Miami and worked in a variety of odd jobs.

He sat on the boards of BlackRock, the WPP Group and the New York Presbyterian Hospital, where the Komansky Children’s Hospital was established at the Weil Cornell campus.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, of Westport; daughters Jennifer Komansky and Elyssa Williams (Simon), and grandchildren Joey and Maverick Williams.

A private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital (www.nyp.org/komansky) or the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).

David Komansky

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The Staples High School Class of 1962 is planning its 60th (!) reunion, for June 17-18.

To learn more, send your name, address and phone number to StaplesReunion62@gmail.com.

An aerial view of Staples High School, when the Class of 1962 was there.

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“Westport … Naturally” has featured these 2 creatures before.

But never together.

As photographer Doug Brill notes: “Good day for praying mantis. Bad day for monarch butterfly.”

(Photo/Doug Brill)

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And finally … of course we follow up the new Connecticut rules on marijuana growing (first item above) with:

Roundup: Motorcycle Ride, Political Signs, Finding Westport …

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The CT United Ride is a great event. The largest motorcycle ride in Connecticut travels through 9 towns — including Westport — paying tribute to the victims and first responders of 9/11.

But it also has a huge impact on traffic.

Tomorrow’s event starts at Sherwood Island State Park at 11:30 a.m. Riders take I-95 to Exit 17. They head up Saugatuck Avenue and Riverside Avenue, then follow straight on Wilton Road, into Wilton. T

The route is closed and continuous. With the assistance of a police escort, motorcyclists drive through traffic lights and do not stop at stop signs.

There will be long traffic delays along the route — 45 minutes or longer. Roads will be impassable, until the entire procession clears.

It’s an inconvenience, sure. But in comparison to what happened 20 years ago tomorrow, we all ought to be able to cope.

 

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As Election Day looms, lawns and traffic islands will be filled with political signs. And the Westport Police Department will field complaints about the removal of them.

The WPD says:

“Residents and visitors are advised against taking it upon themselves to remove signs that do not belong to them, from either public or private property.

“The enforcement of the town’s rules is the responsibility of the town of Westport, not that of private citizens. The removal of signs from public or private property by someone not authorized to do so by the town, or by the owner of the sign, may constitute theft.  Entering onto private property to remove signs may also constitute trespassing. Both of these acts can ultimately result in an arrest.

Town property includes traffic islands and road rights of way. It is not advisable to place signs on State of Connecticut property (including rights of way and islands along Routes 1, 136, 57, 33, and the Sherwood Island Connector, or on the exit or entrance ramps of I-95 or the Merritt Parkway) as the state may remove them.

In addition, signs may not be placed on school property without permission of the superintendent’s office, nor may they be put inside Compo Beach or Longshore, Town Hall, or on trees or utility poles. Signs my not interfere with traffic visiblity.

Signs on private property cannot extend beyond the property line or into the town right-of-way. They should be removed within 2 days after the election.

The political sign scene in 2012.

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Sure, wearing masks indoors — again — seems like a step backward.

But Molly Alger noticed an even more ominous sign yesterday at Stop & Shop.

Once again, the toilet paper aisle was bare.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Is it a supply chain issue? Are we expecting a huge weather event? Or just an (excuse the pun) run on the product?

And — most importantly — where else in Westport can we stock up on TP?

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Every month, Jillian Elder directs 10% of sales from her “Finding Westport” online shop to a deserving local non-profit.

From now through October 10, it’s the Westport Farmers’ Market.

Click here to see all the tees, totes, mugs, stickers and buttons that can help support the market, and all the farmers who supply it.

A Finding Westport farmers’ tee.

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The 3rd annual Weston Flea is Saturday, September 18 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Weston High School). Over 60 vendors will sell tag sale items, furniture, crafts old and new, antiques and more.

Calise’s Market, Christophe’s Crepes and Skip’s Good Humor Ice Cream truck will be there too.

The event benefits the Weston Senior Activities Center. There’s a suggested donation of — can you handle it? — $1 per person.

Not the Weston Flea Market. But you get the idea.

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Hummingbirds are notoriously hard to photograph.

But JC Martin captured this one beautifully, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

Note: By way of comparison: The feeder is only 11 inches high.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … today is the 76th birthday of one of America’s most cherished musicians — and Weston’s own — Jose Feliciano.

Feliz cumpleaños!

 

 

Roundup: Kids, Trees, Birds …

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The Levitt Pavilion’s Children’s Series continues tomorrow — and every Wednesday, through August 25.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 7, 7 p.m.), Grammy winner Dan Zanes (The Del Fuegos) and Haitian-American jazz vocalist/music therapist Claudia Zanes perform a mix of old and new songs from near and far. Audience members are invited to dance along.

In the wings:

  • The Hall Family (July 14)
  • Divinity Roxx (July 21)
  • Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats (July 28)
  • Hopalong Andrew (August 4)
  • Elena Moon Park & Friends (August 11)
  • The Pop Ups (August 18)
  • Sonia De Los Santos (August 25).

Admission is free, but tickets are required. Click here to register, and for more information.

Dan and Claudia Zanes

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The Earthplace amphitheater is a beautiful spot, nestled in the woods. It’s the perfect place to learn about trees.

So mark July 21 (6:30 p.m.) for a free program there. Earthplace and the Westport Tree Board are sponsoring an outdoor showing of “Call of the Forest: Wisdom of Trees.”

In the video, noted scientist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger will discuss the profound human connection to ancient and sacred northern forests, and the essential role they play in sustaining the health of our planet.

Admission is free.

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Finding Westport always finds great causes to support.

This “Independence” month, they invite you to show off your patriotism by shopping their collection of unisex tees, camping mugs, sweatshirts, beach towels, stickers, pins and weekly specials.

All say “God Bless Westport … The Land That I Love.” 10% of all sales go to VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399, right here in town. Click here to see, and order.

Camping mug

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Ah, to be young and agile. Seen somersaulting on Soundview Avenue were Branden Acselrod and Adam Cooper.

(Photo/Marc Sheinbaum)

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Today’s “Naturally … Westport” series features Tina Green. She’s been photographing birds in and around town — and she sure knows what’s up.

Here’s her report on our bald eagles:

“The juvenile bald eagles are the Sherwood Island State Park siblings from what I believe is the first documented nest in Westport. An adult pair of bald eagles began working on a nest last fall in the park, and were successful in fledging 2 young. It’s extremely likely the eagles will continue nesting at this location. They will add sticks to the nest each year, and will continue to be seen year round in that area.”

Here are 2 double-crested cormorants. They nest on Goose Island, just west of Cockenoe.

Finally, here’s a marsh wren. Tina says they nest in the cattails and phragmites that surround most of Gorham Island.

(Photos/Tina Green)

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And finally … Van McCoy died of a heart attack on this day in 1979. He was just 39 years old.

He has 700 song copyrights to his credit, and produced songs for artists like Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Stylistics, Aretha Franklin, Brenda & the Tabulations, David Ruffin, Peaches & Herb  and Lesley Gore. But he will be forever known for his Grammy-winning, million-selling, summer-of-1975-defining smash:

Roundup: Beach Concession, EMS Week, Convertibles Needed …

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Are you Hook’d?

That’s the (odd?) name the new Compo Beach concessionaire has chosen. It’s slated to open today. The menu has been posted on the door.

If you check it out, “06880” readers would love to know your thoughts. Click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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Happy EMS Week!

1st Selectman Jim Marpe made it official, with a proclamation. Without all the “whereas”es, here’s the gist:

The pandemic has tested emergency medical professionals like never before. Westport’s EMTs and paramedics rose to the challenge, and played a crucial role. EMS personnel have been on the frontlines, caring for the sickest patients and staffing testing and vaccine clinics, despite risks to themselves and their families.

Over the last year, COVID has given people a glimpse into the vital role of EMS professionals. The sacrifice and dedication of Westport’s EMTs and paramedics earned them the gratitude of our community. Behind those face masks are people who — whether paid or volunteer — take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional, emergency manager, social worker, crisis counselor, consoler and caregiver.

EMS Week recognizes the service and sacrifice exhibited by EMS personnel over the past year. We give our thanks for all theyy continue to do every day, for our community.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his EMS proclamation with (from left) Elyssa Grogan, Eric Hebert, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, Larry Kleinman, Police Chief Foti Koskinas (hidden), Dan Guetta and David Corro.

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Calling all convertibles!

Open-top vehicles are needed to transport World War II veterans during the Memorial Day parade. If you can lend one, contact Deborah Detmer at Westport Parks & Rec: ddetmer@westportct.gov; 203-341-5091.

Grand marshal and World War II vet Bruce Allen rode in the 2015 Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Jillian Elder created Finding Westport — a great site for business owners, customers, job-seekers and realtors to connect online.

Then she expanded, to Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut.

Jillian has branched out again. She sells Westport-themed merchandise — and has just added t-shirts. She’s got some interesting items posted, with patriotic and other town-inspired designs coming soon. Click here to browse.

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Update on Monday’s announcement that Pride yard signs are available from Baker Graphics: They’re not quite ready yet.

But if you want one (or more!) to show support for the LGBTQ community, click here. The Westport Pride committee will let you know when it’s ready.

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Staples High School Class of 1988 graduate Kerri Kenney — known for her roles in “Reno 911,” “Counter Culture” and “All About Steve” — has a new project.

The actress is working on ABC’s comedy pilot “Maggie.” Based on Tim Curcio’s short film, it’s about a young woman who tries to cope with life, while realizing she’s a psychic.

Kerri Kenney

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Speaking of Staples: Congratulations to the high school’s May Students of the Month: Yersultan Zhakupov, Jasper Cahn, Wyatt Resnick, Amelia Galin, Spencer Yim and William Fitch.

Nominated by their teachers, and recognized as “students who help make their school a welcoming place for their peers and teachers,” principal Stafford Thomas calls them “the glue of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together.”

In addition, juniors Natalie Bandura, Erin Durkin and Allison Schwartz will represent Staples at this year’s Hwa Chong Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit in July. Eighty students are chosen from around the globe. The only other US high schools participating this year are Scarsdale (New York) and Dominion (Virginia).

For the past 8 years, Westport has been invited to send 3 juniors who are interested in world affairs, especially Asia. Usually, a trip to Singapore is included. Unfortunately for Natalie, Erin and Allison, this year’s event is virtual.

From left: Natalie Bandura, Erin Durkin, Allison Schwartz.

 

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Some jobs you can do any time. Others … well you have to schedule them tightly.

That was the case for these workers, pulling big granite steps near the Westport Library Riverwalk. They repaired and repointed them, then put them back — all before the tide came in.

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo features a pair of goldfinches. Wendy Crowther spotted them, enjoying her feeder.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … on this day in 1873,  Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

Roundup: Parks & Rec Signups, Playhouse, Help Wanted …

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Registration for Westport Parks & Recreation spring and summer programs begins online on March 22 (9 a.m.). Click here for all offerings, including sports, Camp Compo and RECing Crew. Click here to register.

The Parks & Rec office remains closed to the public. Staff is available via email (recreation@westportct.gov), phone (203-341-5152 weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and mail (260 Compo Road South, Westport, CT 06880).

For registration, check your online account tnow. Log in, then click “Manage Family Members” on the bottom right. To view more details, click the name of a specific family member. Make any changes, then hit “save.” For address changes, email recreation@westportct.gov.

If you cannot log into your online account, do not create another profile. Email recreation@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-5152.

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Speaking of recreation:

These residents were spotted yesterday on Longshore’s first fairway.

They had not asked to play through. Nor were they wearing proper attire. Sad!

(Photo/John Richers)

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Alisyn Camerota is starring in a new role.

The Westport resident — a journalist, author, and anchor of CNN’s morning show “New Day” — has been elected as a Westport Country Playhouse trustee.

Camerota led a community conversation 3 years ago on “Female Power Unleashed:  Politics and Positive Change.” She was featured in a documentary celebrating the theater’s 90-season history last fall, and has been a Playhouse subscriber and supporter for several years.

She’ll serve with artist, economist, producer, fellow Westporter — and new board chair — Anna Czekaj-Farber. Former chair Barbara Streicker of Westport remains on the board.

Playhouse managing director Michael Barker lauds Streicker for her leadership during the pandemic

The 2021 season is scheduled to begin in April — online and in-person. Safety guidelines will be announced soon.

Alisyn Camerota

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4-year-old Elodie Kubik was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa. She is missing a critical protein that binds the layers of the skin together, making it extremely fragile and causing severe pain and wounds. There are no treatments for this life-threatening disease.

Elodie’s mom’s friends organized a Plunge for Elodie n 2018. It grew into an international movement, raising $700,000 to fund critical research aimed at curing EB and other rare diseases.

This year’s virtual Plunge (March 28) honors the life of Sophia Ramsey, who died just after her 1st birthday. She was the daughter of Westport Public Schools employee Tricia Lash’s friend and coworker. Click here for details.

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Finding Westport — the great local listing location, with both a website and social media posts — is starting a “Help Wanted” section. If you’re a business looking for help, contact Jillian@findingfairfieldcounty.com.

And if you’re looking for work, click here.

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Very quietly —  but for 70 years — Abilis has helped people with special needs throughout Fairfield County. The non-profit currently serves over 800 people — and their families.

Last year, COVID forced them to hold their biggest fundraiser online. They raised over $400,000. This year’s goal: top that.

It’s virtual again. Comedian Brett Walkow (“The Tonight Show,” Seinfeld’s “Comedian,” Comedy Central, much more…) hosts the May 1 (6:30 p.m.) show. It’s 90 minutes packed with entertainment, laughs, and a live auction.

The event is free (though of course there are many opportunities to donate). To register, click here (button is on upper right — hard to find!). For sponsorship information, call 203-531-1880 ext. 161, or email flatow@abilis.us.

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And finally … John Philip Sousa died on this day in 1932. He was 78.

It’s Black Friday. Shop Local!

Today marks the much-anticipated, endlessly reported and bizarrely grim start of the holiday shopping season.

Americans leave Thanksgiving dinners to stand outside superstores. They bop each other over the head and ram strangers with shopping carts, frenziedly buying wide-screen TVs and must-have dolls. It is a sick spectacle, and it sets the tone for the entire month that follows.

If COVID-19 has done anything good, it’s put the brakes on this explosion of materialism. Unlike (cough, cough) some places, people here understand the virus is not a hoax. We won’t see hordes of humans pushed into glass doors like Walmart’s version of a Who concert.

Every year, merchants, town officials — and “06880” — urge local folks to buy local.

This year, it’s important more important than ever.

In fact, it’s crucial.

Main Street (Photo/Jillian Elder)

But saying it is one thing. How do we put our Christmas and Hanukkah money where our civic mouth is?

Jillian Elder can help.

The founder of Finding Westport — a website that for over 2 years has linked business owners and customers — created a special page for today and tomorrow. (Black Friday is followed immediately by Small Business Saturday — who knew?)

“When we need retail therapy, our friends on Main Street and the Post Road are there for us,” Jillian says. (Don’t forget Saugatuck!)

“Now is the time to return the favor, and let our friends know we are there for them.”

Jillian spent days asking stores about their Black Friday and Small Business Saturday plans.

Say it with chocolate!

“Finding Westport” includes hours of operations, special offers and sales, links to stores’ websites and gift cards, and pickup and delivery options.

Toys, apparel, jewelry, chocolates, honey, liquor, CBD — and just about anything else you’d give as a gift — is included. Click here for Jillian’s Black Friday and Small Business Saturday page.

You can find everything here for your honey.

That’s not all. Jillian compiled similar lists for Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford and Wilton. Click here for that page.

Sure, you could have spent last night wrapped in a blanket outside Best Buy. But — thanks to Jillian Elder — you know the best buys are right around the corner.

(PS: Jillian is still adding stores to the list. To be included, email submissions@findingwestport.com)

Roundup: Ballots, Food Drive, Atlantic Sports Story, More


To clarify yesterday’s Roundup story on absentee ballots:

The registrars of voters have not “counted” ballots yet. They cannot do that until tomorrow. What they did on Saturday was open the ballots, to find any without signatures.

Five of those — out of approximately 8,000 returned — were discovered. Those voters will be contacted today, and are allowed to vote in person tomorrow.


As Thanksgiving nears, Wakeman Town Farm is collecting nutritious, non-perishable food, for delivery to 2 local pantries. Among the items most in
demand:

  • Pasta
  • Rice and quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Mac and cheese
  • Canned fruits
  • Applesauce
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Soups (canned or boxed)
  • Stews and chili (canned or boxed)
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Dried beans and ;entils
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken in water or broth
  • Jell-O
  • Protein and granola bars, unsalted nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers
  • Coffee and tea.

Items can be dropped off at the “Food Donation” bins at the gates to Wakeman Town Farm on Cross Highway, and at Franny’s Farmacy and Savannah Bee.


As COVID cases rise, what will local retailers do on Black Friday?

Jillian Elder wants to know. The founder of the Finding Westport platform — your go-to site for all local retailers, restaurants and services — is surveying businesses, and will post that information soon. It will go on Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut too.

If you’re a retailer or restaurant owner, tell Jillian your hours, limitations on customers, etc. Email submissions@findingwestport.com.


Westport writer Ruth Shalit Barrett’s long article about crazy, college-focused  Fairfield County niche youth sports — fencing, crew, squash, lacrosse — created quite a buzz when The Atlantic published it last month.

It’s creating more buzz now. First, the magazine appended an extraordinary 800-word correction.

Last night, the Atlantic retracted the entire piece. Click here to read why.

The Atlantic illustrated Ruth Shalit Barrett’s story with this time-lapse photo by Pelle Cass.


Every day, the Y’s Men walk. Yesterday was typical: a group gathered at the train station, then headed out for 4 1/2 miles. Molly Alger joined them, as “the token woman.”

All walks are socially distanced — except for their brief gathering for this photo, part way through.


And finally … today is of course the Day of the Dead.

 

Finding Westport Finds Its Way

For over 2 years, “Finding Westport” has helped link business owners and customers. Along the way, founder Jillian has found something else: That there are more retailers and services than anyone imagined.

“Finding Westport” recently expanded into a broader network. It includes a “Help Wanted” section, and one for realtors or anyone with a rental.

Elder has also added “Finding” sites for Fairfield, Wilton, Weston, Norwalk, Easton, Bridgeport, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Greenwich. “Finding Fairfield County” offers links to all the sites.

Jillian Elder

Businesses and services — from A (accountants, animal rescues, antiques, appliances, arts and crafts, architects) to Y (yoga studios) — are listed free in their town. They can pay to be listed on other town sites. There are categories too for minority, women and veteran owned. Not all categories have listings yet.

“Help Wanted” is a great idea. However, as of a couple of days there were no listings. Perhaps no one is hiring — or no one knows about this new tab.

Real estate listings also include open houses. Like “Help Wanted,” this new category has started slowly in Westport.

Elder’s idea is sound. Here’s hoping the new additions to “Finding Westport” will find an audience.

(For more information — and to be listed — email submissision@findingwestport.com.)