Tag Archives: Finding Westport

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.)

 

What’s Open? Find Out!

Jillian Elder left town Monday. But her “Finding Westport” site (click on the link) could be a lifesaver for this and area town. She hopes to update its with listings of businesses that are open (or closed).

If your business is fully open, open but can take online orders, open with no phone or internet, or is closed for today and tomorrow, let her know via Facebook or Instagram (@findingwestport) or email: submissions@findingwestport.com.

You can also post info on what’s open in the Comments section. As noted earlier, downtown in the Main Street area (including Starbucks and Freshii) is open! (As of this morning though, Starbucks had no WiFi.)

Cross Highway/North Avenue intersection is now open. (Photo/Dr. Edward Paul)

Jumbled kayaks, in the wake of Hurricane Isaias. (Photo/Brian Gold)

Happy Birthday, Finding Westport!

Finding Westport turns 2 years old today. The website for local businesses and services — which includes a comprehensive what’s-up list during the pandemic — is the brainchild of Jillian Elder.

Yesterday she ran around town celebrating. She brought a pineapple — hey, why not? — and visited businesses and other sites, hoping her photos would bring smiles.

She’ll post the shots on social media throughout today. Here’s a preview.

Smile!

Bedford Square

Train station

Compo Beach cannons

Compo Beach lifeguard stand (Photos/Jillian Elder)

Roundup: Reopening; Grad Merch; Ospreys; Music; More


Jillian Elder’s “Finding Westport” is another resource for events around town.

Right now, she’s updating her “What’s Open” list. If you’ve got a retail store, accounting or law firm, insurance or real estate agency, childcare center, landscaping or creative services business, restaurant — or anything else with customers or clients — contact her.

The basic listing is free. There are advertising packages and other options too. Send a brief description, website link, logo and photos to submissions@findingwestport.com, or DM Jillian on Instagram or Facebook @findingwestport.


Staples High School graduates make their marks on the world in many days.

Class of 2009 alum Mike Bowen — known professionally as Mike Waxx — made it in the rap and hip hop world. His Illroots brand then branched out from music and videos to apparel and footwear.

On his custom apparel platform, users add their own text and images to create their own looks. He launched with Travis Scott, and added a COVID charity shirt featuring Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

On Friday Waxx released 2020 Grad Merch. To give a gift to a grad, select the school; the logo and stickers are pre-loaded. Just add a picture to the commencement image. Then get creative.

Of course, Staples is there. Click here to order.


We start the week with great osprey news.

Carolyn Doan reports that 2 little chicks have appeared in the nest near Fresh Market. There may even be a third.

“They were making a lot of noise. Mom looks very proud,” Carolyn says.

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


We haven’t heard much from Burt Bacharach in years. But he’s back — with a local connection.

Now 92, the legendary songwriter just released “Blue Umbrella.” The 5-song collaboration was recorded in Nashville with Grammy-winning writer/producer Daniel Tashian.

If the last name sounds familiar, it should: Daniel’s father, Barry — the front man for the legendary Remains band — went on to play with the Flying Burrito Brothers and Emmy Lou Harris, among many others. For the past 30 or so years Barry and his wife Holly — Daniel’s mom — have established themselves as great Nashville-based writers and performers.

For a Los Angeles Times story on the Bacharch-Tashian project, click here.

Daniel Tashian

 


And finally … Otis Redding kicks off the week, with a kick-ass song.

Signs Of The Times

Amy Schneider’s collage reminds us that there are plenty of restaurants open for business — with curbside pickup and home delivery, of course. (Merchants too: Earth Animal is tucked in there, bottom row.)

As the pandemic slogs into a new month, remember how important our local places are. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce maintains a great list of open restaurants and markets; click here, then scroll down.

OneWestport offers an extensive list of restaurants, along with clothing stores, salons, fitness centers and more. Many of those businesses are closed, but links to their websites provide information on online opportunities, including gift cards.

The Finding Westport site also includes event planners, repair shops, graphic designers and the like.

Hard times continue. But thanks to these resources, we can make life a little easier for some of the restaurants and businesses that have served us so well, for so long.

PS: Hey, dads and kids! Remember: Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day. Many restaurants have special menus. And the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has an extensive list of restaurants and shops that offer Mother’s Day gifts. Just click here.

There are many very excellent restaurants in town. Jeera Thai is a favorite for flavor, fresh ingredients and friendliness. (Photo/Dan Woog)