Tag Archives: Finding Westport

Roundup: Cumby’s Gas, Main Street Paving, FEMA Grants …

On Wednesday, “06880” reported that the Cumberland Farms at Bulkley Avenue South near Stop & Shop — formerly Mercury — was charging customers Super Premium prices for Unleaded gas.

Yesterday at 2 p.m., an “06880” reader was getting gas (hopefully for the correct price). In mid-pump, a woman emerged from the mini-mart and told her — and 4 other customers — that the station was short-staffed, and had to close.

Then the pumps were immediately shut off. The customers could not even finish filling their tanks.

The lights were turned off inside. No gas, no Ring Dings, no processed pizza. Nothing.

“Very strange,” the reader notes.

Yesterday’s sign at Cumberland Farms.

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Earlier this week, parts of Westport were affected by paving projects. Traffic backed up near Saugatuck and Jesup Road.

Here’s the next site. Main Street between Post Road East and Avery Place, plus Avery Place itself, will be milled beginning Monday (October 17.

Main Street will be closed to through traffic and parking starting at 5 a.m. Monday. Avery Place will be closed to through traffic beginning around 10 a.m.

Once milling is done, both roads will be re-opened to traffic until paving begins. It is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18, and follow the same schedule as milling. However,  a weather system may postpone paving until Wednesday, October 19.

You won’t see this early next week. Paving and milling will close Main Street.

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One of the the Westport Library’s most popular technology events — the “Anyone Can Use…” series — returns next month.

The classes offer live tech instruction, for all users. They include:

The sessions run from 11 am to noon, near the checkout desk.

Use your library card to download stuff!

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FEMA grants help property owners make homes and businesses resilient against future floods, or relocate to safer locations.

The Western Connecticut Council of Governments’ Regional Flood Mitigation Assistance Program helps educate property owners about opportunities, determine if they qualify, and aid in applications.

An informational session is set for October 27 (6:30 p.m., Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Boulevard). The public is welcome. It will be recorded, and available at www.westcog.org afterward.

Questions? Call or email Todd Fontanella: 475-323-2070;  tfontanella@westcog.org(Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

Flood-proofing, at Old Mill Beach. (Photo/John Videler, Videler Photography)

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The winds picked up yesterday. Not enough for a flood (see story above) — but enough to draw at least one man to Compo Beach:

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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The first public reading of “The Incubators” — a new comedy by Madison Fiedler — is set for the Westport Country Playhouse (November 7, 7 p.m.).

It’s an absurdist dark comedy, as the “Pro-Life Generation” is just getting started.

On the first day of California Right To Life Leadership Camp Age Division 15-17, everyone is nervous. But they’re excited to be surrounded by what they believe in, with new strategies of warfare.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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A few days ago, our “06880” Roundup included a photo of pink ribbons on several trees in Grace Salmon Park.

We figured they honored Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Nope.

Nathalie Fonteyne writes: “They were placed there by Monica Buesser (conservation chair of the Westport Garden Club and chair of the Westport Tree Board) and myself (civics chair of the Westport Garden Club).

“They highlight the prevalence of the invasive Ailanthus altissima — also known as tree of heaven — at the park. We tagged 20 trees there.

“The Westport Garden Club is working with Mike West of Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department to get the trees removed. Removing invasive species can be an arduous process because of their extensive root system, and their ability to re-sprout. The fact that the trees are in a wetland complicates the process.

“However, the Westport Garden Club and the town are committed to removing the invasive species at the park and planting new native species in their place, hopefully very soon.”

Pink ribbons on trees of heaven.

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Just in time — well, a bit ahead of — the shopping season, the “Ugly Westport Holiday” collection has landed in Finding Westport’s e-store.

The design is available as a sweatshirt, bodysuit, fleece, hoodie or blanket. Click here for more information, and to order.

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Speaking of Grace Salmon Park (see story above), Peggy O’Halloran says of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo: “It looks like this poor tree already has a headstone.”

(Photo/Peggy O’Halloran)

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And finally … speaking of Cumberland Farms (story above):

 

Roundup: Blue Sunday, Brown-Covered Books, Red Cross …

Pop-Up Bagels has done it again!

This weekend Adam Goldberg’s stealth-no-more store — the one behind Cycle Dynamics that draws dozens of devoted customers every Friday, Saturday and Sunday — repeated last year’s upset, out-of-the-burbs Brooklyn Bagelfest win.

This time, they even doubled their victory. They captured both the expert judges and people’s choice awards.

So let there be no doubt: The best bagel shop in New York is … Pop-Up Bagels. From Westport, Connecticut.

Adam Goldberg with the gold, from last year and this.

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The blues are alive and well in Westport.

A standing room crowd packed the Trefz Forum yesterday for the first of Mark Naftalin’s “Blue Sundays.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — former keyboardist with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who has reocrded or played with James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Percy Mayfield, Carla Thomas, Irma Thomas, Otis Rush, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner and many others — curates and hosts the monthly series.

Mark Naftalin on piano, fellow Westporter and saxophonist Crispin Cioe, and other band members.

His initial session included an all-star cast: Chance Browne, Chris “Otis” Cross, Paul Gabriel, Manny Foglio, Mark Zarestky, David Anastasia, Matt Moadel, Barry Urich, Smokin’ Joe Naimy, Crispin Cioe and Washboard Slim.

They ripped through classics like “I Put a Spell on You,” and originals that deserve to be classics.

As the blues-influenced Rolling Stones sang in Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around”: “The joint was rockin’.”

Another shot of the band. (Photos/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of the library: There’s a thought-provoking display just inside the front door, on the main level.

Across the nation, drives to ban books are gaining momentum. Challenges come from the right and the left.

The reasons vary. They include degradation of women, sexual explicitness, political viewpoints, bias against male students, sexual assault, offensive language, LGBTQ+ content, violence, insensitivity and  Satanism.

The Westport Library shows those challenges sharply:

Like many libraries everywhere, Westport’s has committed itself to “empowering the individual and strengthening the community through dynamic interaction and the lively exchange of ideas.”

Without banning access to them.

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With the Red Cross experiencing a blood shortage, this Wednesday’s drive at the VFW is crucial (September 21, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 465 Riverside Avenue). The event is sponsored by the Westport Young Woman’s League. Click here to make an appointment; use sponsor code “VFWWestport.”

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Damon Rein and his son Jack Rein — a Staples High School senior — are training hard. Their goal is to collectively do over 2,500 push-ups in 1 hour next month, to raise money for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. It’s part of the 13th annual Push Against Cancer.

They’re already halfway to their $10,000 goal. Click here for more information, and to help.

PS: Jack created this cartoon of Andrew Berman — the local Push leader — in honor of the event:

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Graffiti “artists” have tagged 2 locations in Westport: the Hales Road bridge over I-95, and (below), the pedestrian bridge over Dedman Brook, connecting the Levitt Pavilion and the Imperial Avenue parking lot:

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“Finding Westport”‘s latest design leaves no doubt about the town’s name:

It’s available as a t-shirt, tank, fleece, hoodie, sweatshirt, mug, tote bag, greeting card, blanket, pint glass, tumbler and outdoor rug. Click here to order, and for more “Finding Westport” options.

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Lisa Newman writes: “My son spotted this little guy spectating on opening day of Westport softball at the Town Hall fields.”

What a great way to start off our “Westport … Naturally” week!

(Photo/Lisa Newman)

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And finally … as noted above, Mark Naftalin’s “Blue Sunday” show at the Westport LIbrary included the classic “I Put a Spell on You.”

Here are 5 other versions of this great song:

(“06880” isn’t singing the blues. But contributions always help keep this blog in the pink. Please click here to help.)

Roundup: Cell Tower, Walking Tours, Wafu …

Tarpon Towers II and AT&T are proceeding with plans for a 124-foot cell tower in the back yard of a private home, at 92 Greens Farms Road.

Neighbors, meanwhile, are proceeding with their fight against it.

A petition cites environmental and aesthetic concerns with the proposal. It’s already garnered over 200 signatures.

Verizon is an “intervenor” in the case. They’ll join AT&T in leasing space on the tower.

Stephen Goldstein says: “Verizon admits that only ~1.5% of its calls in the area get dropped (vs their “target performance” of less than 1% – pretty darned close…) – and they say the reason for this tower is ‘primarily’ to increase coverage on I-95.  That’s a tough pill for the neighborhood to swallow, for sure.”

The Connecticut Siting Council will hold a Zoom meeting about the application on August 9. It begins at 2 p.m. with an evidentiary session. Public comment follows at 6:30 p.m. Click here for the link.

To participate in the 6:30 p.m. public comment session, email siting.council@ct.gov with your name, email address and mailing address, by August 8. Public comments may also be submitted to the Council by email (see address above).

A cell tower has been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road.

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Baseball and ’70s/’80s music are the stars of this week’s Remarkable Theater offerings.

Today (Monday, August 1, 8 p.m.; gates open at 7 p.m.), the Imperial Avenue drive-in screens “The Sandlot.” Besides baseball, the film includes treehouse sleep-ins, a desirous lifeguard, snooty rivals, a travelling fair and a ball-eating dog..

“Mamma Mia!” needs no introduction, beyond one word: ABBA. It’s set for Wednesday (August 3, 8:15 p.m.; gates open at 7:15). Glittery costumes are optional.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Like many Westporters, Nancy Wilson is intrigued by the “Destination Westport Walking Tours” signs popping up all over town.

(Photo/Nancy Wilson)

Like most people, she drives — not walks — past them.

She’d love to know more. However, the QR code does not work on a photo like the one she took (above).

And there’s no other info on the signs, as to a sponsor, date, or anything else.

So although these signs are posted on major roads, they all lead to dead ends.

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Wakeman Town Farm’s bee team harvested a big batch of home-grown local honey yesterday. Overseen by beekeeper Jaime Smith, WTF worker bees 🐝 spun 11 boxes, which they then turned into golden nectar.

The process begins with opening up the capped comb by scraping off the wax, then putting the frame into the extractor. Once the extractor is filled with frames, the spinning begins.

Erika Smith, hard at work. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

Honey drips to the bottom of the tank. It is then poured into storage to be siphoned into glass jars.

It’s a sticky process. But the result is delicious — and it’s sold at WTF’s farm stand every Saturday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Sweeeeet!

Honey-making at Wakeman Town Farm. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

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If you’re not aware: AWARE is a wonderful Fairfield County-wide organization.

The acronym stands for Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education. Each year, members partner with a local non-profit. They volunteer with that group, organize an educational event and host a fundraiser.

Among AWARE’s past partners: the Cancer Couch Foundation (health), International Institute of Connecticut (human trafficking), Mercy Learning Center (education), Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes (veterans) and Malta House (pregnant and new mothers).

The other day, AWARE volunteers gathered at Compo Beach. They celebrated the work they do, their commitment to helping other women — and the beautiful sunset they felt lucky to enjoy.

AWARE, at the beach.

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As Old Mill Grocery celebrates its first week in operation, Westporters continue to give thanks for the revival of the neighborhood deli/market.

And by “Westporters,” we mean humans of all ages.

And man’s best friend.

(Photo/John McGrath)

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In June there was a shooting at Wafu — the Asian fusion restaurant just over the town line, in Southport.

Then the state suspended its liquor license.

That was just Wafu’s latest problem. In the months before, Fairfield police had been called there numerous times, for public urination, underage drinking, and a bouncer allegedly pepper spraying a crowd.

Now it’s permanently closed. Chris Grimm snapped this photo, noting that the sign with its name is removed.

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

The Westport location in Bedford Square — which calls itself a “Korean BBQ” restaurant — is still open.

There have been no reports there of shootings. Or public urination, underage drinking or a bouncer using pepper spray.

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“06880” readers are sharp.

When I posted a “Roundup” item about Jillian Elder’s Westport-themed t-shirts, hoodies and tumblers, a number of you quickly spotted a misspelling: “Patrick Wetlands,” not “Partrick.”

Clicking on the link provided, several also noticed that “Greens Farms” was rendered as “Green Farms.” There’s plenty of debate about an apostrophe — both Greens Farms and Green’s Farms are used — but there’s no doubt there’s an “s” at the end.

Jillian quickly apologized — and printed new shirts. She thanks all who pointed out the errors.

To order a correctly spelled item, click here.

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Speaking of eagle eyes:

“06880” reader Jill Haymes was watching yesterday’s Yankees-Royals game.

This “Veteran of the Game” came on:

(Photo/Jill Haymes)

Thanks, Seaman First Class Wall, for your service.

And thanks, Jill, for helping us honor him today.

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Wendy Levy spotted this bee on hydrangea at Little Barn. We’ve run some “Westport … Naturally” plant and insect photos before.

But never from a restaurant.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally, on this date in 1876, Colorado was admitted as the 38th US state.

 

Roundup: Homes With Hope, Compo Movies, Finding Westport …

Homes with Hope announces that volunteers are again welcome inside the Gillespie Center community kitchen and food pantry.

Volunteer guidelines have been modified, in accordance with the CDC’s COVID guidelines for shelter settings.

Click here for more more information, and to volunteer.

Volunteers are back at the Gillespie Center. (File photo)

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Free family “Summer Movie Nights” return to Compo Beach.

“Luca” will be screened on Thursday, August 4 (8:15 p.m.). It’s followed by “Soul” on Thursday, August 25 (7:45 p.m.).

The films will be shown on the field near the basketball courts.

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How do you say Westport without saying Westport? Jillian Elder of Finding Westport — the online seller of iconic “Westport” t-shirts, mugs and other goodies — wondered.

The result: Some clever new designs, Click here to see (and order).

One of several new tees.

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Matt Murray is lucky enough to live on Sherwood Mill Pond.

He enjoys photographing the ever-changing scenery — particularly at sunrise and sunset. Here’s a recent egret sighting, for “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … 2 cities — worlds apart — celebrate birthdays today

Baghdad was founded in 762. Nearly 1,000 years later, in 1729, so was Baltimore.

(“06880” is a fully reader-supported blog. Please consider donating; click here!)

Roundup: The Storm, The Edge, Westport Tees …

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The predicted snow/rain/windstorm was a washout — figuratively and literally.

But before the snow turned to a little bit of rain around midnight, Jonathan Alloy snapped this shot in the Coleytown area. It’s a scene in our yards most of us missed.

(Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

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The Edge is just over the border, in Norwalk. Plenty of Westporters work out there.

One member writes: “My locker, with a dial combo lock, was broken into last Friday 12:30 p.m., with a sizable loss. With no cameras inside and no witnesses, the thief will likely never be caught.

“Management and the police were informed. I’ve posted on The Edge Facebook page, but it keeps getting taken down by them.

“Be careful what you leave in gym lockers!”

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Totes, tumblers, tank tops and more — all are available with new Westport themes on Jillian Elder’s “Finding Westport” site. Click here to see, and order.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is a video.

On Saturday evening, Brian Sikorski spotted a huge bald eagle roosting on a branch outside Brian’s bedroom window. He’s seen a few eagles at Compo Beach and Longshore. As he took a photo, the majestic bird flew to a nearby tree, where a pair with white heads were perched.

“Absolutely breathtaking!” Brian says.

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And finally … you knew this was coming:

Roundup: Jose Feliciano, Fred Cantor, Angelo Veno …

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There are lots of Christmas songs I get sick of.

“Feliz Navidad” is not one of them.

José Feliciano’s buoyant, jangly tune is 51 years old. Now — just in time for Navidad — a documentary about the life and music of the longtime Weston resident will be screened just a couple of miles away.

The Norwalk Film Festival will screen “Behind This Guitar” on Saturday, December 18 (7:30 p.m.) at the Wall Street Theatre. The movie follows Feliciano’s journey from growing up blind in Puerto Rico, to his 9 Grammy Awards and international acclaim. Click here for details and ticket information.

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Speaking of entertainment: Monday’s “06880” story about next month’s “Stars on Stage From Westport Country Playhouse” PBS series noted a major gift from Roz and Bud Siegel.

But several other Westporters were big contributors too. Hats off to Judy and Scott Phares, Eunice and David Bigelow, Kate and Bob Devlin, Joyce Hergenhan, Anna Czekaj-Farber, Mary Ellen and Jim Marpe, Christian J. and Eva Trefz, and Stacy and Howard Bass. 

The show will go on — thanks to some very generous neighbors!

(From left): Shoshana Bean, Brandon Victor Dixon, Gavin Creel: stars of “Stars on Stage.”

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Have you found “Finding Westport”?

That’s the online site for local-themed apparel and more.

Jillian Elder has just added a new Minute Man design. It’s available on tank tops, t-shirts, hoodies, tumblers, mugs and tote bags.

It’s a great way to show off your town pride (and a lot cheaper than that other Westport icon: a Range Rover). Click here for styles and orders.

“Finding Westport”‘s Minute Man hoodie.

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Yesterday’s “06880” story on fences reminded June Rose Whittaker of this one:

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

It’s one of Westport’s most visible: Riverside Avenue, at Treadwell.

The intricate, whimsical fence — designed by Andrew Hamilton Reise — was the subject of an “06880” Photo Challenge in July.

As many readers knew, the owners are Pietro and Janine Scotti. He’s the owner/chef of the former and still beloved Da Pietro’s restaurant, just down Riverside (and across the street) closer to town.

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A Conservation Department reminder:

If your property has or is adjacent to wetlands, a watercourse or a pond, all residents and contractors should “call before you dig.” If you’re unsure whether the property contains wetlands, call the Conservation Department: 203-341-1170.

The last year has seen an increase in violations. resulting in unpermitted building, cutting, clearing and filling of wetlands.

Violations cause owners having to cease work, appear at public meetings, pay fines and post bonds. Violations are also part of the public record.

Property owners and/or contractors should contact the Conservation Department before work starts, to determine what permits are required.

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Looking for a gift for a sports fan?

It helps if he or she loves the New York Knicks. But a fan of any team — or any sport — can appreciate the passion of Fred Cantor. The 1971 Staples High School graduate and longtime “06880” contributor recently wrote Fred From Fresh Meadows.

It’s a loving account of the ups and downs of fandom, sure. There’s another reason to buy it though: All proceeds go to the John Starks Foundation. The Stamford-based nonprofit helps high school students afford college.

Click here for more information. Click here for last night’s News12 story on Cantor and the book.

Screenshot from last night’s News12 interview with Fred Cantor.

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Angelo “Cookup” Veno — a true son of Saugatuck — died earlier this month, after a long and happy life.

Born in Saugatuck in 1928 to Louis and Mary Veno, he went through the Westport public school system. After school each day, Angelo manually set pins at the bowling alley downtown.

He was a 3-sport athlete at Staples High School, starring in football, basketball and baseball. After graduating in 1946 he played semi-pro football with the Westport Advertisers, and basketball with the Saugatuck Veterans, Westport YMCA and Clam Box 5.

Angelo also took up boxing, and had a 12-2 record as a pro. In 1986 he earned a Sportsman of Westport award.

In 1951 Angelo joined the Navy. He served for 4 years on the USS Howard D. Crow as an engineer. He joined the fleet’s boxing team, and lost only one fight.

Following his service he came back to Westport and helped coach the Westport PAL football team. He and his first wife, Judith Lissberger, had 2 children, Timothy and Belinda. Both remember their trips to New York Giants’ exhibition games in Pittsburgh, then straight to the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy for dinner.

Angelo married Theresa Karutz in 1984, a former Miss Atlantic City winner. He enjoyed spending time with his stepsons Wallace and William Karutz.

Angelo had a long and successful career in the world of construction as president and CEO of his company, AJ Veno Construction. He started the business as a window replacement company, and grew it into a full-fledged construction company. He built corporate buildings and residential homes for many years.

Angelo made friends and made people everywhere, from the local pizza restaurant to nurses caring for him. He loved spending time at Compo Beach, with friends or alone feeding birds.

Angelo is survived by his brother Joe and sister Theresa (Richard Valentine). He was predeceased by his sister Ida Lockwood. He is also survived by his children, Timothy Veno (partner Gwen Purcell) and Belinda (Richard Benincasa); grandchildren Richard (Nora Benincasa), Ryan (Noelle Benincasa) and Morgan Benincasa; many cousins, nieces and nephews, and his recent great-grandchild, Ryan Casey Benincasa.

A funeral is set for Monday (December 13, 10 a.m., Assumption Church) for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment with full military honors will follow in Assumption Cemetery on Greens Farms Road. The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Sunday (December 12, 2 to 6 p.m.) Click here to leave online condolences.

Angelo Veno

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The family of Joel Hallas has announced 2 options for donations in his memory. Click here for the Connecticut Food Bank; click here for the American Radio Relay League, for ham radio operators.

Joel Hallas

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It’s already gone. But yesterday morning’s snow provided the perfect subject for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, from Bob and Karen Weingarten’s lawn:

(Photo/Karen Weingarten)

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And finally … Emily Dickinson was born today, in 1830. She may be the only 19th-century poet immortalized in the words of a 20th-century singers.

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!