Tag Archives: Full Court Peace

Roundup: Pops, Pride, Paw Prints …

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In many ways, yesterday was the first “normal” day in nearly 15 months.

Hundreds of people gathered at Jesup Green for a joyful Pride celebration. hundreds more swarmed Compo Beach, or took boats out on the Sound. At night, the Levitt Pavilion opened its gates for the Westport Schools’ annual Pops Concert.

The previous night’s show was moved by weather to the Staples High auditorium. But last night was as close to old times as anyone could hope for.

The crowd was limited to smaller numbers than usual. But everything else was the same: spectacular music, of near-professional quality. An appreciative, picnic-toting audience.

And, yes, pride and joy, in celebrating our kids, and our town, together again.

Last night at the Levitt Pavilion. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Candi Innaco conducts the band for the final time. She is retiring after 36 years as a music instructor. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

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Speaking of Staples: On Friday, the school held its first-ever LGBTQ Art Show.

Two dozen works of all kind were displayed prominently in the main hallway.

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Tim Lukens was enjoying yesterday’s weather, listening to music and quietly weeding his flower garden, when he came “literally 6 inches — nose to nose” — with the black bear wandering through Westport’s woods. This encounter was near Wilton Road, just north of Merritt Parkway Exit 41.

Here’s the aftermath:

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Barnes & Noble’s Westport store is internationally famous.

Well, at least it got a shoutout in the Financial Times.

A long profile on James Daunt — the Briton who rescued the small Waterstones book store chain from Amazon, and is attempting to do the same now for B&N — mentioned our local shop.

Daunt used the pandemic to rearrange layouts. Stores — including the newly opened one downtown — look less like “libraries”; round tables make them more browser-friendly. Click here for the full story. (Hat tips: Henry Engler, Jon Fraade)

Barnes & Noble Westport: now browser-friendly.

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If you’re like many Westport families, you’ve got a few basketballs lying around the house (or garage).

Staples High School sophomore (and player) Zach Brody wants them. He’s organized a collection for Full Court Peace, a non-profit that brings hoops and equipment to communities that need them.

Basketballs will be collected this coming week (June 7 to 14), in a bin in Staples’ main hallway.

Can’t make it to the high school? Email zbrody52@gmail.com to arrange for pickup.

 

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Speaking of sports: The Staples High School sailing team completed another successful season. The varsity had a 5-0 sweep at the Silver cup, and tied Greenwich for 3rd at the state regatta.

The Wreckers compete against other Fairfield County high schools, both private and public. Cedar Point is the host club, and provides the boats.

The Staples High School sailing team.

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While a Netflix movie is being filmed in Westport, the Country Playhouse parking lot has been rented to the production crew. It serves as a staging area, through June 16.

Most Winslow Park dog lovers realize it’s a private lot, and heed the signs and staff. Some, though, ignore them, and park anyway.

WCP general manager Beth Huisking says, “We love Westport, and want to be a valued member of the community. To be reciprocated with disrespect from some community members is disheartening.

“When we close the lot it is because we need the space (the hour or so before a performance), or because something is going on that requires us to use all spaces.

“In the case of the production crew, with large trucks and vans pulling through the lot, we want to make sure everyone (people, animals, even cars) are safe. So please, until June 16, park at the Winslow lot on Compo Road North. Thank you.”

One of the many trucks in the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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And finally … today is the 63rd anniversary of Prince’s birth. The singer-songwriter and producer died in 2016, at 57.

COVID Roundup: Hoops; VFW; Rocks; More


As gyms, playgrounds and recreational facilities remain closed, the driveway basketball hoop looks better than ever. There are tons in Westport. Some get plenty of use. Others sit idle; the basketball players have moved away.

Full Court Peace is a Norwalk-based charity that collects unwanted portable basketball hoops, cleans them up, then gives them to boys and girls in Norwalk, Bridgeport and Stamford.

The organization was started by Mike Evans, a Weston native who played basketball at Hamilton College and semi-professionally in Belfast. In Northern Ireland he brought Protestant and Catholic boys together to play as one team.

Email mike@fullcourtpeace.org with your name, address, and a picture of the hoop you hope to donate. Evans will pick it up at your house, and set it up in a driveway a few miles away. Then he’ll send you a photo of the boy or girl who gets it.

Financial help is welcome to keep this effort going; it requires a U-Haul and manual labor. Click here to help.


Like many local organizations, the Joseph J. Clinton Veterans of Foreign of Wars Post 399 has been closed, and lost access to funds.

But there’s good news. The VFW says: “We are honored and extends our deepest appreciation to the Westport Young Woman’s League for awarding us a generous Super Grant of $20,000. Throughout the past 100 years, VFW Post 399 has been the heart and soul of the veteran community and a Westport institution.

The Super Grant will make a huge difference in helping with our much needed roof repairs and allowing us to continue in our support for both veterans and community. We look forward in partnering with the WYWL to help the community and provide affordable meal programs.”


Stones bearing inspirational messages pop up all over town. This one at Grace Salmon Park caught Marc Frankel’s eye.

I’m guessing whoever painted this was young. If I were an art teacher, I’d give him or her an “A” for creativity. An English teacher would give it an “F.”


And finally … a little Spirit. “It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong …”

Full Court Peace

In the midst of March Madness, maybe you can find a moment’s rest from basketball at church.

Or not.

Tomorrow (Sunday, March 20, 4 p.m. at St. Luke’s), the Interfaith Council of Westport and Weston is sponsoring a lecture called “Full Court Peace.”

It’s more than a gimmicky name.

Michael Evans

Westonite Michael Evans — the 28-year-old founder of Full Court Peace — will talk about how his organization uses basketball as a means of diplomacy in war-torn parts of the world.

Evans knows both hoops and kumbaya.

He played pro basketball in Belfast — about as far from, say, the Utah Jazz as you can get.  But despite the violence plaguing that city — or maybe because of it — Evans formed the first half-Catholic, half-Protestant boys high school basketball team there.

The success of the Belfast Blazers — which traveled to, among other places, less-rough Weston — inspired him to explore what sports could accomplish in places like Cuba and Mexico.

Evans has met the Dalai Lama, as well as youth in paramilitary organizations and senior members of the IRA.  In Havana he had to elude government officials, while in drug war-torn Ciudad Juarez he traveled in bulletproof cars, with armed guards.

Evans is now studying at Harvard University, in a program involved the Graduate School of Education, Kennedy School of Government and the business school.  Life in Cambridge — on and off the court — is less rough than before.

The Interfaith Council encourages parents to bring their children — especially those interested in sports — on Sunday.  Refreshments will follow Evans’ talk.

Which, presumably, will be “yo mama”-free.