Tag Archives: George Billis Gallery

Roundup: Another Hillspoint Home, ShoutOut LA, Church Organ …

Yesterday’s Roundup featured a $7.9 million house. It’s being built on one of the most famous spots in Westport: 233 Hillspoint Road, site of the former Positano restaurant.

Diagonally across the street, at 246 Hillspoint, there’s another well-known home. Built in 1930, it’s the last remaining bungalow on the increasingly modern (and pricey)  stretch of water-view road.

Of course you know it:

At 695 square feet, with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on a 3,049-square foot lot, it could have been yours — for a mere $2 million.

But you had to act fast. Offers were due by Sunday

I don’t know a lot about real estate. But I’m guessing the buyer does not plan to live there as is.

So that $2 million is just a starting point. (Hat tip: John Richers)

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David Winther graduated from Staples High School in 2006. He went on to a career as a talent agent (focusing on music and arena touring. He works now in Los Angeles at Elite World Group as a director of global partnerships. He also owns Winther Agency, which strikes brand and licensing deals for content creators.

The other day, he was interviewed by ShoutOut LA. Asked who deserved credit for his success, he gave shout-outs to 2 people from his Westport past: his mother Lynn, and his mentor Jack Klinge.

David said:

My 2 sisters and I got to grow up in Westport, CT, an affluent town with great education systems that push kids academically, athletically etc. to excel. She worked 2 fulltime jobs to get us a “slot” in that town. Ma missed a lot of soccer games, football games, lacrosse games, band recitals to afford that town. I think there was a certain teenage angst I had where I didn’t understand it and actually grew distant from her for a while. Now, in my mid-30s I see what she did and what she keeps doing and how much she gave for her kids. I know she would do it again in a second.

Second, Jack Klinge. I didn’t have a father figure at all my entire life. The town of Westport has a great program that mentors kids who may not have the “typical” nuclear family… In my case I was a latchkey kid in a rich town. Jack and I met when I was in 2nd grade and we started off our first day by going outside and playing soccer against each other. The relationship was great. He became more like a grandfather figure who would give me sage advice and be at my games. He would be proud. I know he is proud, even though I thoroughly believe he still doesn’t understand what I do, haha!

Thank you Mom. Thank you Jack.

In a follow-up conversation, David told “06880”:

I owe everything I am as a person and a professional to my upbringing and my roots. My roots will always be with Westport. Without the strong leaders like Cathy Schager, Jack Klinge, John Dodig, David Roth and many many more, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

To any parent reading this: Please trust in Westport. There is a special love and care for its community to succeed in whatever they want to do in life.

Click here to read the full ShoutOut LA story.

David Winther (Photo courtesy of Steven Shutters/ShoutOut LA)

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Rick Tripodi was the beloved music director and organist at Green’s Farms Congregational Church.

That organ was close to Rick’s heart. As a teenager in 1965, he attended its  dedication.

Classically trained, with a master’s degree in organ performance from Juilliard, Rick designed the refurbishment of the Peragallo/Walker organ during the church’s recent renovation project.

Sadly, he died just 2 days before the instrument was reinstalled.

The organ will be re-dedicated this Sunday (November 20, 4 p.m.). Justin Bischof — known internationally for his improvisations — will play. His program will include themes submitted by the audience.

The public is invited. A reception will follow.

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More than 5 weeks ago, an “06880” Roundup featured a gaunt deer, whose entire face was entangled in a badminton net.

It was gaunt — probably because it could not see to eat.

The deer is still wandering around Westport. Yesterday, it was in Jilda Manikas’ yard.

The good news: The net no longer covers its eyes. It looks a bit healthier — though certainly not happier.

(Photo/Jilda Manikas)

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Pianist Brian Marsella returns to “Jazz at the Post” this Thursday (November 17; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner from 6:30 p.m.; VFW Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue).

He’s joined by bassist Reid Taylor, drummer Brian Floody and the “Jazz Rabbi,” saxophonist Greg Wall.

The cover charge is $15. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Brian Marsella

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George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception for artists Elizabeth Higgins, Dean Fisher and Josephine Robinson.

It’s this Thursday (5 to 8 p.m.) at Billis’ new location: 180 Post Road East. New work is also available.

“Pear Tree” (Dean Fisher)

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The entrance to Burying Hill Beach teems with life.

Peter Gold captured today’s “Westport … Naturally” image at that often-overlooked site.

(Photo/Peter Gold)

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And finally … what will you see and hear if you visit Green’s Farms Church on Sunday, for the dedication of their new organ?

If you’re intrigued by the idea of an improvisational organist (story above), click below:

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(Oh, deer! If you forgot to support “06880,” please click here!)

 

Roundup: Staples Rugby, Sky Show, Wave Show …

Congratulations to Staples High School’s newest state champions: the rugby team.

The Wreckers romped over perennial powerhouse Greenwich 35-7, in Thursday’s final. That avenged a 30-12 loss to the Cardinals in the national tourney (when Staples was saddled with injuries and illness).

During the regular season, Staples defeated Greenwich 28-16.

Well done, coach Neal Seideman and the gang!

The joyful Staples High School rugby team.

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The Remarkable Bookcycle has a new home: Old Mill Grocery.

It’s a great spot for the popular free library. It will get even more use when the deli/market opens. As the sign promises, it should be soon.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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The Westport Astronomical Society’s astro-photographers are lighting it up again.

A new show — “How Beautiful, the Universe” — opens at the Stamford JCC’s Art Gallery this Tuesday (June 14, 7 p.m.). Photographs showing the beautiful objects found just by looking up in the night sky will be on display through August 31.

Among the WAS photographers showing works: Shannon Calvert, Steven Labkoff, Carl Lancaster, Michael Southam, Stuart Stakoff, Dana Weisbrot
and Kurt Zepetello

Proceeds from images on sale will support new observatory domes on the WAS campus (Bayberry Lane, behind the Westport Weston Health District).

Photos from the Westport Astronomical Society exhibit.

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Speaking of art: Westport artist Dale Najarian is among 8 female painters featured in George Billis Gallery’s new show: “Ride the Wave.” Her works in this exhibit were influenced by Westport photographer Stacy Bass.

The summer group show runs June 19 through July 23, at Billis’ new 180 Post Road East space. An opening reception is set for July 7 (4 to 7 p.m.).

Other artists include Maureen Chatfield, Kristin Coates, Kerry Irvine, Lori Leckliter, Wendy Briggs Powell, Diana Tremaine and Margery Gosnell-Qua.

“Salt Pond” — oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

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“06880” would not normally post a photo of a guy in a kayak.

But, as Jamie Walsh — who took the image — notes:

“This is my neighbor, dear friend and longtime fellow Westporter Ed Perrault. He recently built this amazing kayak at home. He commissioned it yesterday.”

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Congratulations, Ed!

PS: Thanks for making me feel like a slug.

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Former Westport Planning & Zoning Department planner Carolyn Warnow Makover died last month in Danbury. She was 83.

The Cornell University graduate worked in publishing, marketing and graphic design, while raising her family. She found her calling while attending the Conway School of Landscape Design, and received a Master of Arts in Landscape Design in 1986.

Besides the P&Z, she worked at Tate & Associates and Frederick P. Clark Associates as an Environmental Planner. She later served as webmaster for the town and several non-profit organizations, and remained active in local initiatives. Throughout her career and in her volunteer work, she focused on utilizing good design and communications to support people and communities. Carrie also cared deeply about keeping family and friends connected.

During the pandemic, she used her technical skills to ensure that her personal and professional groups could easily move to online gatherings. With her brother and sisters, she founded Reckless Night Music to help preserve the musical legacy of their father, composer Raymond Scott.

Carrie is survived by her daughter Kathryn, son Daniel, long-time partner Richard Stein, and many friends and family members.

A memorial gathering will be announced at a later date. Click here to leave online condolences. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or the Regional Hospice in Danbury.

Carolyn Makover

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Patti Brill describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“This is the time of year that turtles lay their eggs. I caught this one today doing that at Covlee Beach. I took this quick shot without disturbing its task. They do not like to be interrupted while hiding the eggs in the sand. I didn’t want to get too close.”

(Photo/Patti Brill)

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And finally … in honor of the new George Billis Gallery show, “Ride the Wave” (story above) — well, this is close enough:

Roundup: MLK Event, Fleet Feet, Local Art …

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There’s a new time for this Sunday’s Dr. Martin Luther King celebration.

The free program featuring author Heather McGhee begins at 2:30 p.m. It had been set for 3 p.m.

Her book — The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together spent 10 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Her TED talk — “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” — reached 1 million views in just 2 months.

Due to COVID, the event — sponsored by the Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy — is now online only.

The program includes performances by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and dance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

To register for the link, click here.

Heather McGhee

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Fleet Feet is leaving Sconset Square.

But Westport’s favorite running store is not going far. The new location is just a jog away: the Fresh Market plaza, next to Little Beet.

Fleet Feet will double its size, offering an even larger selection of footwear, apparel and accessories. The more open space will also allow for expanded service, and social distancing. The move is planned for mid-February.

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Sure, Local to Market is a great place to shop for food with “local” ties.

But it also provides food for the soul.

Westport artist Elizabeth Petrie DeVoll has a solo show at the store — formerly Talbots and before that, the Remarkable Book Shop — at the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

The show also features cards by Jane Gilman Fleischner.

There’s a great tie-in with the historic building. DeVoll creates new art from old objects. She “enlivens history and questions the supposed border between the past and the present. She sees possibility in the discarded, weathered, and forgotten.”

Her work is part of a rotating gallery. All art shown at Local to Market comes through the Artists Collective of Westport.

Elizabeth Petrie DeVoll, with her work at Local to Market.

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A free Zoom event featuring Westport child psychiatrist Gwen Lopez-Cohen Dr. Harold Koplewicz is set for next Tuesday (January 18, 7:30 p.m.). They’ll discuss Koplewicz’s new book, The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety.

Koplewicz says that the deliberate buildup and then gradual loosening of parental support (like scaffolding on a building) is the single most effective way to encourage youngsters to climb higher, try new things, grow from mistakes, and develop character and strength.

Click here to register. Sponsors are Schoke Jewish Family Service and the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County.

Dr. Gwen Lopez-Cohen

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An opening reception for the latest George Billis Gallery show — featuring 34 artists curated by New York critic and writer David Masello — is set for Saturday (January 15, 4 to 7 p.m.).

The public is welcome.

Norm Siegel’s “Mona Rolla” oil on canvas is featured at the new George Billis Gallery show.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Marie Gross. She spotted these beautiful birds on Riverside Avenue.

(Photo/Marie Gross)

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And finally … Ronnie Spector died yesterday, after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.

Her career was defined both as the leader of the spectacular Ronettes, and her marriage to the abusive producer Phil Spector.

The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 by Keith Richard of the Rolling Stones.

Ronnie’s sister and fellow Ronette Estelle Bennett died in 2009. But their music will live on for ages.

Roundup: Dog Festival, Banned Books, Social Anxiety,

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Anne Lutz Fernandez is a former English teacher at Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools.

She’s also an author, and a contributing writer for NBC News’ “Think” website.

The other day, she started a “Think” essay this way:

“A few years ago, I was asked to phone a parent who wanted her high school senior to switch English classes. Her daughter had selected the class ‘Women in Fiction,’ but the mother wanted her to take my class instead to avoid books that would go against the family’s Christian beliefs.

“Her daughter would be welcome, I said, but warned that my course, ‘Literature of Suspense,’ might also prove problematic. The books include a lot of crime, some violent, I explained. That’s okay, she replied. Supernatural evil? Not a problem. Substance abuse? Fine. Death, demons, and drugs: all were judged inoffensive. This parent just didn’t want her daughter reading books in which characters have sex.

“Death, demons, and drugs: all were judged inoffensive. This parent just didn’t want her daughter reading books in which characters have sex.

“I’ve been pondering this exchange during Banned Books Week and as numerous states have passed legislation purportedly meant to protect America’s K-12 students from ‘discomfort’ when learning about history or contemporary issues.”

It’s a provocative, insightful essay. To read the rest, click here.

Anne Lutz Fernandez

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Forget the dog days of autumn. This Sunday (October 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  Winslow Park) marks the return of the Westport Dog Festival.

The popular event was knocked out 2 springs in a row by COVID. But you can’t keep a good dog down.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS bring attendees — human and canine — a day filled with fun competitions, kids’ activities, demonstrations, police K9 presentations, giveaways, vendors, food trucks and more.

Piglet — the blind and deaf chihuahua — will be there. So will Earth Animal, presenting prizes for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds, and the dog that most looks like its owner.

Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse, and lots along Post Road East. Tickets are $10 per person; $25 for a family of 4. Proceeds benefit non-profit organizations.

To register for competitions, and more information, click here.

This guy loved the 2017 Dog Festival. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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With little fanfare, the Kings Highway North bridge by Canal Street has reopened to traffic.

In only slightly less time than it took to build the pyramids or create the NASA program that put a man on the moon, crews have completed work on a project that most Westporters never even realized was a bridge.

The new route to Wilton Road from Main Street should ease downtown traffic a bit. Fingers crossed …

A welcome sight, once again. (Photo courtesy of Google Street View)

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Eighteen months into the pandemic, Westport moms want to know as much about COVID as possible.

So tonight (Tuesday, October 5 (8 p.m.), Westport Moms is hosting an Instagram Live session with Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

The former FDA commissioner — and current local resident — will talk about vaccines, kids, and where we go from here.

Westport Moms is a multi-platform resource. Look for @WestportMoms for tonight’s IG Live event.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

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Kids are talking about popularity and social anxiety.

And this week’s “Kids Are Talking” — the online, Westport-based, multi-platform show — tackles that fraught topic. 
This week’s show will be talking about popularity and Social Anxiety.

What does popularity mean to teenagers today? How does pressure to fit in affect self-esteem and confidence? Do the stresses of being popular come at a price, and how important is it?

Click here for the link.

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An update on the GoFundMe drive for Horace Lewis, the beloved Staples High and Coleytown Middle School custodian who suffered a devastating stroke on his anniversary in July.

The goal of $50,000 has been surpassed. Grateful Westporters have donated $54,990 so far. But more is needed, for costs not covered by insurance. He receives physical and occupational therapy, and has still not returned home. Substantial renovations will be needed to make the house accessible for him.

Click here to help Horace. (Hat tip: Andrea Cross)

Horace Lewis

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Three bits of art news:

The George Billis Gallery on Main Street hosts an opening reception this Friday (October 8, 4 to 7 p.m.) for its next exhibition. Artists include Nancy Bass, Paige Bradley, Steve Cosentino and Denise Petit.

On Saturday (October 9, 1 to 3:30 p.m.), One River School of Art + Design presents a solo exhibition of work by Chuck Webster. His mediums include painting, drawing, collage and printmaking. His works are on display through December 19.

And Westporter Steven Parton has been named a Signature Member by the  American Artists Professional League. That brings him one step closer to being recognized as a Living Master by the organization.

Steven Parton, with one of his works.

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Builders Beyond Borders — the international service organization for teenagers — hosts an open house tomorrow (Wednesday, October 6, 66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk, 5:30 to 7 p.m.). Students and their parents are invited to learn more about programs and possibilities.

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As of last Friday, dogs are allowed back at Compo Beach.

Yesterday — right on cue — these pooches enjoyed their freedom. Tracy Porosoff was there to capture this iconic “Westport … Naturally” scene.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … Bob Moore, who played upright bass on hundreds of country music’s biggest hits, died last month in Nashville. He was 88.

The New York Times said: “Over 40 years Mr. Moore elevated the bass in country music from a subordinate timekeeper to an instrument capable of considerable tonal and emotional reach. By turns restrained and robust, his imaginative phrasing revealed a gift for seizing the dramatic moment within a recording or arrangement.” Click here for the full obituary.

Among his most noteworthy recordings:

Roundup: Parking, Jobs, Bagpipes …

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We’ve all seen delivery trucks finding creative places to park. We know — it’s not easy finding a spot. (Though hardly impossible. Sometimes you’ll end up further away than you’d like.)

But yesterday’s restaurant deliverer, um, takes the cake.

Miggs Burroughs — who after a lifetime in Westport is still surprised at some of the things he witnesses — watched as a parking officer diligently tried to find where the driver was delivering.

Eventually he gave up, and wrote a ticket.

Which means this guy was parked there, making things difficult in 2 directions, for quite some time.

So no, to refute a common excuse trotted out by some “06880” commenters, the driver probably did not have a sudden “bathroom emergency.”

(Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

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Last night, the Westport Library presented the North American premiere of “Men of Hope.” The fascinating, way-beyond-soccer documentary follows the Afghanistan national team, as it attempts to qualify for the Asian Cup. Challenges include not just opposing teams, but war, political squabbling and corruption.

When the lights came up, there was a special guest: former Afghan national team captain Djelaludin Sharityar. Now living in New York, he spoke candidly about the problems facing his soccer federation and native land — and lovingly about Afghanistan’s beauty and people.

The Library event was a collaboration with Kicking + Screening. Since 2009, the gloriously named organization has screened hundreds of soccer-related films, raised thousands of dollars for soccer charities, and organized panels, parties, soccer poetry readings and soccer art shows.

Kicking + Screening has (of course) strong Westport roots. Co-founder Rachel Markus — a former “ruthless striker,” and 20-year film industry veteran — lives here.

The film was fascinating. It’s available for livestreaming now through August 1. Click here for details.

Former Afghan national soccer team captain Djelaludin Sharityar made a surprise appearance at the Westport Library last night. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of the Library: If you love it — and who doesn’t? — why not work there?

The downtown institution hosts a job fair next Tuesday (August 3, 5 to 7 p.m.). Positions are available in circulation, IT, building support and the café. Bring your resume. For more information, click here.

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VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 held an open house and Red Cross blood drive yesterday.

Staples High School students Joseph and Michael Pontoriero, with Art Began, played bagpipes to celebrate. Veterans and guests enjoyed the event, which celebrated the state Veteran Service Office, VFW Post 399 Auxiliary, and Catch A Lift.

Of course, the VFW is open to everyone, all the time, to enjoy the facility, food and Saugatuck River views. Click here for more.

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George Billis Gallery hosts a reception today (Friday, July 30, 4 to 7 p.m., 166 Main Street) for its new exhibit. It’s an invitational group show, with over 45 artists.

Among them: “Cruising the Hudson,” an oil on canvas (below) by James Wolford.

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Sure, “Westport … Naturally” gets lots of images of flowers and shrubs. And birds, swans, ducks and rabbits.

But this is Westport. So, naturally, “06880” readers’ favorite photo ops are …

(Photo/Karen Weingarten)

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And finally … in honor of the musical entertainment at yesterday’s VFW open house:

 

Roundup: Le Penguin, Portables, Jim Himes …

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Each year, the American Institute of Architects’ Connecticut chapter sponsors a “Connecticut Treasures” contest.

The public is invited to explore the wealth and diversity of buildings from each of our state’s 8 counties. Then they vote on their favorite — based on design, historical relevance, or just because it’s the county they live in.

This year’s theme is “theaters.” The Fairfield County entrant is the Westport Country Playhouse.

Voting ends Friday (July 23, 11:59 p.m.). Click here for details.

Will the Westport Country Playhouse be this year’s AIA state treasure?

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From the Pickle Barrel to Blue Lemon and — most recently — Le Penguin, the building in the corner of Sconset Square nearest the Post Road has been many things.

It will soon be something else. When we find out exactly what, you’ll be the first to know.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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It took a while. But the portable classrooms at Bedford Middle School are finally back on the road.

They were used when Coleytown Middle School was closed, due to mold. The school reopened in January.

Moving the massive structures was not easy. The turn from into the exit drive, from the north side of the school, was tight. And the parking lots are the the midst of a repaving project, making the going extra tough.

The portables served us well, when we needed them. Now they’re are on their way to some other district, for some other reason.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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Congressman Jim Himes was in town last Saturday, for a “town hall” meeting at the Westport Library.

If you couldn’t get there — or want another chance to talk to your representative — he’s hosting a virtual town hall this afternoon (Tuesday, July 20, 5:30 p.m.).

Click here to submit a video question. Click here to watch the event, on Himes’ Facebook page.

Congressman Jim Himes, at a previous “town hall” meeting.

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He’s still 8 years away from his driver’s license. But 8-year-old Dylan Rosen got a glimpse of the good life Sunday, at the Westport PAL classic car show.

This Camaro was cool 60 years before he was born. It still is.

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Dylan may be only 8 years old. But I’d bet the farm he can park better than a somehow-licensed driver, who walked away from this job on Riverside Avenue:

(Photo/Michael Chait)

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Still speaking of cars: This morning’s post about traffic woes in town drew plenty of comments.

Stephanie Bass has her own thoughts. This sign sits outside her Old Mill-area home:

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Ben & Jerry’s is on one side of the Middle East controversy. Morton Williams is on the other.

The Vermont-based ice cream maker announced it will no longer sell in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In response, the New York supermarket change is slashing its Ben & Jerry’s products by 70%, will stop promoting it in its weekly ads, and will demote the brand to the “least desirable locations” of its freezers.

That quote comes from Avi Kaner, Morton Williams co-owner, and former Westport 2nd selectman and Board of Finance chair.

He explained: “Of all the places in the world to boycott, Ben & Jerry’s has chosen to target the one Jewish nation in the world.”

Click here for the full New York Post story.

Avi Kaner in a Bronx Morton Williams store. (Photo/Danny Ghitis for the New York Times)

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I try to stay away from beach sunrise or sunset photos. I get up to 10 a day, and can’t possibly use 99% of them. (Gentle hint…)

But this shot was different. Here’s how to make the “06880” sunrise cut:

(Photo/Kevin Carroll)

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George Billis Gallery on Main Street hosts a free, open cocktail reception for its next group show tomorrow (Wednesday, July 21, 5 to 7 p.m.).

Featured artists include Derek Buckner, Julian Cardinal, Alice Federico, Paul Pitsker, Jeffrey Reed and Jarvis Wilcox.

“Key Bird” (Paul Pitsker)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image is from Judith Katz’s garden of earthly delights.

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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And finally … on this date in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk walk on the moon. Ten others have followed. The last 2 — Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt — made the journey in 1972.

There are squintillions of songs with “moon” in the title. These are a few favorites:

Roundup: Darlene Love, Emmy Nominees, Kicking + Screening …

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Only a few tickets remain for Darlene Love’s sure-to-be-great benefit show tomorrow night (Friday, July 16, 7:30 p.m.)) at the Levitt Pavilion.

She’s a legend. Under Phil Spector, she sang lead on the Crystals’ “He’s a Rebel.” She worked with everyone from Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick and the Beach Boys to Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Sonny & Cher. She performed on Broadway (“Hairspray,” “Grease,” and as herself in the first jukebox musical ever, “Leader of the Pack”), then won a Grammy for her featured role in the Oscar-winning “20 Feet From Stardom,” about backup singers.

She’s ranked among Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers. And in 2011, she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

As an added attraction, she’ll be joined by Westport’s own Crispin Cioe. A legend himself — he’s a renowned music director, saxophonist, composer and songwriter who has played and recorded with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Solomon Burke, Tom Waits, Ray Charles and the Ohio Players — he calls Darlene Love “my soul and inspiration.”

Click here for the few remaining tickets.

Darlene Love (right) and Crispin Cioe (left) will rock the Levitt on Friday.

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The 2021 Emmy nominations are in. And at least 3 have Westport ties.

Two nominees are from the very same Staples High School class. Kerri Kenney-Silver is up for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her role as Deputy Trudy Wiegel in “Reno 911!”

Here 1988 classmate Eric Beetner was nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program. He edited “The Amazing Race.”

Up for an Emmy for Outstanding Music Supervision for “Halston” is Amanda Krieg Thomas. Her father, Peter Krieg, graduated from Staples in 1969.

I am sure there are plenty of other Emmy nominations with Westport connections. Email dwoog@optonline.net, and I’ll give them their due. (Hat tip: Bonnie Erickson)

Emmy Award

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Kicking + Screening may be the world’s biggest celebration of soccer culture.

Since 2009, the gloriously named organization has screened hundreds of soccer-related films, raised thousands of dollars for soccer charities, and organized panels, parties, soccer poetry readings and soccer art shows.

Kicking + Screening has (of course) strong Westport roots. Co-founder Rachel Markus — a former “ruthless striker,” and 20-year film industry veteran — lives here.

(Co-founder Greg Lalas — brother of former national team star Alexi Lalas — has been MLS vice president of content and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated and The New York Times. He is on the board of Soccer Without Borders.)

COVID brought a halt to in-person movie showings. But Kicking + Screening is ready to start up again.

And their first show is right here in Westport.

The North American premiere of “Men of Hope” is set for the Westport Library on Thursday, July 29 (7 p.m.). The fascinating-way-beyond-soccer documentary follows the Afghanistan national team, as it attempts to qualify for the Asian Cup. Challenges include war, political squabbling, corruption — and some formidable opponents.

Click here for tickets. For more information on Kicking + Screening, click here.

(Can’t make the July 29 Library screening? “Men of Hope” is available to stream from July 30 through August 1, through the link above.)

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For a while, Earthplace has struggled to raise money to feed and support its animals. The need is great, for everything from weekly produce for Animal Hall ($50) to a month’s supply of food for the bald eagles, Cerena and Chatty ($250).

Now — in the midst of a fundraising drive — several donors have stepped up. They’ll match all pledges up to $20,000. That would cover the animal program’s cost for a full year. Click here to help.

Cerena, one of Earthplace’s 2 bald eagles, can’t go hungry!

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Earthplace does not feed bears. But — as part of their educational mission, particularly during this summer when several Westporters have had close encounters of the ursine kind — the Woodside Lane center is sponsoring a free program about bears.

On Wednesday, July 28 (7 p.m., Earthplace amphitheater), Connecticut master wildlife conservationist Felicia Ortner will provide “bear facts” — and dispel myths and misunderstandings.

This was the scene recently, off Weston, (Photo/Denny Galindo)

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Two days ago, our “06880” Roundup featured a photo of a car whose 4 wheels — probably because of the rims — had been stolen, on the top floor of the Wilton Road parking garage.

Today’s shot — eerily similar — is from the eastbound side of the Westport train station.

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

Pretty brazen, in these days of security cameras everywhere.

And boy, those rims must be really cool.

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A closing reception for the George Billis Gallery “Summer Escape” pop-up exhibit is set for next Wednesday (July 21, 5 to 7 p.m., 166 Main Street).

Artwork includes oceans, beaches, pools, sailboats, waterscapes, and paintings inspired by travel around the US and Europe. Westporter Dale Najarian is a featured artist.

“Compo Beach,” oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

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Jeffrey Evans died peacefully in the company of family in Cumming, Georgia on Sunday. He was 64., and lived in Westport for over 35 years.

A graduate of Staples High School, Jeff had a successful career in communication technology sales.

Jeffrey Evans

Jeff was known for his ready smile and constant humor. He was an excellent golfer and dancer. He enjoyed music, and went on many travel adventures with his wife.

He is survived by his wife, Diane Evans; daughters Adriana and Theresa of Connecticut; stepdaughters Brandi Garner and Kristin Baxter of Georgia; sister Valerie Russell of North Carolina, and 8 grandchildren. His family says, “His generous heart and wonderful spirit will be deeply missed by all who knew him.”

A memorial service will take place at Christ Church in Greenwich on Sunday, July 25 (2 p.m.). In lieu of Flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Jeff’s name to your favorite non-profit organization.

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The Westport Farmer’s Market is open today (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Imperial Avenue parking lot).

But a few steps away, at Baron’s South, you can snag some free raspberries. How’s that for “Westport … Naturally”?!

(Photo/Jay Dirnberger)

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And finally … speaking of those delicious raspberries (above):

Roundup: Shore Birds, Sundance, Swimsuits …

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An American oystercatcher is nesting at Compo Beach.

Parks & Rec is on the case.

Department staff has strung rope around the site, keeping people away from the fragile bird and her eggs. A sign offers information about her habits.

Another sign describes other threatened shorebirds. It’s fascinating to read.

And heed.

The oystercatcher sign …

… and another, describing piping plovers and least terns. (Photos/Dinkin Fotografik)

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An excited “06880” reader writes:

I’ll admit I got a little breathless when I received a Sundance email headlined, “Visit Our New Store in Westport.”

Westport?! This catalog has served as my retail therapy vision board for years; the source of countless subtle, dog-eared “tips” I’ve left for my spouse re birthday and holiday gifts.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Robert Redford-stamped brand, think Millie Rae’s meets Anthropologie — high-end, carefully curated, bohemian-Southwest-y silver and gold jewelry, as well as clothes, shoes and housewares.

I can’t wait to see how they deck out their brick-and-mortar store on Main Street (the former Ann Taylor — it’s only their 18th retail location). Am I excited enough about it to get the free gift for booking an “early access appointment”?

Why yes, actually, I might be. If they do this right, I think it’s about as perfect a fit for Westport as any catalogue-come-to-life could be.

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Last year, during the darkest days of the pandemic, the Westport Garden Club’s “Friday Flowers” project brightened up our town. Once a week, members placed beautiful bouquets at very visible spots.

The Garden Club has picked up again this year. The first Friday Flowers of 2021 was delivered to Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Keep your eyes open every week. And if you see a Westport Garden Club member: thank her!

Friday Flowers at the church entrance. (Photo/Pat Nave)

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Speaking of Saugatuck Church: Boy Scout Troop 36 — which they sponsor, and provide meeting space for — helped make yesterday’s mattress recycling drive a huge success.

The Scouts picked up 34 mattresses and box springs throughout town. Then they headed to Earthplace, and helped load the items into a truck.

The Scouts’ efforts doubled the number of items received during Sustainable Westport’s project

Troop 36 Scouts also volunteered at Earthplace, filling containers with free compost for residents.

Boy Scout Troop 36 members, with mattresses and the recycling truck.

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Tracy Rosen offers a shout-out for a local business.

The other afternoon, she and a friend went to Shearwater for coffee. But they close at 4 p.m.

They decided instead to have a glass of wine next door, at Ignazio’s Pizza.

“They couldn’t have been nicer!” Tracy says.

“They set up a table for us outside, and lit a wood-burning fire pit. They were so hospitable,  just letting us sit there with our wine, never pushing us to order anything else. But their pizza smells amazing!”

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Westport PAL’s motto is “It’s all about the kids.”

And kids of all ages love car shows.

The PAL is sponsoring one on June 20 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., railroad station parking lot near Railroad Place and Franklin Street). In addition to cool cars, there’s food and raffle prizes.

Tickets are $15 each. But kids — that is, anyone under 12 — are free. Of course.

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The other day, “06880” highlighted the Connecticut Preservation Award for 70 Turkey Hill South.

An award ceremony was held last week, via Zoom. Here’s a video of all 10 awards. The Westport one begins at 16;13. (Hat tip: Bob Weingarten)

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There’s always something new at George Billis Gallery.

An opening reception this Friday (May 14, 4 to 7 p.m.) showcases “A Glimpse Ahead.” The figurative exhibit focuses on summer, with artwork that includes swimmers, surfers, pool scenes and waterscapes. The aim is to create a sense of peace, relaxation and joy.

Among the artists: Westporter Dale Najarian. She contributes abstracted waterscapes on canvas and wood panel.

The exhibit runs through June 13.

“Jewel Landscape,” oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

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And finally … Happy Mother’s Day, to every “06880” mother out there.

None of us would be here without you. We love you, moms!

Roundup: Longshore Pool, Chickens, High Honors …

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Several “06880” readers have asked: Will the Longshore pool open this summer?

Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava says: “We anticipate opening. We are awaiting further guidance from the state. We are currently working on procedures based on requirements.”

Westporters eagerly anticipate seeing this again. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

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Speaking of Longshore: Jackie Perrotta spotted this hardy tree — growing through a rock — near the golf course:

“We gave it a tug to see if it’s real. It is quite sturdy,” she reports.

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It’s spring, which means you’ve been thinking about raising chickens.

Or maybe you already have a flock, but want to learn more about organic nutrition or chicken swings.

Cluck — I mean, click — on a link next Monday (April 12, 7 p.m.).

Bruce Benedict (Benedict’s Home and Garden) and Mackenzie Chauncey (Kent Nutrition Group) will tell you (virtually) everything you want to know about starting and raising your own backyard flock.

Bruce will walk you through the best coops, breeds and feeders to keep your birds happy and healthy. Mackenzie will guide you through feeding, from baby chicks to laying hens, and all their nutritional needs along the way. You’ll also see how see how WTF is raising their own chicks.

Click here to register. NOTE: Like raising chickens, this is a family affair — suitable for all ages.

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In June, 19 Staples High School students will graduate with High Honors. That’s the top 4% of the graduating class.

Principal Stafford Thomas says, “the most astonishing aspect of this accomplishment is that these students were involved in a number of extracurricular activities and various aspects of school life, which took a great deal of time, focus and concentration outside of the classroom as well. We were lucky to have had them for 4 years. We will no doubt be hearing about their next great achievements in the years to come.”

High Honors students are listed below, under the photos.

From left: Assistant principal Patrick Micinilio, Gary Lu, Principal Stafford Thomas,  Carolyn Everett, Emma Dantas, Claire Redmer, Claire Lee, Sophia Lauterbach, Hanna Even, Simon Rubin

From left to right: Samantha Webster, Nasir Wynruit, Andrea Bautista, Henry Portman, Charlotte Zhang, Rishabh Mandayam, Teagan Smith, Alexander Toglia, Elana Atlas, Konur Nordberg.

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MoCA Westport’s opening reception for its new “Smash” exhibit was — come on, this is too easy — a smash.

Contemporary artist Marilyn Minter’s videos are exhibited together for the first time in a public institution.

The show includes her custom-designed AMC Pacer, featuring an interior, surround viewing of her work “Green Pink Caviar” — shown for the first time ever.

Click here for more information.

Marilyn Minter’s AMC Pacer. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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Speaking of art: George Billis Gallery on Main Street announces a new show: “Cityscapes.” More than 15 artists exhibit a variety of works.

Opening reception is this Friday (April 9, 4 to 7 p.m.). It runs through May 9.

“Day in the Square” (Glenn Ness), at George Billis Gallery.

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And finally … on this day in 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo.” The rest is history.

Roundup: Library Reopening, Light Up Westport, More

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The Westport Library returns soon to its December COVID schedule.

Effective Monday, February 8, appointments will no longer to browse the adult collection, speak with a librarian or use an Express computer.

Patrons visiting the Children’s Library, MakerSpace, media studios and store must still make appointments. Click here for more information.

The Library will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will remain closed on Sunday. Entrance is only through the upper parking lot doors.

Late fees will continue to be waived. Conference and meeting rooms will remain closed.

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For 4 years, WestportMoms has lit up Westport online. Now the multi-platform group wants to do so — literally.

Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post have launched “Light Up Westport.” The “appreciation project” charity fundraiser encourages people to send luminaries and personal notes of gratitude to friends, local businesses and first responders.

On February 4 (7 p.m.), participants should place their luminary in front of their homes or stores. They’ll light up the town.

They’ll then share photos on social media, and tag #lightupwestport.

Click here to order luminary kits. They include a WSPT luminary, note card and LED tea light. Volunteers will deliver them the day before the event.

All proceeds will go to Filling in the Blanks. The organization provides weekend meals to needy children throughout Fairfield County. WestportMoms have partnered with Ali Dorfman of Purpose 2 Purchase on this initiative.

WSPT luminary. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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If you haven’t visited George Billis Gallery, you’re missing a great addition to Westport.

The newest addition to Main Street — in space formerly occupied by Jonathan Adler — announces its first big events.

An international exhibition, is set for February 5-28. There’s an opening reception from 3 to 7 p.m., including a Zoom walk-through with juror Lisa Cooper from 3 to 3:30.

The exhibit features over 30 national and international artists presenting painting, photography, sculpture and works on paper.

George Billis Gallery, 166 Main Street.

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“06880” is looking for stringers/interns to cover town meetings: Board of Education, Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen. Town knowledge, enthusiasm, writing chops, ability to watch for hours needed. Perfect for bored college students and anyone else interested in town affairs. Interested? Email dwoog@optonline.net

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Bernie Sanders is a very impatient guy.

He was spotted yesterday outside Gold’s, waiting for bagels and lox …

(Meme courtesy of Our Town Crier)

… and then at Loeffler Field, waiting for the 2021 soccer season to begin.

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And finally … on this day in 1996, “Rent” opened officially at the New York Theatre Workshop. It was a bittersweet moment: composer/playwright Jonathan Larson died hours before, from an aneurysm.

Twenty-five years later, his work is considered one of the most monumental and important musicals of all time.