Tag Archives: Greens Farms Garden Club

Roundup: Techno Claus, Ukraine Aid, Blue Sunday …

For the 14th year in a row yesterday, “CBS Sunday Morning” featured modern gift ideas from “Techno Claus.”

Each year, the clever, rhyming St. Nick bears a striking resemblance to David Pogue.

And, as often happens, some of the shots in the segment bear a striking resemblance to our Westport neighbor’s home and neighborhoood.

Click below to see if you agree. As a bonus you’ll get some great ideas, on everything from a Zoom meeting “mute alert” and rechargeable hand warmers to a “cable crud” organizer and automobile back window message system.

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It was not the usual collection request.

Rather than toys, food, books or cash, Mark Yurkiw asked for new generators, chainsaws, kerosene heaters, flashlights, sleeping bags, cellphone power banks — the kind of important, durable things Ukraine needs to withstand the continued bombardment by Russia.

A shipping container was headed overseas in a few days. Westporters responded to Mark’s request — quickly and generously.

He received at least one of everything he requested, in an “06880” post. This photo shows some of the donations (in the nation’s famous blue and yellow colors).

But, Mark, notes, “Ukraine is a large country. They can use everything.”

There is still a day before a truck will be loaded.

Donations can be brought to 190 Cross Highway and left by the barn. For questions or pickup arrangements, call Mark: 646-873-0050.

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The last concert of Mark Naftalin’s “Blue Sunday” jazz series filled the Westport Library yesterday with great music, and appreciative music fans.

James Montgomery headlined the finale. In a long career, he’s earned plenty of honors.

So has the series host. Naftalin — a Westport resident — is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, for his work with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

James Montgomery (center), Mark Naftalin (piano, far left) and friends, at yesterday’s Westport Library “Blue Sunday” show. (Photo/Dennis Jackson)

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As seniors race to finish their college applications before the January 1 deadline — and their parents worry about paying for the next 4 years — there’s help in sight.

Staples Tuition Grants is open for applications (click here). Seniors and current college students with demonstrated financial need have until April 9 to apply for STG aid.

Last year, the 81-year-old organization gave over $400,000 in grants, to more than 100 students.

STG could not do it without the help of donors. As they gear up for another season of high demand, the non-profit reminds “06880” readers of the importance of donations. Click here to help.

 

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Last week’s Greens Farms Garden Club annual wreath-making and holiday lunch was both festive and functional.

The group gathered at the Connecticut Audubon Society. Their work can now be seen throughout Westport, Fairfield and Bridgeport, at the Bigelow Center for Seniors, Earthplace, Gillespie Center, Greens Farms post office, Wakeman Town Farms, CT Audubon Society, Fairfield Historical Society, Victorian Cottage, St. John’s Family Center, Mercy Learning Center, St. Timothy’s, STAR Inc., Sturges Ridge, CLASP, nOURish Bridgeport, and the Greens Farms, Southport and Fairfield train stations.

Greens Farms Garden Club members, and their wreaths.

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Westport Community Gardens director — and nature photographer extraordinaire — Lou Weinberg explains today’s “Westport … Naturally” image:

“The winter plumage of the goldfinch is muted. They love when we leave the coneflower stalks standing. Coneflower is an important food source for the birds and the bees. Don’t cut it down!”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … today is National Ding-a-Ling Day. (Don’t believe me? Click here.)

We’re supposed to get in touch with (“ding-a-ling”) family and friends we’ve lost touch with.

Most of us are too busy today to do that. (Which is why we lost touch in the first place). But for a couple of minutes, we can listen to Chuck Berry’s only (somehow) #1 hit:

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(Where else but “06880” can you find David Pogue, the Greens Farms Garden Club and Chuck Berry on the same page? Please click here to support this blog. Thank you!)

 

 

 

Roundup: Tree Lightings, World Cup, Staples Football …

‘Tis the season to be … tree-lighting.

Twin ceremonies take place this week.

The “official” town event is Thursday (December 1, 5 p.m., Town Hall). The evergreen by Myrtle Avenue will glow, and Staples High School’s Orphenians will sing.

The next night (Friday, December 2, 4:30 p.m.), it’s Wakeman Town Farm’s turn. This one features treats from The Porch, hot chocolate from The Granola Bar, a bonfire and local musicians.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker does the honors at both. She’ll be joined at WTF by Wakeman family member Bill Constantino.

The Christmas tree at Town Hall, following a lighting ceremony.

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The huge Trefz Forum screen at the Westport Library is not just for author talks and music concerts.

Today (Tuesday) at 2 p.m., they’ll show the equally huge US-Iran World Cup first round match.

How huge? If we win, we advance to the round of 16. If we tie or lose, we’re out.

You don’t need to be a soccer fan to enjoy this one. Everyone is welcome.

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Are you a fan of the other football, but didn’t get a chance to see the Staples High School football team’s dramatic 39-38 win over archrival Greenwich on Thanksgiving Day?

Click below, for a very cool highlight video. It was produced and edited by senior Daniel Burgin, with video shot by junior Charlie Scott.

The win vaulted the Wreckers into tonight’s state “LL” quarterfinal playoff game against Fairfield Prep (6:30 p.m., Staples’ Paul Lane Field). It’s the blue-and-whites’ first post-season appearance in 7 years.

Can’t make that one either? Click here for the livestream.

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“Fine jewelry” and “rescue animals” may never have appeared in the same sentence.

Thanks to JL Rocks, they do now.

The high-end Post Road East retailer partnered with designer Peggy Reiner, for a new collection of whimsical animal-inspired pieces. Proceeds benefit PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) in Norwalk and 4LittlePaws rescue in Southport.

“It’s a great gift that gives back to pets in need,” says JL Rocks founder/owner Jamie Camche. “Animals have given us so much. We want to give back to them.”

The collection features 3 diamond-studded designs: petite 14K gold pawprint earrings, 14K gold chains with diamond pave dog bone, and paw charms. It’s  available at JL Rocks’ Westport and Greenwich stores, and online.

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Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?” debuted on Netflix this month. The docuseries is about the Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. court case — you know, the one where the college kid thought he found a loophole in a Pepsi promotion, and sued them to win a fighter plane. Reviews were good.

The “06880” connection: 2007 Staples High School graduate Nick Boak is an executive producer.

Spoiler alert: The guy never got his jet. (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

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Face painter alert!

We need a face painter for this weekend’s Holiday Stroll (Saturday, December 3, 5 to 7 p.m., Main Street and environs).

If you (or your daughter or son) are available to help with this great kids’ activity, please email 06880blog@gmail.com.

For more details on the Holiday Stroll — co-sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association — including the nearly 40 participating retailers and restaurants — click here.

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The weekend weather report is good. But Bedford Middle School will be “Frozen.”

On December 2, 3 and 4, Bedford Acting Group takes the stage in “Frozen Jr.”

The 7th and 8th grade actors were toddlers when the movie hit theaters in 2013 (!),  Yet they know its characters and songs well. At last, they can perform it.

The curtain rises Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (3 and 7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). Click here for the few remaining tickets.

The Bedford Acting Group cast and crew of “Frozen Jr.”

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What has the Greens Farms Garden Club been up to?

Every year they design and maintain the Atrium Garden at Earthplace in Westport, and the Victorian Cottage on Fairfield’s Town Green.

They provide horticultural therapy events at STAR in Norwalk, and make flower arrangements for the Pequot Library Art Show.

The Greens Farms Garden Club also manages 3 “Growing for Good” gardens:  Prospect Garden and Wakeman Town Farm in Westport, and St. Timothy’s Church Garden in Fairfield.

They were planted and cared for throughout spring, summer and fall, with over 180 buckets of fresh organic produce harvested and donated to help with food insecurity at Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center in Bridgeport.

A highlight of the year came at the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut 93rd annual awards luncheon. Wynn Herrmann — a 30-year veteran — was recognized for Civic Development. Dina Schmidt and Jude earned Certificates of Merit for the club’s monthly newsletters and website, respectively.

For more information about the Greens Farms Garden Club, including events and membership, click here.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (seated, from left): Chris Supernaw, Wynn Herrmann, Judy Reynolds, Ann Watkins. Standing: Kate Carroll, president Kathy Mitchell, Carol Shear, Jude Smith, vice president Maybette Waldron.

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Fewer than 5% of rainbows occur in the morning (according to Google). And the ones that do are most often seen in summer (ditto).

But yesterday — driving to work on the Merritt Parkway — this is what Larry Bartimer saw:

(Photo/Larry Bartimer)

We could probably blame the same culprit as everything else. (No, not Joe Biden — climate change.)

Nah. Just chill, and enjoy this very rare late November scene.

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Melissa Newman headlines a cool evening of hot jazz this Thursday, at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

Westport’s own vocal star is joined for Jazz at the Post by guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Bobby Leonard,

There are 2 shows: 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Melissa Newman

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“A Charlie Brown Christmas” — Vince Guaraldi’s timeless, feel-good music — gets the jazz treatment on Saturday (December 3).

The Heather Pierson Trio comes to the Westport Unitarian Church’s Voices Café at 4 p.m., for an in-person and livestreamed holiday concert.

Show-goers can bring snacks and beverages. Groups of 4 or more can reserve tables. For more information and tickets, click here.

Voices Café and its artists are committed to social justice. A portion of the proceeds benefit the battle against food insecurity, through Mercy Learning Center.

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It’s late November. But the leaves on a few trees are still hanging on.

Fred Cantor photographed one of them at Old Mill Beach. Its a vivid reminder of the “Westport … Naturally” beauty that surrounds us everywhere we look.

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … in honor of today’s crucial World Cup clash between the US and Iran (story above), here is the greatest pump-up soccer song ever. Crank the volume up to Spinal Tap 11, and enjoy!

(Wave that flag for “06880”! Please click here to  support our work.)

Roundup: Ice Cream, Dog Fest, Plant Sale …

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

The Porch @ Christie’s ice cream hut opens today, next to the popular Cross Highway deli/coffee shop. They’ll serve from 2 to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, noon to 5 p.m. weekends, all spring and summer long.

The Porch uses J Foster local small batch ice cream. Dairy-free sorbet is also available.

The Porch ice cream hut.

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We’ve all gotten doggy bags at restaurants. We’ve also moved way past the fib of saying we’re taking the rest of our meal home to out dogs.

On Wednesday, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce volunteers filled 1,000 actual “doggy bags.”

They’re stuffed with free swag from sponsors of the annual Dog Festival. It’s set for Sunday (May 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Winslow Park.

Some of the treats will be for you. Many of them are actually, truly, honestly for Fido.

Stuffing doggy bags.

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Can’t get to today’s Westport Garden Club plant sale on Jesup Green? (There’s still time: It ends at 1:30 p.m.). Forgot or otherwise missed it? Or maybe you just can’t get enough plants.

You’re in luck. Greens Farms Garden Club follows with their own plant sale and garden boutique tomorrow (Saturday, May 14). It’s 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sherman Green in Fairfield.

I don’t know of any plant sales on Sunday. Maybe you can spend the day planting.

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CLASP — the great organization that runs group homes for adults with disabilities in Westport and other area towns — needs a few items.

To provide any from the list below — or donate funds toward their purchase — call 203-226-7895, ext. 144, or email rhammond@clasphomes.org.

  • ·     Gardening supplies (seeds, plants, soil, gloves, gardening tools)
  • ·     Yard décor (birdbaths or feeders, statues) and yard games
  • ·     Pop-up canopy with screens
  • ·     Gas grill
  • ·     Deck furniture
  • ·     Picnic table
  • ·     Carpeting
  • ·     Painting (interior and exterior).

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Not long ago, Westport Police participated in the state’s distracted driving campaign. They nabbed dozens of drivers.

Now it’s time to buckle up.

They’re joining the state Department of Transportation “Click It or Ticket” campaign. Officers will be vigorously enforcing seat belt laws, for drivers and passengers.

Connecticut law requires that drivers and passengers in the front seat, regardless of the age, as well as all children under 16 anywhere in a vehicle, to wear seat belts. Fines start at $92 for the first offense. For more information, click here.

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Westport resident Aiden Rourke has been selected as one of 8 Lawrenceville School Heely Scholars for the 2022-23 school year.  

The honor goes to rising 5th formers who demonstrate a keen interest and ability in American history.

Heely Scholars will spend 2 weeks this summer exploring World War II material in the school’s archives. In the fall they will take an advanced research seminar.

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While walking his little coton dog down Burr School Road this week, Gregg Tenser saw a feathered friend take a close look back. Gregg wondered if he was sizing up the dog for breakfast.

Here’s a great “Westport … Naturally” shot of an intense look, from a perch in a tree.

(Photo/Gregg Tenser)

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And finally … with all the plant sales going on today and tomorrow (see above), why not honor the greatest Plant of all?

 

 

Roundup: Dolphins, Play With Your Food …

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Saugatuck Shores residents got a treat yesterday.

Three dolphins swam into Bermuda Lagoon. They played. They stayed. As of this morning, they were still there.

In tough times, they brought smiles to many faces. (Hat tip: Sara Kempner)

(Photos/Gina Beranek)

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Remarkable STEAM — the Maker Faire people — has branched out to support Ukraine.

Thanks to them, you can too.

They’ve created 2 pins — a big one,($10) and a smaller one ($7). All proceeds support charitable causes, including the Red Cross’ Ukraine projects.

Each pin is hand made, so large orders may take a couple of days. Click here for more information, and to order.

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Play With Your Food — the popular lunchtime play-reading series — returns to the stage  this month, after 2 years of virtual and outdoor performances.

The date is March 16, at MoCA Westport. The Newtown Turnpike museum has spacious seating for theater and lunching.

PWYF also returns to Fairfield Theater Company (March 15) and Greenwich Arts Council (March 17).

The first program is a tribute to Stephen Sondheim. Broadway veteran (and Westport-based) actress Stacie Morgain Lewis performs with Brian J. Carter the poignant one-act play “Move on or Sondheim at Studio 54. Also on tap: “The Donor” and “Big Date.”

Following the plays and talkbacks, there are boxed lunches catered by Gruel Britannia (Westport & Fairfield) and Meli Melo (Greenwich).

Tickets $60 each, $224 for a 4-month subscription. For more information click here, or call 203-293-8729.  

The Play With Your Food March cast.

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Pippa Bell Ader is one of Westport’s go-to environmental experts.

You can be too. On April 5 (11 a.m., Pequot Library, Southport), the Greens Farms Garden Club hosts her presentation of “Sustainable Westport and Its Initiatives.”

Learn how to reduce waste, help the environment, and make a difference. The public is invited. RSVP: greensfarmsgc@gmail.com.

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There is no — and I mean no — Westport/entertainment connection that gets by Fred Cantor. He spotted a New York Times obituary of Alan Ladd Jr., and connected the dots:

“Perhaps his biggest claim to fame was acquiring the rights to ‘Star Wars’ when it was just a concept.

“What I did not know until reading this was that Jeff Berg, who spent the first part of his childhood here, was the very young agent in 1973 who represented George Lucas, and who brought it to Alan Ladd Jr.’s attention.

“Berg went on to become chairman of ICM — and ‘Star Wars’ went on to be one of the biggest franchises in movie history.

“Berg’s love of movies most likely began right here at the Fine Arts Theater. But could he ever have imagined as a kid that one day a movie concept he was trying to promote would wind up on the marquee of the Fine Arts — and that it would change the way Hollywood approached movie-making?”

For good measure, Fred sends a photo he took in 1977, of the Fine Arts Theater. Playing at Fine Arts I that day was — of course — “Star Wars.”

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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Congratulations to the Coleytown Middle School Math Club. They finished first in the unofficial statewide Mathcounts competition, by a wide margin. Congrats to Bedford’s team too, which came in 3rd.

MoCA Westport is looking for counselors (ages 16 and up) and counselors in training (14 to 16) at Camp MoCA Westport this summer.

The camp runs June 10 through August 26, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. A minimum 4-week commitment (preferably consecutive) is required. And yes, it’s a paying gig.

To apply, click here.

MoCA campers and staff members.

 

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Next “up” in the Westport Astronomical Society’s free online lecture series: “Swinging Around the Sun with the Parker Solar Probe.”

NASA project scientist Dr. Nour E. Raouafi is the virtual guest on March 15 (8 p.m.). Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube livestream.

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Peter Cook, of Westport and Boothbay Harbor, Maine, died suddenly at his home in Maine  on Wednesday. He was 65.

A star athlete in high school, he played football at the University of Maine. After graduation he had an accomplished career as a group insurance executive with Unum, The Hartford, Aetna and Guardian Life.

A Westport resident since 1993, Peter loved the town and community, especially Compo Beach and the Ned Dimes Marina, Staples High School sports, and JoyRide Cycling.

After retiring, he fulfilled lifelong dreams by pursuing positions within the Boothbay community. He worked at Hodgdon Yacht Services, combining his love for the water, boats, his community and its people. His friends called him an “aquatic transportation engineer.”

He also served on the board of the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library, overseeing their capital campaign for a new addition. An avid reader, he instilled that love in his children.

Peter loved nothing better than spending time with his family at their compound on Appalachee Pond. Among his greatest joys were golfing, watching his children’s athletic accomplishments, spending time on the water on his boat Heavenly Days, and playing with his grandchildren and grandnieces. He savored and boasted about his wife’s gourmet meals and decadent desserts.

Peter also enjoyed spinning, yoga, and smoking an occasional Winston Churchill cigar.

His family says: “Peter had a very determined outlook. Some might say he was competitive, but it proved to be one of his best character traits as he doggedly overcame obstacles and constructed a very fulfilling life. He daydreamed about how he would spend his latter years with his family, what projects and house renovations he would undertake, and where he would travel with his wife, children, and their children.

Peter is survived by his wife Jacqueline; daughter Julie Hoadley (Ryan), and sons Matthew (Carlie) and Jason (Kayla); grandsons Quinn and Forrest, and siblings Cathlene Parkhurst, Michael Cook, Mary Jane Tracy and their families.

A memorial service will be held this Wednesday (March 9, 2 p.m., Greens Farms Congregational Church).
Donations in Peter’s name can be made to Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library.
To extend online condolences, light a candle for Peter or share a story or picture, click here.

Peter Cook

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Human beings stay warm by huddling together. So did these guys at Compo Beach, in today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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And finally … Bob Wills was born today, in 1905. He’s one of the founders of Western swing, and his Texas Playboys remain among the best of the genre. Wills died in 1975.

Roundup: Hideaway Trees, Snow, Greens Farms Church …

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SIR Development’s Rob Haroun responds to yesterday’s photo of trees that were recently cut on Hideaway Lane, off Hillspoint Road. He says:

“The 7 or 8 trees, most of which are on town property as shown in the Google Earth photo and acknowledged by the Westport tree warden, were all posted for removal. No one objected.

“After the requisite period of time and with permission from the tree warden, the trees were removed, some by the town. This was due to the extreme hazard to walkers and vehicles and the lack of maintenance over many years both by the town and the prior owner of 149 Hillspoint.

“The Google Earth photo (below) shows how the trees in the background leaned perilously over Hillspoint Road. Even though most of them were town trees, the tree warden requires replacement trees, from the town-approved list, which will be planted in the fall.

“Additionally, the ‘after’ photo (below) was not taken from the same vantage point as the Google Earth photo, as it does not show the remaining trees on both the left and right sides of Hideaway Lane.”

(Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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It was just a dusting. But this morning’s early, gentle snowfall gave a bit of a boost to the feeling of Christmas.

With so many Westporters hunkered down — quarantining, awaiting test results, anxious — this wintry weather may not be all that we asked for.

But it’s just what we need.

Harvest Commons, earlier today. (Photo/Peter Swift)

Meanwhile, look closely at Pam Kesselman’s photo:

(Photo/Pam Kessselman)

There are 2 hearts.

Coincidence? Or the magic of Christmas?

Who cares?! Enjoy!

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It’s hardly a surprise that Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario — Staples High School’s 2 Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers — have images in this year’s “Year in Pictures” supplement.

Tyler’s was taken on July 12 in Herat, Afghanistan.

(Photo/Tyler Hicks for New York Times)

Tyler says: “This photograph was taken at a checkpoint where Afghan police were inspecting vehicles arriving from nearby Taliban controlled villages. As cars were stopped and checked I turned and saw that a family who was fleeing that area was packed into a car with a girl looking out the back window, back toward where they had come from. I could see the concern in her face and to me that’s what stood out about this moment.

“Although only one person is seen in this photograph, her face says everything about what was soon to come. You can always tell what’s coming by the mood of the population. There was an urgency among the people that was obvious. This is when it became clear to me that there would be no turning back the events that followed.”

Lynsey’s photo was shot on October 26 in Paliau, South Sudan.

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for New York times)

She says: “I was traveling with UNICEF through this very flooded area of South Sudan. It was the first time people had been given masks and they were trying them on. There is so much flooding, malaria, hunger. Covid is not first and foremost on peoples’ minds.”

Congratulations to Tyler and Lynsey, on their superb images. Let’s hope they’ll be able to capture more pleasant and peaceful scenes for the 2022 Year in Pictures.

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If you’re heading to tonight’s Christmas Eve services at Greens Farms Church: you’ll need to register in advance (click here). COVID restrictions will keep each service — at 4:30, 6 and 9 p.m. — below the 180-seat meetinghouse capacity.

Each service will last about 30 minutes, and include opportunities for participation by children. All services feature candlelight, too.

Masks are required in the meetinghouse. Congregants are asked to arrive early, for check-in.

Greens Farms Congregational Church (Photo/Candace Dohn Banks)

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Dozens of Westporters took time from hectic last-minute shopping yesterday, to contribute toys, books, coats and fundsto OneWestport’s collection. All donations will be given to Person to Person, the Fairfield County organization serving needing families.

James Dobin-Smith — founder of Staples High School’s OneWestport Club — says, “We were overwhelmed by how many people showed up. A 1st grader named George Gitto used the allowance he had saved up for months to buy picture books to donate from Barnes & Noble. We even got a cash donation from England!

“Thank you, everyone. We can’t wait to deliver the gifts on Christmas Eve!”

Congratulations to club members Dobin Smith, Caroline Caggiano, Isabelle Ormsby, Ian Patton, Cooper Sadler and Melanie Stanger.

OneWestport Club members with donations (from left): Melanie Stanger (with the two stuffed animals) and Ian Patton, Isabelle Ormsby, Cooper Sadler & me. Caroline Caggiano also volunteered but isn’t pictured.

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Remember Carlson & Gailmor?

Probably not. But read on.

More than 55 years after graduating from Staples, Rob Carlson still writes and records music. He’s better than ever. And he’s doing it with great local talent.

His latest effort was assembled over the last 3 years. With some new and some new recordings of older songs, it’s called simply “Rob Carlson.” It’s typically eclectic: folk, rock, jazz, pop, Americana, R&B, comedy and reggae.

COVID enabled Rob to record with other non-gigging greats like Westport session guitarist Jeff Southworth, jazz keyboardist Chris Coogan, and old friends like Jon Gailmor.

Yes — the legendary Carlson & Gailmor duo, whose long-out-of-print Polydor record is one of the all-time, hard-to-believe-it-never-made-it great records — is back together for a bit.

“Rob Carlson” is on Spotify, YouTube and other streaming services. The CD or tracks can be bought at Rob’s Online Store, or downloaded from Bandcamp.com. Find out more about the songs and artists by clicking here.

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This month, the Greens Farms Garden Club’s annual wreath-making workshop and lunch was special. They surprised long-time member Mary Lou McGuire with a Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut life membership.

She was cited for her many years of service, depth of experience, and breadth of talents in chairing and serving on almost all positions in the club.

All wreaths made by club members were donated to local non-profit groups.

Greens Farms Garden Club past [resident Ann Watkins, current president Kathy Mitchell, and Mary Lou McGuire

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Friends and relatives of Kuti Zeeva gathered last Sunday for a memorial soccer game, at PJ Romano Field.

Zeevi — a stalwart member of the Late Knights men’s soccer team, and a popular jeweler in town — was killed 10 years ago this month, in a robbery at his Compo Shopping Center store.

Regular and former players joined younger ones — including Kuti’s 10-year-old grandson — for soccer and stories. He lives on in the hearts of many. (Hat tip: Alex Anvari)

Celebrating Kuti Zeevi’s life last Sunday.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo offers a bit of needed whimsy. It’s on Ferry Lane East, off South Compo.

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … if you never heard Carlson & Gailmor sing together in their all-too-brief heyday time together after Staples, you missed some beautiful music.

Here — thanks to the magic of the interwebs — they live again.

Roundup: Techno Claus, Tree Lights, Trailer Park …

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Santa Claus comes once a year.

Techno Claus too.

The “CBS Sunday Morning” staple — aka David Pogue (don’t tell the kids!) made an earlier-than-usual appearance in 2021. He told “06880” he wanted to make sure there were no supply chain issues with any suggestions.

As usual, much of the segment was filmed in David’s Westport home. Both Santa and Techno Claus know it well.

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David Meth likes the Wakeman Town Farm Christmas tree lights. A lot.

He does not like the lights on the Town Hall tree.

(Photos/David Meth)

David says: “The lack of warmth lighting up the Christmas tree at Town Hall is its usual, typical, surgical, antiseptic white—an embarrassment to the town. Yet it goes on year after year without change or care by the administration, who seem to lack an understanding of how color positively affects people.

“The town is very clear as it  expresses an attitude that announces: ‘Get it done to say it’s been done.’ The warmth exuded from the tree at Wakeman Farm is what we should expect—welcoming, full of life and color for all.”

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Rod Serling has not lived in Westport for 60 years. And he’s been dead for 45.

But visitors to Sherwood Island have recently experienced a “Twilight Zone” moment. There — in the middle of our beautiful, wooded beachside state park — sits a decrepit trailer park.

(Photo/Werner Lipeolt)

Has it sat there — unnoticed — for years? But wait — why is there a trailer park in a state park?

Because it’s a movie set, silly!

As “06880” has reported several times, Netflix is filming “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” there. The Stephen King thriller stars Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell, and will be released next year. 

When, presumably, the Black Bear Trailer Park is just a long-ago memory.

PS: How about some kind of Oscar for that set designer?!

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Youn Su Chao has resigned from the Board of Education.

Her replacement must be a registered Democrat. Letters of application should be submitted by email (lgoldstein@westportps.org) or to Westport Board of Education, Town Hall Room 307, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. The deadline is next Monday (December 13).

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The Greens Farms Garden Club does wonderful work. And not just in the 06838 zip code.

The other day, members beautified the Gillespie Center men’s shelter downtown. They weeded, trimmed, raked, pulled vines and planted daffodils all around the property across behind Barnes & Noble (and around the corner from Tiffany).

The area was so overgrown, it was hard to find the stone wall or bench in the area.  Now it looks great.

Early next spring, Garden Club members will trim back larger shrubs, and add more plantings.

Greens Farms Garden Club members take a brief break at the Gillespie Center.

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Tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m., the state Department of Transportation hosts a virtual public information meeting about the replacement of the Greens Farms Road Sasco Brook bridge.

The presentation will be recorded. Click here for instructions on how to access the meeting, and how to provide comments or ask questions.

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Joel Robert Hallas (W1ZR) died peacefully at home in Westport on Thanksgiving morning, with his family by his side, after a hard 3 -year fight against pancreatic cancer. He was 79.

Joel was an electrical engineer, sailboat owner and expert in telecommunications and amateur radio. He wrote 7 books about ham radio and antennas.

A 1960 graduate of Greenwich High School, he served in the Army from 1962-65. Stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, he earned the rank of E5 in the Signal Corps. He then graduated with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut.

While working at Raytheon, Joel earned a master of science in electrical engineering from Northeastern University. He also worked for Norden Systems, GTE, IBM, Seagram’s and AT&T, on radar and telecommunications projects. He taught telecommunications at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1993-1997.

In Westport he was known for sailing his sloop Windfall on Long Island Sound, with family, friends, co-workers, Y’s Men and his golden retrievers. He twice served as commodore of the Minuteman Yacht Club. He was appointed to the Parks & Recreation Commission, where he headed the committee that was instrumental in improving Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina, including the concrete flotation docks that increased capacity and convenience.

At the end of his career Joel joined the staff of the National Association of Amateur Radio as technical editor of their journal QST. He wrote a popular monthly column and did a podcast called “The Doctor is In,” answering technical questions from hams.

Among the books Joel wrote are Basic Radio; Basic Antennas; The ARRL Guide to Antenna Tuners; Hamspeak; The Care and Feeding of Transmission Lines; Understanding Your Antenna Analyzer, and The Radio Amateur’s Workshop.

Joel is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy Gatrall Hallas; daughter Katie J. (Mike) Phillis, and son Dr. Stephen J. (Dr. Sabrina Noel) Hallas.

Burial will be private. A memorial service will be held this spring.

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature includes many wild animals.

Today we feature man’s best friend. James Melino and Nellie work together in James’ home office. What a team!

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And finally … today in 1842, the New York Philharmonic presented its first concert ever. Happy 179th birthday!

Greens Farms Garden Club Grows For Good

“Garden Club” sounds so genteel. Members sit discussing flowers, creating beautiful arrangements, drinking tea and munching little sandwiches.

Dude! It’s 2021. Today’s garden club is not your great-grandmother’s.

Take the Greens Farms Garden Club. It’s been around since 1930 (read its history here). Now — 9 years before its 100th anniversary — members have taken their community service mission to a new level.

They’ve joined the fight against food insecurity.

Last February — amid the pandemic, and so much other misery — conservation chair Mary Lou McGuire had an idea. The Greens Farms Garden Club could grown and donate the bounty of their efforts to people in need.

Members quickly embraced the “Growing for Good” idea. Chairs Maybette Waldron, Gael Ficken and Jacque O’Brien worked with McGuire to develop a cost-efficient plan.

They found garden space at Wakeman Town Farm, and St. Timothy’s Church in Fairfield. Head farmers were selected. More than 20 members offered to help, all summer long.

Members researched best practices for growing vegetables organically. Schedules were formed, journals kept. It was decided to plant a small number of crops, to bring larger quantities of fresh produce to the 2 recipients selected: Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center. Both are in Bridgeport.

There were questions along the way: Why didn’t the cabbage grow successfully? Why did the cherry tomatoes turn out better than the larger ones? When to replant for a late summer/fall crop?

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, and Ganim’s Garden Center in Fairfield, provided help and assistance.

Greens Farms Garden Club members at work in April.

After farming all summer, the harvesters went to work. Recipients are thrilled with their gifts.

“This has been a wonderful initiative, which we’ll continue,” says O’Brien.

“There are many benefits to each member, and to the Greens Farms Garden Club. Working together created great team spirit, and a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

“Learning about growing vegetables expanded our horticultural knowledge, and provided us with greater incentive to grow vegetables at home. There is nothing like the taste of an absolutely fresh vegetable.”

Jane MacDonald and Judy Reynolds package produce in bags donated by Stop & Shop, for delivery to Mercy Learning and St. John’s Family Centers.

How The Earthplace Garden Grows

Like the perennial plants that bloom, then disappear there, the native garden in the Earthplace atrium has cycled through periods of growth and dormancy.

Designed in 1960 by Eloise Ray — a noted landscape architect — at what was then called the Mid-Fairfield County Youth Museum, the handsome garden was filled with indigenous species.

Eloise Ray, in the natural garden she conceived and designed.

Eloise Ray, in the native garden she conceived and designed.

Over the years — as the name changed to the Nature Center — the garden became a favorite spot. A bronze statue and bench added to its serenity.

In 1977, the Greens Farms Garden Club took over maintenance. They continued until 2011, when the board of trustees changed the courtyard focus. For a few years, the garden fell into disuse.

But in the fall of 2015, the garden club revived it. They weeded vigorously. Working from Ray’s original blueprints, they planted 17 new shrubs, and 42 native plants. Last year, they added 12 more perennials.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (from left) Ann Watkins, Barbara Harman, Wynn Herrmann, Rivers Teske and Donnie Nader take a rare break from their Earthplace work.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (from left) Ann Watkins, Barbara Harman, Wynn Herrmann, Rivers Teske and Donnie Nader take a rare break at Earthplace.

Today the garden is once again a delight. It supports local wildlife like grey tree frogs. Honeybees pollinate the flora. Birds and butterflies abound.

Staff and visitors love it. And, says Greens Farms Garden Club past president Wynn Hermann, members and Earthplace employees enjoy a “wonderful partnership.”

Earthplace's atrium garden blooms again.

Earthplace’s atrium garden blooms again.

On Saturday, March 11, guests will gather there for a Garden Party Gala. There’s great food and music, plus an auction. It’s a fundraiser for Earthplace’s education programs.

The theme of the evening is “Help Our Garden Grow.”

Which makes perfect sense. Whether it’s flowers or the environmental awareness of children, Earthplace plants seeds, nurtures and grows.

(The Garden Party Gala is set for 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. For information and tickets, click here.)