Tag Archives: Green’s Farms train station

Roundup: Tyre Nichols, Ruegg Grants, Michael Franti …

The Tyre Nichols story is national news.

Despite Hearst Connecticut Media’s story yesterday, there is not a Westport connection.

A Connecticut Post story headlined “Advocates call for policing reforms, as Lamont questions whether Tyre Nichols incident could happen in CT” quoted Scot Esdaile, president of Connecticut’s NAACP chapter, as saying, “It’s not only happening in Memphis, we’ve seen it in New Haven, we’ve seen it in Westport, we’ve seen it in Hartford, we’ve seen it in Bridgeport.”

However, the link associated with “Westport” referred to a case from 2011 — in Westport, Massachusetts.

A statement from the Westport (Connecticut) Police Department says: “Understandably, (we) were disappointed by this article because we feel we have worked hard to build relationships and have never had any incident that resembles what we saw in Memphis.”

Hearst Media deleted the Westport link.

Esdaile apologized to Chief Foti Koskinas, the Westport Police Department and the town of Westport. He said that he meant to reference West Haven.

Esdaile added, “I have had a conversation with the chief along with Harold Bailey, the chairman of the Westport Civilian Review Panel, and we had a wonderful and energetic conversation. I apologized during the call several times, and we are looking forward to working together in the future.”

Koskinas called his conversation with Esdaile “productive, and brought about a positive resolution.”

 

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If you’re a local non-profit organization, the Westport Woman’s Club wants to give you money.

Ruegg Grants provide up to $10,000 for a 2023 project. Proposals should be “high-profile initiatives that make a meaningful difference in the Westport community.

The grants — established in 1995 by an endowment from former WWC member Lea Ruegg — go to projects that enhance social services, health, safety, the arts or education. Recent beneficiaries include the Westport Astronomical Society, Project Return, Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm.

Click here for the grant application. The deadline is February 28.

The Westport Woman’s Club opens its doors to grant applications.

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The first big ticketed event of the Levitt Pavilion has been announced.

Michael Franti & Spearhead‘s “Big Big Love Tour” kicks off the Stars on Tour Series on Saturday, June 24 (7 p.m.). Phillip Phillips is the opening act.

Franti is a globally recognized musician, activist, hotel owner (Soulshine Bali) and award-winning filmmaker revered for his high-energy live shows, inspiring music, devotion to health and wellness, worldwide philanthropic efforts and the power of optimism.

His hits include “Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I Got You.” Spearhead’s 12th studio album, “Follow Your Heart,” debuted last June at #2, behind Harry Styles.

Levitt Pavilion members can purchase tickets now. The public ticket sale begins Friday (February 3, 10 a.m.). Click here for details.

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Here in Westport, we take garbage trucks for granted.

In Lyman, Ukraine they are game-changers.

A small part of the $252,000 donated by Westporters recently went to the purchase of 1 large and 1 small used trash trucks.

They’re vital to the reconstruction of our new sister city. When the Russians fled last fall, after 5 months of occupation and carnage, they took or destroyed all the vehicles. Refuse from the occupation — including bombed-out buildings and schools — has piled up ever since.

Katya Wauchope created this video, with footage supplied by Westport’s on-the-ground partners, Ukraine Aid International and Alex 21:

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Last August, “06880” highlighted Aiden Schachter. The rising Staples High School junior started a business — creating and selling LED light clouds — that has taken off nationally.

That’s impressive — and time-consuming. But it’s not all Aiden does. He is also a varsity wrestler.

And a pilot: He soloed on his 16th birthday. Next month, he hopes to get his full license.

Westport is justifiably proud of Aiden. Now the whole state can be.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) just posted a video starring Aiden. Check it out (below): The story of this athlete/cloud-making entrepreneur/pilot is truly uplifting.

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After several years, the Greens Farms train station waiting room has reopened.

That’s good news for commuters during this winter — even if they have not yet needed to take refuge from bitter cold.

It’s open from 5:30 to 10 a.m. No coffee vendor yet — but that is on the front burner.

The Greens Farms train station waiting room is open again.

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Getting into and out of the Westport Book Shop just got easier.

A handrail — often requested by patrons — was just installed on the steps to the Jesup Road used book store.

Now there’s one more reason — besides helping fund the Westport Library, and keep people with disabilities employed — to stop in and browse.

Surrounding the Westport Book Shop handrail (from left): Evan Payne, cc-manager Katherine Caro, Lia Walker, Lori Wenke. (Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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Coming up at Earthplace:

Family Campfire (February 11, 1:30 to 3 p.m.; $30 member families, $40 non-member families): Learn about animal tracks while roasting marshmallows next to a crackling fire; meet an “animal ambassador,” and participate in a guided activity. Click here to register.

February Break Camp (February 20-24, 27; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., $100/day; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., $150/day; ages 3-12): Spend winter school break outside with nature; animal encounters, and self-chosen activities. Themes change daily. Click here to register.

Maple Sugaring Magic (March 5, $20 per family; 1:30-2:30 and 3-4 p.m.): Take part in a New England tradition. Learn how to identify maple trees on a trail walk, tap a tree and collect sap, and make maple syrup at home. Finish with tasting fresh maple sap, syrups and other maple goodies around the campfire. Click here to register.

Books & Beverages (March 15, 7 to 8 p.m.; free):  Participate in a casual discussion about “A Sand Country Almanac,” with naturalist Becky Newman. BYOB and snacks. Weather permitting, it’s outside. Click here to register.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows what — even in mid-winter — is always one of our town’s most beautiful spots.

(Photo/Michelle Harmon)

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And finally … Barrett Strong, Barrett Strong, whose 1959 hit “Money (That’s What I Want),” helped launch Motown Records, and who later co-wrote “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Ball of Confusion” and “War,” died on Sunday. He was 81. Click here for a full obituary.

(It would be tempting to follow up the item above with a crass plea for donations to “06880,” but I won’t do that. I’ll just say: Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: Trash, Crash …

Yesterday’s Roundup gave a shout-out to a small group of residents. Each week, they clean up a different part of town.

Several “06880” readers wondered how they could help.

You can email organizer Andrew Colabella (acolabellartm4@gmail.com). He’ll add you to the list.

This Sunday’s clean-up is at the Sherwood Island Connector park-and-ride commuter lot, near I-95 Exit 18 (January 15, 11 a.m.).

Bring gloves and trash bags, and wear shoes or boots you’re not afraid to muddy up.

Meanwhile, one reader snorted, “Where are our people from the Department of Public Works? You know, the folks who get paid to do this?”

Andrew replies: “Our Public Works Department has been extremely responsive to areas I see that need to be cleaned up immediately and cannot wait until the weekend.

“Our Parks and Recreation Department, specifically Ed Frawley’s maintenance department, has picked up garbage in every area where a pick has done and disposed of it properly, while doing their own picks too. Shoutout to David Wilcox and Nick Rosa for removing the garbage after I called and scheduled a pick up,

“You may not seem them doing it but I, and many others have.”

Andrew adds:

“Our town is extremely proactive, because of our residents. If you see trash, pull over and pick it up. Keep a garbage bag under your seat or in the cargo or trunk area of your vehicle.

“If you’re new to town, welcome! Join us and get involved. Be proactive, get great exercise, meet new and longtime residents, socialize and clean up!”

Andrew Colabella (front row, center) and friends picked up trash last weekend at the Greens Farms train station.

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Just after 6 p.m. yesterday, the Westport Fire Department, Police Department and EMS responded to a multi-vehicle crash in front of 40 Bridge Street.

One driver was trapped, and required extrication with hydraulic tools. The patient was transported to the hospital.

No other injuries were reported. Be careful out there!

Bridge Street accident. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

Earlier in the day, the Fire Department responded to a kitchen fire on Berndale Drive.

It began when an electric stove knob was bumped accidentally. That activated a burner, which set fire to items on the stove.

“Do not store items on your stovetop,” the department emphasizes.

Berndale Drive kitchen fire. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

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Pianist Chris Coogan is a local legend.

He grew up here. He has made Fairfield County his home — and home base for his multi-faceted music career.

Coogan is a world-class jazz pianist; a sensitive and popular accompanist for singers; a powerhouse Gospel pianist, choir director and bandleader; a highly effective and inspiring educator, and an all-around good guy.

Saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall met Coogan shortly after moving to Westport almost 10 years ago. They share a deep spiritual attachment to American music that digs deep into its roots.

Coogan and the Jazz Rabbi join bassist Boots Maleson and drummer Jim Royle for this Thursday’s “Jazz at the Post” (January 12, shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; $15 cover; dinner at 7 p.m.).

Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzattthePost@gmail.com.

Greg Wall and Chris Coogan.

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Today’s serene “Westport … Naturally” Burying Hill Beach scene comes from grateful nearby resident Wendy Levy.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Scott McKenzie. The singer is known for just one song. But it’s a generational anthem.

(Hippies looked down on money. “06880” does not. To contribute, please click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: Town Clean-up, Malloy Arts Lecture …

Two years ago, several residents met at Longshore to pick up trash.

They started at the lower parking lot by the Saugatuck River, and worked all the way to the end of the exit at Compo Road South.

Since then, they met almost every weekend — weather permitting — heading into spring. There was always an area of town that needed cleaning.

Yesterday morning, they got together for the first time since late spring. Their target: the Greens Farms train station.

Thanks go to the group for their quiet, steady and very important work: Andrew Colabella, Skip and Kathleen Fazio, Brendan and Laura Mulcahy and their sons Declan and Finn, Ifeseyi Gayle, Matt Almansi and Lili Tucker. Other regulars include Deej and Deborah Webb.

Tons of trash at the train station.

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Reservations are open for next month’s Westport Library Malloy Lecture in the Arts guest speaker.

Richard Butler takes the stage on February 28 (7 p.m., Trefz Forum and Zoom). The British painter and musician is best known as the singer and founder of the Psychedelic Furs. He created the artwork for their early gigs, and had a strong influence on the album art and visual presentation of the band.

After the band took a hiatus in the early 90s, he returned to his first love. He’s since found a balance between art and music. Butler released a solo album in 2006, and in 2020 put out the first new Psychedelic Furs album in nearly 30 years.

Meanwhile, his paintings have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Berlin and throughout the world.

Butler will be joined in conversation with Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club drummer Chris Frantz, an area resident and longtime Library supporter.  In 2020 he released a new book, “Remain In Love.”

Click here for reserved seating. There will also be a livestream of the show, and a recording will be available for viewing afterward.

Click here for more information. A second Malloy Lecture in the Arts will be announced later this year.

Richard Butler

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Jo Shields describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“I think it’s only a wolf moon when it is full. This one is a waning gibbous so we are past full, but it is spectacular nonetheless.

“A few cars have come and gone at Compo Beach to catch pictures too, on this very chilly (Sunday) night. One car’s headlights illuminated the sand. I liked it, and click!”

(Photo/Jo Shields)

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And finally … in honor of the great clean-up job being done all around town, by concerned citizens (see story above):

Testing, Testing: Greens Farms Station Site Still Open

The Omicron variant is ebbing. The state’s in-school mask mandate ends February 28.

But COVID has not vanished. Westporters still need tests.

Since January, the Greens Farms train station has been one of the town’s go-to centers. Trains still stop there — for a tiny number of commuters — but most of the action now consists of nasal swabs.

The site is run by Progressive Diagnostics. The 8-year-old company was in the right place at the right time when the demand for same-day RT-PCR tests soared. Their Greens Farms location is one of 8 in the state.

The average turnaround time for results is 6 hours. There is no cost for youngsters in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The state reimburses Progressive Diagnostics through federal grant funds. The state also pays for tests for people without insurance.

Progressive Diagnostics bills insurance companies for the $150 fee for those with coverage.

Progressive Diagnostics has been in Westport since the start of the pandemic. They began with weekly tests of EMS first responders, then did the same for other town employees. Soon, they added a drive-through site at the Saugatuck train station.

When the Omicron surge began, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker asked for additional help. Progessive’s Greens Farms location was up and running within days.

There was concern that slow turnaround times would endanger actually endanger health, says company CEO Curt Kuliga, who lives in Westport. High test prices were another worry.

Kuliga lauds town officials for their support, and help in getting the center running quickly and efficiently.

Progressive Diagnostics’ testing center is inside the Greens Farms train station.

Right now, the Greens Farms station is used by all ages, and all groups: vaccinated and unvaccinated residents, and those who are both symptomatic and asymptomatic.

“We will be here as long as we are needed,” Kuliga says.

“Last July, during the summertime testing decline, people wondered why we were still open. We stayed to serve the community. Even though it was uncertain what would happen long term, we felt there was still a significant need. We want to help.”

Statewide, about 20,000 residents are tested daily. Progressive Diagnostics’ lab volume is close to what it was a few weeks ago. The positivity rate remains above 5%. That’s a far cry from the 30% in January, but still high.

“Increased awareness of testing sites may be more important now more than ever,” Kuliga says. “Testing will continue to be relevant — especially since 50% of positive cases are in vaccinated individuals.”

Railroad Parking: What Drives Empty Spots

It may have been the most vivid reminder of COVID’s effect on Westport: our nearly deserted train stations.

Now, more than 16 months into the pandemic, both Saugatuck and Greens Farms parking lots remain almost entirely vacant, every day of the week.

Many Westporters still work from home. Others have forsaken the train for increasingly clogged I-95 and Merritt Parkway.

June 30 marked the deadline for train station parking permit renewals. Yet despite the precipitous drop in ridership, most folks have paid to hold on to their precious passes.

The new normal (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Railroad parking is under the purview of the Westport Police Department. (I don’t know why. But they do it well.)

According to Police Chief Foti Koskinas and director of railroad operations Sam Arciola, there are 2,500 total available spaces, at Saugatuck and Greens Farms.

Even in pre-coronavirus times, not everyone utilized their spots every day. By monitoring usage closely, the Police Department knows how many permits to issue each year.

In July 2020, there were 3,900 permits. About 70% went to Westport residents. Another 900 people were on the wait list.

This year, only 3,100 people requested permits. That cut the wait list nearly in half, to 490.

Why did the WPD not issue permits to everyone on the wait list?

With commuting patterns in flux — and a number of New York offices reopening this fall — Koskinas and Arciola were watching what happens. Now, they’re ready to offer permits to everyone on the wait list. That will happen around August 1.

Meanwhile, they see renewed interest from former parking permit holders who did not renew by June 30, but now wish to.

“We welcome them to reapply,” Koskinas says. Former permit holders — and anyone else with questions — should call 203-341-6052.

(Hat tip: David Loffredo)

In the absence of commuters, utility crews used the Greens Farms railroad station as a staging area after last year’s Hurricane Isaias. (Photo/Robert Cornfield)

Pic Of The Day #1361

Greens Farms train station (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Pics Of The Day #1079

David Squires’ quick walk to his mailbox yesterday turned into a leisurely stroll to the Greens Farms train station and post office, via Burying Hill Beach.

“Spring is busting out all over,” he says. “Stop and smell the pansies!”

(Photos/David Squires)

Another Guy Behaving Really Badly

The other day, I posted a story about a man who — upset at the traffic on Greens Farms Road — repeatedly parked his car perpendicular across both lanes, blocking everyone.

Now comes another transportation-related report — this one involving trains. An alert — and very irate — “06880” reader writes:

I ride the train every day. I notice from time to time when I get off at Greens Farms that someone leaves a huge pile of papers scattered on the floor for someone else to pick up. I always think to myself how terrible it is. I wonder how could someone be okay with doing this?

A few weeks ago I sat on the outside seat. I had to get up to let someone off at the Saugatuck station. As I did, a man also exited from the row right in front of me. Sure enough, there was the pile of papers.

This guy reads both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

I nicely asked if those were his papers. He looked at me and said “yes.”

I asked if he was going to leave them all over the floor for someone else to pick up.

He looked at me again. He again said “yes.” Then he walked off the train.

I passed the story along to my business partner, who got off at Greens Farms with me.

Last night my business partner sat across from the same guy, who did the same thing.

Apparently every day, he leaves his mess for someone else to clean up.

In this day and age, while many of us are talking about privilege, and how to teach our kids to do the right thing, this is a sad reminder that some people just don’t care.

[NOTE: The reader sent me a photo. The man appears to be in his 50s; he’s average height, average build, and wears glasses. His hair is graying at the temples. I have decided to take the high road — not the below-the-tracks road he travels — and not post it here. — Dan Woog]

Pic Of The Day #965

Morning view: Greens Farms train station (Photo/Johanna Rossi)

Pic Of The Day #791

Greens Farms train station (Photo/Aiden Schachter, age 13)