Tag Archives: Happy Panda Mandarin School

Roundup: LobsterFest, Woodside Bash, Ride + Walk …

Tickets for Westport Rotary Club’s LobsterFest (this Saturday, September 17, Compo Beach, 3 to 7 p.m.). are all sold out.

But individual donations are still welcome to help fund the Rotarians’ many great projects.

And volunteers are still needed, to help throw Westport’s greatest crustacean-focused event.

Click here to donate; then click “Please Donate or Sponsor.”

Use the same link to volunteer; then click on “Sign up As a Volunteer. Volunteers will be offered a hamburger and unlimited drinks at no charge.

LobsterFest volunteers


There’s still time to sign up for Sunday’s William Raveis Ride + Walk (September 18, Calf Pasture Park, Norwalk, 8 a.m.).

The event includes 2 bike rides (12 and 24 miles), a 5K walk (or run), and a 100-yard dash for kids.

Sign up as part of the “Way to Go Westport” (as a Westport office participant), or form your own team. Click here to register, and for more details.

All proceeds go directly to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


Tickets are going fast for Earthplace’s party under the stars.

Woodside Bash is set for Saturday, October 1 (7 to 10 p.m.). The night includes enjoy a harvest dinner, an open bar, signature cocktails, live music  (Pimpinella returns for the 4th year in a row), and (of course) a mechanical bull.

Click here for tickets and more information.

The next day (Sunday, October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Earthplace hosts a family-friendly Fall Festival. Among the attractions: apple slingshot, donut on a string, climbing wall, animal encounters, food trucks and more. Tickets can be bought that day, or in advance here.


Eating disorder specialist Erica Adler joins with registered dieticians Alyssa Lavy and Amy Schwarz have created a special group for teenagers who struggle with self-esteem as it relates to body image. It meets weekly, starting September 22 at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, email hellonorthstarwellness@gmail.com, or call 203-246-7615.

Erica Adler


There were smiles all around at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting for Bridgewater Chocolates. The new business — Westport’s 3rd chocolate shop — is located in Parker Harding Plaza, near GG & Joe’s.

And why wouldn’t everyone be smiling? As soon as the ribbon was cut, there were samples for all.


Not far from Bridgewater Chocolates, magic of another kind took place.

A crew from Terrain got down and dirty, making sure the planters outside Mrs. London’s Bakery look autumnally great.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Those planters are parts of Westport we take for granted. But they don’t just happen.

They take real work — the kind that’s seldom seen. Unless you’re in the right place, at the right time.


Happy Panda Mandarin School opened 12 years ago, in the basement of a Weston home. It grew quickly, and relocated to Wilton.

Now it’s moved again: to 2nd floor space in Westport’s Nash’s Plaza (179 Post Road West).

Classes include Chinese HSK (1-6 levels), Chinese Made Easy (1-4 levels), Writing and Homework Help.

For more information click here, email info@hpmandarinschool.org, or call 203-291-9228. (Hat tip: Felicia Catale)

Happy student at Happy Panda.


The Black Feathers make a rare local appearance October 1 (8 p.m.). They’ll be a Voices Café, at the Unitarian Church.

Both the UK duo and the church share a strong commitment to social justice. A portion of the proceeds of the concert benefit community organizations including anti-racism, identity and equity, and immigration and refugee efforts, plus local programs that serve under-resourced communities.

Click here for in-person or livestream tickets.

The Black Feathers


Seen on this port-a-potty on Caccamo Lane:

The handmade sign says: “NO dog poop bags in portable toilet or dumpsters.”

The bottom line adds: “Are you kidding?”

The potty is on a private work site, in a residential neighborhood. It shouldn’t be too much to ask area residents to 1) clean up after your dog, and then 2) dispose of your dog poop at your own home.

No s—.


Leaves are not the only things that awe us with their fall (well, almost) colors.

Danielle Dobin spotted this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” sight yesterday, on Compo Beach Road:

(Photo/Danielle Dobin)


And finally … famed saxophonist and bandleader Cannonball Adderley was born on this day in 1928. He died in 1975, just 46, after a stroke.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work.)

Roundup: Bad Bad Drivers, Burgers, Mandarin School …

Most of the day, I slide my bad/entitled parking photos near the end of “06880.”

More important info comes at the top. By the time you get to a photo of some self-centered numbskull taking up 3 spaces, hogging half a sidewalk or whatever, you’re ready for a diversion. Sure, they’re selfish, self-satisfied SOBs, but they’re not really hurting anyone.

Well, this cretin could have:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Think about it.

This “person” — who somehow is licensed to drive a motor vehicle — ignored a very large “Do Not Enter” sign 100 yards or so back.

Then he (it was a young guy) drove past vehicles facing the other direction on both sides, plus at least one very large arrow. also pointing the other direction.

And then he walked away.

Words fail, at a time like this.

Except for one final thought: It’s a pretty shitty parallel parking job, too.


The Westport Library’s soaring, flexible and well-used indoor space is called the Trefz Forum.

Most people who enjoy the pyramid seating, giant screen and state-of-the-art sound system have no idea who Christian J. Trefz — the man for whom it’s named — is.

That will change on Saturday, July 9. His new memoir — “The Right Side of the Hamburger” — will be celebrated with a book launch at a private party. It’s available for sale at the Library the next day, and on Amazon.

In association with The Legacy Project USA — a Westport company specializing in documenting and writing life stories for people who want to preserve and tell their history — Trefz spent over a year working on his book.

It tells the tale of how he and his brother became successful. The son of German immigrants, Chris and Ernie grew up in New Haven. They learned important lessons about family closeness, hard work, and determination.

The brothers purchased their first McDonald’s franchise in 1964. Their empire now encompasses over 50 McDonald’s restaurants throughout Connecticut and New York.


In each issue, the bi-monthly print/digital Civilian Magazine profiles 10 or so influencers, in areas like sports, business, politics, fashion and pop culture.

Last year, local photographer Jenae Weinbrenner was assigned to a shoot at  Nile Rodgers’ Westport home.

With COVID raging, there were no agents, assistants or creative directors around. For an hour, Nile and Jenae talked about life, music, and their love for this town.

“As a photographer, you never get that kind of one-on-one time with a celebrity,” Jenae says. “This was special. I’m so grateful I got to experience it. He was the kindest person — and generous too.”

The other day, the publication retweeted the story. Jenae realized she had never shared it with her “06880” friends and neighbors.

Click here for the magazine (it’s behind a paywall).

Nile Rodgers (Photo/Jenae Weinbrenner for Civilian Magazine)


Happy Panda Mandarin School opened 12 years ago, in the basement of a Weston home.

It grew quickly, and relocated to Wilton.

Now it’s moved again: to 2nd floor space in Westport’s Nash’s Plaza (179 Post Road West).

Classes resume September 1: Chinese HSK (1-6 levels), Chinese Made Easy (1-4 levels), Writing and Homework Help.

For more information click here, email info@hpmandarinschool.org, or call 203-291-9228. (Hat tip: Felicia Catale)


One Chinese door opens, another closes:

Open Rice — the Post Road takeout place between the Sherwood Diner and Earth Animal — is shuttered.

Loyal customers are disappointed. Unfortunately, there must not have been enough of them.

Open Rice is closed.


Wheels2U Westport is expanding.

As of July 5, the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride, door-to-train shuttle service will soon include from Hiawatha Lane to Saugatuck Shores in the westernmost area of Westport, and Westway Road and Parsell Lane in the east.

Now, virtually all of the town is covered.

Reverse commuters can also use the service to travel between the trains and their place of employment in Westport. 

Wheels2U can also be used to enjoy dinner at Saugatuck restaurants.

Riders using the Wheels2U Westport app request a pickup  between 5:45 and 10 a.m., and 4 and 9:30 p.m., for rides between the Westport or Greens Farms train platform and their front door. Pickups for trips to the stations should be requested 20 minutes before you would leave to drive there. The $2 fare is paid via the Wheels2U app.

For more information about Wheels2U, click here. To learn about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.

Wheels2U’s Saugatuck Shores expansion. Click on or hover over to enlarge.


Friends since middle school, Dixie Webb O’Brien, Jeff Ruden, Kim Hamer and John McCarthy are planning their Staples High School Class of 1982 reunion — with a twist.

In addition to getting together after 40 years (!), they wanted to give back to the town they still live in, and love.

Classmates are encouraged to donate to Staples Tuition Grants. Already, they’ve raised $2,000.

‘82 grads can reserve a spot for the August 6 event at Saugatuck Rowing Club, plus Friday and Sunday gatherings —  and/or make a donation to the class tuition grant — via email :dixiewebbobrien@gmail.com

Staples Class of ’82 co-chairs (clockwise from upper left): Jeff Ruden, Dixie Webb O’Brien, Kim Hamer, John McCarthy.


Longtime Westport resident Janet Bangser died earlier this month, at the age of (her family says) “don’t even.”

An only child born in 1928 in New York City to Jules Rutstein, a dentist, and Esther Klar Rutstein, assistant to the producer at Radio City Music Hall, she attended Horace Mann School for Girls, then earned a BA in English and American literature from Brown University in 1949.

A voracious reader, one of her first jobs was to write script synopses for MGM.

International travel was a dominant theme throughout Janet’s life; she made overseas trips from an early age. She and her husband Bill Bangser visited many countries on 6 continents, including several extended stays in Europe with their 4 children. Janet and Bill made lifelong friends around the world.

The family moved to Westport in 1961. When her children were grown Janet entered the travel industry, as an agent for Minute Man Travel. In 1978 she formed Pathfinder’s Travel, a full-service agency in Westport. For the next 40 years, Janet and her staff used first-hand knowledge of travel destinations to serve corporate and vacation travelers. Janet remained active in the business well into her ninth decade. She and Bill continued their frequent travels, often with Westport friends.

In addition to her business and motherhood, Janet served as president of the local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Janet was predeceased by Bill, her husband of 67 years. She is survived by her children: Andrew (Barbara) of Westport; Paul (Liz) of Bethesda, Maryland.; Jill (Jeff) Boynton of Newington, New Hampshire. and Dan (Jennifer) Bangser of Norwalk; 8 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren, and her sister-in-law Rita Bangser of Somers, New York.

Janet’s family says, “we will forever miss the devoted matriarch of our family, her intellect, her love of travel (and good wine!), her cooking, her eternally positive outlook, and her entrepreneurial spirit.”

Burial was private. All are welcome at a memorial service on July 23 (10 a.m., Westport Library). In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Westport Library.

Janet Bangser


Most “Westport … Naturally” photos are striking — but straightforward.

This one asks a question: Can you spot the bee?

Thanks for this great submission go to 15-year-old Benji Porosoff!

(Photo/Benji Porosoff)


And finally … in honor of the top story above: