Tag Archives: Harbor Watch

Roundup: Yankee Doodle’s Logo, Compo Men’s Hoops, Felicia’s Salon …

The Yankee Doodle Fair is back.

The event — a decades-long herald of the end of school — was missing from the June calendar for 2 years, due to COVID.

It returned last September. Now it’s back in its familiar slot: This Thursday and Friday (6 to 10 p.m.), Saturday (1 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.), at the Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue.

Also familiar: the Yankee Doodle Fair logo.

What most Westporters don’t know is that the carousel horse was designed more than 30 years ago by Angela Mata. Her mother chaired the event, for the sponsoring Westport Woman’s Club.

Growing up here, she was an avid fairgoer. She graduated from Staples High School, returned here, brought her own children — and is now a well-respected art teacher, at her alma mater.

Like the carousel on Angela’s logo, whatever goes around, comes around.

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Also back, after a pandemic break: Westport Parks & Recreation’s men’s summer basketball league, at Compo Beach.

The popular weeknight event runs for 8 weeks (June 20 to August 16). Teams can have a maximum of 15 players.

Games are Mondays and Tuesdays, at 7 and 8 p.m. The fee is $900 per team. To register or for more details, email mrobbins@westportct.gov.

Compo Beach basketball court. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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Speaking of (much younger) sports:

The Twins won the Westport Baseball “A” League (3rd grade) championship last weekend. Congrats, guys!

The “A” League champion Twins.

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in 2019, Felicia Catale — a long-time hair stylist in Westport (Tony’s, Karen & Frank’s, Austin Rolfe) — opened her own salon in Nash’s Plaza on Post Road West.

That first year was busy. She worked long hours, on hair and also the business end.

Then came COVID. She scrambled to serve customers, and keep her salon alive.

Finally, the pandemic is easing. She’s back welcoming customers.

Finally too, she had a chance for an official “grand opening.”

A small ceremony — with the big, official ribbon-cutting scissors — was held yesterday. She welcomed her guests — and then, in another long-delayed event, she threw a party for last fall’s Staples High School boys soccer team.

“06880” would say “welcome to Westport,” Felicia. But you’ve been here all along.

Cutting the ribbon at Salon Nash (from left): business consultant Ganesh Gupta, owner Felicia Catale, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, Staples High School soccer tri-captain Bruno Guiduli.

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included a photo of “Rev. Hezekiah Ripley.” The long-ago, long-serving Green’s Farms Church pastor showed up (looking very much like a 21st-century Westporter wearing a costume) at Sunday’s rededication service. The 1789 church on Hillandale Road has undergone an extensive renovation.

Rev. Ripley was not the only dignitary taking part in the festivities. Senator Richard Blumenthal was there too, watching former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe cut the ceremonial ribbon. A Green’s Farms parishioner, he was standing in for 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, who was out of town.

From left: Capital campaign co-chair Tony Menchaca, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, capital campaign co-chair Diane Parrish, Senior Minister Jeff Rider. (Photo/Regina Madwed, Capitol Photo).

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Also this past weekend: Norwalk’s Copps Island Oysters was the place to be. A sold-out event raised important funds for Harbor Watch, the clean water research program of Earthplace.

Scientists provide data and field expertise to safeguard Connecticut waterways, educate residents about watershed issues, and train volunteers and student interns through hands-on research.

Plus, the oysters were delicious!

The Earthplace team, hanging out at the Harbor Watch fundraiser (from left): LaWanza Holder, Brenna Felt, Marisa Olavarria, Mary Donato, Nikki Spiller, Sophie Pollmann, Jess Mantzaris, Kasey Tietz, executive director Tony McDowell,

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Temple Israel’s first “Shabbat on the Beach” of the season is also the synagogue’s “Pride Shabbat.”

Temple officials say: “Together, we will send our clear message of love and acceptance for ‘kol yoshvei tevel’ — all who dwell on earth. BYO beach chairs and rainbows!”

A Westport beach pass is not necessary. Tell the gate attendant you’re part of the  Temple Israel service.

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Speaking of Pride Month: The lineup is set for this Friday’s Pride Cabaret at the Westport Library.

Comedian/activist Mina Hartong hosts Marvin Pittman, Sarah Ferro, Julie Loyd, Danielle Poyser and Staples High School senior Ellery Bodell.

Doors open on June 17 at 6:15 p.m. for cocktails, and mingling with local LGBTQ+ organization. The show begins at 7 p.m.

The cabaret is free. To register, click here. For more information, click here.

Cabaret emcee Mina Hartong.

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Sure, bunnies are supposed to hop (and reproduce).

But this one stood still long enough for Jamie Walsh to snap a great “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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And finally … today is Flag Day. Long may she wave, proudly and brave!

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How Healthy Are Our Rivers?

Westport’s waterways look beautiful.

You just don’t see the bacteria.

Harbor Watch — the Earthplace-based research and education program — has just released a study of water quality in rivers throughout Fairfield County. All 4 of the Westport rivers studied are not as healthy as they look.

Muddy Brook — which discharges into Sherwood Mill Pond — and Pussy Willow Brook, a Mill Pond tributary, exceeded state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection criteria for E. coli.

Two rivers empty into Sherwood Mill Pond. (Drone photo/Patrick Sikes)

Sasco Brook failed DEEP criteria for bacteria. So did the Saugatuck River — which, with 2 sewage spills last summer, also showed elevated Enterococci concentrations.

The good news: our rivers are pretty good in terms of dissolved oxygen. That’s an important water quality indicator, because many aquatic species rely on it for survival.

Overall, 77% of the 123 field stations studied by Harbor Watch exceeded either 1 or both of the state criteria for acceptable levels of baceria. Click here for the full report.

E. Coli In Westport’s Waters: Here’s The Poop

First the bad news: Of 20 rivers in 17 Fairfield County towns, 77% exceed one or both of Connecticut’s criteria for acceptable levels of E. coli. The bacteria can indicate the presence of sewage pollution.

The slightly better news: The Saugatuck River had the lowest percentage of failing sites.

The worse news: Muddy Brook — which drains into Sherwood Mill Pond — was one of 8 rivers tied for the most bacteria. (The others: Bruce Brook, Deep Brook, Goodwives River, Greenwich Creek, Keelers Brook, Pootatuck River and Rooster River.)

The Saugatuck River gets high marks from Harbor Watch. (Drone photo copyright Ben Berkley/@youreyeabove

That’s this morning’s news from Harbor Watch. The group — Earthplace’s water quality research program — studied data from 169 stations, at those 20 rivers. They released their report this morning.

Harbor Watch director Dr. Sarah Crosby says: “The high incidence of failing bacteria concentrations shows us that there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve water quality in the Long Island Sound watershed.”

No s—.

(Click here to read the full report.)

Tony McDowell Takes Earthplace Helm

Tony McDowell has spent his professional career in marketing and business development. His paper and forest product companies have emphasized sustainable development. But his most recent job was based in upstate New York. He commuted 3 hours every Monday, then stayed there all week.

His new commute is way better: 6 minutes.

McDowell is the new executive director of Earthplace. It’s a great fit, he says — and not just because, after moving to Westport in 1987, he, his wife and 2 sons were frequent visitors to the environmental center.

Tony McDowell

Tony McDowell

A year ago, McDowell decided to shift his focus to non-profit management. He’d always been interested in environmental education and social issues — he was a founding board member of Stepping Stones Museum, board president of the Child Guidance Center, an advisor to Builders Beyond Borders and served on humanitarian missions to Haiti and Swaziland — and was an avid hiker and sailor.

He asked CEOs of non-profits for advice and insights. He networked. Then, last spring, Jeff Wieser — head of Homes With Hope — told McDowell about Earthplace. When the organization needed a new leader, he was one of the first to apply.

McDowell says that as Earthplace looks for fresh ideas — and the best ways to “deliver more value to the community” — his background in marketing is a great fit.

One example is Harbor Watch. Though the program — which monitors water quality in harbors, rivers, streams and estuaries here and in surrounding communities — has been part of Earthplace since 1993, few people know it.

EarthplaceMcDowell’s challenge is to “identify the needs of the community, and communicate the value of our programs to a variety of audiences.” Most people associate Earthplace with its nursery school,  he says. “That’s great — but we also have high school and adult programs. There’s a lot more that goes on here. We need to get the word out about everything.”

McDowell begins work today. The staff and board are “very excited,” he says.

He is too. And that 6-minute commute is just one reason why.