Khaliq won’t be forgotten. The Hillspoint Road bridge over I-95 will be named in his honor.
“Khaliq left an indelible mark on Westport, enriching our town with his kindness, humor and grace,” said State Senator Will Haskell. “Walking through the halls at Staples, it seemed that every student and teacher knew and admired him. In the wake of his passing, I had an opportunity to work with just a few of the many people who loved him to name this bridge in his honor. For those who pass by it each day, I hope it will remind us of his optimism and compassion, bringing out the best of Westport — a town Khaliq loved and a town that loved him.”
State Representative Jonathan Steinberg added, “Khaliq was an outstanding individual who had his future tragically cut short by cancer. During his time in Westport, he made a positive impact on our community. Khaliq was beloved by his peers and excelled in the classroom. He will be sorely missed. Naming a road in Khaliq’s honor will ensure his life and legacy will never be forgotten.”
First Selectman Jim Marpe noted, “He was a talented, deeply compassionate, energetic young man who had a passion for education, community service and a zest for life. It speaks volumes that Khaliq was so highly respected and possessed strong leadership qualities – these are his legacies. Now, he is further recognized with the honor of having this bridge named for him so that his kind heart and good works will be memorialized for generations to come.”
Ben Casparius is one step closer to Major League Baseball.
The former Staples High School star was chosen in the 5th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in yesterday’s draft. He was #162 overall.
The pitcher recently completed his senior season at the University of Connecticut. He was 8-5, with a 4.03 ERA, and a team-leading 15 starts. He struck out 15 Georgetown players in 7 innings, a career high.
According to SB Nation:
Casparius led the Huskies in innings (91 2/3), as well as strikeouts (127), which translates to 12.5 strikeouts per 9 innings. His strikeout mark is second in UConn history…. This was enough to earn Casparius ABCA First-Team honors for the Northeast region, as well as second-team all-conference honors and a spot on the Big East all-tournament team.
Casparius’ best pitch is his change-up, which MLBPipeline graded a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale, which translates to above-average. His fastball, slider and control were each given 50 grades, which is average. His fastball sits around 91 mph but he has been recorded as high as 95 mph. He projects as a strike-thrower with a solid three-pitch mix. This, despite his slight 6-foot, 208-pound build, leaves him a chance to start through his professional career.
The “recommended signing bonus” for Casparius is $318,200. (Click here for the full SB Nation story. Hat tip: David Goldstein)
Longtime Westporter Leonard Kritzer died Sunday in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 97 years old.
In 2012 — nearly 70 years after he helped liberate France from Nazi occupation — he was named by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to that nation’s elite Legion of Honor. The group was founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.
A group of 20 World War II veterans received an insignia from the French Consulate in Boynton Beach, Florida. Their Knight honor was the highest of the Legion’s 5 degrees.
Kritzer spent 50 years in Westport, as a merchant and home builder. He and his wife Lea moved here from Long Island in 1954 to open Country Casuals, a women’s sportswear and country attire shop in Compo Shopping Center. He later founded Kritzer Development Corporation, and built 50 homes in Westport and Weston.
Kritzer was a 19-year-old student (and 6-4 basketball player) at Brooklyn College when he was drafted into the Army, in 1944.
He landed at Utah Beach a month after D-Day. A veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and 3 other engagements, he spent most of his time at the front. His unit calculated the distance to enemy artillery based on the sounds of big guns.
After France was liberated, Kritzer’s unit moved into Germany. They remained there as an occupying force, after surrender. He was discharged in 1946.
He retired 2 decades ago to Florida, with his wife Lea. He was an avid tennis player there.
Kritzer is survived by his wife Lea; son Harry; daughter Lizzz; granddaughters Lauren Hammarstedt and Erin Spillman; great-grandsons Sagan and Julien Spillman, and great-granddaughter Hariet Spillman.
And finally … on this day in 1985, the Live Aid benefit concert for famine relief took place in London and Philadelphia. Concerts inspired by the event were held in the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Yugoslavia, Austria, Australia and West Germany.
An audience of about 1.9 billion, in 150 nations, watched the live broadcast — nearly 40 percent of the world population.
Meanwhile, summer is actually almost here. That means more folks walking, jogging, biking and driving past the former Positano restaurant on Hillspoint Road.
For over a year, permit violations have halted construction on what was to be a private residence. The building — half-finished, swathed in blue, surrounded by weeds — has become a neighborhood eyesore.
A security fence now encloses the property. That makes it safer.
Start time for the Representative Town Meeting’s special June 8 (Tuesday) meeting to reconsider the Planning & Zoning’s adoption of a new zoning district that would enable a 157-unit development on Hiawatha Lane has been pushed ahead to 7 p.m.
However, the RTM will not address the petition until 7:30 p.m.
The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. To attend by video, send an email to RTMcomments@westportct.gov; include your name and address, to receive participation details.
Emails may be sent before the meeting to RTMmailinglist@westportct.gov; this goes to all RTM members.
It’s called “CT Trails Day.” But Friends of Sherwood Island are actually sponsoring two days — today and tomorrow — of activities at Connecticut’s first state park.
Today, there’s a Wonder of Flight Interactive Air Show (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), featuring radio-controlled model planes, helicopters, gliders and drones, followed by a Butterfly Walk with Michele Sorenson (2 p.m.; meet at the Nature Center).
Tomorrow (Sunday), Louis Petig leads a Nature Walk at 1 p.m. along the Sound. It begins at the Nature Center, and includes birding locations, the Connecticut 9/11 memorial, model aircraft airport, trailheads, wetlands and a pine forest.
At last: There’s smooth sailing — well, driving — to the beach.
Just in time for this weekend’s 90-degree weather, Hillspoint Road has been repaved. Residents and beach-goers have been frustrated for weeks, after Aquarion’s work left the street rough and rutted.
Striping should begin next week, weather permitting.
RTM member Andrew Colabella credits teamwork with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich, RTM colleague Chris Tait, Joey’s by the Shore owner Hal Kravitz and resident Robin Tauck for helping move the project along.
Speaking of Tauck: The upscale guided tour and cruise company — based now in Wilton, but for many years a Westport operation, where many family members still live — will resume tour and river cruise operations in Europe, Africa and central America, beginning this month.
Some North America tours have already begun. Click here for details.
A limited audience saw Staples High’s first live musical performance of the school year last night.
Thunderstorms moved the first of 2 Pops Concerts was moved from the Levitt Pavilion to the auditorium. After a year of COVID, that hardly mattered.
A variety of choruses, orchestras and the freshman band entertained the socially distanced — but very grateful — crowd. Despite the masks, it was a sure sign that the district’s superb staff had shepherded through a very difficult year.
And that music makes us all truly alive.
The 2nd night of the Pops Concert — with other groups — is scheduled for tonight. All tickets have already been distributed.
Luke Rosenberg directs the Anima Cantorum.
Staples High School music instructors (from left): Luke Rosenberg, Candida Inanaco, Phil Giampietro, Carrie Mascaro, Jeri Muehleise. Innaco retires this year, after 36 years of teaching. (Photos/Dan Woog)
The Artists’ Collective celebrates Westport’s return to actual, live activities with 2 big events.
A pop-up art show opens in the Westport Country Playhouse barn June 12. It runs from 2 to 6 p.m. every day, through June 19. An artist’s talk on closing day begins at 4 p.m.
Participating artists include local favorites Lucienne Buckner, Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Jen Greely, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Mary Ann Neilson, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack, Ellen Schiffman and Jahmane West.
The Collective’s very popular trunk show returns in the Westport Library’s lower parking lot: July 11 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
What is the Artists’ Collective of Westport? Click below to learn more.
The return to indoor events came too late for the Westport Country Playhouse to stage its full summer productions.
But the venerable theater welcomes a series of special events, to support next year’s full reopening.
“Cabaret in the Robards” is 3 evenings of shows featuring Broadway talent, with music, song and comedy.
The first one — June 26 — is “An Evening with Brad Simmons and Tonya Pinkins.” She’s a Tony-winning Broadway veteran; he’s a famed music director and concert artist. They’ll combine for show favorites, contemporary covers, classics and more.
Alert “06880” reader, RTM District 4 representative and frustrated driver Andrew Colabella writes:
The condition of Hillspoint Road left by Aquarion was subpar. Dipping and diving while driving along the roadway, I thought that after digging up the entire road, they would come back and either repave what they had previously dug up to be smoother, or mill the entire road or lane.
The last 2 weeks, only certain areas were dug up and repaved.
Hillspoint Road has looked like this for a while …
Hal Kravitz, Chris Tait, Robin Tauck, Jenny McGuinness, myself and many other members of the public were deeply upset. Even 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Director of Public Works Peter Ratkiewich were displeased by the work.
However, good news came in a letter from Peter Ratkiewich. He wrote:
Due to the condition of the asphalt, Mr. Marpe has authorized me to place a sacrificial cover of pavement, about 1” thick, over the entire road to make it acceptable for the summer. This will buy us some time and make the walking surfaces safe for the summer months.
We will do this from Compo Road South to Lamplight Lane, which is the worst of the worst. This takes away the Optimum problem too, as they can install their trench any time (it’s only for a couple of services, not the whole length like the water line).
We will use FGB Construction to do the work. They will try to get started next Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. The work should only take 2 days or so, then everyone should be out of there.
We will eventually end up milling this up and putting down a full 2 inch mat, but the temporary pavement could possibly give me a one year window so that I might be able to fix the sidewalk too.
… and this. (Photos/Andrew Colabella)
This is a road many of us drive every day. I want to thank everyone who spoke out and politely objected to the current condition of the road.
The importance of speaking up when there is an issue or question should always be addressed with haste, and no hesitation.
Residents who live in town and have issues with primary or secondary roads can call Town Hall: 203-341-1000.
If there’s a pothole, damaged curb from a snowplow, dead animal or issues with town infrastructure, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-341-1120.
Also, never hesitate to reach out to your RTM representative about any town issues. We are all here to help you.
Here’s to a smoother future, as we come out of hibernation from the pandemic.
But as alert — and sopping wet — reader John Richers points out, the library is not the only place in town where a life vest is as important as a seat belt.
On Monday he sent a photo of one of the 2 major lakes at Compo Beach. You may not remember that it rained — it did, a bit, Sunday night — but this was the scene hours later:
That’s the loop road heading toward South Beach and the kayak launch, with Ned Dimes Marina off to the right.
To get there, you first have to navigate the enormous lake between the guard houses on the entrance road.
“Have you ever ridden your bike into Compo the day after it rains?” John asks.
“Probably not!” he answers himself. “Me neither. Instead of doing the loop inside Compo, I don’t bother turning in to the beach on days like today.
“Today I was not as daunted though since I was driving my SUV. Still, it always feels sketchy plowing slowly through a body of water of undetermined depth.”
Compo Beach entrance, after a February 2020 rain. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
But there’s hope!
On Wednesday — 2 days later — a crew was at work paving the road by the kayaks. Fingers crossed this will be all that’s needed.
Paving in progress. (Photo/John Richers)
Compo Beach is not the only rough spot to ride by the water.
“Don’t get me started on the abominable condition of Hillspoint Road between South Compo and Greens Farms Road,” John says.
But he’s just getting started.
“This segment of Hillspoint remains a work in progress as Rondano & Company continue to mess around with water mains on behalf of Aquarion. If you’ve driven or (God forbid!) ridden your bike along this stretch over the past 6 months, you know it feels like driving through the South Bronx in the mid-’70s. Here’s hoping for a swift wrap-up and an immediate resurfacing.”
Fingers crossed. But when John asked someone working on the project how much work remains, he was told that right now they’re smoothing rough patches. Final re-paving may not happen until after the summer, because the current work needs to settle first.
There is one waterside bright spot. Unfortunately, it’s not in Westport.
“Have you ridden along Pequot Avenue from Southport Beach to the Pequot Library since they resurfaced?” he wonders.
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