Tag Archives: Homes With Hope

Roundup: Officer Honors, American Relay, Rach’s Hope …

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Congratulations to Mark Heinmiller: Westport Police Department’s Officer of the Year.

The detective received the honor last night, in a family ceremony at the Remarkable Theater.

A WPD press release called him “an incredibly accomplished and effective investigator who successfully closed a number of complicated cases over the last year. Heinmiller’s knowledge and dedication to his investigations has undoubtedly improved the safety and quality of life for all of Westport’s residents and visitors.”

Other awards included unit citations, certificates of recognition, meritorious service awards, investigator ribbons and life-saving awards.

Marc Heinmiller and K-9 dog Lola at work.

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Bacharach Community — Homes with Hope‘s supportive housing program for formerly homeless families — needs new roofs for its 3 homes.

They hope Westport has it covered.

“We’ve Got You Covered” — the clever name for the project — is reaching out to local businesses. They can redirect their 2021 state tax dollars for a 100% one-to-one tax credit, through the Neighborhood Assistance Act program.

“We’ve Got You Covered” is less than $25,000 away from its goal. To help sponsor the Bacharach Community roof project (minimum contribution: $250), click here.

The program deadline is October 1. However, payment is not due until December 31. For more information, email Janet Zamparo: jzamparo@hwhct.org

Homes in the Bacharach Community.

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When Nancy Wilson saw an “06880” post announcing the Great American Relay — a relay race fundraiser for first responders and military personnel, beginning September 11 in Boston and ending 38 days later in Santa Monica, California — she set out to find a team.

On Wednesday, her crew — Nancy, Jason Lucas, Kelly Konstanty, Lisa Goldstein, Karla Cohen, Lauren Leppla, Kenji Ogawa and Ken Gallagher — arrived in town. They handed their baton to Barbara Campbell, Elizabeth Hofmann and Jeffrey Wollman, who ran to Darien.

To learn more about the Great American Relay, click here.

Westport Fire Department personnel with runners (from left): Barb Campbell, Jeff Wollman, Ken Gallagher, Jason Lucas, Lauren Leppla, Nancy Wilson, Kelly Konstanty, Lisa Slow Goldstein, Karla Cohen Fisher.

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As Gold’s prepares for Yom Kippur, the longtime, always popular delicatessen wants its customers to know what’s going on.

Here are a few signs:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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One coming-of-age film, and another about what happens years later, highlight this weekend’s Remarkable Theater offerings.

The drive-in on Imperial Avenue screens “The Big Chill” — the still very relevant 1983 classic — on Friday, September 17 (7:30 p.m.).

The next night’s feature (Saturday, September 18, 6:45 p.m.) is “Luca,” a 2021 release about 2 boys experiencing an unforgettable summer.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Three years ago, Rachel Doran — a rising senior at Cornell University, National Merit Commended Scholar, talented Players costume designer, and founder of “Rachel’s Rags,” a company that makes intricate cotton and fleece pajama tops and bottoms — died following a rare reaction to common medications.

Her family now has a mission: to support families with critically ill children. To help, they’ve organized an outdoor, family-friendly event for October 2 (4 p.m., Compo Beach).

Rachel’s grandfather “Pa” pledged to walk 1,000 miles in his 80th year to honor Rachel, and raise money for Rach’s Hope. He’s almost there. He plans to finish at the upcoming event — nicknamed “Walk the Extra Mile with Pa and Team Rach’s Hope.”

At the end of the mile walk, everyone will gather to celebrate Pa’s feat with a pizza truck, live music by Ellis Island, and beverages.

PJs are optional, but encouraged!

Click here for more information, and to register or donate.

Rachel Doran’s grandfather gets ready to walk. You can too!

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The Westport Tree Board in partnership with Earthplace present Call of the FOREST.

The science and enchantment of the global forest provides us with answers to modern dilemmas.

‘Call Of The Forest – The Forgotten Wisdom Of Trees’ is a documentary featuring scientist and acclaimed author Diana Beresford-Kroeger. The film follows Diana as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Her global journey explores the science, folklore, and restoration challenges of this essential eco-system.

Beresford-Kroeger explores the most beautiful forests in the Northern Hemisphere from the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan to the great boreal forest of Canada. She shares the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet.

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You could call it a “rain forest.”

“Call of the Forest” — a movie co-sponsored by the Westport Tree Board and Earthplace — was rained out in July.

The new date is September 22 (6:30 p.m., Earthplace outdoor amphitheater; indoor if rain).

The coumentary features scientist/author Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Her global journey explores the science, folklore and restoration challenges of this essential ecosystem.

Click here for more information.

In other Tree Board news, they’re joining with the Westport Library for a children’s “Oaktober oaktivity on Jesup Green (October 23, 11 a.m.)

Oak seedlings — courtesy of Bartlett Tree — will be available at both events (while supplies last).

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Today’s very serene “Westport … Naturally” scene comes courtesy of Lauri Weiser:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … Lauri Weiser’s image above leads (naturallyto:

 

McAlinden: Housing Rally A Good Start; More Needed

Helen McAlinden is excited about yesterday’s housing rally on Jesup Green.

The event — co-sponsored by Homes with Hope, the Westport Housing Authority and Westport Department of Human Services — drew dozens of housing supporters, and a number of politicians.

McAlinden — executive director of Homes with Hopes — says:

“Their attendance and support shows us we have friends and advocates at the State Capitol. It was brilliant to see that!

“With Connecticut’s $300 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds unallocated at this time, our collective voices were heard. But this needs to continue, so that these funds are invested in affordable housing and support services to protect our most vulnerable residents.

Young attendees carried signs at yesterday’s rally. (Photo/Lauren Braver Schiller)

“We would like to thank First Selectman Jim Marpe, Elaine Daignault (Human Services director) and Carol Martin (Housing Authority director) for their partnership and leadership in hosting such a wonderful shindig in Westport.  They did a brilliant job highlighting the Fairfield County housing crisis.

“But our efforts are not over. Please continue your advocacy. Now, with this event fresh in people’s minds, is the time to continue to spread the word and consider doing a similar event in other communities.

“One woman’s story — which mirrored many others — brought the event into a real-life scenario which was appreciated by everyone. The town of Westport and Westport Housing Authority will be happy to lend their support to help produce a similar event in every community highlighting, how small, affluent towns can be part of the answer.”

Click below for a video of the event:

 

Roundup: Urgent Care, Classic Cars, Housing Rally …

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NOTE: Our “0*6*Art*Art*0” art gallery is closed for summer vacation. It will reopen next week!

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Westport Urgent Care‘s air conditioning unit has been in urgent need of a part for a while. It’s still on back order.

What was merely an inconvenience earlier became — well, urgent — this sweltering week. With latex gloves sticking to doctors and nurses’ hands, dangerous heat levels, and ill patients being exposed to even more danger in the waiting area, the health care center tried to adapt.

Yesterday, the walk-in clinic closed early. A sign cited “equipment failure,” and apologized for “inconvience.”

There was no notice on the website, or voice message, whether Urgent Care will be open today. It usually opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays.

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Then there’s this heat-related postponement: Today’s Car Cruise has been rescheduled for next Saturday (August 21, 4 to 8 p.m., Saugatuck train station parking lot #1).

The sponsoring Westport Police Benevolent Association decided it was just too hot.

Cars of all years, makes and models are welcome. The fee to enter and display is $20. Funds benefit charities like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Special Olympics, and Veterans and Families of Fallen Officers.

The first 100 cars to arrive get a gift bag. The family-friendly event includes music, food, trophies and raffle prizes.

Westport PBA car rally

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Speaking of cars: This was spotted a couple of days ago, by Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach. I guess he (and you know it’s a guy) wanted to park as close to his boat as possible.

(Photo/Michael Lonsdale)

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Still on: Wednesday’s (August 18, 2 p.m., Jesup Green) rally to end a message about the importance of supportive housing for Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.

As the housing market is at a fever pitch, a coalition of groups — including Homes With Hope, the Westport Housing Authority and The Partnership for Open Communities — are working on funding initiatives.

Vulnerable residents include homeless people, the housing insecure, domestic violence survivors, youth, and families struggling to stay in our community.

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Yesterday’s “06880 Roundup” about an upcoming Mikey’s Way event included outdated information. The spread of the COVID Delta variant raised concerns about an in-person gathering.

The “Beacon of Hope” fundraiser — to help provide electronics for youngsters undergoing treatment for life-threatening illnesses — will be all virtual this year. A live auction begins October 13.

Click here for more information.

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 Like ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny: The New England Patriots are generous.

Every year, the Kraft family owners’ foundation  honors community volunteers. This week, at Gillette Stadium, 26 volunteers were cited — and donations made in their name to charitable causes.

Among them: Westporter Amy Katz, and — to the tune of $10,000 — Pink Aid.

In 2011, she founded the organization to help underserved women undergoing breast cancer treatments. It has provided more than $6.5 million in assistance, to over 10,000 women.

Katz also launched a mentorship program, and established Norwalk Hospital’s Community Mammogram Program for underinsured women.

The Kraft Family Foundation received more than 250 applications this year from nonprofit organizations. Congratulations, Amy — and thank you, Pink Aid and the Krafts! (Hat tip: Jean Lepore)

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Congrats too to Tallula Stvan. The June Staples High School graduate heads off to the University of Connecticut as winner of the Westport Woman’s Club’s Leah Scherzer Scholarship.

Tallula’s activities included the school newspaper Inklings, and a community service project. Her award — part of the WWC’s $31,000 given in student aid this year — is named for the Woman’s Clubs most active member.

Tallula Stvan

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And more kudos: rising Staples High School sophomore Leigh Foran just had a paper published in The Pre-Collegiate Global Health Review. It’s called  “A Disease Called Poverty: The Sickness Dismantling Global Health Equity.”

PGHR — a Johns Hopkins University student- and faculty-led publication — is the first international, peer-reviewed journal that features articles on global health topics written by high school students. Leigh’s article underwent a rigorous review process.

In it, she discusses the inequitable correlation between poverty and illness, including how poor people are disproportionately more devastated by preventable diseases. She comments on the role of non-governmental organizations in adding to this problem, and what can be done to find a solution.

Click here to read Leigh’s piece.

Leigh Foran

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The Westport Garden Club sure gets around.

This week’s #FridayFlowers grace the front entrance of Earthplace. It’s appropriate. The arrangement was created by club member Becky Newman, who in her spare time directs the center’s nature programs.

#FridayFlowers at Earthplace.

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Which leads us, naturally, to today’s “Westport … Naturally” beautiful butterfly photo:

(Photo/Mikayla Doyle)

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And finally … it’s too hot to do much during the day. But tonight, head outside. Look up. You’ll see the Perseid meteor shower. If you’re lucky — and away from too much light pollution — you’ll see one of nature’s true wonders.

And you can’t beat the price.

 

Roundup: Ear Piercing, Car Show …

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The Asian American and Pacific Islander group of Westport invites everyone to a free outdoor family event tomorrow (Friday, August 13, 4 to 6 p.m.), at MoCA Westport.

There’s an art presentation by local artist Rosie Jon; music with Westporter Stacie Morgain Lewis (Glenda from “Wicked”), and more.

This will be a very lucky Friday the 13th!

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Need your ear(s) piereced?

Rowan — already established in New York — opens in Westport location on Saturday. The store — at 47 Main Street — boasts “licensed nurses.” They also make home visits.

Click here for details.

(Photo courtesy of Westport Moms)

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Don’t care to get your ears pierced? Or looking for something to do afterward?

The Westport Police Benevolent Association hosts their 3rd Annual Car Cruise this Saturday evening )August 14, 4 to 8 p.m., Lot 1, Saugatuck train station).

All years and models are welcome (entry fee: $20). There’s music, JR’s good truck, Micallizi’s Italian ice, trophy awards and tons of raffle prizes. The first 100 cars receive goodie bags.

Funds raised help the PBA support non-profit organizations like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Special Olympics, veterans and families of fallen officers.

Westport PBA car rally

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Speaking of police: The Westport department teamed up with ASF Sports recently, to collect items for the Gillespie Center. Cops and business doing something wonderful for folks in need: May the Force be with you!

Donations gratefully accepted.

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Today, “Westport … Naturally” shows chick #3 about to leave the Burying Hill Beach osprey nest.

(Photo/Peter Swift)

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And finally … today in 30 BC — a mere 2,051 years ago — Cleopatra died. She was 39.

Roundup: Housing Rally, Yappy Hour, River Dredging …

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The Town of Westport, Westport Housing Authority and Homes With Hope issue this statement:

Tomorrow (Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 2 p.m., Jesup Green) we invite residents to join legislators, local providers and advocates in a call-to-action rally to address Fairfield County’s growing housing crisis, in the aftermath of and ongoing concerns related to the pandemic.

The goal of the rally is to raise public awareness of the housing crisis and remind State legislators of the urgency to act. We encourage the public to attend as a personal action to combat homelessness. Public participation sends a message to legislators that the community supports the allocation of resources to Fairfield County’s most vulnerable residents.

Housing insecurity affects thousands of Fairfield County families and individuals seeking permanent housing every day. Affordability has become the most significant barrier for moderate and lower-income households to maintain stable housing in Fairfield County. The pandemic has increased the demand for affordable housing, resulting in a lack of available inventory, and dramatically increased rents, leaving many residents without access to safe housing options.

Rally attendees will hear from a range of funders, advocates, and community providers who offer direct services to friends and neighbors experiencing housing insecurity. Research shows that the most effective strategy for solving homelessness is the Housing First approach, connecting households to stable and affordable housing through a combination of supportive services and financial assistance.

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Dredging the Saugatuck River has been a complex (and expensive) topic.

It’s still a long way from happening. But earlier this month, Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal ensured funding for several Connecticut projects in the Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Development Appropriations  Bill. Included is $2.81 for Saugatuck River dredging.

The funding can help “kick start” projects that are stalled, Murphy said. (Hat tip: Robbie Guimond)

Dredging could enable more river traffic at places like Rive Bistro restaurant. 

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MoCA Westport went to the dogs last Thursday.

It was “Yappy Hour.” Canines enjoyed dog-friendly Pupsicles, while owners sipped custom cocktails from Bar MoCA.

Guests also had complimentary access to the museum’s summer exhibitions — and could ask questions of a dog trainer, provided by Pet Choice.

PAWS brought along an adoptable dog, and took home food donations from attendees.

The next Yappy Hour is Thursday, September 2. Before then, a regular (dog-free) Happy Hour happens every Thursday, at Bar MoCA. Happy and Yappy Hours are all 5 to 7 p.m.

Yappy Hour at MoCA.

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The Westport Downtown Association hosts its 3rd (and final) Summer Outdoor Shopping Days this Saturday (August 14), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

This isn’t the traditional “sidewalk sale.” But word on the (Main) Street is that some stores will offer great deals anyway.

Main and Elm Streets will be closed. There will be a food truck, bar and live music all day long.

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The end of an era: 29 Soundview Drive is on the market.

The home — in the same family for years — was owned by Paul Lane. The former Staples High School coach died in June, just days before the football field there was named in his honor.

Generations of Westporters strolling along the beach remember “Coach” sitting on his patio, greeting former athletes, longtime Westporters, and strangers.

This summer, the house was empty. Here’s wishing the new owners as much joy as Paul and his family enjoyed there.

And as full and healthy lives as he lived.

29 Soundview Drive

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Westport Book Shop‘s 1st-ever Back-to-School Story Time features a first-ever reading.

Westport author/illustrator Sivan Hong — whose “Super Fun Day” book series focus on neuro-diverse children who overcome challenges with perseverance and bravery — will read her new book — “Emily D. and the Fearful First Day” outside the popular used book shop, on Jesup Green. She’ll read others, too.

The event is this Saturday (August 14, 11 a.m. Kids and parents should bring a blanket or beach chair. Snacks are courtesy of The Porch @ Christie’s, and Sweet P Bakery.

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David Ader submits today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo. He writes:

“Peekaboo! A curious baby raccoon watched me, Pippa and our dog as we walked past the nursery. I assume the mother was out finding a meal.”

(Photo/David Ader)

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And finally … Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, a saxophonist and founding member of Kool & the Gang, died Saturday in New Jersey. He was 70. (Click here for full obituary.) 

Time to “celebrate” a life well lived!

Roundup: Staples Class Of ’76, Coney Island, Sherwood Island …

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This is the 45th reunion weekend for the Staples High School Class of 1976. (Sorry, guys — time marches on.)

Like most classes, they’re enjoying each other’s company at the Duck, the beach, and a more formal affair.

But they’re also doing something every reunion class should emulate. This morning, members volunteered in a service project at CLASP Homes.

Tracy Flood — a proud member of Staples’ bicentennial class — is president of the local non-profit, which serves people with autism and intellectual disabilities, and their families.

(Coincidentally, CLASP was founded in 1976.)

Thanks, and congrats, to Staples’ Class of ’76. They came from all over the country to celebrate. To help their classmate. And to give back to the town where they grew up.

And, as is clear, grew into wonderful human beings.

Members of Staples High School’s Class of 1976, helping CLASP. Tracy Flood is 2nd from left.

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Connecticut’s COVID numbers don’t look great.

There’s been a 225% increase in cases over the past 2 weeks. Hospitalizations are up 93%, and deaths 133%.

The 2 most troubling hot spot  Windham County, in the northeast (up 682%) and New Haven County (up 244%). Fairfield County is up 253%, the 2nd highest percentage of the state’s 8 counties.

It’s not back. It never left.

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The other day, David Pogue interviewed Robin Frank for his “CBS Sunday Morning” feature.

David’s subject was Coney Island. Robin wrote a great book about it (“Visions of an American Dreamland: 1861-2008”), and curated a traveling exhibition about it.

The interview took place at the Coney Island Museum, and on the famous boardwalk. (Click below to see.)

Only afterward did David and Robin discover that both live in Westport.

“06880”: Where Westport meets the World. Including — especially — Coney Island.

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Sherwood Island — the 235-acre gem between Compo and Burying Hill Beaches — is the oldest state park in Connecticut. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014 (as the many Westporters who discovered it during the pandemic now know).

But who knew that this is the 100th anniversary of lifeguards at the famed beach?

Well, Karen Scott did. The KMS Partners @ Compass realtor snapped this photo the other day. Congratulations,

PS: Entrance is free to all cars with Connecticut license plates.

(Photo/Karen Scott)

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Speaking of Sherwood Island: The park is filled with natural wonders. So — naturally — it’s a great subject for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Elena Nasereddin)

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Thanks to the Westport Police Department — and the generosity of many Westporters — Homes with Hope’ food pantry is now 303 bags of groceries more full.

Yesterday’s drive at Stop & Shop was a roaring success, says Helen McAlinden, CEO of the Westport non-profit that runs the Gillespie Center, and associated supportive housing and meal programs.

Missed your chance? Click here to see how to help.

Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers deliver food from today’s drive to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.

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No, Linda Ronstadt was not at the Levitt Pavilion last night.

But Rita Harvey’s tribute made it seem like the star was on the Westport stage. Harvey — a Broadway veteran — interspersed songs with anecdotes about Ronstadt’s long career.

Tonight, the Levitt features the American Patchwork Quartet. Upcoming: Treehouse Comedy (Tuesday), Hopalong Andrew (children’s series, Wednesday), Nicki Parrott Trio (Thursday), The Lone Bellow (special benefit show, Friday) and Isaiah Sharkey (Saturday).

Click here for times, tickets (free — except Friday!), and more information.

Rita Harvey (Photo/JC Martin)

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Our athletes in Tokyo will never see it.

But — like graduates before them, who were also honored by a clever, colorful sign — this display on Pumpkin Hill near Colony Road illustrates well: It’s the thought that counts.

(Photo/Ed Simek)

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Yesterday’s “Roundup” featured the Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers arrangement at the Wadsworth Arboretum.

(Photo: Susan Nettesheim)

It did not last long. Within hours, four deer devoured it.

Hey: As with the Olympic sign (above), it’s the thought that counts. (Hat tip: Dottie Fincher)

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And finally … I never liked the song “Chuck E.’s in Love.” It just kind of sat there.

But Chuck E. Weiss — the blues musician, club owner and “outsize Los Angeles character” who was the star of Rickie Lee Jones’ hit — died the other day in LA, of kidney failure. He was 76.

So, Chuck E.: This one’s for you. (PS: If for some reason you want his full obit click here.)

 

Friday Flashback #254

Since the 1960s, the Post Road East/Roseville Road corner has been known for food.

First Big Top, then Roy Rogers, now McDonald’s — it’s where generations of Westporters have stopped for a quick (first real, then heavily processed) meal.

Previous generations headed to that spot for some slow, important work.

Blacksmith shop next to Roseville Road around 1925. it was torn down in 1928, as part of a road rewidening project. The Linxweilers moved their operation nearby. (Photo courtesy of Peter Morris)

A blacksmith shop stood for years by the unpaved streets. It was owned by the Linxweiler family. Their residence — a few yards west on Post Road East, next to the Fresh Market shopping center — still stands. It’s now part of Homes with Hope’s supportive housing program.

From blacksmitih to Big Top to McDonald’s: progress? Or regress?

Roundup: Waste; Kendig & Colbert; Golf, Tennis & Basketball …

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Don’t just talk the environmental talk. Walk it.

And learn how this Monday (July 26, 7 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). A panel discussion on “Attainable Sustainable: Simple Steps to Reducing Wasteful Everyday Habits” will give you the tools you need to create meaningful change.

The even is moderated by State Senator Will Haskell. Participants include Peter Boyd (Yale School of the Environment), Haley Schulman (Food Rescue US), Brad Kerner (“public health expert turned low-waster”), and Andrew Colabella (Westport RTM and Environment Committee member).

Click here for tickets.

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Westpor’s Emmy-nominated list keeps growing.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” senior producer — and 2000 Staples High School graduate — Paige Kendig was part of the show’s nomination for “Outstanding Variety Talk Series,” while its live election special is up for an Emmy as “Outstanding Variety Special.”

Paige joins several other local nominees. Soon there will be a category for “American Town With Most Emmys.”

“Late Show with Stephen Colbert” senior producer Paige Kendig and the show’s star, as they interviewed President-Elect Joe Biden in December.

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The Westport Police Department is good neighbors with their across-Jesup-Road friends, the Gillespie Center.

On July 31 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Stop & Shop), the department will hold a food drive for the Center, and its umbrella organization Homes with Hope.

Items needed include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, pasta and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac & cheese, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise

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Congratulations to Manna Toast.

The popular Church Lane restaurant — which opened last year in the middle of the pandemic — hosted an outdoor dinner the other day, to celebrate its 1st birthday.

One of the guests is a very loyal customer: 118 visits!

Manna Toast’s anniversary dinner.

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Connecticut’s Summer at the Museum program is great. Anyone 18 and under, plus an accompanying adult, visit participating museums free of charge through September 6.

Among those museums: MoCA Westport.

The summer exhibition, Élan Vital, features 11 artists working in a range of mediums, including painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, ceramics and site-specific installation work There are 2 other exhibits too: “Unfit for Print” and “Love Wins,” plus high school works in the Congressional Art Competition. Click here for details.

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Foursomes are still available for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s fundraising golf tournament on August 2 (Aspetuck Valley Country Club, Weston).

There’s lunch at 11 a.m.; a shotgun start at noon, and a cocktail reception, dinner and awards at 4:30.

The event includes hole-in-one and putting contests, a $20 pro shop credit, gifts, prizes, and beverages.

Click here to register. Questions? Call 203-226-8981 ext. 104, or email bmarazzi@westporty.org.

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Speaking of sports: Congratulations to Tighe Brunetti of Staples High School. The rising senior — a member of the state champion Wreckers’ team — has been named USA Today’s state Boys  Tennis Player of the Year.

Tighe Brunetti

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Speaking still of sports: Yesterday’s “Roundup” gave a shoutout to Marc Lasry. The Westport hedge fund billionaire is co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, new National Basketball Association champions.

The team may play 1,000 from here. But — as Google’s aerial view shows — his Greens Farms property includes a full-size basketball court.

With the slogan all of Wisconsin (and now the NBA) knows well: “Fear the Deer”!

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo proves there is life in even the most unlikely places.

(Photo/Diane Yormark)

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And finally … happy 48th birthday to Rufus Wainwright!

Roundup: Salsa Fresca, Library Cafe, Fireworks …

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Chipotle didn’t make it. Neither did Qdoba.

But Salsa Fresca is betting the 3rd time’s the charm.

The idea is the same: build your own Mexican meal — burrito, bowl, taco, salad, nachos, quesadilla — from a list of items.

Salsa Fresca is a lot smaller than either of the 2 chains that preceded it. They had hundreds. This will be just the 9th Salsa Fresca in New York and Connecticut. The closest locations now are Danbury and Bedford Hills.

They’ll open in the exact same spot — at the foot of Playhouse Square, underneath Kennedy’s Barber Shop — that Qdoba vacated more than 3 years ago.

So I’ll say this about Salsa Fresca: They’ve got some big cojones.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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The Westport Library Café is — like so much else — reopening up more and more.

Hours are now 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Come for the treats. Stay for the views!

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Hey — it was a great idea while it lasted.

With no 4th of July fireworks yesterday, “06880” reader Jennifer McCarthy floated the idea of rescheduling the pyrotechnics — this year only — to Labor Day.

Looks like a washout, though (just like Friday night’s would have been). Westport PAL — longtime sponsor of the annual event — says that town officials nixed the concept a while ago, not wanting to risk being a super-spreader.

In addition, staffing would be tough. Many seasonal employees will already be back in college.

See you at Compo in early July, 2022!

Fears of another super-spreader event mean no fireworks until next year. (Photo/Rick Benson)

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The Gillespie Center food pantry is out of essentials.

Items needed include canned meats (chicken, tuna, salmon, Spam), pasta sauces, jams and jellies, hot and cold cereals, canned fruits and vegetables,, and paper and reusable bags.

They can be dropped off at the Gillespie Center courtyard (behind Don Memo restaurant) today, tomorrow and Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Yesterday, America celebrated its 245th birthday.

But anyone wandering by the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot across from the Southport Diner yesterday — just over the town line — might have thought it was our 145th.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows delicious raspberries, ready to ripen at Baron’s South. Yum!

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … on this day in 1954, Elvis Presley recorded his first single, “That’s All Right,” at Sun Records in Memphis. The world was never the same.

“06880” Podcast: Helen McAlinden

You know there’s a story behind Westport’s decades-long embrace of a homeless shelter — in the midst of downtown, a few yards away from Tiffany.

In fact, there are many stories. And no one tells them better than Helen McAlinden.

Her first year as president and CEO of Homes with Hope — Westport’s umbrella supportive housing agency — was filled with challenges. COVID — which hit just 2 months after she began — forced residents out of their shelters, and into hotels. It affected everything from volunteers cooking and serving meals, to fundraising.

But — like Homes with Hopes’ clients — Helen weathered the many storms. The other day, she discussed her work, Westport’s response, and many issues around homelessness and food insecurity.

The most recent episode of “06880: The Podcast” is eye-opening. And no one tells that story better — or in an better Irish brogue — than Helen McAlinden. Click here to watch.

Screenshot from Helen McAlinden’s podcast.