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?
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).
“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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
This is Peter Gold’s report on the June Representative Town Meeting. He is an RTM member writing for himself, not in an official capacity.
The regular June RTM meeting dealt with 2 noncontroversial items. A third item, dealing with police and fire pensions, was withdrawn and will be considered at a subsequent RTM meeting.
Andrew Wilk and Jeremy Price were reappointed to 4-year terms as trustees of the Westport Library. Price is currently vice president of the board of trustees, while Wilk is responsible for sourcing and producing many of the Library’s cultural events.
The RTM unanimously certified Homes with Hope and the Westport Country Playhouse as organizations eligible to receive grants under Connecticut’s Neighborhood Assistance Act Tax Credit Program. corporations can make grants to eligible not-for-profit organizations in lieu of paying a portion of their corporate income taxes. No town funds are involved with the grants.
The maximum amount any organization can receive is $125,000. The Playhouse hopes to receive $14,210 to upgrade its parking lot with LED lights, and $10,500 to acquire assisted listening devices for the theater. Homes With Hope is asking for $24,340 for roof replacement at the Bacharach Community housing
In addition to the regular monthly June meeting, the RTM will also meet next Tuesday (June 8) to consider overturning the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to permit a 157-unit housing development, including 47 affordable units, at Hiawatha Lane.
The P&Z approved the development as part of a settlement of a lawsuit seeking to overturn its earlier denial of the project and revoke the town’s moratorium from the affordable housing requirements under Connecticut statute 8-30g. A two-thirds vote of the entire RTM (24 votes), is needed to overturn the P & Z’s decision.
If you have not finished watching “Mare of Easttown” — or if you intend to do so later — do not read on.
But if you saw the finale Sunday night on HBO Max, you know that the surprise killer was …
… young Ryan Ross.
The surprise, out-of-the-blue-but-now-it-seems-logical murderer in the wildly popular whodunit was played by Cameron Mann. When he’s not acting on the national stage, he’s a freshman (and basketball player) at Staples High.
Cameron’s role in the series starring Kate Winslet started slowly. But if local fans thought they hadn’t seen enough of him — well, hopefully, they watched to the end.
Stanford University had a great weekend at the NCAA Division I rowing championships in Sarasota, Florida — thanks in part to some local oarswomen.
Grace McGinley — a Staples High School 2017 grad and Stanford senior, received the NCAA Elite 90 award. It goes to one athlete in each NCAA sport with the highest cumulative grade point average competing in the championships. She is the first female rower in Stanford history to win the award.
Grace recently was honored with the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award too.
At the championships, Grace was joined by her sister Kelsey (Staples ’18, Stanford junior), in the Cardinal’s first varsity 8+ boat. They placed second, helping lead the team’s 3 boats to a 2nd-place finish overall. It was the highest team finish for Stanford women since 2011.
Kelsey McGinley recently received All Pac-12 Conference First Team honors. She has been called up to the U-23 national team selection camp, which begins today.
Noelle Amlicke (Staples ’19) is also a member of the Stanford women’s crew team (though she was not in Florida). Isabelle Grosgogeat (Staples ’18), was a coxswain for Princeton University women’s crew at the championships.
All 4 are Saugatuck Rowing Club alumnae. Two other SRC junior girls alums (non-Westport residents) coxed for the University of Michigan; 2 others rowed for Navy and the University of California.
And finally … today is the 74th birthday of Ronnie Wood. The former Faces and Jeff Beck Group member joined the Rolling Stones in 1975. But he was not an “official” Stone until Bill Wyman left in 1993.
The year before, he absolutely shredded “Seven Days,” at the 30th anniversary Bob Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden.
Speaking of books: The Westport Book Shop’s featured artist for May is Miggs Burroughs.
The native Westporter — and devoted book lover — exhibits his large lenticular installation “Sign Language” at the Drew Friedman Art Place. That’s at the rear of the popular used book store on Jesup Green.
“Sign Language” includes 25 small signs. Depending on the angle of the viewer, the words change in ironic or humorous ways.
Miggs has created art since he was 20. Six years later he was chosen to design a commemorative US postage stamp. He has also illustrated covers for Time magazine — and the Westport town flag. Miggs is a co-founder of the Artists Collective of Westport.
Miggs Burroughs with his lenticular art. When looked at from a different angle, the words change.
Dr. Parthena Penny Proskinitopoulos has big shoes to fill. But she’s ready to step right in.
The Fairfield educator is Staples’ newest assistant principal. She takes over from Meghan Ward on July 1.
She is a former technology integration specialist and social studies teacher. Most recently, she served as interim assistant principal at Roger Ludlowe Middle School.
Staples principal Stafford Thomas says, “Penny was the standout candidate out of a very large and talented administrator pool. She is thrilled to be joining our team at Staples, and I am excited that her arrival will coincide with our summer efforts to create an exciting and fulfilling 2021-22 school year.”
Dr. Proskinitopoulos earned a BA in psychology from St. John’s University, an MA in teaching and 6th year diploma from Sacred Heart University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Bridgeport.
During this graduation season, here’s a shout-out to Tom Tarrant. He recently graduated from the Guiding Eyes for the Blind school — along with his new guide dog, a black Lab named Velvet.
Tom is a longtime Westporter, but this is his first guide dog. An avid rower, Tom has participated in his local area’s rowing club on and off for over twenty years. He looks forward to running with Velvet.
He and his wife have 2 sons, ages 20 and 14, and a 9-year-old golden retriever. The newest member of the family fits right in.
Wendy Crowther found this morel mushroom the other day, in her backyard near Winslow Park. She says, “The morel has a reputation for being one of the greatest mushrooms in the world — edible when cooked and prized by gourmets. It was such a surprise to find one.”
The holiday has become commercialized here in the US — primarily by bars and restaurants — and it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico.
It is not “Mexican Independence Day.” Cinco de Mayo celebrates the day in 1862 when the Mexican army defeated France at the Battle of Puebla. It was part of the Franco-Mexican War — a conflict I had never heard of until a few seconds ago.
So Homes with Hope — the umbrella organization for the Gillespie Center, and a much-utilized Community Kitchen — is running a food drive. It’s this Saturday (May 1, 1 to 4 p.m., Gillespie Center, behind Barnes & Noble and Don Memo on Jesup Road).
It’s contactless: Just pull your car up, and pop the trunk.
The most needed items: canned meats (chicken, tuna, salmon, Spam); cold and hot cereals; canned soups and stews; peanut butter and jelly; mayonnaise; pasta sauce, canned vegetables.
In addition, Homes with Hope’s Community Kitchen program is gratefully accepting prepared lunches and dinners, 7 days aw eek. To become a Community Kitchen volunteer, click here. Click here for volunteer guidelines.
NOTE: During COVID, the Gillespie Center and Hoskins Place buildings are closed to the public. Staff serves all meals to shelter guests.
The Westport Library’s thought-provoking WestportREADS programming continues with virtual events this spring.
Tuesday, May 4 (7 p.m.): Ty Seidule discusses his new book, Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause, with Maggie Mudd. He describes how he confronted the racist legacy at the core of his identity, and challenges the persistent myths of the Lost Cause. Click here for information, and to register.
Wednesdays, May 5 and 19, June 2 (7 to 8:30 p.m.): Me and White Supremacy: The Challenge Continues. Small group discussions on Layla Saad’s groundbreaking book. Click here for information, and to register.
Thursday, May 6 (7 p.m.).: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. The Library hosts a virtual screening of Keith A. Beauchamp’s documentary, followed by a conversation with Beauchamp and the film’s producer, Steven Laitmon. Click here for information, and to register.
Saturday, May 8 (7 p.m.): Beechwood Arts presents the 2nd AMPLIFY Festival at the Westport Library. Black artists present music, song, and theatrical works. Click here for information, and to register.
Tuesday, June 1 (12:30 p.m.): In her book, We Need New Stories: The Myths that Subvert Freedom, Nesrine Malik examines 6 political myths used to deflect and discredit demands for social justice with Catherine Lewis. Click here for information, and to register.
The new operators of the Longshore Inn have big plans.
This afternoon (Wednesday, March 31, 5:30 p.m.), Charles Mallory — CEO of Greenwich Hospitality Group, which runs the very successful Delamar Hotels — joins Dave Briggs on Instagram Live to reveal what’s ahead.
Listen — and respond in real time — via @WestportMagazine. You can send questions on Instagram ahead of time too: @DaveBriggsTV.
The Westport Transit District recently replaced its previous fixed route system with Wheels2U Westport service, an on-demand, door-to-train station group shuttle service.
As part of the changeover, posters advertising the 50-year-old fixed route service at the Saugatuck train station were replaced with new ones highlighting the advantages of Wheels2U.
The Westport Transit District donated one of those now-historic fixed route posters to the Westport Museum for History & Culture yesterday. for its collection.
With Metro-North ridership beginning to pick up again, Wheels2U provides a convenient, reliable, and inexpensive way to get to and from the Westport and Greens Farms train stations. It serves a larger portion of Westport and meets more trains than the prior fixed route service.
Riders can order a ride using the Wheels2U phone app, be picked up at their door and then dropped off at the station platform at any time between 5:45 and 9:45 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m. Reverse commuters can take the shuttle from the train station to their jobs almost anywhere in Westport for less than other alternatives.
Future plans for the WTD include getting more employees to their jobs, shoppers to stores, and seniors to the Senior Center.
For Wheels2U Westport’s service area, fares and other information, click here. For information about Westport Transit’s door-to-door services for the elderly and people with a disability, click here.
Westport Transit District director Peter Gold presents Westport Museum of History & Culture collections director Nicole Carpenter with a now-historic Westport Transit District poster.
The ospreys are back — and not just at Fresh Market.
Chris Swan spotted one pair of the magnificent raptors at the nesting platform on Sherwood Mill Pond. He saw another on the saltmarsh at the end of Beachside Common, behind the Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park. Welcome home to those two happy couples!
A Fresh Market — not Sherwood Island — osprey. (Photo.Carolyn Doan)
Patagonia is holding a food drive for Homes with Hope. Bring non-perishable goods like canned chicken, tuna, salmon and soup, mayonnaise, peanut butter and jelly, cereal and pasta source to the downtown store.
They also sell “Patagonia Provisions” — items that can be bought, then given away. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)
Taylor Whiteside (Whitey) Bailey, a Wesport native and member of a prominent Westport family, died March 18 in Escondido, California of natural causes. He was 88 years old.
He was the 5th child of Franklin and Mary Alice Bailey. His mother was well known here as the assistant to Miss Irene Comer at her dancing school, held in the second floor ballroom of the Westport YMCA. His father was the stepson of Arthur Dare Whiteside, a founder and president of Dun & Bradstreet, and one of the early developers of the Sylvan Road and Nash’s Pond areas of Westport.
Bailey’s brother and sisters included Mary Bailey Beck, Ann Bailey Hall, Franklin Bailey, Jr. and Dare Bailey Wells, all deceased. Joan Whiteside was his step-sister.
Bailey attended Bedford Elementary School and Bedford Junior High School, and was a 1950 graduate of Staples High School. He was a competitive swimmer at Longshore Country Club and a lifeguard at Compo Beach.
He joined the U.S. Marines after high school, and served overseas from 1950-53 during the Korean War. While stationed with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, he was chosen to be the jeep driver in the movie “Retreat, Hell.”
Bailey and his first wife, Allison Norris Bailey, moved to California from Westport in the late 1950s. The former sales manager of Pace Arrow motor home company, he spent the last 25 years of his life in Fallbrook, California.
Allison Norris Bailey and Mr. Bailey’s second wife, Jan Bailey, are deceased.
He is survived by twin sons Kim W. Bailey and Timothy Norris Bailey, both of Westport; Will Mason Bailey of Maui, and 3 grandchildren.
For several years, a Birthday Bash in honor of Leah Rondon raised money for several scholarships. It honored the 6-year-old daughter of Bedford Middle School teacher Colleen Rondon, who was killed when struck by a car while playing at a friend’s house.
COVID canceled the most recent event. But the show goes on — literally.
This Saturday (March 6, 6 p.m.), a cabaret with young performers from around the globe will be livestreamed on Triple Threat Academy‘s Facebook and YouTube pages. Triple Threat founder/noted “Fame” actress/Staples High School grad Cynthia Gibb co-hosts, with Leah’s mom Colleen.
Performers – most of whom train with Triple Threat in Westport and Hollywood — include Makayla Joy Connolly of Broadway’s “Harry Potter,” and Westport’s own Jamie Mann, of Netflix’s new show “Country Comfort.”
Leah’s brother Sam joins on sax, Cooper Sadler tears it up at the Levitt Pavilion, and Sophie Walther sings her heart out from the UK.
The family-friendly benefit relies on donations from viewers and supporters. Click here for the link; click for the livestream via Triple Threat’s Facebook Live and YouTube pages.
It’s been a tough year for non-profits. In-person fundraising has suffered, while demands for their services has spiked.
But thanks to one organization, another can continue its work.
Westport Rotary Club recently donated $1,075 to Homes with Hope. The funds will provide transportation for children living in supportive housing to HwH’s After School Academic Program, where they receive food, tutoring and mentoring. It’s especially important with the rise in online learning, and the widening academic gap for children without a parent to assist them.
Westport Rotary will distribute all of the funds donated by the community to its 2020 LobsterFest Charitable Giving fundraiser. More grant recipients will be announced soon.
Rotary meetings now held virtually 3 Tuesdays a month (12:30 to 1:30 p.m.). For more information, click here.
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