Tag Archives: Hurricane Henri

Roundup: Donut Crazy, Merritt Parkway, “La Mancha” …


Donut Crazy — the wonderful, warm, not-for-the-calorie-conscious coffeehouse on the eastbound side of the Saugatuck train station — is closed today.

It’s unclear whether it’s permanent. Loyal customers hope not. Their fingers are crossed it will reopen — perhaps under new owners.

The past 17 months have not been easy. Always a bit out of the way for late-arriving morning commuters to New York, the steep drop in ridership during the pandemic must have hurt.

The arrival of Steam donuts and coffee at Desi’s Corner, at the Railroad Place by Riverside Avenue, is another blow.

Donut Crazy’s 4 other locations — in Stratford, Shelton, Branford and West Hartford — remain open. That’s not too far to go for some of the craziest donuts (and more) on earth. (Hat tip: Carolanne Curry)


Hurricane Henri was a washout. It had virtually no effect on Westport — except for a ban on beach activities through Wednesday.

Swimming, fishing and paddle crafts are prohibited for the next 2 days, says Westport Weston Health District director Mark Cooper.

The cause: possible contamination of Long Island Sound, from untreated sewage discharges after the storm.

It’s a good thing Caroline Sherman swam to Cockenoe Island before Sunday. (Photo/Alex Sherman)


The Merritt Parkway paving project between northbound Exits 40 and 41 appear to be a mess.

Readers report numerous flat tires, due to holes in the pavement. Be careful out there!

In better days …


Sam Palmer is the son of a Staples High School teacher. A 2019 graduate of Fairfield Warde High School, he’s been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s waiting for a blood stem cell/bone marrow transplant.

And he needs a donor.

A “Swab for Sam/Be the Match” donor registration drive is set for this Saturday (August 28, 9 to 11 a.m., Fairfield Warde High School, 755 Melville Avenue).

It takes just 5 minutes to register, and have your cheek swabbed to enter the marrow donor registry. The more donors, the more chances Sam — and others like him — have to live long, full lives.

Sam Palmer


Rod Gilbert — the New York Rangers great who died last weekend at 80 — leaves behind many fans.

Among them: Charlie Capalbo. The Fairfield hockey player — and grandson of Westporters Ina Chadwick and Richard Epstein — has battled cancer for several years. His spirits have been lifted by many people in the hockey world.

Gilbert was among the first. Here was his message to Charlie, in 2017:


Did you miss the 2018 Westport Country Playhouse presentation of “Man of La Mancha?” Saw it, and want to see it again? Just looking for great entertainment, as the Delta variant has us all wary again of crowds?

The award-winning show is available now, on demand, through September 5.  Tickets start at just $25. Click here to order.

Pick a time. Buy sangria. Prepare paella. Enjoy!


Laura Nelson died Friday, surrounded by family and friends, following a battle with cancer. She was 55.

Her family says: “Laura’s light always shined brightly. The people of Westport may remember sharing a friendly wave, a peace sign or a warm smile with Laura as she drove around the neighborhood in her clementine orange VW bus, laughing and soaking up every drop of life.

“She was an accomplished communications executive and public relations expert, dedicated wife and mother, loving sister and aunt, best friend, and adored colleague.

“Above all, Laura loved her husband Jim and their children Charlie and Annabelle fiercely and unconditionally. Her pride in their accomplishments knew no bounds.”

Laura began her career as a PR professional with Dan Klores Associates in New York City. For over 3 decades she rose through the media industry as the cable television business flourished.

In her early career she led the communications team at Comedy Central, then a fledgling startup channel. She rose to senior vice president of communications and public affairs for VH1 and MTV. She later joined Nielsen, where she served as chief communications officer during a transformative period.

Laura advised celebrities and media executives throughout her career. Her family says, “She was known as a savvy strategist and insightful advisor. She was a student of the spoken and written word and used this knowledge to advance the interests of her clients and organizations. Maybe most importantly, Laura knew how to bring out the best in her people—she was the perfect combination of mentor, coach, advocate, leader, and friend. Over the years, she assembled multiple award-winning teams, and many of her protégés have gone on to serve as chief marketing and communications officers themselves.”

Born in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, Laura grew up in Darien. In 1983, Laura served as a Page in the US Senate and attended the Capitol Page School. At Darien High School she was the editor of the school newspaper. She graduated from Boston College with a BA in ohilosophy. As part of her undergraduate studies, she attended Temple University in Rome, where she developed a lifelong love of Italy and its culture.

Her family notes: “Laura was generous, loyal, and warm, and she readily adopted friends into her extended family. She was known for her sense of humor, authenticity, and dedication to her family and friends. She was unyielding on the things that mattered to her and to the world, and she loved with her whole heart and soul.

She is survived by her husband James A. Kremens; children Charles Kremens and Annabelle Kremens, all of Westport; siblings Gina Wilcox (Brady) of Old Lyme; Paul Nelson (Julie) of Wilmette, Illinois, and Andrew Nelson (Meghan) of Cincinnati.

A mass of Christian burial will be held Friday, (August 27, 11 a.m., Church of the Assumption.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Cancer Couch Foundation, P.O. Box 1145, Southport, CT 06890, or thecancercouch.com.

Laura Nelson


The rain seems finally to have moved away. As it moved out yesterday, it left this hopeful sign over Sherwood Mill Pond:

(Photo/Ferdinand Jahnel)


The Friends of the Weston Senior Activities Center plan a flea market for Saturday, September 18 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Weston High School).

Past years have drawn 80 vendors, selling old, new and handmade items. Spaces are going quickly. To reserve a space, call 203-222-2608.


It doesn’t get more “Westport … Naturally” than this Winslow Park scene.

(Photo/JC Martin)


And finally … country singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall died Friday, at his Tennessee home.

He was known both for the songs he wrote and sang himself, and those he wrote for others. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: Weather, Sam Wilkes, RFK …


Yesterday’s “hurricane” was a dud. All that time spent hauling in patio furnitue, hauling boats out of the water, hauling ass around town for food, batteries and gas — what a waste!

Except it wasn’t.

Storms are capricious. We expected to be battered this time, but barely got a tap. Last summer, no one was worried about Isaias. It brought us to our knees.

It’s the same with winter weather. We’ve stripped Stop & Shop of all its eggs and milk, only to receive a few flakes. And we’ve been homebound for days after snow and ice we didn’t really expect.

So what’s the lesson? Should we ignore every warning, and just try to be prepared all the time?

No. The weatherpersons have gotten their forecasts right far more often than they’ve been wrong. Listen to the experts. It really is better to be safe than sorry.

Or put another way: It’s a lot better to be pleasantly surprised that Henri was a dud — in Westport, at least — than to broil in the dark, with no utility truck in sight for days, because of a storm we were not worried about.

Homes on Compo Cove — many boarded up, in anticipation of Hurricane Henri — yesterday. Instead of high winds and heavy rain, the day passed without incident. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)


After closing the town’s Emergency Operations Center yesterday afternoon, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe said:

“I want to thank our residents and businesses for heeding the instructions to remain at home and prepare for what could’ve been a major situation. I hope that for many Westporters, today was a day well spent with family, or at least a chance to test and improve your emergency preparedness.

Thank you also to the Westport Fire, Police, Public Health, Parks & Recreation, Public Works and Human Services Departments for their efforts to monitor and prepare to respond to the needs of our community.”

Fire marshal Nate Gibbons provided updates on Henri yesterday, on WWPT-FM. He had little to report.


One last Henri photo.

In contrast to Saturday’s packed-all-day Merritt Parkway, yesterday was a breeze.

Merritt Parkway, from the North Avenue bridge. (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Maybe we should have hurricane warnings more often?


At Staples, Sam Wilkes was all music, nearly all the time. He played in the band, jazz band and orchestra. (He also took as many English courses as he could: 4 in senior year.) In high school, he says, “I learned how to learn.”

After graduating in 2009, Sam headed to the University of Southern California. He was in the 1st class of the new Popular Music Performance program.

He’s still playing — and living life on his own terms.

The August 23 issue of The New Yorker includes a piece about Sam and his musical partner, Sam Gendel. Kelefa Sanneh explores their 2018 jazz-and-more album “Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar,” one song of which was featured n the Netflix movie “Malcolm & Marie.””BOA” has been streamed nearly 2 million times on Spotify.

Wilkes is doing plenty of recording, including with Chaka Khan. Sanneh expresses surprise in The New Yorker that he and Gendels do not tour more, and describesthe quirky route to where the duo is today. He appreciates, though, their simplicity, ambience and texture.

Sanneh mentions a video Wilkes and Gendel filmed with the band KNOWER. They help the group “burn through a breakneck funk groove”; Wilkes, he says, “contributes a particularly tasty bass fill.”

it’s been viewed more than 5 million times. (Click here for the full story.)


Check out the new header (top photo) on “06880.” The great, wide shot of the Levitt Pavilion comes courtesy of Joel Treisman. Much appreciated!

Speaking of the Levitt: Here’s this week’s schedule.

  • Tuesday, August 24: The Fairfield Counts (19-member big band)
  • Wednesday, August 25:  Sonia de los Santos (Latin Grammy nominee)
  • Thursday, August 26: Nellie McKay (Great American Songbook)
  • Friday, August 27: Mihali (Singer/songwriter)
  • Saturday, August 28; Gunsmoke (country, Western swing, rockabilly)
  • Sunday, August 29: Dr. K’s Motown Revue

Click here for times, and (free!) ticket information.

Dr. K’s Motown Revue will have audiences dancing in the street — well, on the grass — next Sunday, at the Levitt Pavilion.


As summer workers head off to college, this retro Compo Beach Soundview parking lot sign may soon be hauled out of storage:

(Photo/Daniel Maya)


Robin Gusick ventured out to Fresh Market yesterday. She reports:

“The ice cream shelves were empty. But shoppers could start advance planning for Thanksgiving.

“They might even begin saving, to buy an $89.99 chocolate turkey.”

What?! Have we just skipped Halloween, and gone straight to “the holidays”?!

(Photo/Robin Gusick)


Spotted downtown: Support for a politician absolutely with no chance of winning.

(Photo/JC Martin)


These 2 Compo birds had no idea yesterday that a fierce hurricane was predicted. Or that it never arrived.

They didn’t even realize they were posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature. They just did their Compo thing.

(Photo/Dr. Michelle Widmeier)


Don Everly — the older of the duo, whose “fusion of Appalachian harmonies and a tighter, cleaner version of big-beat rock ’n’ roll made them harbingers of both folk-rock and country-rock” (according to the New York Times), died Saturday at his Nashville home. He was 84.

Click here for the full obituary.


Henri: Afternoon Report

Sure, it looks okay to venture out.

We’ve been cooped up all morning, watching with increasing confidence as Tropical Storm Henri leaves us alone, battering eastern New England instead.

But a large branch pierced Sara Kelly’s roof, off Long Lots Road.

The most recent weather report shows potential for rain around 3 p.m. Winds will be strongest then too.

Meanwhile, the downtown flood gates — and the less-than-expected storm surge — appear to be keeping Main Street stores safe.

(Photo/Eric Bosch)

At Compo, at least one swimmer was undeterred by the storm, or the lack of lifeguards:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Henri: Late Morning Update

We’re not inundated.

But, as noted earlier: We are not yet completely safe from Tropical Storm Henri’s impact.

As it targets Rhode Island, we’re expecting heavy rain between 2 and 6 p.m. Winds will blow more than they are now, though not likely at gale force.

Meanwhile, this was the scene a few moments ago at Old Mill Beach:

(Photo/Benji Porosoff)



Roundup: Henri … And More


While Westporters frantically prepared for Hurricane Henri yesterday — stocking up on water and batteries, pumping gas and creating huge traffic messes from the Post Road to (inexplicably) Cross Highway and Easton Road — a rainbow appeared over Compo Beach.

(Photo/Allen Bemus)

Hopefully it was a good omen. Henri — downgraded now to a tropical storm, but still dangerous — veered sharply eastward. It now appears headed for landfall in Rhode Island. Our fingers are crossed for our many Ocean State friends.

Heavy rains could still head our way. Winds might not be as high as originally thought. But they may be.

And storm surges — especially around high tide at noon, during a full moon — could be dangerous.

We’re not yet out of the woods. But it appears the woods may not contain as many toppled trees as we feared when we went to bed last night.

The current track of Henri, as of 7:45 a.m. today.


Local to Market — the new Main Street shop across from Cold Fusion, offering food, drink and craft items — takes its “local” mandate seriously.

Founder Chris Marcocci is surveying Westporters, to learn which items they’d like him to carry. They’re ordering inventory, in hopes of opening the full store within the next 2 weeks, and don’t want to miss anything.

Click here for the survey.

Recent offerings, at the Local to Market patio.


The Joggers Club’s 41 weeks of running with friends begins Saturday, September 11 (8 a.m., Greens Farms train station).

There are new routes every week, hot coffee and post-run treats. The club also offers training runs, pace group, free races, and custom running shirts.

The fee is $50 for the entire season. Venmo @TheJoggersClub. Click here for more information.


Amid yesterday’s fevered hurricane preparations, June Rose Whittaker captured this serene Saugatuck River sight — “two benches, two birds” — for “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)


And finally … a search for songs with “Henri” in the title came up empty. But I did find “Henri’s Boogie”.

Pianist Henri John Pierre Herbert gave an impromptu performance at London’s St Pancras station, on a public piano:


Good Info To Know

As Westport prepares for Hurricane Henri, here are some things to know.

WWPT-FM (90.3) will broadcast emergency information from town officials.

Town Emergency Notification System: Click here to register, or text 06880 to 888777.

Eversource: Click here to report or check on a power outage, or call 800-286-2000. Click here for their power outage map.

For police emergenciescall 911 only in a true emergency. The non-emergency number is 203-341-6000.

The fire department number is 203-341-5000. Click here for their Hurricane Manual. Potable water will be available at the Post Road headquarters, and the Easton Road station by Coleytown Elementary School. Bring your own containers.

The EMS number is 203-341-6081.


The Fire Department adds:

Do not walk or drive through floodwaters. Never attempt to drive through a flooded road. As little as 6 inches of water can cause you to lose control of your car.

If your building floods, move to a higher floor but do not enter a closed attic.

Residents in flood-prone areas can move their vehicles to Saugatuck Avenue Train Station Lot #8.

Do not go sightseeing! Observe all caution tape!

Caution tape is there for a reason! (Photo/Richard Epstein)


In addition, the Parks & Recreation department says the following facilities will be closed until at least noon on Monday:

Longshore: Golf vourse, pool, tennis courts, concession.

Compo Beach: Closed, but boaters will be able to access their boats if necessary.

Grass & turf fields will be closed Sunday and through at least noon Monday until they can be assessed.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA is also closed today.

Metro-North trains are not running today either.

The aftermath of Isaias, just over a year ago. Fingers crossed we’ll escape most of that damage. (Photo/John Kantor)

Westport Emergency Management Team Says …

The Westport Emergency Management Team says:

Hurricane Henri is forecast to enter our area tomorrow with tropical storm force winds and torrential rain. Deputy Chief Michael Kronick urges:

Now is the time to prepare for Henri. Bring in or secure outdoor items, and get what you need for the possibility of a power outage. We will continue to provide updates as they are available later this evening.

We should prepare for the possibility of a Category 1 hurricane landfall in Connecticut tomorrow.

Hurricane, Tropical Storm, and Storm Surge Warnings are up for the entire state. Henri will likely maintain hurricane strength as it approaches Long Island and Connecticut. Whether it’s a Category 1 hurricane or strong tropical storm, the impact will not change.

What to Expect:

The outer rain bands of Henri will move in after 3 a.m.. Winds will start to pick up after 5 a.m.

It will rain all day on Sunday. Be prepared for several inches of rain, in addition to 3- to 5-foot storm surge at the shoreline (coupled with an astronomically high tide).

Moderate River and Major Urban Flooding Expected:

Henri is forecast to bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to the entire state. This may cause moderate to major urban flooding and moderate river and stream flooding Sunday afternoon and evening.

Flash flooding is likely, along with the 3- to 5-foot storm surge at the shoreline. High tide hits at 9:30 to 11:30 a.m..

Moderate to Major Tree and Powerline Damage Possible:

Winds may gust to 50 – 70 mph. Gusts could be higher around the eye of the storm, depending on exactly where Henri makes landfall. Since the ground is already so saturated, it won’t take much wind to bring down trees.

Storm Preparation:

  • Residents in flood-prone areas can move their vehicles to Saugatuck train station Lot # 8.
  • Get your home ready. Secure (or move inside) outdoor plants, furniture, and other loose item
  • Stay informed. Tune into your local radio, town social media, news channels or weather apps/websites for the latest updates. Sign up for NIXLE alerts from the town’s Emergency Operations Center. Text: 06880 to 888 777
  • Fuel up your vehicle in advance of the storm.
  • Be prepared for power outages. Make sure devices are charged in advance.
  • Make sure you have extra batteries for flashlights. If you lose power, don’t run generators indoors.

Sandbags Available At Transfer Station Until 4:30 Today

Sandbags are available until 4:30 pm  today (Saturday) at the transfer station, on the Sherwood Island Connector.

There is a limit of 10 per person. Town residents and town employees are eligible, as are store and restaurant owners.

Sandbags lined Main Street after Superstorm Sandy, in 2012.

Henri Heads Here

Westport won’t escape this one.

Henri — now a bona fide Category 1 hurricane — will make landfall somewhere on Long Island or southern New England tomorrow.

But wherever he hits, we’ll feel residual effects. From 4 to 6 inches of rain is now forecast, along with winds of 40 to perhaps 70 miles and hour, and storm surges of 3 to 5 feet. The full moon only adds to the danger.

Meanwhile, at Compo Beach, the Parks & Recreation Department prepared by moving lifeguard chairs to safer spots.

But have no fear. If you want to swim — taking a break from storming the grocery stores and battening down hatches — the lifeguards are on duty.

(Photos/Amy Schneider)

Town Prepares For Henri

Town officials and residents are nervously monitoring Henri. The hurricane/tropical storm continues to head this way, though its path remains uncertain.

The National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Westport. Impacts expected tomorrow include high winds, heavy rain, flooding and power outages..

The Westport Emergency Management team will update residents regularly.  They anticipate heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds, coastal flooding, and power outages.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe said yesterday:

“Our Public Works Department is making sure its equipment is at the ready, storm drains are cleared, and any obstructions that might be in creeks and waterways are cleared,.

“The Police and Fire departments are making sure that they have the manpower on call to respond. The Human Services Department is making sure that its list of people who may be vulnerable from a medical standpoint is up to date, and that our first responders are aware of those locations.”