Tag Archives: I-95 Saugatuck Avenue bridge

Roundup: BOE Conversation, WDA Instagram, I-95 Bridge …

One final reminder (it never hurts): Today is Election Day. Polls are open from now through 8 p.m.

Westport’s 5 polling locations are:

  • Districts 1 & 2: Saugatuck Elementary School
  • Districts 3 & 8: Coleytown Middle School
  • District 4 & 5: Greens Farms Elementary School
  • Districts 6 & 7: Long Lots Elementary School
  • District 9: Westport Library

Unsure of your voting district?  Click here.

Election officials will answer all your questions — at the Westport Library, and our 4 other polling places. (Photo/Dan Woog)


All residents are invited to a Westport Board of Education “community conversation” (Tuesday, November 14, noon to 1:30 p.m., Westport Library Komasky Room).

Any topics related to the schools can be raised. Former RTM moderator and educator Velma Heller will facilitate the discussion.


Adam Vengrow writes:

“Each year after our Veterans Day Town Hall service, VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 hosts all local veterans and supporters for food and drinks.

“It costs about $25 per veteran. We hope to have 100 people this year.

“We want our great men and women who have served to enjoy the day. Anything ‘06880’ readers can donate is appreciated — via Paypal @vfw399ct, or email me (a.vengrow@ven2port.com) for Venmo and other options. The VFW is a 501(c)3.”

To learn more about VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, click here.


The Westport Downtown Association’s Instagram was hacked.

To follow them — and get information about upcoming events, promotions, and everything else downtown-related — click on their new Insta: @WestportDowntownOfficial.


Hard to envision this past weekend’s bridge slide?

Check out Sunday’s great drone video from Rick Giunta (sent by Andrew Colabella):

(Drone photo/Rick Giunta)

The view — looking west — shows traffic squeezed into 2 lanes. The bridge has been slid into place on the southbound side, with that entrance/exit ramp closed.


John Richers writes:

“There are 2 days each year — one in spring, one in fall – when the sun sets directly down the Longshore entrance road.

“I was lucky enough to catch it this afternoon, as I biked through Longshore. Call it ‘LongshoreHenge.'”

(Photo/John Richers)


DNR — Westport’s favorite almost-all-physician rock band — takes the stage on Saturday, November 18 (7 p.m., Westport Library).

Of course, there’s a medical hook: “Rocking for the Cure” is a benefit for pancreatic cancer research at Nuvance Health. Dr. Richard Frank is chief of cancer research there — and DNR’s sax player.

Tony Award-winning actor and great local friend James Naughton will emcee.

Tickets are $35 each, and include wine, beer, soda and snacks. Click here to reserve, and for more information.

Oh, doctor! The DNR band.


More entertainment: “Rock, religion and Westport’s homeless shelter” may never have appeared n the same sentence.

But they all come together this Saturday (November 11, 3 p.m.,) when the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport welcomes the Fairfield School of Rock House Band for a family-friendly concert.

It’s free — but donations to Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center are welcomed. Concert-goers are asked to bring food and toiletries for the Homes with Hope pantry too.

Complimentary refreshments will be available, thanks to merchants like Trader Joe’s.


Also on stage: Jaden Myles Waldman — one of Westport’s most gifted young performers — plays one of his most important roles this Sunday (November 12, 7 p.m., Symphony Space, New York City).

The Bedford Middle School 8th grader is part of “Lyrics for Life.” The goal is to break the stigma surrounding mental health through the power of music.

Jaden will sing with a star-filled lineup of performers from Broadway, TV and fil. All are between 6 and 25 years old. Hosts are Swayam Bhatia (The Mighty Ducks and Succession) and Devin Trey Campbell (MJ The Musical, Kinky Boots, Single Parents).

Jaden was on Broadway in Caroline, or Change. He recently performed a solo at Carnegie Hall’s “We are Here” concert, honoring Holocaust victims and celebrating Jewish history.

He was the voice of Peter in Pinkalicious and Peteriffic, Kun in Mirai, and TO-B1 Star Wars: Visions. his film and TV credits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Give or Take.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Jaden Myles Waldman


Jazz at the Post celebrates Veterans Day 2 days early.

This Thursday (November 9; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner from 7 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399), the popular series welcomes Tower of Power’s trumpeter Michael Bogart (a 20-year veteran of the US Navy Band), and drummer and US Army Band veteran Joe Corsello.

Also sitting in:pianist Mitch Schecter, bassist Brian Glassman and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

There is special Veterans Day pricing. Suggested minimums are $55 for the performance with dinner, $30 for music only. Funds raised will support VFW post 399, the longtime Jazz at the Post host (and a mainstay of the area’s veterans community).

Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.


Speaking of jazz:

Roger Kafuman’s “Speaking of Music” series returns to the Westport Library with a special program. Speaking of Jazz: What It Is, is set for this Saturday (November 11; doors open at 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.)

Performers include the Brian Torff Group, the Jones Factor Lite, and the Tim DeHuff Quartet.

A discussion panel includes includes author Bill Milkowski, saxophonist Rabbi Greg Wall; bassist Dave Anderson, and bassist, author and music educator Torff. Kaufman will moderate the discussion, which will include the long evolution of jazz, through multiple genres.

The grandson of ragtime songwriter Mel B. Kaufman, Roger — a 1966 graduate of Staples High School — has spent a lengthy career as a bandleader, bass player, producer, moderator and historian. He founded Old School Music Productions, which puts on the Speaking of Music series as a “cornerstone of musical education” combining narration, expert discussions and live performances.

In 2016 he helped the Smithsonian acquire, archive and exhibit donations by guitarist/composer/producer Steve Cropper (“Midnight Hour,” “Knock on Wood,” “Dock of the Bay”). He has worked closely with Smithsonian curators to archive musicians’ work, including Weston resident Jose Feliciano.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.


It takes a rare Staples High School athlete to play Big 10 football.

Jake Thaw is that rare Wrecker.

The 2020 graduate was an All-State football and basketball player here — and an FCIAC and NFL Foundation Exemplary Scholar Athlete.

At the University of Michigan, he’s a 2-time Academic All-Big 10 honoree.

On Saturday, Thaw’s great punt return helped the Wolverines to a 41-13 victory over Purdue. (Hat tip: Pete Wolgast)

(Photo/David Guralnick for Detroit News)


The shape of this tree at Haskins Preserve — and its heart-shaped leaves — caught Johanna Keyser Rossi’s eye.

It caught ours too. It’s exactly the right image for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … because we’re previewing so many musical performances today, including rock and jazz:

(“06880” is many things, to many people. Today it’s (mostly) music. If you appreciate these daily Roundups, please support your hyper-local blog. Click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Historic Homes, Terrible Traffic, WWPT Winners …

100 guests toured 4 unique houses yesterday.

Each was special, in its own way. All were impressive. The result was a very successful first-ever “Historic Homes of 06880” house tour.

Annette Norton’s small 1700s home on North Avenue was a great attraction for the many residents who drive by often, admire her exterior renovation, and wonder what’s inside.

Annette Norton (left) shows guests the original fireplace, with a mantel she found in upstate Connecticut. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Mark Yurkiw and Wendy Van Wie’s barn is a 2-story, wide-open, wood-paneled  delight that includes Mark’s artwork treasures in every corner.

A view of the Cross Highway barn, from the 2nd-floor landing. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Matt Burrows and Amy Gay surprised visitors to their 1742 home, also on Cross Highway. The exterior is a faithful restoration of a well-known, once-dilapidated property, while the interior is very modern, beautifully designed (by the owners), and open.

Matt Burrows (right) shows off the open floor plan he designed for his home. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Julia Gross and Mark Lamensdorf’s property on Old Hill Road delights at every turn, from original wooden beams and a formidable stone basement, to an old outhouse (now shed) in the back that “seats 3.”

The original door and beams in the original kitchen on Old Hill Road. (Photo/Amy Saperstein)

KMS Team at Compass co-sponsored the event. Karen Scott, Laurie Morris, Michael Mombello, Susan Seath and Karen Hagen were superb docents.

“06880” board members Amy Saperstein, Bill Scheffler and John Dodig (and his husband Rodger Lawrence) assisted, with help from Staples’ Service League of Boys.

“06880” often reports on Westporters who restore — rather than tear down — some of our oldest homes. Yesterday, readers went behind the scenes, to experience 4 of the homes they’d only read about before.


Speaking of restored homes: Here’s another shot of the continuing work being done at 44 Compo Cove, perhaps the most photographed house in Westport.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

The bones of the 1917 home will remain.

But the interior will look very, very different.


For the second weekend out of three, the feared “traffic-geddon” generated by the I-95 Saugatuck Avenue bridge replacement project was largely avoided.

Traffic flowed smoothly — well, as smoothly as our “new normal” on Friday night, all day Saturday, Sunday morning, and early Sunday afternoon.

Then — for the second Sunday afternoon out of 3 — Westport was suddenly gridlocked.

Just like 2 weeks ago, traffic materialized out of nowhere. And it was everywhere.

Saugatuck — and feeder arteries like Greens Farms Road and Bridge Street — were jammed.

A line of cars and trucks extended from the North Kings Highway/Wilton Road light, all the way past Hudson Malone.

And the stretch from Parker Harding Plaza to the Post Road/Riverside Avenue/Wilton Road cluster**** was as bad as its ever been.

Some drivers waited patiently. Others devised new maneuvers to try to gain an edge, creating (of course) further chaos.

The state Department of Transportation once again completed the “bridge slide” portion of the project ahead of schedule.

The southbound span of I-95 was open around 4:30 p.m. But traffic continued for quite a while on the mean streets of Westport.

“It defies logic,” says Dan Vener, who took this photo of I-95 traffic, while stuck in the ground-level jam:

(Photo/Dan Vener)

Meanwhile, for a fascinating time-lapse version of the “bridge slide” — from 6 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday — click below:


it’s an annual tradition.

But it never gets old.

This weekend, Staples High School’s WWPT-FM broadcasters traveled to Chicago for the John Drury Radio Awards ceremony.

The station earned 16 nominations. They earned 11 honors — all (as anyone who ever listens to 90.3 knows), very well deserved.

Congratulations to:

  • Best Station Advisor: Geno Heiter
  • Broadcaster of the Year winner: Charlie Scott
  • Broadcaster of the year finalists: Elise Eisenberger, Henry Manning & Katherine Spada
  • Best DJ: Charlie Scott
  • 2nd place, News Feature: Maya Brody
  • 2nd place, Newscast: Charlie Scott
  • 2nd place, Radio Drama (@playersinsta )
  • 3rd place Talk Show: Henry Manning & Charlie Scott
  • 3rd place, Sportscast: Elise Eisenberger & Charlie Scott
  • 3rd place, Sports Play by Play: Devon Jarvis & Mason Siskind
  • 3rd place, Specialty Music: Cooper Sadler

Other nominations garnered 4th and 5th places.

WWPT rocks!

And obviously, does much more too.

At the John Drury Awards (from left): WWPT-FM advisor Geno Heiter, Devon Jarvis, Maya Brody, Katherine Spada, Henry Manning, Charlie Scott.


Jon Gailmor — the beloved Vermont musical icon — returned to his Westport home town yesterday, for a sold-out show at the VFW.

The 1966 Staples graduate was joined by a few talented friends: former classmates Rob Carlson (his singing partner from the 1970s) and Roger Kaufman, plus Suzanne Sheridan, the producer of the popular “First Folk Sunday” series.

It was a trip back to a magical musical time.

And just perfect for these days, too.

From left: Jon Gailmor, Roger Kaufman, Suzanne Sheridan, Rob Carlson. (Photo/Pam Washburn)


Yesterday was jam-packed.

The Westport Arts Advisory Committee sponsored its annual TEA (Thinkers, Educators, Artists) Talk at the Westport Library.

A crowd of 150 people heard experts — including Emmy- and Grammy Award-winning 1971 Staples grad Brian Keane, town-wide K-12 arts coordinator Steve Zimmerman, and artist/arts consultant Liz Leggett — discuss “What’s Next for the Arts?,” as it faces challenges from artificial intelligence.

Topics included whether or not AI poses an existential risk to the arts; the role of education; the pure joy of making art, and — intriguingly — how we decide what is real, not real, and “authentic.” Does, in fact, “authentic” matter at all?

Panelists used AI tools to create illustration and art, using prompts from attendees. Artists showed traditional techniques.

There was a lot to think about.

And every comment was generated by humans.

Panelists — each under their photo — at yesterday’s TEA Talk.


Field Trip jerky — the very popular producer of healthy, protein-rich snacks ranging from beef, chicken, turkey and pork to jalapeño, cracked pepper and everything bagel — is headquartered in downtown Westport.

But it reaches all over the country.


The other day, Bruce Miller and his wife were in Alaska. On a tour of Denali National Park, guests received a snack box.

Inside was a Field Trip Cracked Pepper Turkey Stick.

“We traveled 4,400 miles from home to enjoy a local treat!” he says.

You don’t have to go to The Last Frontier.

Field Trip is sold at retailers like Stop & Shop and CVS.

And in their only retail outlet, next to their Post Road offices opposite Design Within Reach.


Artists Collective of Westport member Maj Kalfus’ work is featured at the Weston Senior Center, through the end of December. Her 30 pieces include oil paintings, collage, brush and ink, graphite, digital art and drawings from life.

A reception is set for November 16 (6 to 8 p.m.). Kalfus teaches at the Westport Senior Center. Her portrait of Ella Fitzgerald was featured at the recent Westport Country Playhouse tribute to the jazz singer.

Works by Maj Kalfus


As we head into mid-fall — with winter not too far away — this is the “Westport … Naturally” scene from Ellen Wentworth’s living room:

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)


And finally … in honor of our great “Historic Homes of 06880” tour (story above):

(A lot went on this weekend — and, as always, “06880” previewed, and now reviews, it. If you enjoy our hyper-local coverage, please consider a contribution. Click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Bridge Slide, Smoke Shops, PAL Gala …

A reminder (and we can’t remind readers often enough): From tonight through early Monday morning, the second “bridge slide” takes place.

The new I-95 Saugatuck Avenue bridge will be slid over, replacing the old one. Traffic will be diverted onto local roads.

Drivers using Waze and other apps will find their own ways around the miss, as they did 2 weeks ago. Areas far from 95, like Hermit Lane and Gorham Avenue, were affected.

If you’re going to weekend happenings — like Saturday’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services banquet at the VFW, or the next day’s “First Folk Sunday” (also at the VFW), or Sunday’s “Historic Homes of 06880” house tour — plan accordingly.

To keep up to date, bookmark this website.

And don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Preparing for the 2nd I-95 “bridge slide.” (Photo/JD Dworkow)


If it seems like there are a lot of vape and smoke shops popping up around town: You’re not high. It’s true.

The Planning & Zoning Commission has taken notice too.

The first agenda item at its November 13 meeting (7 p.m., Zoom; click here to see) includes a text amendment that would “protect the public health and welfare by adding language to define and prohibit Smoke Shops and add stricter standards applicable to other establishments that sell smoking related products, but do not qualify as a Smoke Shop as described in the definition.”

New language is also proposed to “prohibit light emitting diode or LED signs so as to reduce potential distractions to motorists” — one of the complaints about Savvy Smoker, the new shop next to Christian Siriano at the corner of Post Road East and West Parish Road.

Click here for the full text amendment.


Nearly 400 fans packed the Inn at Longshore last night, for Westport PAL’s 2nd annual gala.

The Romano family (Pete, his parents PJ and Joan, sister Pam Romano-Gorman, and daughters), and former PAL president Ned Batlin, were honored for their longtime contributions to the non-profit that serves thousands of Westport youth every year.

There was an auction too, including special items like VIP parking — and beach sitting — areas for the PAL-sponsored 4th of July fireworks.

And there were heartfelt testimonials to the importance of Westport PAL (and the influence of so many volunteer coaches) by former lacrosse player Henry Dodge, current Staples High School quarterback Caleb Smith, and 6th grade athlete Tristen Rycenga.

It was a great, Westport-centric evening. Funds raised will go to the new, 2-story clubhouse planned for (of course) PJ Romano Field.

6th grader Tristen Rycenga (at microphone) and teammates thank Westport PAL for all they do. PAL president Craig Bergamo is at left. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)


Also yesterday: 90-year-0ld Win Allen provided a snapshot of his life story to the Y’s Men of Westport & Weston.

The 48-year resident of Westport grew up in Harlem, attended law school, earned a Fulbright Scholarship, then created the first Black-owned Wall Street firm.

He has written 3 books, most recently“How I Pried Open Wall Street in 1962.”

Win Allen speaks to the Y’s Men. (Hat tip and photo/Dave Matlow)


Ukraine Aid International – the non-profit founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — continues to deliver crucial aid.

The organization has purchased a water filtration truck, for deliveries to frontline locations to places — like our sister city of Lyman — without permanent installations.

Lyman’s police also just received a generous donation from the Westport Police Department. The shipment includes gear that was scheduled to be replaced here, including bulletproof vests, shoulder radios, winter hats and gloves, car radios, police belts and ballistic helmets.

Donations to Lyman are always welcome. Click here; then click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.)

Ukraine Aid International’s water filtration truck.


No, the Sherwood Diner’s “closed for improvements” isn’t a euphemism.

The popular, decades-old Post Road restaurant is updating its kitchen. It closed Monday. Construction may take another week or so.

Then it’s back to normal — well, even better — for one of our town’s most favorite hangouts. (Hat tip: Arthur Hayes)

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


There can’t be enough Halloween candy for kids.

For adults — well, you may have way too many Kit Kats, M&Ms and apples (just kidding) left over from Monday night.

Al’s Angels are happy to take it off your hands.

From now through Wednesday (November 8), bring extra Halloween candy to Saugatuck Sweets’ Westport or Fairfield locations.

It will be placed in nearly 1,500 Al’s Angels Thanksgiving holiday meal bins, for children battling cancer, rare blood diseases and several financial hardship.

Sweeeeeet! (Hat tip: Francis Fiolek)


For a while, the Highway Department has been working on Cross Highway, between Punch Bowl Drive and Roseville Road.

They removed the embankment and adding new catch basin tops, prepping the area for contractors to pave.

The result: a more accessible, safer stretch for pedestrians. It will also be easier for the Department of Public Works to maintain, all year long.

Roseville Road (Photo courtesy of Department of Public Works)


Kevin McCaffrey writes:

“On September 13, the Conservation Board approved a plan to build a luxury townhouse next to Eloise A. Ray Park, on Riverside Avenue. 

“This approval occurred over the objections of a number of residents, including a ‘Friends of the Park’ group which has been lobbying against the project for some time. 

“Opponents of the project argue that it will be unusable while construction is ongoing; that it will be used in part as a staging area, and damaged by equipment; that the park will be ‘forever altered by having a multi-level house, driveway, patio and walls’ encroaching on it; that trees will be cut, wildlife displaced, and that traffic on Riverside will be affected for lengthy periods of time.

“While the project still requires approval by Planning & Zoning (no hearing date has yet been set), Friends of Eloise A. Ray Park urges residents to find out where P&Z candidates stand on this issue. They also invite interested residents to email saveeloise@gmail.com.”

Eloise A. Ray Park


People with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who are drivers or passengers in cars, are invited to a “Traffic Stop Practice” tomorrow (Saturday, November 4, 8 a.m. to noon), Sacred Heart University).

Sponsored in part by the Westport Police Department, the goal is to provide those with ASD with information about interactions during a routine traffic stop. They’ll also learn how to use the Department of Motor Vehicles’ “Blue Envelope,” which helps enhance communication with officers.

To register, email asd-center@southernct.edu; include “Traffic Stop Practice” in the subject line, and include name, phone, email and physical address.

The state DMV “blue envelope” program, for people with autism.


Though 180 families applied to the Salvation Army for Thanksgiving turkeys and other food, the organization expects their CT Food Share allotment will not cover the need.

The seek additional support from are residents.

The Salvation Army also hopes to purchase new coats, sneakers and toys for hundreds of youngsters.

To help, and for more information, contact Major Persi Sanclemente: Persida.Sanclemente@USE.SalvationArmy.org; 401-439-3480.


Yesterday’s frost was the first of this fall.

Jacqui O’Brien captured it in Greens Farms, for “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/Jacqui O’Brien)


And finally … this weekend’s “bridge slide” is not electric.

But this video will get you in a happier mood than you otherwise might be:

(Staying home to avoid all the traffic? Slide over to this link, and help support “06880.” Thank you!)

Roundup: Sustainable Westport Candidate Survey, Bridge Slide, Sharks! …

Sustainable Westport — the town’s non-profit advisory environmental committee — recently surveyed all candidates running for the Representative Town Meeting, Board of Education, Board of Finance and Planning & Zoning Commission.

36% of candidates responded. Click here to view their answers.


Last weekend’s first “bridge slide” — replacement of the I-95 Saugatuck Avenue bridge, with resultant closures and diversions of the highway — went smoothly.

Until Sunday afternoon.

The second (and final) slide is set for next weekend. It begins at 8 p.m. Friday, November 3, and is scheduled to end at 6 a.m. Monday, November 6.

Last weekend’s work ended sooner than expected. Fingers crossed …


On Wednesday (November 1, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the Board of Finance holds a public meeting.

Most items are routine: financial reports, status updates, appropriation requests.

Tucked into the agenda — #4, of 8 items — is “Long Lots Building Project (Discussion only).”

The meeting will be livestreamed at www.westportct.gov. Meeting materials will be available there too.

The Board of Finance will discuss the Long Lots Elementary School project on Wednesday. It faces further review from other town bodies too.


Wednesday’s Roundup included a plea from a reader to golfers to stop chipping balls into water. She recently fished over 100 out of Long Island Sound, at Burying Hill Beach.

Yesterday brought a different kind of fish to the same beach.

Three baby sharks washed ashore. Nicholas Eisenberger — who sent along this photo from his Greens Farms neighbor, Margaret Schwabe — wonders if this is very normal, somewhat normal, or quite unusual.

Marine biologists: Click “Comments” below!

Sharks, at Burying Hill Beach. (Photo/Margaret Schwabe)


Speaking of beaches: The raising and moving of the 1917 house on Compo Cove continues to fascinate everyone who lives at or walks by Old Mill Beach.

Here’s a photo from yesterday:

(Photo/Matt Murray)


The Westport Farmers’ Market is all about healthy eating.

As part of their mission, next Thursday’s market (November 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Imperial Avenue parking lot) includes a Health & Wellness event.

Dharma Massage will discuss the value of massage, and provide 10-minute chair sessions. Zion Physical Therapy will teach shoppers proper stretching plans.  Pause + Purpose has teamed up with GWell to offer Gu Shaw treatments, and will speak to the benefits of meditation.

In addition, Mae Farrell — head of WFM’s”Get Growing” program — will show attendees — including children — how to make healing bath salts.

And nutrition and recipe expert Terry Walters will share recipes and answer questions on how to best nurture bodies with healthy food.

All that is in addition to the usual vendors — and healthy food.


Three new exhibits have been unveiled at the Westport Library.

Suzanne Benton’s “All About Color” is featured in the Sheffer Gallery. Norm Siegel’s “Visual Curiosities” is in the South Gallery, while “Showtime!” — a series of selections from the Westport Public Art Collections — can be seen in the Jesup Gallery.

They run through January 8, 2024. Each includes a special artist reception: November 1 for BentonNovember 8 for Showtime!, and November 20 for Siegel. The Benton and Siegel events include artists’ talks.

From left: “Yanone C” by Hiromitsu Takahashi, courtesy WestPAC; “Tilted Finish” by Norm Siegel; “Continuum” by Suzanne Benton.


With rain predicted tomorrow, La Plage has postponed its Patio Closing party.

The Inn at Longshore restaurant begins winter hours this week. They’ll be open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. They’re closed Monday and Tuesday, through April.

Beginning Wednesday (November 1), they’ll offer a 5-course tasting menu for $85. A wine pairing menu will also be available. 


As Breast Cancer Awareness Month ends, Chocolatieree reminds “06880” readers of their fundraiser.

They created a “Save the Tatas” collection. 50% of all sales will be donated to Pink Aid Westport.

The collection includes a $20 ruby (pink) chocolate tata pop, and 6 pink heart palettes in dark chocolate.

The collection can be ordered (and shipped) through their website, and can be shipped or picked up at their Church Lane shop.

There is also an option for the chocolates to be sent to a location like a cancer center or food insecurity site. Click here to see.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature wanders over the border, to Weston.

It’s definitely worth the trip, for this shot:

(Photo/Pat Weist)


And finally … well, you knew this was coming:

(Where else but “06880” can you learn where candidates stand on the environment, AND be warned about sharks? Please click here to help us continue covering all this stuff. Thank you!)


Roundup: Missing Boaters, Sakura Trees, I-95 Bridge …

Westport Police offer this update on the vessel that sank near Cockenoe Island on Sunday:

Just before noon yesterday, they located the boat near buoy #2. The search for 2  missing boaters continued all day — even as the WPD was dealing with a major incident involving 2 stolen vehicles, and the arrests of 9 suspects.

At 4:30 p.m., the Westport Police Marine Division was notified of a body in the water approximately 3 miles northeast of the sunken boat. A Bridgeport Fire boat was first on scene, and recovered the body from the Sound.

At Bridgeport Harbor they were met by Westport Police, Connecticut Medical Examiner’s Office, and the family of the victim. He is 38-year-old Juan Gabriel Valle Pineda of Spring Valley, New York.

His body was taken to the office of the chief medical examiner for an autopsy.  Westport Police extend their sympathies to this family, and hope to recover the second missing person. That search was suspended last night, at 9 p.m.


It’s been a while since the weeping cherry blossom trees in front of Sakura were in the news.

No news is good news.

After being slated for destruction during the Post Road renovation project, it appears they’ve been saved.

Sakura blossoms (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

Andrew Colabella — the Representative Town Meeting member whose initial involvement helped draw attention to the plight of the beloved cherry blossoms — passes along word from Joseph Sorcinelli, construction project engineer for the state Department of Transportation.

The trees may still be pruned, for utility clearance. There is also a concern involving the planned sidewalk elevation, and the pine tree on the property just west of the Sakura driveway.

But it does appear that — as noted during discussions in March, with town officials, the property owner and restaurant owner, Earthplace, Connecticut DOT and Eversource — the icons will remain.

That’s good news indeed.

And next spring, the only weeping will be the trees’.


The long-anticipated traffic-opalypse — resulting from the “bridge slide” replacement on I-95 over Saugatuck Avenue — did not take place until Sunday afternoon.

Here’s what it looked like at dusk:

(Photo/Ward French)

The new span sat lonely and still unopened. Meanwhile, southbound drivers sat.

Or took alternate routes, everywhere in Westport.


Meanwhile, kudos to all who made the “slide” happen.

AI Engineers (who probably named their firm long before ChatGPT was a thing) posted this on LinkedIn:

“Major milestone on I-95 [sic] in Norwalk, CT! This past weekend, our talented team oversaw the first successful Accelerated Bridge Slide for the project. As the prime consultant, AI Engineers is not only committed to the safety and efficiency of the construction, but we’re also keen on sharing our knowledge. Our engineers have crafted an animation to demonstrate this innovative slide in action.

“Balancing the bustling traffic of I-95 in Norwalk, minimizing the impact to neighboring communities in Norwalk and Westport, and adhering to precise schedules – notably the season-specific bridge slide – demands careful planning and flexibility.

“Proud to be at the forefront of innovation, ensuring better and safer roads for everyone!

Additionally, a big shoutout to Connecticut Department of Transportation, and Yonkers Contracting Company, Inc. for executing the slide to perfection!”

AII Engineers’s LinkedIn post includes an animation, to show how the “slide” worked. Click here to see. (Hat tip: Neil Brickley)


It’s (almost) that most wonderful time of year.

Stew Leonard’s 32nd annual Hanukkah menorah lighting celebration is set for Thursday, December 7 (5 p.m.).

Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht of Beth Israel Chabad will light an 18-foot menorah. Everyone is invited to enjoy live music, holiday songs and pre-packaged kosher refreshments. Hot potato latkes, dreidels and chocolate gelt will be distributed to all.

The 2021 menorah lighting at Stew Leonard’s


David Berkman sold out his first “Jazz at the Post” shows.

This Thursday (October 26, 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399; $15 cover charge), he’s back for more.

He’s joined by Dayna Stephens, an exciting saxophonist and one of Greg Wall’s favorites. (“The Jazz Rabbi” — who will play too — is no slouch on sax himself.)

Rounding out the quintet are bassist Marty Kenney and drummer Curtis Nowosad.

Reservations are strongly encouraged: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.


Lynn Flint’s special 1-day estate show, to benefit Bridgeport artists in need of help with rent, food, fuel and materials, is this Thursday (October 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1 Belaire Drive on Saugatuck Avenue near the Norwalk border).

A few of the many items available at the estate sale to benefit Bridgeport artists.


“Westport … Naturally” has featured many of our town’s most interesting creatures.

Today we introduce a short-tailed weasel, last seen at the Westport Community Gardens.

Hey, guy!

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … in honor of the good news from Sakura (story above):

(Let “06880” be the first to wish you a Happy Hanukkah! And let us remind you for the umpteenth time: Westport’s hyper-local blog relies on reader support. Please click here to help. Thank you!)

Roundup: Traffic, Garden, “The Exorcist” …

We expected the worst all weekend.

“The slide” — the simultaneously high-tech and low-tech effort to replace the aging I-95 Saugatuck Avenue bridge with a new one, constructed alongside it — began Friday afternoon.

Dire warnings of gridlock aside, traffic flowed smoothly through Westport Friday night. And all day Saturday. And Sunday morning.

Anyone who expected a long journey on the Post Road, or through Saugatuck, zipped right along.

Until yesterday afternoon.

Suddenly, things were as bad as we’ve ever seen. The Post Road was jammed for miles, and drivers were not playing nice. Running red lights, blocking side streets, pulling into oncoming traffic — if there was a way to be a jerk, they found it.

Meanwhile, Waze and similar apps were routing drivers through parts of Westport that seldom see traffic, like Gorham Avenue and Hermit Lane. Hermit Lane!

The bizarre thing is: “The slide” was completed far earlier than expected. By mid-afternoon yesterday, the new bridge was in place.

The state Department of Transportation send out this message:

So yeah, we survived “the slide.”

Now we just have to do it all over again, 2 weeks from now.

The other side of the bridge is not going to move itself. (Hat tip: Susan Iseman)


Michael Beebe reports from the Westport Community Gardens:

“Despite the soggy weather and the pall cast by the Long Lots School Building Committee recommendation, our final workday of the 2023 gardening season was Saturday,

“24 volunteers cleaned up the garden grounds, and made them ready for winter.  We are all hopeful that come spring, we will be readying our plots for planting our seedlings, as we have for 20 years.

Erin and Steve Loranger, getting the Community Garden ready for winter.

“In many ways it was business as usual. But between loads of wood chips, there

was a lot of discussion of the town’s decision to destroy the hard work of this hearty community.

“We even had a couple of visitors: a Long Lots parent and her kindergarten daughter. They wanted to learn more about the garden, in light of the controversy. The mom seemed concerned that the controversy about the garden was holding up construction of the school.

“I pointed out that the actual debate is about sports fields vs the garden. In fact, the LLSBC had an option which left the garden right where it was — proving that the garden itself is not an obstacle to a timely start. They just chose a different option.”

Michael sent photos of “a cheerful crew doing what we have always done: getting fresh air, working together as a community, and keeping the gardens beautiful.”

Volunteering at the Community Gardens work day (from left): Andrew Giangrave, Julie O’Grady, Teresa Roth, Franco Fellah, Patty Duecy, Pipa Ader.


Just after 4 p.m. yesterday, Westport Police were alerted to a boating incident, with missing people.

Sometime after 9:30 a.m., a small fishing boat anchored on the south side of Cockenoe Island sank, in choppy waters.

There were 5 people on the small vessel; all ended up in Long Island Sound.  The Westport Police Marine Unit rescued 3. Assisted by the US Coast Guard Marine and Air Units, Norwalk and Fairfield Police Marine Divisions, and Suffolk County Air Unit, they searched for the other 2.

The 2 missing men are from Spring Valley and Suffern, New York.  A significant language barrier hampered ability to identify the missing men.  Police are working with translators during the investigation.

Any boaters near Cockenoe Island between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. yesterday are asked to call the Westport Police Department: 203-341-6000.


This marks the 50th anniversary of the release of “The Exorcist.”

It’s hard to remember now, but reaction to the film was vehement. Much of it centered around Regan, the girl who was possessed (and whose head swiveled completely around, and who spewed green vomit and did unspeakable things with a crucifix).

Come to think of it, maybe that reaction wasn’t so unpredictable.

Regan was played by Linda Blair. A 14-year-old Staples High School student who had been working as a model and actress since she was 6, she was chosen from  600 others for the role.

Blair earned a Golden Globe Award, was nominated for an Oscar — and received death threats for her “blasphemy.” (She also dated Rick Springfield who, age 25, was 10 years older.)

All of that background is because yesterday’s New York Times included a 50-year retrospective of “The Exorcist.” Three critics assess the film’s impact, then and now. Click here to read. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”


“06880” often celebrates Westport’s rich history. We honor homeowners who preserve the past, while enhancing their neighborhoods by giving new life to old properties.

Which is why our first-ever “Historic Homes of 06880” house tour is so special. On Sunday, November 5 (2 to 5 p.m.), you’ll have a chance to check out 4 of our town’s oldest, most interesting homes.

The go-at-your-own-pace tour includes:

  • 29 North Avenue, the fascinating tiny 1700s home that Annette Norton has lovingly restored
  • 39 Cross Highway, the handsome remodeled house at the corner of Weston Road that recently won a preservation award
  • 190 Cross Highway, the intriguing barn/artists’ studio that the British passed on their way to burn the Danbury arsenal, and
  • 6 Old Hill Road, the 1707 home that was lovingly restored after a 2-year renovation project.

Homeowners, members of “06880”‘s board of directors, and our friends from KMS Team at Compass will point out cool aspects of each home. We’ll answer questions. You’ll get a brochure explaining the 4 houses too.

Tickets are $60 each, $100 for 2. Proceeds help fund “06880”‘s work — which, as always, chronicles Westport’s past, present and future.

Click here for tickets. It’s our “Donate” page. Please note “Historic Homes of ‘06880’” with your order.

29 North Avenue


A large crowd enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s StoryFest lecture on Friday.

It also doubled as the fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts. The twice-annual event was endowed by Susan Malloy.

But who was she?

Before Gaiman spoke, Ann Sheffer — Malloy’s niece — gave some insights into the woman who devoted her life the arts, libraries, and Westport (and who would have been 100 years this coming February 28):

Ann said:

“Susan was my mother’s younger sister. They, their brother and their parents started coming to Westport in the early 1930s. In 1935 they bought a 1790 house on Cross Highway.

“My parents moved to Westport in the early 1950s, and Susan and family moved here in the early ’60s. They were all deeply enmeshed in the political, educational and cultural life of our community.

“Susan studied at the Art Students League after college. In Westport she a studio in her house, and painted every day – between carpooling, PTA meetings, and working to create the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection and Arts Center, among other Westport institutions. She also created birdhouses for the Project Return auction.

“In our family, a common theme was a love of libraries. My grandfather, an immigrant who dropped out of school after 8th grade, loved books, bought libraries at estate sales and gave them away. He endowed libraries, including this one, through his Tudor Foundation.

“The Malloy Lecture represents the convergence of all of Susan’s interests and talents.”

Susan Malloy


The Staples High School boys soccer team is enjoying a banner year. They head into this week’s FCIAC playoffs, and next month’s state tournament, as the #2 team in Connecticut.

To keep their program on top — and pay for things like assistant coaches, field maintenance and more — they’re running an online auction.

Items include a ski house, cooking classes, boat trips, Broadway tickets and more.

Click here to see all the items, and bid. The auction ends next Sunday (October 29, 10 p.m.).

The 2023 Staples boys varsity, JV and freshman teams. (Photo/Mark Sikorski)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image — of last of the fall” dahlias — comes courtesy of Peter J. Swift (and the Westport Community Gardens).

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)


And finally … as we celebrate “The Exorcist”‘s 50th anniversary (story above):

(Welcome to another week of “06880”: your hyper-local blog. Every week, we rely on reader support. Please click here to help. Thank you!)

Roundup: Detours, Long Lots Meetings, Carjacking …

We can’t emphasize it enough: I-95 will be a mess this weekend.

And local roads will be collateral damage.

The I-95 northbound entrance ramp at Exit 17 will remain closed from now through Friday, October 31. Traffic is being detoured to Riverside Avenue, then to the Post Road, Sherwood Island Connector, and onto Exit 18.

In addition, parts of I-95 itself will be closed — as will the northbound Exit 17  entrance and exit ramps, and the southbound exit ramp — along with nearby Saugatuck Avenue, from 8 p.m. this Friday, October 20, through 6 a.m. Monday, October 23.

The closures are necessary for the new I-95 northbound bridge to be placed using Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques. While I-95 northbound is closed, 2 lanes of I-95 northbound traffic will be crossed over on the I-95 southbound bridge. Traffic flow in both directions will be severely impacted all weekend.

For additional information on the project, including detours, click here.


The Long Lots School Building Committee holds a special meeting tonight (Thursday, October 19, 6 p.m., Town Hall Room 201), to “meet briefly to accept the written recommendation for presentation to the First Selectwoman.”

That recommendation of a new building is for “Option C,” voted unanimously by the LLSBC earlier this month.

An hour later tonight (Thursday, October 19, 7 p.m., Staples High School cafeteria), the Board of Education agenda includes a discussion/action item: “Long Lots Building Committee Update.”

It will be presented by LLSBC chair Jay Keenan.

The Long Lots project moves forward next Tuesday (October 24, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), with a special session of the Board of Finance. They’ll meet with the Building Committee and Board of Education, “to discuss only their recommendations.”

The Board of Finance will take comments from the public for 30 minutes.

Long Lots School Building Committee.


A third arrest has been made, in connection with last month’s carjacking incident at a resident’s Bayberry Lane garage.

Vineys Baez, a 20-year-old Waterbury resident, was arrested yesterday.

He was charged with:

  • Home invasion
  • Burglary, 1st degree
  • Robbery by carjacking
  • Assault, 3rd degree
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Larceny 1st degree
  • Conspiracy to commit larceny, 1st degree
  • Robbery, 1st degree
  • Conspiracy to commit robbery, 1st degree.

Baez is the second person identified through surveillance video. A third person was also arrested.

Baez was held on $500,000 court set bond.

The Westport Police Detective Bureau has completed their investigation into the carjacking.

Two men were caught on surveillance video taking an Aston martin, as the owner was in the vehicle in his Bayberry Lane garage.


Westport’s annual Children’s Halloween Parade returns to Main Street next Wednesday (October 25). It’s free for all kids (especially those age 8 and younger).

Children and parents will meet at the Main Street/Post Road East corner at 3:30 p.m. The parade heads up Main Street, then goes right on Avery Place and left on Myrtle Avenue to Town Hall and Veterans Green.

Youngsters may trick or treat along Main Street, and in front of Town Hall. Entertainment, refreshments and a small gift will be provided on Veterans Green (across from Town Hall) at 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Westport Parks & Recreation Department, Westport Downtown Association and Westport PAL.

This photo is from 2011. Where is this former Halloween parade-goer today?


The United Methodist Church invites everyone to a couple of cool — and very different — events.

This Saturday (October 21, 1 to 3 p.m.), “Trunk or Treat” offers a fun, safe Halloween alternative for kids under 12, with snacks and games.

The suggested admission price is simple: 5 non-perishable food items for the Person to Person pantry, per child.

Don’t be spooked by the weather forecast. It’s on, rain or shine. (Heavy rain will move it indoors.)

On Sunday, October 29 (4 p.m.). “Jazz Vespers” is an inspiring service of words and music with a quartet featuring UMC’s new music director, John Hoddinott. A free will offering will be received.

Trunk or treat!


An Israeli flag appeared on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge last night.

It was apparently not placed there by town officials, or the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut.


It’s Thursday.

That means the Westport Farmers’ Market is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Everyone is welcome. Except, of course …

(Photo/Rachel Konstantin)


The Levitt Pavilion season is not over.

Well, at least not until tonight.

This evening (Thursday, October 19, 7:30 p.m.) the outdoor venue transforms into a giant disco, with the debut presentation of Say She She.

The band’s album “Prism” is under consideration for a Grammy nomination for Best R&B album. Meanwhile, their new album “Silver” is earning raves.

The new turf area in front of the stage provides a perfect dance floor. In a nod to the season, the terrace bar will offer hot chocolate.

Additional free tickets have just been released. They’re available at www.levittpavilion.com,  and 2 hours before showtime at the box office.

Click  below for the band’s special shoutout to Westport:


For many years, Penny Slinger wanted to visit Friday Kahlo’s home.

In July, the London-born, Los Angeles-based artist’s dream came true.

She recorded her visit in photographs. Now she’s sharing her experience with audiences around the country.

On November 2 (7 p.m.), Slinger brings her “Frida Kahlo and Me” exhibition to MoCA Westport. It’s a side-by-side comparison of both women’s works.

Advance registration is requested: $10 general admission, free for MoCA members. Click here to register, and for more information.

Penny Slinger, and art materials.


I can’t imagine a more “Westport … Naturally” photo than this one:

(Photo/Jim Hood)

Sure, it’s Koda — one of the beach neighborhood’s most famous dogs.

But it could be anyone’s. Anywhere in town.

Westport loves its pooches!


And finally … Say She She will be at the Levitt Pavilion tonight (story above).

If you have no idea who they are (and I sure didn’t), click below. Enjoy!

(If you appreciate “06880” saving you from traffic hell this weekend, please consider a donation. Click here — and thank you!)

Pic Of The Day #2314

It’s massive. It’s disruptive. But this shot makes the I-95 Saugatuck Avenue Bridge renovation project look almost majestic. (Photo/Dave Stone)

“X” Marks The Spot

We never get tired of the holiday lights on the William  Cribari/Bridge Street Bridge. Thanks, Al’s Angels!


(Photo/Peter Tulupman)

Heading the other direction, the same lights make this ordinary scene of an I-95 sunset seem almost magical.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #91

You guys know your highway bridges.

And when I say “guys,” I mean it. Thirteen alert “06880” readers identified last week’s photo challenge as the Riverside Avenue view of the I-95 underpass. And 10 of those 13 were males.

I’m guessing that on their way to the station, men look at the concrete. Women gaze at the river. Not to stereotype, of course.

Congratulations to Ed Hulina, Richard Stein, Seth Schachter, Jonathan Maddock, Jill Turner Odice, Michael Moore, Fred Rubin, Alec Head, Bill Kiedaisch, Tom Wall, Morley Boyd, Seth Braunstein and Nancy Axthelm. Click here for the photo, and all the comments.

Here’s this week’s challenge. Male or female, click “Comments” if you think you know where this is. Of course, add any background info on it that you know.