Tag Archives: James naughton

“06880” Podcast: James Naughton

James Naughton is a well-known and much-beloved actor/director. His credits range from “Who’s the Boss” and “The Devil Wears Prada” to Tony Award-winning performances in “City of Angels” and “Chicago.” He directed Paul Newman in the 2002 Broadway revival of “Our Town.”

But the longtime Weston resident has taken on other “roles” in his community and state. He’s a longtime animal welfare supporter, and a strong advocate for Connecticut’s medical aid in dying legislation, following his wife Pam’s battle with pancreatic cancer.

The other day, he talked about all that — and much more, including life with his very talented singer/son Greg, and Tony Award-winning/daughter-in-law Kelli O’Hara, and the grandkids, who live in Westport — on the Westport Library stage. It was a wide-ranging look into the life of a very interesting man.

Click below to watch our conversation:

Roundup: Israel Support, I-95 Detours, Aid In Dying Legislation …

Last Sunday — just 24 hours after Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel — 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker released a strong statement.

She said then:

The attack on Israel and its citizens is horrifying. There is no justification for senseless acts of violence.

I as the 1st Selectwoman of Wesetport, along with our residents, stand with the people of Israel as they defend their country in the face of unspeakable terrorist acts.

Many Westporters have family and friends in Israel. Our community is profoundly affected by this tragedy. I extend my deepest condolences for the lives lost.

We are with you, Israel.

She reiterated her words yesterday. In a joint statement, Tooker and TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey said:

TEAM Westport joins the Town of Westport and our First Selectwoman in offering its deepest solidarity and sorrow to the people of Israel for the unspeakable and unfathomable acts of inhumanity they have suffered at the hands of Hamas. As such, we also decry any attempts to justify or celebrate those atrocities. While there is much to be done to ensure stability over the long-term, in whatever is done, we urge the unrelenting focus on the humanity of all potential victims involved.

On the home front, we fully support the increased protection of the Jewish community within Westport and the greater U.S.  against the rising  scourge of antisemitism. Overall, we encourage all segments of our community to join as one in this support with the full understanding that when one of us is harmed, we are all harmed.

Many town officials — including 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, in the front row directly in front of Senator Richard Blumenthal  — were at Monday’s solidarity gathering at Temple Israel. (Photo/Allison Wachstein)


Plan ahead!

The I-95 northbound entrance ramp at Exit 17 will be closed beginning Monday, October 16 through Friday, October 31. The closure is part of the ongoing bridge rehabilitation project. Traffic will be 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. 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 I-95 Exit 17 entrance and exit ramps were closed intermittently last week. Blasting helped prepare the site for the “bridge slide” coming soon.


For several years, James Naughton has been a passionate, articulate advocate for proposed medical aid in dying state legislation.

On Monday (October 16, 7 p.m., Westport Library) the Tony-winning actor and Weston resident — whose wife died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer — leads an important discussion.

“Medical Aid in Dying: Connecticut Wants It; Why Isn’t It the Law?” includes State Representative Jonathan Steinberg (former co-chair of the Public Health Committee); State Senator Ceci Maher; filmmaker Maribeth Abrams, who is producing a documentary about advocate Kim Hoffman, who died in 2022, and Tim Appleton, campaign director of Compassion & Choices.

Click here for more information, and to register.

James Naughton


“Houdini” (Jackson) and well over 100 other Club 203 guests packed the Senior Center Thursday, for the social club for adults disabilities monthly get-together.

Houdini (aka Jackson) at the Club 203 Halloween party.

This one was (of course) Halloween-themed. Attendees enjoyed Spooky Bingo, a barbecue, baked goods, candy (of course) and more.

Senior Center staff helped facilitate the event. Sweet P Bakery, Fresh Market, Stop & Shop and CVS provided donations, while MOCA led “frightening” art projects. Club 203 co-founders Stacie Curran and Sharuna Mahesh also thanked the many volunteers who helped.

Good times at the Senior Center, for Club 203 members and friends.


Speaking of Halloween:

This is the coven, at the corner of Hillandale and West Parish Roads:

(Photo/Tammy Barry)


In what has become an annual tradition, RTM members celebrated Restaurant Week with a lunch last yesterday. This year’s site: Zucca, which has replaced Tarry Lodge in Saugatuck.

On hand were 24 of the 36 representatives, plus 2 former moderators (assistant town attorney Eileen Lavigne Flug and Velma Heller), plus Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton and Tatiana Plachi of the town clerk’s office.

Pro tip: Restaurant Week is actually two weeks. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event ends tomorrow (Sunday). For a list of restaurants and their special deals, click here.

RTM members and friends celebrate Restaurant Week at Zucca.


Amidst a gaggle of signs — for political candidates, upcoming galas, sports registration, driveway paving companies and everything else — there is a new, official looking one, in the rear of Compo Acres Shopping Center, by Compo Road South:

That’s a sign we can all agree belongs there. 988 is the new, important, easy-to-remember 24-hour hotline for people in crisis, including those considering suicide.


Fred Cantor and his wife Debbie Silberstein recently visited their former neighbors, Gordon and Dot Hall.

They’ve lived in the same house near Hillspoint Road since 1955.

Dot recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. Gordon will soon be 96.

This fall marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of their Westport teaching careers.

Fred wonders if there are any other married teaching couples around from the 1950s?

To which I’ll add: Are there any other teachers — period — from that decade still in Westport?

Dot and Gordon Hall (Photo/Fred Cantor)


Westport was not the only artists’ colony in these parts.

Weston had a robust arts history too. On November 15 and 16 (6:30 p.m.), the Weston History & Cultural Center offers a look into their lives — along with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and insights from curator Laurie Weiss.

It’s called “Weston Illustrated: Penned, Painted and Sculpted.” Among the featured artists, who lived and/or worked in Weston during the first half of the 20th century: Wood Cowan, Charles and James Daugherty, Stevan Dohanos, John Held Jr., Ada “Johnny” Held, William Meade Prince, Laura Gardin Fraser and Stuart Benson

The event is limited to 12 people per night. Tickets $30 for members, $40 for non-members) include a signature cocktail and light appetizers. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” webinar is Friday (October 20, noon to 1:15 p.m.).

The topic is “Cultivating Backyard Habitat for Pollinators in Every Season.” It will be led by Desiree Narango, conservation scientist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Click here to register, and for more information.


Diva Showstoppers — featuring a Glinda and Elphaba from the Broadway company of “Wicked” — flies into Westport for two shows on one day this winter: January 20.

“Good Witch/Bad Witch” has entertained audiences across the US, with its vocals and banter.

It’s recommended for ages 7 and up — including parents. All tickets are $40. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Former Staples High School assistant coach Ty Matthew Guarente died Wednesday, surrounded by his family. He was 28.

His obituary says: “the son of the late Lisa Marie Guarente and Gary Guarente faced life’s challenges with remarkable bravery, inspiring all who knew him. Despite the obstacles he encountered, his spirit remained unbreakable. He touched the lives of many with his kindness, resilience, infectious smile and sense of humor.”

Ty was a 2012 graduate of Brien McMahon High School, where he was a varsity letterman in football, wrestling and lacrosse. He earned a bachelor of science in sports management from West Virginia University. He was treasurer and head of recruiting for Theta Chi fraternity.

After graduating Ty returned home to Norwalk and began a career in coaching, impacting the lives of student-athletes at several local high schools across many different sports, including football, wrestling and lacrosse.

“Despite being involved in a car accident in 2019 that deprived him of the ability to walk, Ty endured, continuing his coaching career and remaining a fixture in the local sports community. His family and many friends from both near and far made sure that Ty was never without love and support, and he cherished every call, text, and visit.”

In addition to his father, Ty is survived by his brother Michael (Luz), sisters Jessica Guarente and Jessica Wilchfort (William), brother John Andresen (Jennifer), 8 nieces and nephews, and grandmother Ginger Sollazzo Raymond.

A celebration of Ty’s life will be held tomorrow (Sunday, October 15, 3 to 7 p.m., Collins Funeral Home, Norwalk). A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday (October 16, 10 a.m., St. Matthew Church, Norwalk).

Ty Guarente


Today is not much of a beach day.

But yesterday was. Lauri Weiser spotted this scene — just right for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … Rudolph Isley, one of the Isley Brothers as well as a co-writer of many of their hits during their decades-long (and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) career, died Wednesday in his sleep, at his Chicago home. He was 84.

The Isley Brothers pre-dated the Beatles (who had a hit with their cover of the group’s “Twist and Shout”), and lasted long after the Fab 4 disbanded. Click here for a full obituary.

Here are just 3 of their classics:

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Roundup: Lottery Win$, Jeremy Schaap, James Naughton …

Westport figured prominently in 2 recent Connecticut Lottery wins.

A Milford resident won $1 million with a “$1,000,ooo Extreme Cash” scratch-off ticket sold at the Wheels gas station on Post Road East. The odds, the Lottery website says, are one in a million.

In addition, a Westporter won $300,000 in the same contest. The ticket was bought at B.J.’s Wholesale Club in Wallingford. 

A third connection: Westport resident Rob Simmelkjaer is chair of the Connecticut Lottery board of directors.


Among Westport’s many ESPN connections, Jeremy Schaap is one of the best known.

The 1988 Staples High School graduate has been with the network since 1994. He hosts E:60 and Outside the Lines, ESPN’s showcase journalism shows, and the award-winning weekly radio show and podcast The Sporting Life.

Schaap has covered the Summer and Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, World Series, Super Bowl, tennis and golf US Opens, Wimbledon, Final Four .. you get the idea.

He won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for his story exposing the plight of World Cup migrant laborers in Qatar, as well as the Dick Schaap Sports Emmy — named for his father — for a profile of chess champion Bobby Fischer.

He interviewed Bobby Knight after he was fired by Indiana, and Darryl Strawberry after his colon cancer diagnosis.

This Thursday (September 21, 7 p.m.), Schaap joins fellow Westport journalist Dave Briggs in a conversation at the Westport Library. They’ll take about his long career, including sports, the media and much more.

Click here to register, and for more information.

Jeremy Schaap


Westport Sunrise Rotary Club’s early morning speakers are always interesting.

This week’s guest is particularly note-worthy. And the public is welcome to attend.

On Friday (September 22, 7:45 a.m., Green’s Farms Congregational Church), Tony Award-winning actor and Weston resident James Naughton will talk.

But not about his career. Naughton’s topic is the Medical Assistance in Dying Act. He’s a powerful advocate for state legislation that would allow adults with a terminal illness to submit written requests for lethal medication. Under the proposed bill, adults who have been residents of Connecticut for at least a year and have been given less than 6 months to live can submit 2 written requests for lethal medication, at least 15 days apart.

Naughton is to help people at the end of life, for whom hospice palliative care is not enough, because his late wife Pamela was in that same situation.

Email president Liz Wong at info@WestportSunriseRotary.org if you plan to attend, or have questions. Coffee, bagels and muffins are served starting at 7 a.m.

James Naughton


Have a heart!

That’s the suggestion of Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services — and the theme of their fundraising gala.

“The Heart of Westport” will raise money to replace our first responders’ Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) machines. The event is October 21 (Christ & Holy Trinity  Church, 6 p.m.).

Hosts include WVEMS president Michael Burns, celebrity stylist Jeni Bianco, and Westport Moms Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post.

The $75,000 goal will ensure that every Westport emergency vehicle — EMS, Police and Fire — to have life-saving machines. Current machines are becoming outmoded.

The event includes food, drinks, entertainment, and auction items donated by well-known Westporters.

Click here for tickets and more information. For questions and sponsorship opportunities, email jenielizabeth@gmail.com.


Aztec Two-Step 2.0’s “Simon & Garfunkel Songbook” show has drawn raves everywhere.

This Saturday, area residents can see it in (almost) their back yard.

Rex Fowler and Dodie Pettit bring their show to the SHU Community Theatre, in the heart of Fairfield. Show time is 8 p.m. Click here for tickets, and more information.


Speaking of music: The October 1 “First Folk Sunday” is special. It’s the release party of Suzanne Sheridan’s “Standing Ovation” CD. It includes the country hit “90 Pound Suburban Housewife Driving in Her SUV.” (Yes, Westport — Sheridan’s longtime home — was her inspiration.)

Every audience member gets a free copy of the CD — and a slice of cake.

At First Folk Sunday (VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, 12:30 p.m.; $10 cover charge), Sheridan (vocals and guitar) will be accompanied by Bob Cooper (keyboards).

Musicians on the CD include Chris Coogan, Beth Styles, Andy Gundell, Ed Thompson, Scarlett Lee Moore, John Lathan, Mary Bond Davis, Leslie Miller, Jeff Gomard, the late Giff Foster and Matt Nozzolio, John Moses, Mike Mills and “Children of the Sun” Drumming Circle, and The Studebakers of Austin, Texas.

The songs were recorded over several years, in studios in various towns and cities.

Click here for tickets to Sheridan’s release party. For more information, email info@firstfolksunday.com, or call 203-222-1441.

Suzanne Sheridan


For a while, the Post Road East wood pile at the corner of Roseville Road looked a little less haphazard and dangerous than before.

No longer.

Here was the scene yesterday:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

A word to the crew working on the Route 1 renovation project: “Be careful out there.”


One of the joys of Compo Beach’s  South Beach is scrambling up the trees near the kayak launch.

Kids do it all the time.

Yesterday, Ken Schwarz did it too.

Why is this “06880”-worthy?

Because he’s 87 years old.

There’s a saying: “Once a kid, always a kid.”

No kidding!

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image is not a banana.

Or a banana slug.

It is, Steve Halstead assures us, a spicebush swallowtail larva.

And, he says, it will eventually morph into a beautiful adult butterfly.

We’ll take it over a spotted lanternfly any day.

(Photo/Steve Halstead)


And finally … in honor of our Westport-related Connecticut Lottery winners (story above):

(“06880” could buy lottery tickets. But we prefer to rely on the support of our readers. Please click here to donate. It’s a sure bet. Thank you!)

Roundup: Cans, Downtown Charette, Jodi & Scott …

On Sunday, Tom Kretsch and his wife Sandi headed to Compo’s South Beach, by the trees near the kayak launch.

A large group of Staples High School students and parents were setting up for an end-of-summer/start-of-school bash.

Not far away Tom saw a woman with a baby on her back, and 2 other kids tagging along. She stopped at every trash can, gathering cans for redemption.

She halted for a bit, to watch the picnic. Someone came over, with pizza for her and her children.

A few minutes later the woman continued walking, and picking through the trash.

(Photos/Tom Kretsch)

“It was quite a contrast, seeing someone scrounging for cans on our beach, and other people enjoying life on the beach,” Tom says.

“I wondered how she got there, with 3 kids and those heavy bags. What a world of haves and have-nots.

I’ve never seen anything like that on Compo Beach. On we journey, counting our blessings.”


A reminder: Tonight (Tuesday, August 22) is the open house “charrette”: a public review and feedback meeting covering additional plans for the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee’s “Master Plan for Downtown Parking and Pedestrian Areas: Reconnecting the Riverfront.”

Particular focus will be on the Parker Harding Plaza design.

The session begins at 7 p.m. (Westport Library) All residents and downtown stakeholders are invited to attend.

Information on the project is available on the DPIC website. Feedback is welcome in its comments section.

DPIC also conducts regular public meetings, typically the 2nd Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m.

Parker Harding Plaza cut-through road (left), and Saugatuck River. (Drone photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)


Westport Community Gardens continues its 20th anniversary celebration with another pop-up garden stand.

Everyone is invited to explore the Gardens — and adjacent Long Lots Preserve — and pick up very fresh produce, herbs and flowers this Sunday (August 27, 10 a.m. to noon).

Straight from the Community Gardens. (Photo/Karen Mather)


The Rhimes girls held a very successful lemonade-and-ice-cream fundraiser for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services this weekend.

They raised over $4,000 for the great organization (which, many people don’t realize, runs almost entirely on donations).

The feeling of helping a good cause was enough. But the youngsters were rewarded yesterday. President Mike Burns led a personal tour of the facility — and personally thanked the girls.

WVEMS president Mike Burns and EMS member Sammi Henske flank the Rhimes family. (Photo courtesy of Shonda Rhimes)


James Naughton and Carole Schweid entertained a full house last night.

The “Play With Your Food” creator led the actor/director in a discussion on his life on stage and screen — and as a passionate advocate for Connecticut’s Medical Aid in Dying legislation.

Naughton talked about investing in theater (he’s been quite lucky), his work with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and many others, and the joys and frustrations of a life in the arts.

The evening included a screening of the short film “Not the Same Clarence.” The film, featuring Jim and his son Greg Naughton, depicts the realities of caring for a parent with dementia, and its impact on their lives.

The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston sponsored the event.

James Naughton and Carole Schweid. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Speaking of acting: Jodi Stevens and Scott Bryce are expanding SBEstudio — their Weston performing arts school — to Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Jodi (a Broadway veteran and voice, singing and acting coach for over 20 years) and Scott (her Emmy-winning producer/director/actor husband, and a former Staplesl Player) offer new programming too, including a spring 6-week film and TV intensive course.

A grand opening is set for this Sunday (August 27, 2 p.m.).

Musical theater group classes and private lessons are available from ages 4-5 (Broadway Beginnings) all the way to 15-18 (Young Professionals). A new Broadway Babies class, for ages 2-3, is in the works.

The Bryce family has a long history with the Saugatuck Church. Scott’s mother Dorothy was deacon emeritus, a founding member of the Interfaith Council of Westport, Weston, Wilton, and a founder of the Theatre Artists Workshop.

Jodi’s scholarship program for talented students without means will continue, under a new name: The SBEstudio Dorothy Bryce Scholarship Fund.

For more information on the Saugatuck Church and Weston programs, click here, email info@sbestudio.com, or call 203-247-6569.

Scott Bryce and Jodi Stevens (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Parents)


Agent Orange has killed more than 300,000 US military veterans since our country left Vietnam in 1975.

The toll continues to rise.

In his new book “Agent Orange: A Short Sickening Saga of War,” Staples High School graduate/longtime Westport/prolific author Carl Addison Swanson explores the subject.

Amazon calls it “the tragic story of a Vietnam Veteran who, after 50 years of good health, is stricken with a heart disease connected directly to his exposure to the chemical AGENT ORANGE during the war.”

It is available on Kindle. Click here to order, and for more information.


The last date of lifeguards at Burying Hill Beach is this Thursday (August 24).

Compo Beach lifeguards continue through September 4.

Beach stickers are required through September 30.

Burying Hill Beach lifeguards’ last day is Thursday. (Photo/Yvonne O’Kane)


Traffic alert: The Department of Public Works’ annual roadway crack seal program begins this Thursday (August 24).

The work will continue for 2 weeks, on 15 miles of roadway. Be alert for 1-way traffic throughout the project.

Crack sealing ahead!


This week on “What’s Next in Weston,” 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor introduces Carol Baldwin, president of the Friends of Lachat Town Farm.

It’s the first of a 2-part series, covering the programs offered at “The Coachella of Fairfield County.”

The podcast is produced by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.


MoCA’s fall exhibition — “Purvis Young: This is the Life I See” features 36 large scale works by the American “outsider artist.”

This is the first time that the works, from the collection of Lynne and Jack Dodick, have been on public view.

The exhibition open September 15, and runs through December 29. A reception is set for September 14 (6 p.m.; free for members, $10 for non-members. Click here to register.) Advance registration is required.

Purvis Young (1943 – 2010) was a self-taught artist who dealt with the plight of the underprivileged and the consequences of racism and daily violence through a highly distinctive visual style. He lived his entire life in the Miami neighborhood of Overtown, once an entertainment destination as well as a Black neighborhood in the segregated South. Click here for more details.

“Shackled in Blues” (Purvis Young)


Barry Kresch has spent several months observing nature, up close and personal.

He writes: “A pair of cardinals built a nest in a small tree outside my kitchen window. It was fairly low, so I was able to get some shots into it without disrupting the proceedings.

“I got much of the life cycle: first egg, mom sitting, chicks hatched, dinner is served, junior ready to take wing.

“After they left, I removed the nest. My wife told me they decay and get parasites, so the birds don’t reuse them.

“The same or another nesting pair then repeated the cycle. This time the nest was higher in the tree, not conducive to photos.”

This “life cycle” photo is perfect for our “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Barry Kresch)


And finally … on this day in 2011 Nick Ashford — half of the husband-and-wife songwriting/production team Ashford & Simpson, and a former Westport resident — died of throat cancer. He was 70 years old.

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Roundup: Maui, Saugatuck Shores, Compo Beach …

It’s nearly 5,000 miles from Westport to Lahaina.

But the distance does not matter to the Westport Downtown Association. The non-profit is collecting donations for Maui United Way, to help support relief efforts from one of the worst wildfires in American history.

Click here to contribute, and for more information.

To show our appreciation for donors, the WDA will randomly select 4 people to receive a pair of tickets to the annual Westoberfest New England Craft Beer and Family Fun event (Saturday, October 14).

In other Maui news, 2 former Westporters have told “06880” that their homes on the island were not affected by the blazes. Both, however, note the immense suffering by their neighbors.

Maui wildfire.


There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

There is, however, free excess garden produce.

At least, there was yesterday on Bermuda Road.

Pam and Mike Dedona set out their bounty, with a simple sign, for their Saugatuck Shores neighbors.

(Photo and hat tip/Denise Paul)

Their simple gesture made a sunny day even more beautiful.


Speaking of a great beach day: Yesterday might have been the nicest of the entire summer.

The temperature was Goldilocks: not too hot or cold. Humidity was low.

And it was a Sunday!

Pam Kesselman captured this everyone-into-the-water scene, at Compo:

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)


Speaking of beach scenes: If you like our new header (the photo at the top of every “06880” story), thank William Weiss.

He submitted the wide-angle shot yesterday.


The recent near-death experience of the Westport Country Playhouse focused attention on the perilous state of live theater.

Next Monday (August 21, 7 p.m., Westport Library), the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston host a public meeting on that subject.

They’ve enlisted 2 experts: Broadway actors/local residents/WCP friends James Naughton and Carole Schweid.

They’ll discuss the background of live theater, its current condition, and what lies ahead.

It’s a double feature. Guests will also see a 16-minute fictional drama film, “Not the Same Clarence.” The film features Jim and his son Greg Naughton depicting the realities of caring for a parent with dementia, and its impact on their lives.

Carole Schweid and James Naughton.


Fleet Feet’s weekly “Zoomerangs Kids’ Fall Program” starts this Sunday (August 20).

Meet-ups are from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Staples High School Laddie Lawrence Track, through October 1. The cost is $99.

Geared to youngsters ages 5 to 14, the program teaches the “fun”-damentals of running, with running drills and light-hearted competition.

Demo shoes from Diadora will be available at the kickoff session.

Click here to register, and for more information.


Wakeman Town Farm is one of the best spots around for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

Today’s colorful image comes courtesy of Susie Klau.

(Photo/Susie Klau)


And finally … John Gosling, the Kinks’ keyboardist and vocalist from 1970-78, died last week. He was 75.

He joined the band after auditioning on the song “Lola.” Not a shabby start, at all. Click here for his obituary.

(We are lucky to live in a town like Westport. And “06880” is lucky to have readers who support our work. Please click here for a link to contribute. Thank you!)

Roundup: Smoky Skies, Staples Baseball, Startup Westport …

As predicted, the Singapore-style haze that smothered Westport yesterday has started to lift.

But Paul Delano was out early this morning. He reports: “It was a hazy red sunrise — although you couldn’t even see the sun until about half an hour after it rose.”

Here’s some of what he saw, at Compo Beach …

… and Sherwood Mill Pond:

(Photos/Paul Delano)


Play ball!

The Staples High School baseball team shoots for their 3rd state championship in 7 years this Saturday. (And one year was lost to COVID).

The 21-5 Wreckers — seeded #3 in the “LL” (extra large schools) division — face next-door foes, and close rivals, 4th-ranked Fairfield Warde.

The first pitch on June 10 is 12 noon, at Palmer Field in Middletown.

Staples is 21-5 this year. But two of those losses came to the Mustangs. After a 5-4 win in April, the Wreckers fell to Warde 7-0 in their second regular season meeting in May. The Fairfielders took the FCIAC semifinal too, by a razor-thin 3-2 score, en route to a 6-1 championship victory over Westhill.

Can’t make it to Middletown? Click here for the livestream.

Fans of all ages will be cheering for the Staples baseball team — in person, and virtually — on Saturday.


A crowd of 150 theaded to La Plage Tuesday evening, for the first big Startup Westport meeting.

The public/private partnership hopes to make our town Westport a special suburban center of an ecosystem of tech people and investors.

Attendees called the networking meeting “energetic, creative and productive.”

Plans are underway for a special event September 14, at the Westport Library. Dan Bikel — tech lead at Meta — will take about AI.


From left: Startup Westport board members: Peter Propp, Cliff Sirlin, Jay Norris; 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker; board member Sam Hendel; Police Chief Foti Koskinas; board member Dan Bikel.


Westport Police report 2 custodial arrests, for the period of May 31-June 7.

One man was arrested for larceny and credit card fraud. An Instacart delivery person became suspicious after receiving several orders from BevMax, for a person sitting in a car in front of a house under construction very close to the store. Several high-order deliveries had been requested, using different credit cards.

Another man was arrested for larceny, identity theft and forgery, after a resident’s check was stolen, altered and deposited.

Police also issued these citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 4 citations
  • Failure to comply with state traffic regulations: 4
  • Failure to renew registration: 2
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Failure to yield right of way: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 1.

Frequent orders from one liquor store led to an arrest.


Recent “06880” stories about the Westport Country Playhouse have elicited plenty of ideas for the future — and memories of the past. Nearly everyone in Westport has opinions about what’s right, and/or wrong, with one of our town’s artistic jewels.

But no matter where you stand, here’s a question: Who (or what) is that figure standing at the upper left, on the top of the Playhouse in the photo below?

Peter Hirst — a member of Staples Players back in the 1960s — noticed it. He assumes it was photoshopped in. But by whom? When? And why?

If you know, please click “Comments” below.

PS: I never noticed it before. Did you?


Club 203’s first year will end with a bang.

Westport’s social organization for adults with disabilities celebrates June 15 (6:30 to 8 p.m., Westport Library), with an end-of-year karaoke bash.

Along with singing and dancing, there’s dessert, and party art with MoCA.

The cost is $10 per person. Newcomers should click here, and follow the prompts.

Next on the Club 203 calendar: summer meet-ups. Details coming soon!


Two great kids’ activities are among the events this Sunday (June 11) at Blau House & Gardens’ “Last Lollapaloosa”:

Book reading and signing of “Pinkalicious: Fairy House” by author/ illustrator Victoria Kann: 11 a.m.; $15 per child (maximum 25 children). Each child received 2 Pinkalicious books; other activities include coloring, plant a bean to take home and watch grow; find the fairy houses in the garden.

Book reading and signing of “The Frog Who Wanted to See the Sea” by author/illustrator Guy Billout: 2:30 p.m.; $20 per child (maximum 20 children). Also: find a frog along the stream; plant a bean to take home and watch grow.

Blau House & Gardens is located at the end of Bayberry Ridge — a narrow, rutted road off Bayberry. The home — designed by theatrical stage set designer Ralph Alswang — is set between towering great oaks.

The grand gardens — by advertising executive Barry Blau — were created in response to the house. They incorporate native plants interspersed with a blend of exotics.

Other events on Saturday include:

Planting ceremony: Native rosebud trees; 9 a.m.; free (maximum 40 people)

Tour of Blau Gardens: 10 a.m.; $20 per person (maximum 36 people)

Gentle yoga with Millie: 1 p.m.; $20 per person (maximum 20 people)

Tour of Blau Gardens: 4:30 p.m.; $20 per person (maximum 36 people)

Garden reception: 6 to 8 p.m.; $75 per person (maximum 50 people). Help create a Blau House & Garden future.

Click here to register (deadline: June 5), and for information on payment and shuttle transportation from Coleytown Elementary School.

Just one part of Blau Gardens.


Friends of Sherwood Island State Park hold its annual meeting this Sunday (June 11, 4 p.m., main pavilion.

It’s a chance to meet our board, learn more about the non-profit, discuss plans to support the park, and say hello to new Supervisor Jeff Dery, his staff and interns.

Everyone is welcome, including prospective members. Entrance to the park is free for vehicles with Connecticut license plates.


James Naughton is a man of many talents, and passions.

The Tony Award-winning actor and Weston resident is finishing his run in “On Golden Pond” at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Ge’s very involved with Wildlife in Crisis.

And next Thursday (June 15, 11:30 a.m., Waveny Park main house, New Canaan) he will address the League of Voters there about his 6-year effort to get a Medical Aid in Dying law passed in Connecticut.

It’s come close — and approximately 75% of state residents support it. But it has still not been enacted.

Naughton’s advocacy honors the legacy of his wife Pamela. She died in 2013, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

James Naughton


Even the most passionate Westport sports fans probably did not notice that Luca Koleosho scored his first professional goal for Espanyol on Sunday, in their 3-3 draw with Almeria. At 18 years old, he’s the 3rd youngest player ever to score in La Liga, the Spanish soccer league that is one of the best in the world.

But Melissa Vallera sure did.

A former All-Region and Academic All-America soccer player at the University of Bridgeport, she’s Luca’s mom. She is also a physical therapist, who has spent many years working with Westport student-athletes, in a variety of sports. Her clients rave about her.

Luca was born in Trumbull. His family now lives in Greenwich. But he’s been playing in Europe since he was 11.

Luca’s father was a football running back at the University of Oklahoma.

Great genes — and a great accomplishment! (Hat tip: Vince Kelly)

Luca Koleosho


Former CBS radio and TV producer Tom Curley addressed the Westport Rotary Club at its Tuesday meeting. He discussed his sometimes chaotic personal experiences working with Lesley Stahl and Dan Rather (“a really nice guy” he said).

Now, after 10 years in retirement, he has created a TV studio in his basement. He produces humorous video programs called “Get Off My Lawn!” and “Media War Stories.”


Frederic Chiu is an internationally known pianist, and co-founder of Beechwood’s innovative Arts & Innovation series.

Turns out he’s also a superb nature photographer.

Here’s his submission for our daily “Westport … Naturally” series:

(Photo/Frederic Chiu)


And finally … Astrud Gilberto died on Monday. She was 83.

The first song she ever recorded — “The Girl From Ipanema” — was an international hit. It introduced Brazilian bossa nova to the US. And though she never replicated that success, she was a successful recording artist for decades. Click here for a full obituary.

(Sports, shows, gardens, cops — “06880” delivers it all, every day. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Zadie Smith, Jim Naughton, Andrew Maskoff …

The Westport Library has a new award: the Westport Prize for Literature.

The first honoree — author Zadie Smith — will be feted in person November 12.

The new annual prize is for an original work of fiction that explores issues in contemporary society. Smith was recognized this year for “The Fraud.” It’s “a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against the legal trial that divided Victorian England, about who gets to tell their story — and who gets to be believed.”

The prize will be administered by a committee of Westport resident volunteers. An independent jury will choose the winner.

Steering committee chair Candice Savin calls Smith “an icon in letters, and an inspiration to writers — and a delight for readers — everywhere.”

She wrote the novels “White Teeth,” “The Autograph Man,” “On Beauty,” “NW” and “Swing Time,” and the novella “The Embassy of Cambodia.” She is a 3-time nominee for the Booker Prize, and last year was honored with the PEN America Literary Service Award.

Zadie Smith


This is the last week for the nearly month-long run of “On Golden Pond,” at the Ivorytown Playhouse in Essex.

Which means the end of the daily commute for 3 local residents. Two-time Tony Award winner James Naughton, and Fairfield’s Mia Dillon, co-star in the show about an older couple, and others, at a lakeside cottage.

Westporter Stacie Lewis plays Naughton and Dillon’s daughter.

James Naughton, with Mia Dillon and Stacie Lewis, at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Audiences have loved the production. Click here for more information.


Speaking of entertainment:

Staples High School sophomore Andrew Maskoff recently reached the National Association of Teachers of Singing semifinals.

Andrew is a familiar face. He assistant music directed Staples Players’ “Twelfth Night,” and played in the pit for many shows. He sings with Orphenians, and studies privately with Wendy Morgan-Hunter.

Besides singing, Andrew is a superb pianist. He studies with Tatiana Pikayzen, and won won the Schubert Club Award for Romantic and Modern Composers.  He also plays multiple instruments, is in Staples’ Jazz Workshop, and also composes music.

He reached the semifinals after state competition, and the national quarterfinals, with hundreds of other singers. Click below for one of the tracks he submitted.

Congratulations, Andrew!


What’s next in Weston?

Gun legislation.

Well, it’s actually statewide. But in this week’s “What’s Next in Weston” podcast, State Senator Ceci Maher discusses important new — and strengthened — gun control legislation with 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor.

This legislation was passed at 4 a.m. Saturday morning. Dick Kalt spoke with Senator Maher 9 hours later, for the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston episode.

Click below to listen:


Speaking of important issues:

Last week at the Westport Library, Roosevelt Institute director of climate policy Rhiana Gunn-Wright explored the interconnections between environmental and racial justice. She also spoke about how to cultivate regional responses to the climate crisis, noting that environmental impacts cross town lines.

Click below to see:


A few real estate facts from May:

26 units were sold. That’s down 40% from May of 2022.

The median sales price of $2.6 million was up 27% from last year. The median sales price per square foot of $568 was also up, by 15%. (Hat tip: Meredith Cohen of William Raveis) 

This 8-bedroom, 12-bathroom, 13,128-square foot home on 7.27 acres on Hedley Farms Road in Greens Farms is on the market for $11,995,000. 


An early morning fire drew a quick response, on Old Hill Road.

Three occupants of a barn, including an apartment, were alert to the blaze by the property owner, and evacuated.

Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to other sections of the U-shaped structure.

Mutual aid from Fairfield and Norwalk fire departments were on the scene and at Westport fire headquarters. Westport Police and Westport also
provided assistance.

The 3 displaced occupants received help from Westport Human Services and the American Red Cross.

Three firefighters received minor injuries.

Quick work prevented the blaze from spreading to other parts of the barn. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)


Guitarists Kenny Wessel and Rale Micic headline this Thursday’s Jazz at the Post.

Wessel — known for his “adventurous voice, unrelenting swing and sensitive accompaniment skills,” is a Westport favorite. He and Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall — who will join in on sax — have played together for 30 years.

Serbian guitarist and composer Micic “skillfully fuses culture with timeless jazz.”

Joining those 3 are bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Eric Halvorson.

Shows are 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, on June 8. Dinner service starts at 7 p.m. There is a $15 cover. Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Kenny Wessel and Rale Micic.


We’re always looking for new creatures to feature on “Westport … Naturally.”

We’ve got one today. Longtime Westporter — and ophthalmologist — Mark Steckel zeroed in on his specialty. He writes:

“This snake was hiding in the vinca that surrounds my pinky-winky hydrangea, though I never saw him wink. But of course, he can’t: Snakes have no eyelids.”

(Photo/Mark Steckel)


And finally … in honor of Mark Steckel’s image (above):

(Don’t be a snake! Please contribute to your hyper-local blog! Just click here — and thank you!)

In Death, The Gift Of Life

Like many others, Dan Levinson moved from New York to Westport when his children were young. He thought it would be a great place to raise kids.

He was right. He grew to love the town, and has been active in many non-profit organizations here and in Bridgeport.

Like some others, his father — Peritz Levinson — moved in with the Levinsons late in life. He too learned to love the beach, Longshore, the library and Senior Center.

Peritz died a year later. Unlike many others, however, his death was not frightening, painful or brutal.

Instead, it was powerful. It was meaningful.

And now it’s become the impetus for an intriguing, important book project.

Peritz Levinson spent his life in Cincinnati. That’s where he took care of his own parents, until they died.

Peritz Levinson, with a very young Dan.

A psychiatrist, he came to Westport when he was 90. His wife had died, and he was ailing. He did not want to impose on his son.

Peritz need not have worried. He had prepared to die. During the last year of his life, he “became transcendent,” Dan says. “He was less present, but more brilliant.”

As they heard Dan talk about his father’s death, people who befriended Peritz during his last year — Sue Pfister at the Senior Center, Bill Harmer of the Westport Library, Sharon Bradley at Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County — encouraged Dan to write about the experience.

Peritz and Dan Levinson take a selfie.

He realized there were other stories out there, of “good deaths.” He decided to find them, find writers to tell them, and collect them in a book.

In Death, The Gift of Life is hyperlocal, he says. It  features 10 stories from here.

Some of the names are familiar, like community activist Estelle Margolis and musician Charlie Karp.

“It’s not a book for the world. But I think it can influence a lot of people.”

For much of history, Dan notes, death was seen as a natural part of life. People died at home, surrounded by loved ones. But advances in technology and medicine have made us think we need to “fight and scrap,” to put off the inevitable end of our days.

Peritz Levinson, enjoying his son Dan’s back yard.

Peritz Levinson had thought for years about death. He was a founding member of Exit International. The non-profit organization wants to ensure that all rational adults have access to the best available information, so they can make informed decisions about when and how they die.

“My father wanted to be present as he died,” Dan says. “He was calm. He had clarity.”

The final 3 months in particular were “spectacular.”

Dan took his father to meaningful places. Peritz loved the beach. At Elvira’s, Stacy gave him rice pudding. When they drove through the golf course, people waved. Dan’s son Jesse — Peritz’s grandson — was around for much of the time too.

Peritz Levinson, surrounded by (clockwise from lower left), his grandchildren Andie, Adam and Jesse, plus Andie’s now-husband Steve and Adam’s girlfriend Hayley.

“It was beautiful,” Dan says. “We had quality time, and closure. There was acceptance and peace.”

Dan is fully aware that his family’s experience is rare. Part of the reason for the book is to spark conversations about dying. So he sought writers who knew their subjects, and could tell their stories lovingly and insightfully.

Estelle Margolis, longtime activitst and a Westporter who prepared well for her own death.

Longtime civic volunteer and political activist Margolis, for example, prepared well for her own death. Her grandson wrote her story.

Author Mary-Lou Weisman wrote about Pamela Parsons Naughton, the wife of actor James Naughton. Karp’s sister Eleanor Duffy writes about him.

Other familiar author names include Sarah Gross, Jarret Liotta, Robin Weinberg and Craig D.B. Patton. I was honored to contribute Peritz Levinson’s story.

The title — In Death, the Gift of Life — comes from something someone told Dan Levinson: “Your father gave you his life. And he gave you his death.”

On October 13, the book launches officially, at the Westport Library. There’s a 6:30 p.m., reception; remarks from Levinson, Liotta, Weisman, Naughton (and me), and music by The Name Droppers, Charlie Karp’s band.

The public is invited. It will be a joyful celebration of this book — and of the joys of good, meaningful deaths.

(For more information on the October 13 event at the Westport Library, click here.)

(“06880” is entirely reader-supported. Please click here to contribute.)


Roundup: Winslow Park, Tarry Lodge, Dunkin’ …

In May, “06880” published the sad story of Winnie the Pooh.

Fifth grader Alex Johnson eulogized his dog. It had run through a break in the Winslow Park stone wall, and been struck and killed by a car on Compo Road North.

Thanks to the efforts of the Johnsons — and many others — tragedies like those may soon be diminished.

Last week, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Commission voted unanimously to fill in 3 breaks, in the park’s off-leash area.

The plan includes split-rail fencing, backed by “nearly invisible” mesh fencing, plus a 3 1/2-foot gate at each of those 3 areas. (Hat tip: Tricia Freeman)

Winnie The Pooh.


The Sweet Remains are a highlight of every Levitt Pavilion season.

But last night’s concert was extra special. The usual local pride — Sweet Remains leader Greg Naughton grew up in Weston, and lives in Westport — swelled when the trio was joined onstage by Greg’s wife, Broadway star Kelli O’Hara; his father James, the noted actor, and sister Keira.

Alert “06880” reader/longtime music fan/superb photographer Tom Kretsch reports: “It was a truly incredible evening, with a packed crowd enthralled by the group’s performance.”

The Sweet Remains, with James Naughton, Keira Naughton and Kelli O’Hara.

Levitt Pavilion, last night (Photos/Tom Kretsch)


What’s up with Tarry Lodge?

Recently, alert and hungry reader Patti Brill has noticed the “unkempt” appearance of the Charles Street restaurant. Yesterday, it looked like it was closed.

I checked the website. Nothing unusual; it was taking reservations and pickup orders.

I called. I was about to hang up when — on the 10th ring — a recording said, “We are pleased to announce our new hours.”

That’s usually a euphemism for “shorter hours.” I don’t know their previous schedule, but according to the chirpy voice, Tarry Lodge is open Wednesdays through Friday from 4 to 9:30 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

This was Sunday. I pressed “2” to order by phone.

Nothing. Nada. Zippo for some za.

If any reader knows more, click “Comments” below.

Tarry Lodge, yesterday. (Photo/Patti Brill)


Around the corner from Tarry Lodge, the Bridge Square Dunkin’ Donuts is definitely open.

Alert “06880” reader John Karrel was there this morning.

The music playing in the background was a bit mystifying: Christmas carols.

Hey! Only 153 shopping days left.

Meanwhile, in other Dunkin’ news, a large sign promises that the Compo Shopping Center spot — newly relocated from across from Fresh Market — opens in 3 days.

We’ll soon find out which is more dangerous: The drive-thru Starbucks, or its competitor in an already overcrowded and dangerous plaza.


Today’s “westport … Naturally” feature shows a serene Sherwood Mill Pond weekend scene. And how did you spend your Saturday evening?

(Photo/Gary Weist)


And finally … if you missed the Sweet Remains last night — or want to hear more — click below:




Roundup: Staples Soccer, Library, Jim Naughton, Jose Feliciano, More

In a first for Staples High School sports — and perhaps for any team anywhere in the country — the boys soccer team broadcast last night’s match at Norwalk on a drive-in movie screen.

With a limited number of spectators allowed due to COVID at most schools — and Norwalk banning even parents — the Wreckers have livestreamed all their games this year.

GKess Films of Cheshire provide high-def quality video. WWPT-FM students provide play-by-play; alumni athletes, former coaches and other soccer aficionados add color commentary.

Cars filled with parents, siblings, younger players and random soccer fans headed to the Remarkable Theater Imperial Avenue parking lot for tailgating, and the game. They honked their horns and flashed their lights when Haydn Siroka and Alan Fiore scored early goals, and when Sebi Montoulieu saved a penalty kick.

Staples won 2-1 — their 3rd consecutive victory — and perhaps a new tradition was born.

A scene from the big screen at the Remarkable Theater. (Photo/Neil Brickley)

Good news from the Westport Library!

Starting Monday, November 9, they’ll expand hours, institute cart-side pick-up, and will offer access to the media studios, Maker Space and Children’s Department (by appointment).

New hours are Monday through Friday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The Library will remain closed on Sunday.

Patrons can browse for materials in the Library, place them on hold remotely, or do so by calling 203-291-4807. Items placed on hold can be picked up in the tent outside the building at any time during operating hours. This replaces the current curbside pick-up arrangement.

Delivery services will continue for residents who are homebound or in a high-risk category that prevents them from visiting the Library.

The Library is also adding printing services to its 3 Express computers. and will reintroduce loans from in-state Libraries.

Shopping in the Library store will continue in person or virtually by appointment. Click here to schedule.

The Library will continue to limit the number of people in the building to 100 at any time.

Tony Award-winning actor and noted director James Naughton is also a noted animal advocate. He writes:

Having lived in Weston for 43 years, and been raised in Connecticut, I count myself very lucky to have shared this wonderful, woodsy environment with nature’s creatures.

Just in the last 6 months while sequestered, we were entertained daily by a couple of foxes raising their 5 little kits in our yard, then a family of groundhogs and a raccoon family. Owls hoot in the woods , hawks circle overhead, and we watch out for fawns crossing the roads.

When some of these animals aren’t so lucky — hey are orphaned or encounter an automobile they (and we) are lucky to have a place to take them right here.

Dara and Peter Reid created Wildlife in Crisis, and have been its stewards for over 30 years.

Normally, they take in 5,000 animals a year.  This year they’ve taken in an unusually large  number of creatures–and they need our help.

They’re a 501C3, and depend on charitable contributions. Click here, and watch a 10-minute video of them releasing back into the wild some of the animals they’ve raised or  rehabilitated.

It’s inspiring, and a delight to show to your children and grandchildren. Then please: Make a donation.

Jim Naughton with a baby possum.

Speaking of famous Weston residents: This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. The other day, singer-songwriter Jose Feliciano popped into a Norwalk TV studio to talk with Telemundo about the jazzy, jangly classic.

Click here to see. The interview is in Spanish. But if you don’t speak it: no hay problema.

The song — and Jose’s exubertant personality — are universal.

Want $10,000?

Saturday (October 31) is the deadline to apply for a Westport Young Woman’s League Super Grant.

They’re awarded to local organizations working in areas like food insecurity, education, and health and wellness.

Despite the impact of COVID on fundraising, the WYWL continues to support our community. For a grant application, click here. To learn more, click here.

Halloween is not yet here.

But Christmas is, at Anthropologie downtown.

Can spring be far behind?

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

And finally … thanks to Jose Feliciano and Anthropologie, “06880” officially kicks off the holiday season: