President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the White House and speech before Congress yesterday reminded Americans that Ukraine’s war against Russian occupation continues, even as media attention has waned.
Westporters don’t need that reminder.
Since we announced our “Building Bridges” campaign with our new sister city of Lyman on Monday, residents (and their families and friends) have raised $105,909. That’s an outstanding outpouring of generosity!
We need less than $145,000 more to reach our goal of $250,000. That will provide 150 homes ruined during the Russian occupation with new roofs, windows and more — plus a generator for every one. And a water filtration system for the entire devastated town.
We hope to reach that goal by Christmas (Sunday). Thanks to our partnership with Ukraine Aid International — a non-profit founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — all material can be delivered 3 days later.
Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here).
Support for the effort comes from Rabbi Michael Friedman of Temple Israel. He says:
“We are all inundated with requests for charitable contributions at this season of the year. Yet a personal call to help specific people in a specific city — even if it is very far away — gives our heartstrings a special tug. What a fabulous way to directly aid fellow human beings in dire need.”
At least once a week, someone asks “06880”: What’s up with the Amazon Fresh store that was supposed to replace Barnes & Noble? Nothing has happened there for months.
We’re not the only town left in — literally — the dark.
An answer comes from The Real Deal. The New York real estate website says that since September, Amazon has not opened a new Fresh store. At least 7 locations appear to be completely built out, but unopened. Another 26 locations are like ours, with development halted.
There are “zombie stores” in several states.
The Real Deal explains:
It’s cheaper for the company to keep the stores in place while not operating, rather than ditch the stores altogether. While the company is on the hook for rent, maintenance and taxes, shutting down a store could also force Amazon to pay a fee for a lease withdrawal or severance to hired employees.
Click here for the full story. In the meantime, if you want to give Amazon money for groceries, go to Whole Foods. They have not yet closed that part of their operations yet. (Hat tip: John McCarthy)
Yesterday’s innovative “Holiday Card” — actually, a series of large images projected on the front of Saugatuck Congregational Church, thanks to the AV team of Craig Patton and Mark Mathias — was even more stunning that anyone expected.
The show will be repeated tonight and tomorrow (weather permitting), from 5 to 8 p.m. The best viewing spot is probably the Colonial Green parking lot, across the street.
Jarret Liotta has many memories from his time in Los Angeles. Once, he attended a Passover Seder with Mel Brooks. The 1983 Staples High graduate quipped, “I didn’t know you were Jewish!”
Now — as Hanukkah collides with Christmas — Liotta is “proud to re-present a shot, low-quality video” he made back in those days.
He thinks Mel Brooks would have appreciated it.
Liotta’s latest film, “Small Town Movie,” is “a light comedy that explores racism, gun violence and the cancel culture.”
He calls this Christmas vs. Hanukkah piece “probably more controversial.”
You be the judge.
The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the December 14-21 period.
Five people were detained in custody. The charges for each:
- Conspiracy to commit larceny, interfering with a police officer, assault on public safety personnel.
- Reckless driving, disobeying the signal of an officer, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance.
- Burglary, threatening, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief.
- Possession of burglar tools, conspiracy to commit larceny, criminal attempt to commit larceny, disobeying the signal of an officer, misuse of plates, reckless driving, failure to signal properly.
- Manufacture or possession of burglar tools, conspiracy to commit larceny, attempt to commit larceny.
The following citations were issued:
- Traveling unreasonably fast: 12
- Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 5
- Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 5
- Violation of any traffic commission regulation: 4
- Stop sign violation: 3
- Failure to drive in the proper lane: 3
- Insurance coverage fails minimum requirements: 2
- Disorderly conduct: 1
- Traveling too fast for conditions:1
- Cell phone, 1st offense: 1
- Failure to yield to a pedestrian: 1
- Tinting windows: 1
- Failure to keep plates readable: 1
- Misuse of plates: 1
- Failure to display lights: 1
Speaking of the police:
The license plate on this car may signal “Never Guilty.”
But that looks an awful like a ticket on the windshield.
At first glance, this looks like a “holiday lights” photo:
A closer look, though, shows it’s traffic clogging Charles Street yesterday afternoon, coming off I-95.
Eventually of course, everyone got through. It’s just late on a holiday afternoon — and, probably, a bit of Waze action too.
The photo above provides a great segue to this item: Wheels2U is growing every day. Last month, the door-to-door ride service provided rides for over 2,300 people directly from their homes and offices, to and from the train station.
The service will take 2 brief holidays — December 26 and January 2 — before resuming full steam ahead.
For more information about Wheels2U, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image was spotted yesterday at Sherwood Island State Park, by John Kantor:
And finally … on this day in 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven conducted and performed in Vienna, with the premiere of his 5th and 6th Symphonies, 4th Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy.
It must have been quite a show.