Tag Archives: Jillian Elder

Roundup: Cavalry Road Bridge, Staples Graduation, Sharkey’s Cuts …

Residents in the Red Coat Road/West Branch neighborhood, straddling the Westport/Weston border, were thrilled earlier this month when the Cavalry Road bridge reopened.

For a year during the project, they’d faced long detours, constant traffic pattern changes, even property damage. They seldom complained.

But now they’re mad.

Suddenly, a large chain link fence has been installed on both sides of the new bridge. Residents call it an eyesore — and not part of the original plan. They wonder how safety measures more appropriate for a state road became part of their bucolic landscape.

Guardrail and fencing on the Cavalry Road bridge.

Resident Gery Grove — who says it is a Weston project — wrote to officials of both towns:

“This is a low speed bridge (now with extensive guardrails in place) with probably a limited to nonexistent history of injury or death. This is a pastoral residential neighborhood that people move to for quiet charms.

“Behind our backs at the dawn of a holiday weekend, it has been made to look like a downtown Manhattan parking lot with no warning. And likely no historical public record of this addition. No other small bridges that I am aware of (that don’t go over the Merritt or I95) have this extensive fencing.”

Westport 1st selectwoman replied quickly, promising to meet with residents there on Monday morning.

Weston town administrator Jnoathan Luiz said that he asked the engineering company that designed the bridge and provided construction oversight to respond.

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For the second year in a row — after a hiatus of nearly 40 years — Staples High School held its graduation ceremony outdoors.

“06880” provided photos of the 135th commencement. But those were only from ground level.

Staples sophomore Charlie Scott adds a new perspective, thanks to his drone:

(Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

The stage is at the north end (bottom of photo). Board of Education and other dignitaries are at the lower left. The 450-plus graduates are massed on Coach Paul Lane Field. The 2,000 spectators fill the bleachers on the right.

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Scalp dramatically reduces chemotherapy-induced hair loss in cancer patients.

But it’s expensive.

Scott Sharkey — founder of Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids, the Westport-based haircut chain – has jump-started a fund to support patients throughout New England who cannot afford the treatment.

Each Sharkey’s salon donates a percent of every haircut to charity. “Hair to Stay” will be one more beneficiary of the company’s generosity.

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Jillian Elder has a new line of Westport-themed tank tops, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and tumblers.

Some are actually more specific: They say “I’d rather be in Saugatuck” and “I’d rather be at Compo Beach.” There are also red-white-and-blue Minute Man items.

Click here for “I’d Rather Be …”; click here for the Minute Man stuff.

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Artists Collective of Westport member Lee Walther curated a new exhibit, “Sculptural Dimensions,” at the Fairfield Public Library. It features Collective artists Sooo-z Mastropietro and Louise Cadoux, plus international artist Alan Neider.

The show runs through August 6. Click here for more infromation.

Art by Sooo-z Mastropietro.

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Marie Coppotelli — one of Westport’s first girls “soccer moms” — died peacefully on June 9. She was 92 years old.  .

Stuart McCarthy — a founder of Westport’s girls soccer program, and former Staples High School coach — says:

When we started the first girls travel team in 1977, Marie took charge. She did all the great organization and coordination that comes with the job (but she had no 3-ring binder left behind by the last manager). I will always remember how she was such a sweet lady — until someone fouled one of ‘her girls.’ Marie was fiercely protective, and they were all ‘her girls.’ We were all lucky to have Marie on our team.

Marie was preceded in death by her husband Donald Coppotelli and brother Anthony Cuda. She is survived by her sister Patricia Nole, sister-in-law Lynn Cuda; children Michele (Pat) Solis, Lisa Coppotelli, Alan (Nancey) Coppotelli, Renee (Mark) Dixon, and Claudine (Lee) Martin; grandchildren Emma and Reed Tso, Oliver and Madeline Dixon, Devon Mayhew, Dylan and Eileen
Martin, Ghislain and Mary Melaine, Jeff and Jessica Doerner, and great-grandchildren Molly and Benjamin Doerner and Georges Melaine.

Services will be held privately at a future date. In lieu of flowers,
everyone who knew Marie knows she loves to feed people. Donations may be made online to Connecticut Foodshare, Memories and condolences may be sent to the family: ACoppotelliNY@aol.com,

The Coppotellis, at Marie and Don’s 50th wedding celebration. From left: Renee, Claudine, Donald, Marie, Michele, Lisa, Alan.

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This “Westport … Naturally” wren seems right at home in Paul Delano’s birdhouse.

(Photo/Paul Delano)

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And finally … sure, Jillian Elder’s gear and mugs say “I’d rather be in Saugatuck” (or “at Compo Beach”).

But as the Turtles knew years ago:

Roundup: Black Friday, Fire Department Tree, Cribari Bridge Lighting …

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First Selectwoman Jen Tooker delivers her first Thanksgiving message to Westport:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving, as well as a Happy Hanukkah for those celebrating.

“Westport has much to be thankful for. As we emerge from a global pandemic, we are grateful for our first responders, our town employees and staff, our teachers, colleagues and friends, and the numerous volunteers who gave unselfishly of their time, talents and resources. Most importantly, we are grateful for each other, and how we came together as a community to lift up, to help and to inspire during challenging times. Westporters are truly resilient!

“We are also keenly aware that there are those among us who need additional care and concern, especially during holidays. Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Let us remember that, as much has been given, much will be expected…and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips and shows itself in deeds.’”

“And so, at this Thanksgiving and for the days to come, I ask that we both reflect and act; to give of ourselves in word and deed; to express our appreciation for all that we do have, and to make simple acts of kindness the norm, not the trend.

“On a personal note, my sincerest hope is that you enjoy your Thanksgiving and upcoming Holidays with friends and families, and that you have the opportunity to be thankful for the simple blessings we all share. Thank you.”

Jen Tooker is thankful to celebrate Thanksgiving with her husband Mo and her father, Bob “Pops” Salmon.

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Just in time for Black Friday, “Finding Westport”‘s Jillian Elder has found local stores offering sales, customer appreciation days and more this weekend.

Click here for her list. If you prefer to shop from home, keep it local! Scroll down on her website for a list of Westport-based Etsy shops.

JL Rocks is one of many local businesses you can find on “Finding Westport.”

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Yesterday morning, the Westport Fire Department helped the Westport Downtown Association put up a Christmas tree at Parker Harding Plaza, across from Starbucks.

Check out the fire extinguisher “present” — and the firefighter’s hat on top!

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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Al’s Angels’ annual Cribari Bridge lighting ceremony is tomorrow night (Friday, November 26, 4 to 6:30 p.m., Saugatuck Rowing Club).

There’s Santa, cocoa (kids’ and spiked), hot dogs and popcorn. It’s a ticketed event ($20 adults, $10 children — plus an unwrapped toy), with all toys and funds going to (of course) Al’s Angels.

For over 20 years they’ve brought joy to children with life-threatening illnesses (and their families). And for 20 years they’ve kept the Cribari Bridge lit.

Click here for tickets. You can pay at the door too,

Tomorrow’s Cribari Bridge lighting rings in the holiday season. (Photo/January Stewart)

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There’s one more parking space today on Myrtle Avenue.

“Hank the Tank” — the Mercedes sedan that, since summer, sat in front of Town Hall since summer — was trucked away yesterday. He’s been donated to the Fire Department, for use as a training vehicle.

Hank has quite a back story. If you missed it earlier this month on “06880,” click here.

College girls — friends of the owner — say goodbye, moments before Hank the Tank is trucked away. (Photo/Frank Rosen)

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Speaking of cars: Traffic has been terrible lately. It’s the holidays. And a paving project on Riverside Avenue by the Cribari Bridge has funneled traffic onto already jammed streets.

This was the scene Thursday night:

(Photo/Jon Dworkow)

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Today, Westporters give thanks for many things. These “Westport … Naturally” featured creatures give thanks that they’re hanging out on Colony Road, not on someone’s carving board.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … I’m old enough to remember that, for my first couple of years at Burr Farms Elementary School right here in Westport, we opened the day by reciting the Lord’s Prayer (!).

In music class, we also sang “We Gather Together” every Thanksgiving — even after the Supreme Court ruled (8 to 1) that prayer and Bible reading were unconstitutional in public schools.

The things you learn when you’re young stay with you forever. I’ve always associated that hymn with Thanksgiving — and I still know all the words.

In fact, it’s one of only two Thanksgiving songs I know. Last year, I featured Arlo Guthrie. This year … well, let us give thanks, and pray.

Roundup: Beach Concession, EMS Week, Convertibles Needed …

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Are you Hook’d?

That’s the (odd?) name the new Compo Beach concessionaire has chosen. It’s slated to open today. The menu has been posted on the door.

If you check it out, “06880” readers would love to know your thoughts. Click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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Happy EMS Week!

1st Selectman Jim Marpe made it official, with a proclamation. Without all the “whereas”es, here’s the gist:

The pandemic has tested emergency medical professionals like never before. Westport’s EMTs and paramedics rose to the challenge, and played a crucial role. EMS personnel have been on the frontlines, caring for the sickest patients and staffing testing and vaccine clinics, despite risks to themselves and their families.

Over the last year, COVID has given people a glimpse into the vital role of EMS professionals. The sacrifice and dedication of Westport’s EMTs and paramedics earned them the gratitude of our community. Behind those face masks are people who — whether paid or volunteer — take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional, emergency manager, social worker, crisis counselor, consoler and caregiver.

EMS Week recognizes the service and sacrifice exhibited by EMS personnel over the past year. We give our thanks for all theyy continue to do every day, for our community.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his EMS proclamation with (from left) Elyssa Grogan, Eric Hebert, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, Larry Kleinman, Police Chief Foti Koskinas (hidden), Dan Guetta and David Corro.

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Calling all convertibles!

Open-top vehicles are needed to transport World War II veterans during the Memorial Day parade. If you can lend one, contact Deborah Detmer at Westport Parks & Rec: ddetmer@westportct.gov; 203-341-5091.

Grand marshal and World War II vet Bruce Allen rode in the 2015 Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Jillian Elder created Finding Westport — a great site for business owners, customers, job-seekers and realtors to connect online.

Then she expanded, to Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut.

Jillian has branched out again. She sells Westport-themed merchandise — and has just added t-shirts. She’s got some interesting items posted, with patriotic and other town-inspired designs coming soon. Click here to browse.

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Update on Monday’s announcement that Pride yard signs are available from Baker Graphics: They’re not quite ready yet.

But if you want one (or more!) to show support for the LGBTQ community, click here. The Westport Pride committee will let you know when it’s ready.

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Staples High School Class of 1988 graduate Kerri Kenney — known for her roles in “Reno 911,” “Counter Culture” and “All About Steve” — has a new project.

The actress is working on ABC’s comedy pilot “Maggie.” Based on Tim Curcio’s short film, it’s about a young woman who tries to cope with life, while realizing she’s a psychic.

Kerri Kenney

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Speaking of Staples: Congratulations to the high school’s May Students of the Month: Yersultan Zhakupov, Jasper Cahn, Wyatt Resnick, Amelia Galin, Spencer Yim and William Fitch.

Nominated by their teachers, and recognized as “students who help make their school a welcoming place for their peers and teachers,” principal Stafford Thomas calls them “the glue of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together.”

In addition, juniors Natalie Bandura, Erin Durkin and Allison Schwartz will represent Staples at this year’s Hwa Chong Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit in July. Eighty students are chosen from around the globe. The only other US high schools participating this year are Scarsdale (New York) and Dominion (Virginia).

For the past 8 years, Westport has been invited to send 3 juniors who are interested in world affairs, especially Asia. Usually, a trip to Singapore is included. Unfortunately for Natalie, Erin and Allison, this year’s event is virtual.

From left: Natalie Bandura, Erin Durkin, Allison Schwartz.

 

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Some jobs you can do any time. Others … well you have to schedule them tightly.

That was the case for these workers, pulling big granite steps near the Westport Library Riverwalk. They repaired and repointed them, then put them back — all before the tide came in.

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo features a pair of goldfinches. Wendy Crowther spotted them, enjoying her feeder.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … on this day in 1873,  Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

It’s Black Friday. Shop Local!

Today marks the much-anticipated, endlessly reported and bizarrely grim start of the holiday shopping season.

Americans leave Thanksgiving dinners to stand outside superstores. They bop each other over the head and ram strangers with shopping carts, frenziedly buying wide-screen TVs and must-have dolls. It is a sick spectacle, and it sets the tone for the entire month that follows.

If COVID-19 has done anything good, it’s put the brakes on this explosion of materialism. Unlike (cough, cough) some places, people here understand the virus is not a hoax. We won’t see hordes of humans pushed into glass doors like Walmart’s version of a Who concert.

Every year, merchants, town officials — and “06880” — urge local folks to buy local.

This year, it’s important more important than ever.

In fact, it’s crucial.

Main Street (Photo/Jillian Elder)

But saying it is one thing. How do we put our Christmas and Hanukkah money where our civic mouth is?

Jillian Elder can help.

The founder of Finding Westport — a website that for over 2 years has linked business owners and customers — created a special page for today and tomorrow. (Black Friday is followed immediately by Small Business Saturday — who knew?)

“When we need retail therapy, our friends on Main Street and the Post Road are there for us,” Jillian says. (Don’t forget Saugatuck!)

“Now is the time to return the favor, and let our friends know we are there for them.”

Jillian spent days asking stores about their Black Friday and Small Business Saturday plans.

Say it with chocolate!

“Finding Westport” includes hours of operations, special offers and sales, links to stores’ websites and gift cards, and pickup and delivery options.

Toys, apparel, jewelry, chocolates, honey, liquor, CBD — and just about anything else you’d give as a gift — is included. Click here for Jillian’s Black Friday and Small Business Saturday page.

You can find everything here for your honey.

That’s not all. Jillian compiled similar lists for Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford and Wilton. Click here for that page.

Sure, you could have spent last night wrapped in a blanket outside Best Buy. But — thanks to Jillian Elder — you know the best buys are right around the corner.

(PS: Jillian is still adding stores to the list. To be included, email submissions@findingwestport.com)

Finding Westport Finds Its Way

For over 2 years, “Finding Westport” has helped link business owners and customers. Along the way, founder Jillian has found something else: That there are more retailers and services than anyone imagined.

“Finding Westport” recently expanded into a broader network. It includes a “Help Wanted” section, and one for realtors or anyone with a rental.

Elder has also added “Finding” sites for Fairfield, Wilton, Weston, Norwalk, Easton, Bridgeport, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Greenwich. “Finding Fairfield County” offers links to all the sites.

Jillian Elder

Businesses and services — from A (accountants, animal rescues, antiques, appliances, arts and crafts, architects) to Y (yoga studios) — are listed free in their town. They can pay to be listed on other town sites. There are categories too for minority, women and veteran owned. Not all categories have listings yet.

“Help Wanted” is a great idea. However, as of a couple of days there were no listings. Perhaps no one is hiring — or no one knows about this new tab.

Real estate listings also include open houses. Like “Help Wanted,” this new category has started slowly in Westport.

Elder’s idea is sound. Here’s hoping the new additions to “Finding Westport” will find an audience.

(For more information — and to be listed — email submissision@findingwestport.com.)

 

What’s Open? Find Out!

Jillian Elder left town Monday. But her “Finding Westport” site (click on the link) could be a lifesaver for this and area town. She hopes to update its with listings of businesses that are open (or closed).

If your business is fully open, open but can take online orders, open with no phone or internet, or is closed for today and tomorrow, let her know via Facebook or Instagram (@findingwestport) or email: submissions@findingwestport.com.

You can also post info on what’s open in the Comments section. As noted earlier, downtown in the Main Street area (including Starbucks and Freshii) is open! (As of this morning though, Starbucks had no WiFi.)

Cross Highway/North Avenue intersection is now open. (Photo/Dr. Edward Paul)

Jumbled kayaks, in the wake of Hurricane Isaias. (Photo/Brian Gold)

Happy Birthday, Finding Westport!

Finding Westport turns 2 years old today. The website for local businesses and services — which includes a comprehensive what’s-up list during the pandemic — is the brainchild of Jillian Elder.

Yesterday she ran around town celebrating. She brought a pineapple — hey, why not? — and visited businesses and other sites, hoping her photos would bring smiles.

She’ll post the shots on social media throughout today. Here’s a preview.

Smile!

Bedford Square

Train station

Compo Beach cannons

Compo Beach lifeguard stand (Photos/Jillian Elder)

Roundup: Reopening; Grad Merch; Ospreys; Music; More


Jillian Elder’s “Finding Westport” is another resource for events around town.

Right now, she’s updating her “What’s Open” list. If you’ve got a retail store, accounting or law firm, insurance or real estate agency, childcare center, landscaping or creative services business, restaurant — or anything else with customers or clients — contact her.

The basic listing is free. There are advertising packages and other options too. Send a brief description, website link, logo and photos to submissions@findingwestport.com, or DM Jillian on Instagram or Facebook @findingwestport.


Staples High School graduates make their marks on the world in many days.

Class of 2009 alum Mike Bowen — known professionally as Mike Waxx — made it in the rap and hip hop world. His Illroots brand then branched out from music and videos to apparel and footwear.

On his custom apparel platform, users add their own text and images to create their own looks. He launched with Travis Scott, and added a COVID charity shirt featuring Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

On Friday Waxx released 2020 Grad Merch. To give a gift to a grad, select the school; the logo and stickers are pre-loaded. Just add a picture to the commencement image. Then get creative.

Of course, Staples is there. Click here to order.


We start the week with great osprey news.

Carolyn Doan reports that 2 little chicks have appeared in the nest near Fresh Market. There may even be a third.

“They were making a lot of noise. Mom looks very proud,” Carolyn says.

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


We haven’t heard much from Burt Bacharach in years. But he’s back — with a local connection.

Now 92, the legendary songwriter just released “Blue Umbrella.” The 5-song collaboration was recorded in Nashville with Grammy-winning writer/producer Daniel Tashian.

If the last name sounds familiar, it should: Daniel’s father, Barry — the front man for the legendary Remains band — went on to play with the Flying Burrito Brothers and Emmy Lou Harris, among many others. For the past 30 or so years Barry and his wife Holly — Daniel’s mom — have established themselves as great Nashville-based writers and performers.

For a Los Angeles Times story on the Bacharch-Tashian project, click here.

Daniel Tashian

 


And finally … Otis Redding kicks off the week, with a kick-ass song.