Tag Archives: Jolantha

Roundup: Easter Eggs, Easter Pig, Israeli Food …

If it’s Easter, it’s time for the Easter Egg Tree.

Staples High School Class of 1971 graduate Jalna Jaeger has once again decorated her Norwalk property with hundreds of colorful eggs.

She invites everyone to drive by and enjoy her work. It’s at #3 East Avenue. Head past Stew Leonard’s; go down the hill, then take a right at the first light.

Jalna Jaeger’s Easter Egg Tree.


Speaking of Easter: Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — is all dressed up for the (bunny-themed) holiday.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


The Manna Toast logo still hangs over 29 Church Lane.

But a new restaurant is coming soon — “spring/summer,” the sign says — offering “Authentic Israeli” food.

(Photo/Sal Liccione)

I wish I could tell you more. But I followed the links on the sign for The Blondinit. There are no posts on either Facebook or Instagram.

And the website brings up a “Get this Domain” message, from GoDaddy.

Hey, Blondinit: Get your domain now.

Before someone from Layla’s Falafel does.


Westport was first. Easton followed.

Now Stamford has a Ukrainian sister city too.

In a ceremony Thursday, bonds were formalized with Kramatorsk. Of similar size, both are commercial and transportation centers. Fittingly, the ceremony was held at the Stamford train station. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes were there.

The connection was made by Brian Mayer. The Westport native — who founded Ukraine Aid International, the non-profit that coordinates donations and support — was interviewed by News12. Click here for that video, which includes a mention of our town’s relationship with Lyman.


Suniya Luthar — who died in February at 64, after 2 years of health difficulties — was not a Westporter.

But the Columbia University professor emerita of psychology and education had an important impact on our community.

For a number of years, she led a longitudinal study on youth and resilience here. She chose Westport because of its high number of high-achieving professionals, and the emphasis on status and achievement.

One of her first discoveries was that “substance use, depression and anxiety, particularly among the (affluent) girls, were much higher than among inner-city kids.”

Dr. Luthar’s research led her to conclude that children of privilege are an “at-risk” group. “What we are finding again and again, in upper-middle-class school districts, is the proportion who are struggling are significantly higher than in normative samples,” Luthar said.

“It is an endless cycle, starting from kindergarten. The difficulty is that you have these enrichment activities. It is almost as if, if you have the opportunity, you must avail yourself of it. The pressure is enormous.”

Luthar was a distinguished developmental and clinical psychologist and internationally renowned scholar in resilience research. Her Westport work was part of a career focused on understanding resilience among diverse at-risk groups, and applying insights in prevention.

Click here for a full obituary.

Suniya Luthar


Hotel Marcel New Haven — the former Pirelli building seen on the left, approaching the city eastbound on I-95 — has gone green.

So green, in fact, that the boutique hotel just earned a LEED Platinum plauqe from the US Green Building Council. That certifies that it meets the highest standards of energy and environment design.

It’s powered by more than 1,000 solar panels, and uses no fossil fuels.

It’s also the first hotel to earn LEED Platinum status in 10 years, and only the 10th ever.

Hotel Marcel

US Representatives Jim Himes and Rosa DeLauro attended yesterday’s ceremony.

Congratulations to architect Bruce Becker — a Westporter who has long championed green causes.

Click here for the full CT Mirror story. Click here for a 2018 “06880” story on Becker.

Bruce Becker outside his home, with a “Westport Green Building Award.” 


VersoFest 2023 is in the books.

If you were among the thousands of attendees, you know it rocked the Westport Library last weekend.

If you weren’t — or you missed part of it — you can “check out” (weak library reference) the 9 panels, workshops and lectures. They ranged from beats and grooves, to the business of music, rock photography, and style. Click here for full videos of all.

And for a quick rap — er, “wrap” — video, see below:


Earth Day is April 22.

But Aspetuck Land Trust — the conservator of open space, and steward of 45 preserves in lower Fairfield County — celebrates all month. Among the activities:

  • Vernal Pool Walk with wetland scientist Edward Pawlak (April 15, 10 a.m.-noon, Trout Brook Valley Jump Hill Preserve)
  • Spring Hawk Migration with raptor specialist Larry Fischer (April 16, 1-3 p.m., Blueberry Patch, Easton)
  • Ephemeral Wildflower Walk with LandTech environmental analyst Anthony Zemba (April 22, 10 a.m.-noon, Trout Brook Valley Preserve)
  • Invasive Species Removal Work Day (April 23, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Trout Brook Valley Preserve)
  • Exploring the Trails with Aspetuck Land Trust land protection specialist Adam Goodman (April 27, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Trout Brook Valley Preserve)
  • Little Legs in Wildlife Kids Walk (April 29, 10 a.m.-noon, Trout Brook Valley Preserve)

Click here for details of all events.

There’s also a spring native plant sale. Online ordering begins April 11 for ALT members, April 18 for the general public. Click here for a list of available plants, and more details.

Pick-up is June 9-11, at Haskins Preserve in Westport.

Among the Aspetuck Land Trust Earth Day offerings: “Explore the Trails,” with Adam Goodman.


“It’s Easter. Where’s my flock?” wonders this Burying Hill Beach guy, the subject of today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Lucy Zeko)


And finally … on this date in 1820, the Venus de Milo was discovered on the Aegean island of Milos. She’s over 2,100 years old, but she still lives on, musically:

(All you need is one arm to click here, and support “06880.” I gotta hand it to you: thanks!)

Roundup: Arline Gertzoff, Teen Pressures, Shanah Tova …

Longtime jUNe Day hospitality chair, poll worker, RTM member, proud Staples High School graduate and avid “06880” reader and commenter Arline Gertzoff is in the hospital.

Let’s show her some blog love, and flood her with cards. Her address is: Arline Gertzoff, c/o St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Room 915, 2800 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06606.

Arline Gertzoff


Westport kids are under a ton of pressure. Everyone knows that.

On October 19th (7 p.m., Westport Library; reception at 6:30), parents can learn about causes, recognize signs of struggle, discover anxiety-reducing strategies, and hear about family resources.

The Library is partnering with Positive Directions and the Westport Weston Family YMCA, to present “The Cost of Success: What Pressure is Doing to Our Kids.”

PD’s executive director Vanessa Wilson moderates. Panelists include Staples High School Teen Awareness Group students, plus Val Babich, coordinator of psychological services for Westport Public Schools; Frank Castorina, clinical supervisor at PD, and pediatric hospitalist Alicia Briggs.

Psressures — academic, social and other — are high on teenagers today. (Photo/Dan Woog)


The High Holy Days are here.

Jolantha — Weston’s favorite sculpture — wishes her many Jewish friends a Happy New Year.

Sure, she’s a pig. She’s no doubt pleased she’s not on the Rosh Hashana menu.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


Speaking of animals:

Bob Weingarten offers thanks to Greens Farms drivers. He writes:

“Last week, while adjusting my puppy’s collar at our front door, Misty ‘escaped’ and ran into the street. I ran after her and yelled for her to stop, but she continued running for 20 minutes. She thought that this was a game!

As I ran after her, drivers stopped their cars and waited so she would not get hit.  They were all very considerate. Two other dog walkers tried to capture her but she ran from them when she saw me approaching.  She finally had enough. When she lay down I put her collar on, and took her home.

“This was not the only time drivers were considerate to me and others while walking our dogs. When they see us, they drive on the other side of the road to provide space and safety. Even construction truck drivers do the same. So Misty and I say ‘thanks to all you  driver!'”

Misty, secured at the door (Photo/Bob Weingarten)


The Levitt Pavilion summer season continues into fall.

The outdoor venue added another ticketed event. DAS Trio, featuring Rob Derhak, Vinnie Amico and Al Schnier of moe, appear on Saturday, October 8 (7 p.m.).

Tickets are $15 for members (on sale now), $18 for non-members (beginning tomorrow, Monday, at noon). They’re available at the box office the day of the show too, beginning at 5 p.m.

The terrace bar will be open that night, sponsored by Rizzuto’s. There will be food trucks too. For tickets and more information, click here.

DAS Trio


Tickets are on sale for the Staples Lacrosse Association’s great raffle. It’s part of their golf outing, set for October 3 at Longshore.

Prizes include tickets on Avelo Airlines; golf club component fitting from Golftec; one night’s stay at the Inn at Longshore; a personal training session with Drew Accomando, plus much more. There are tons of gift cards too.

Click here for the full list of items, and to purchase tickets. Then scroll down for information on the golf outing.

Staples High School: boys lacrosse state champs — and #1 in the nation!


Westport artist and frequent “06880” online gallery contributor Brian Whelan has been commissioned by the Episcopal Church of Wyoming to produce 13 paintings about the life of Rev. Dr. John Roberts. The Welsh Anglican missionary-priest ministered among Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation.

The series will premiere at the John Roberts Festival in Ft. Washakie, Wyoming next summer. They then embark on an international exhibition tour, at museums throughout Wyoming, then at Episcopal cathedrals in the US, and finally to Wales in partnership with the Anglican Church. The paintings will then be on permanent display in Wyoming.

Beyond commemorating the life and ministry of Rev. Roberts, the exhibition will draw attention to the importance of learning from the spirituality, culture and worldview of Native Americans.

Brian Whelan begins work, on the first of 13 paintings.


Fred Cantor provides today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

He writes: “I have no clue what the red plants at Old Mill Beach are. But they are beautiful!”

(Photo/fred Cantor)


And finally … in honor of Misty, the dog that almost got away (story above):

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Roundup: Happy 4th!

For 15 years, families on Sherwood Farms Lane off Greens Farms Road have celebrated the 4th of July with a kids’ parade.

Many residents have international backgrounds. But they love the tradition. It’s kept alive by Mark Rubino, who passed the flag this year to one of the few American-born neighbors.


Happy 4th of July from Jolantha, Hans Wilhelm’s very popular and holiday-conscious pig.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


Jeanine Esposito has lived in Westport for over 30 years. She and her husband Frederic Chiu also own an apartment in SoNo.

But Saturday marked the first time they ever took the Norwalk Seaport Association’s boat tour to Sheffield Island, and the 2 spark plug lighthouses (only 33 survive in the entire US).

Peck Ledge sits on the line of Westport/Norwalk maritime border, and has been purchased privately to become an Airbnb.

Peck Ledge Lighthouse (Photo/Jeanine Esposito_

Greens Ledge has been bought by an arts non-profit. They’ll repair damage from Superstorm Sandy, and keep it running.

Greens Ledge Lighthouse (Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

“It was an amazing trip, right next door and with so much history,” Jeanine reports.

“Frederic and I were fascinated the whole tour — and embarrassed we never knew about it. Please share this with all the new people in town, so they don’t take 30 years to find these treasures!”

For more information, click here.



Speaking of Norwalk: That city’s fireworks display was last night.

Visitors to Cockenoe Island — and those on a number of boats, on Long Island Sound — enjoyed a free show.

(Photo/Lawrence Zlatkin)


“Max Orland never focuses on his limitations, only his many strengths.”

That’s the first sentence in a story about a very accomplished, very forward-looking Westporter.

The 2006 Staples High School graduate followed his passion for sports to the University of Delaware, where he managed the basketball and baseball teams. He worked for the Boston Red Sox (and won their Green Monster Award), Philadelphia Phillies and Legends and Yankee Stadium.

Now he’s in his 2nd year running the practice range at prestigious Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. He’s profiled in a recent edition of Met Golfer magazine.

Winged Foot’s general manager calls Max “one of the most sensational young men I’ve ever met. He has a bag full of inspiration. He’s changed a lot of people’s lives, in a lot of ways.”

Click here to read more about our remarkable neighbor.

Max Orland (Photo courtesy of Met Golfer Magazine)


The Ted Thomas Dance Foundation and East Coast Contemporary Ballet present a series of free outdoor dance performances throughout Fairfield County this summer.

The tour includes MoCA Westport, on July 28 (6 p.m.). The event features Thomas Ortiz Dance and Alison Cook Beatty Dance. Click here for details.


I was looking for a photo of an eagle — or something red, white and blue — for today’s Independence Day “Westport … Naturally” feature.

I couldn’t find one. But the white and blue in this shot of a heron is quite nice.

(Photo/Diane Lowman)


And finally … many singers have honored America’s past and our promise, our perils and our potential.

But no one has done it better than Ray Charles.

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