Tag Archives: JoyRide

Roundup: Livestrong, Walk, Dream …

The Westport Weston YMCA is for everyone. Including — especially — cancer survivors.

On May 9, they introduce the Y’s Livestrong program. The free, 12-week program of physical, educational and social activities is for adults living with, through and beyond cancer

Small group sessions meet twice a week. Goals include rebuilding muscle mass and strength, increasing flexibility and endurance, reducing fatigue, and improving confidence and self-esteem.

The Y staff is trained to customize the program to individual needs. Participants may use the Y for free throughout the program.

For information, click here or contact Judy Klein: jklein@westporty.org; 203-571-6035.

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After a 2-year COVID hiatus, Walk & Roll for STAR — a family “FUNdraiser” with face painting, kids’ crafts, DJ, dancing, t-shirts, games, food and more — returns to Sherwood Island State Park this Sunday (May 1, 9 a.m. to noon).

It’s a benefit for STAR Lighting the Way, the great local organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.

Click here for more information, including how to register and start a team.

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Of many great nonprofit evenings, A Better Chance of Westport’s Dream Event is one of the best.

Each year, graduating seniors from ABC — the program that brings wonderful young men to Westport, to attend Staples and give back to the community — are honored. Their speeches — and those of alumni — are inspirational.

The energy in the room is contagious. It’s a feel good time for everyone.

A few tickets remain for this year’s event (Friday, May 13, 6:30 p.m., Shorehaven Golf Club). The price includes entertainment, live and silent auctions, dinner and cocktails.

Click here for tickets, and donation and sponsorship information.

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Westport women roar.

And no one helps them find their voice more than JoyRide.

On May 13 (5 p.m., 1200 Post Road East), the popular spinning and fitness center hosts “Westport Women Roar: Local Leaders Share Their Female Professional Paths.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Granola Bar founders Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain, Party City chief marketing and experience officer Julie Roehm, Rebel & Rose Tattoo owner/artist Amanda Mas, and Westport Police officer Lt. Jillian Cabana will inspire women, with stories of blazing professional paths in male-dominated areas.

Tickets are $20. Venmo @joyridecycling, or click here.

Just a few days later (May 21, 11:30 a.m.), JoyRide sponsors an Out of the Darkness fundraiser, for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Donations are $25 and up. Click here to register.

And on June 4 (9:30 a.m.), JoyRide’s Mackenzie Pretty leads a HIIT + Strength class outdoors, at the Compo Beach Pavilion. It’s free, bur registration is needed: info@westportmoms.com,

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Parking in Brooks Corner is always tight.

With the Baldwin Parking lot closed for renovations — as it was yesterday — things got even tighter.

There’s still plenty of parking downtown. You may have to walk a few yards more than usual — and it may not be in Brooks Corner — but it’s there.

Don’t be this guy. There’s only enough room to squeeze by on the best days. Park your truck, and walk.

(Photo/JM Nevin Jr.)

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MyTeamTriumph — the wonderful program pairing children, teens and adults with disabilities (“captains”) with volunteers (“angels”) who help them participate in triathlons and road races — has a busy schedule.

On Saturday, they participate in the Westport Young Woman’s League’s Minute Man 10K and 5K Runs, and 5K Walk.

On May 15 it’s the 25K (about 15 miles) Bloomin’ Metric bike ride at Sherwood Island State Park. Click here to sign up. For more information, email KZiebell@myTeamTriumph-CT.org, or call 203-216-1146.

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Noted Westport landscape designer Jay Petrow leads Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” session.

“Transforming Your Lawn Into a Meadow” (Friday, April 29, noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom) will show you how to replace part of your lawn by planting or seeding a native meadow garden. You can introduce plants that are beneficial for pollinators and birds, are mostly deer-resistant, are more drought-tolerant than your lawn — and look beautiful.

Click here to register.

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JL Rocks is expanding its cult following of fine jewelry lovers to the younger set. Its new line of 14K gold and enamel earrings, bracelets and necklaces, called Rock Candy — get it? — offers a colorful range of options for kids ages 7 to 13.

Owner/founder Jamie Camche made the move after seeing so many new clients, with young children. They were particularly interested in earrings, so the gold and enamel studs take the form of emojis, ice cream cones and empowering statements like “Yes.” Necklaces and bracelets come in rainbow hues.

Click here to purchase and for more information, or check out Jamie’s 292 Post Road East or Greenwich stores.

Kids’ bracelets and earrings at JL Rocks.

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Hot on the heels of another trip to Guatemala, Builders Beyond Borders hosts an open house for students and parents interested in learning more about the travel-and-work program.

It’s this Sunday (May 1, 3 to 4:30 p.m., 66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk), Click here to RSVP, or email b3news@buildersbeyondborders.org.

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Mila Grieb — well known locally for her 45 years as a realtor — died April 17.

Born in El Dorado, Arkansas, she considered herself to be from Shreveport, Louisiana where she spent most of her youth. She then lived in Weston and Westport for more than 65 years.

Mila worked at Helen Benson Associates for 15 years, before founding Mila Grieb Village Realty in 1984. The boutique agency succeeded due in part to her creative promotions and advertising. She sold it to Coldwell Banker after more than 15 years. “We were proud to have her on our team,” Coldwell said.

Her friends and associates in real estate industry called her “a class act … She was an amazing woman who achieved great success in a challenging business while still maintaining her grace, charm, kindness, humor, and integrity.”

Mila graduated from Northwestern University. She was a former Conover model and a stage actress. She and her husband Warren were co-presidents of the Weston PTO. They founded the Weston Memorial Day Fair, which continues today.

During the 1970s, she and Warren also owned and operated the Arnold Palmer Driving Range and Miniature Golf Course in Westport. Mila was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist, Westport, CT.

Mila’s family calls her “a good friend, a fabulous mom, and a wonderful and supportive wife. She made a tremendous difference in the lives of those who knew her. She will be remembered for her outgoing personality, creativity, kindness, humor, wit, and deep love of family.”

Mila is survived by her daughters Nancy Joy (Evan) Wilsnack of Boynton Beach, Florida, Janet Adams-O’Keefe of Westport, and Wendy Grieb (Robert) Moore of Coronado, California; grandchildren Justin Hopfer of Los Angeles, Jarrod Hopfer of Bozeman, Montana, Christopher Wilsnack of Bentonville, Arkansas, Alisha Holden of Boynton Beach, Weston Moore of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Sarah Moore of Coronado, and 7 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The First Church of Christ Scientist Westport, 55 Compo Road South, Westport, CT 06880 or the Humane Society of Connecticut, 455 Post Road E, Westport, CT 06880. Mila will be remembered and celebrated privately by her family.

Mila Grieb

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Today’s graceful, peaceful “Westport … Naturally” image comes from Wendy Levy, at choppy Compo Beach:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Sergei Prokofiev. The Russian pianist, composer and conductor was born in 1891. He died in 1953. Among his most famous works:

Roundup: JoyRide For Ukraine, AAPI T-Shirts. Pickleball …

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JoyRide — the very community-minded cycling studio — teams up with WestportMoms to host a “Ride for Ukraine” fundraiser April 13 (6 p.m., 1200 Post Road East).

Five popular teachers will team up. DJ Mo will spin tunes. A minimum $25 donation is requested; proceeds go to Americares.

Click here to purchase a free class credit. Choose your bike for the April 13, 6 p.m. class. Then bring your donation the day of the ride.

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May is AAPI Heritage Month.

To get ready, AAPI Westport — our great local Asian American/Pacific Islander group — is selling t-shirts.

“Love comes in all languages,” the organization says. To prove it, the word “love” is spelled out in a variety of languages, around a heart. Click here to order.

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Congratulations to Drew Douglas and Wendy Ford!

They beat Lauren Festa and Patti Brill in the 2-out-of-3 finals of Westport Parks & Recreation’s 1st-ever pickleball tournament.

Sixteen teams competed in the single elimination event, held Sunday at Bedford Middle School. Don Christopher ran the event.

Wendy Ford and Drew Douglas, pickleball champs.

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Real-world issues — the supply chain and labor shortages — have forced Westport Country Playhouse to cancel the first preview performance of its first 2022 production, “Next to Normal.”

The pop/rock musical was set to begin tonight. Previews now run tomorrow (Wednesday through Friday, April 6 to 8). Opening night remains Saturday, April 9.

“Next to Normal” is a story about a family’s loss and endurance. The lives of what seems to be a typical suburban American family are anything but ordinary, as the mother struggles with mental illness. The musical presents the family’s story with love, compassion and spirit.

For more information and tickets, click here, or call 203-227-4177.

The Westport Country Playhouse 2022 season begins with “Next to Normal.”

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We’ve featured plenty of birds in our “Westport … Naturally” series. But this is our first mockingbird.

He (or she) sat recently on a gray Compo Beach fence, on an equally gray day. We have no idea who he (or she) was mocking.

(Photo/Jo Kirsch)

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And finally … in 1976, CB radios were all the rage. All of America, it seemed, communicated from car to car like truckers.

C.W. McCall — in reality Bill Fries, an Omaha advertising executive — picked up on the craze with an unlikely #1 song, “Convoy.”

Fries died last week in Colorado, at 93. Click here to read his full obituary. Click below to hear what the country was listening to, in that bizarre bicentennial year.

Campaign Helps JoyRide Spin Its Wheels

When Amy Hochhauser and Rhodie Lorenz founded JoyRide in 2011, they wanted more than just a spin studio.

They wanted to create a community.

Ten years later, they’ve achieved that. Riders and instructors feel part of something bigger than themselves. They form friendships. They push and inspire each other.

And whenever any organization asks for help, JoyRide says “sure!” In the past decade, they’ve raised $1 million for worthy causes.

JoyRide was a lifesaver — physically and mentally — for many Westporters during COVID.

But the pandemic has been tough on JoyRide — on the entire fitness industry, in fact. One-third of all facilities have closed. Nearly 1.5 million jobs were lost.

JoyRide has never been about just profits. But, the owners says, they’re out of options.

So a group of loyal riders started a GoFundMe drive, to help the studio stay open.

The page includes a compelling video. Riders, instructors and owners describe — sometimes emotionally — what JoyRide means to them.

It’s the kind of thing you see every so often, when a beloved bookstore or coffee shop is threatened.

I’ve never heard of similar sentiments for a cycling studio.

Then again, I’ve never heard of a place quite like JoyRide. (Click here for the GoFundMe page.)

Roundup: Masks, Vaccines, Backpacks …

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The Delta variant is causing concern across Connecticut. Late last night, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe issued this statement:

“As you know, Westport has already re-instituted the requirement for everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks indoors in public buildings as recommended by the CDC and the State Department of Health.

“Westport residents have been very diligent in getting vaccinated, with full vaccination rates approaching 90% for the eligible population.

“Nevertheless, the COVID virus knows no municipal or county boundaries, and a significant portion of our workforce commutes into Westport every day from areas of the state that may have had less success in vaccinating their population.

“As a result, I will be working with our COVID Emergency Response team, which includes the Westport Weston Health District leadership, to consider what additional steps our community should take within the Governor’s Executive order to further limit our residents’ exposure to the virus through masking requirements.

“I will be meeting Friday morning with my counterparts from the Western Connecticut Council of Governments to better understand our options, and to attempt some consistency of masking guidelines across the region.  In the meantime, I encourage everyone to wear a mask indoors, particularly in any crowded setting and, for those who are eligible to be vaccinated and have not done so, to please get vaccinated.”

 

1st Selectman Jim Marpe encourages everyone to wear a mask indoors.

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Speaking of COVID: Test lines are getting longer.

This was the scene yesterday, in Westport train station parking lot #8, off Riverside Avenue next to I-95 northbound Exit 17:

(Photo/Matthew Mandell)

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Back-to-school time means many things. Including: It’s time to help youngsters in need go back to school.

Each year, Westport’s Department of Human Services helps local families who lack the financial means to purchase back-to-school supplies and/or provide reliable after-school childcare for their children.

The pandemic has exacerbated that need.

Family program coordinator Annette D’Augelli says, “Ordinarily, the Back-to-School program provides basic school supplies to lessen the financial burden on families struggling to make ends meet.

“The post-pandemic Back-to-School program requires more than backpacks, pens and pencils. Community donations help reinforce a child’s sense of hope and stability by ensuring they have the tools they need to excel in school, and opportunities to participate in after-school activities so their parents can focus on getting back to work.”

Tax-deductible donations, in the form of cash or gift cards (Staples, Target, Walmart, etc.) through “We Care Westport,” Human Services’ donation portal. Click here to donate; then choose “Family to Family Programs – Seasonal Program – Back to School.” Checks payable to the “Town of Westport/DHS Family Programs” can be sent to Human Services, 110 Myrtle Ave Westport, CT  06880.

If you or someone you know requires assistance, call 203-341-1050 or email humansrv@westportct.gov to speak confidentially with a social worker.

The Department of Human Services’ Back to School program helps youngsters get backpacks — and fill them with supplies.

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In 2011, JoyRide became Westport’s 1st cycling studio.

This month, they become the first local gym to require all customers and employees to submit one-time proof of COVID vaccination to attend any of their Connecticut studios (Westport, Darien, New Haven).

Effective August 16, proof can be provided via an actual immunization card, or a photo of it. It can be presented at check-in, or sent via email to info@joyridestudio.com.

JoyRide also notes that the CDC encourages wearing masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.


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Speaking of exercise: A customized program for people with Parkinson’s starts soon at he Westport Weston Family YMCA. The goal of the program — which includes boxing, yoga and tai chi classes — is to reduce symptoms.

A support group for Parkinson’s patients and their care partners is also offered.

For details click here, and watch the video below.

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Alert — and concerned — “06880” reader Bob Mitchell writes:

“A reminder: Please walk on the proper side of the street, facing traffic on the left side of a 2-way street. It drives me crazy to maneuver around walkers, particularly families with kids, strollers or dogs, walking with their backs to oncoming traffic, oblivious to potential danger.

“Walking the proper way is not only safer and more comfortable (no looking over the shoulder), but it is state law.

I suspect many people don’t know this. We are lucky there have not been any incidents (that I know of).”

The folks in front are walking properly on Canal Road. Those in the rear are not. (Photo/Gene Borio)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is fascinating — and educational.

Photographer Lou Weinberg — who in his spare time serves as director of Westport Community Gardens — says: “Dragonflies are models of flight. They can even fly backwards. Plus they love to be photographed. I love these insects. Nature wins!”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … the New York Times reports:

“Willie Winfield, whose silken lead vocals with the Harptones in the 1950s made him a favorite of doo-wop connoisseurs, even though the group never achieved wide mainstream commercial success, died on July 27 in a hospital in Brooklyn. He was 91.”

I had never heard of him (or the Harptones). But I sure know this beautiful song:

Roundup: JoyRide And STAR, Short Film Festival, More


Many Westporters spin. Many support efforts to help great causes.

Now JoyRide and STAR Lighting the Way are teaming up to raise money for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A spin class this Saturday (September 26, 12 to 1 p.m.) will help fund STAR programs — and all donations will be matched 100% by an anonymous donor.

This is a great opportunity for new spinners, experienced ones, and everybody in between. It’s an inclusive, no-judgment opportunity.

The cost is $50 per rider, payable to STAR at the door. Space is limited; click here to register.


For 9 years, Nancy Diamond produced the “Short Cuts” festival at Garden Cinemas.

The Norwalk art house theater has closed. But the series soon goes virtual. Its new sponsor is the Westport Library.

The dates are Thursday, October 8 and Thursday, November 12. Both “festivals” run from 7 p.m. to 8:45.

As usual, Nancy will introduce 5 short movies curated from the Tribeca Film Festival. Afterward though, there’s a remote talkback with 3 of the films’ directors. They’ll be live — and around the globe. One is in Switzerland, another from the UK, and a third all the way in Brooklyn.

Anyone can watch at home via computer, or cast onto a big-screen TV. They’ll also be shown on the Remarkable Theater’s even-bigger Imperial Avenue parking lot screen. There’s room for 70 (socially distanced) cars.

Click here to read about the films, and order tickets.


And finally … today is the first day of fall. Happy equinox!

Roundup: Outdoor Dining And Fitness; Downtown Flowers and Barber; More


Last night, the Planning & Zoning Commission took steps to hear 2 COVID-related text amendments. Both respond to the changing business environment in town, and will be voted on July 23.

One amendment would extend temporary outdoor dining permits through the end of March 2021. Commissioners spoke of their desire to support local restaurants during an uncertain time, and reassure owners that investments they make for outdoor dining will be worthwhile beyond summer.

The second proposed text amendment would extend similar restaurant flexibility to fitness studios and gyms hoping to temporarily locate equipment outdoors. This applies to facilities like JoyRide, nearly all of which are locally owned.

Drafts of both text amendments will be posted Monday for review by the public. Comments may be emailed (pandzcomments@westportct.gov). To request a Zoom link to participate with “in-person” testimony at the July 23 meeting, email maryyoung@westportct.gov.

Romanacci’s Xpress is one of 3 Railroad Place restaurants with outdoor dining.


The pots and flower barrels lining Main Street, and hanging from poles throughout downtown, look gorgeous.

But they don’t water themselves.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association needs volunteers. Watering takes about an hour a day. To learn more about the sign-up system — and how to choose your time — email events1@westportdma.com.

Main Street planters


Speaking of downtown: There will be one less barber next month.

Ron Provenzano — owner of the shop named for himself at 190 Main Street, in the old Sally’s Place space — is closing around August 7. He, his wife and their children are moving to Wilmington, North Carolina.

It’s not COVID-related, he says. His wife’s business is booming, and she loves that area.

Ron has been in his present shop, above Le Rouge Aaartisan Chocolates, for 6 years. That follows more than a dozen on Railroad Place.

With the closing the other day of Compo Barbers, 2 old-school men’s hair cutters are gone. Westporters will miss them both.

Ron Provenzano


Scott Smith writes:

“In all my years enjoying Old Mill Beach and Compo Beach (this social-distanced season, more than ever), I’ve never seen such a large boat working the waters so close to shore.

“I took photos from near the jetty at Soundview Avenue as this sturdy boat churned in a tight loop up and back, just off the far rocks at Compo Cove. No nets or traps; near as I can tell, it looked like it was sluicing a mound of dirt-like material piled amidships over the gunwales with a water jet.

“After an hour or so, the big black boat was off, headed for deep water and turning west.

“Anybody know if the boat was indeed offloading material into the Sound, and if so, where it came from and what it is?” If you have a clue, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Scott Smith)


Westport Library Book Sale donations are back!

Beginning next week, materials will be accepted every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, during any hours the library is open.

Donors should come to the gray brick shed in the upper parking lot. Donations will be quarantined there for 3 days, before being handled by sale volunteers.

You can bring used books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, vintage magazines and other ephemera. Please: no water-damaged or mildewed materials, VHS tapes, audiocassettes, or self-recorded CDs and DVDs.  For more information, click here.

New book sale volunteers are always welcome. Help is needed all year to sort, research and price donated materials; provide merchandising and customer support at book sale events, and supervise and train employees with disabilities.  To learn more, email  info@westportbooksales.org


As noted in yesterday’s Roundup, MoCA Westport’s Helmut Lang exhibition is now open. There’s plenty of room to enjoy the show — just be like these visitors, and wear a mask!


And finally … yesterday’s “06880” story on the Paycheck Protection Program noted the 137 Westport businesses that got loans of at least $150,000, helping them meet payrolls and keep folks employed.

Another Paycheck — Johnny — had a different view of work. Back in 1977, he sang:

Roundup: Le Penguin; Bears; Racial Inequality; Mullett; More


This sad announcement was posted to social media yesterday:

“It is with enormous sadness that we must announce the closing of Le Penguin in Westport.

“We hope you have enjoyed our food, our staff, our style and our sense of humor. We, Anshu & Antoine, are very proud of what we created. We are very proud of the relationships we have made, of the numerous smiles of gratitude we received from satisfied customers. We thank you for sharing your lives with us. In the meantime, come see us at Le Penguin in Greenwich and Le Fat Poodle in Old Greenwich.” (Hat tip: Johanna Rossi)


There were several bear sightings yesterday, in the northern part of Westport. A bear cub and large young male bear were observed, acting normally.

According to the Westport Police Deparment, black bears are increasingly common in Connecticut. They note: “Bears have an incredible sense of smell.  To prevent luring them towards your property, secure your garbage in sturdy covered containers in a garage or outbuilding.

“Residents who compost should do so responsibly. Do not throw meat scraps or greasy, oily or sweet materials in your compost pile. Clean greasy grills after each use, refrain from leaving pet food outdoors, and remove bird feeders from your property for the summer. Keep your eye on pets and small children playing outside.

“Use caution and do not approach the bear. The mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. If left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas. For more information on bears, click here.

In 2013, Cablevision News 12 aired this shot of a black bear in Westport.


If you’re like me, you would love a Long Island Sound sunset cruise. But you don’t own a boat.

No problem!

A generous Wakeman Town Farm supporter is offering a private excursion, as a fundraiser in these tough non-profit times.

The winner will enjoy “libations and lobster rolls” on a “luxe 43-foot Intrepid.”

Silent bidding is today only; it ends at midnight. The minimum bid is $350. Click here (or email wakemantownfarm@gmail.com). Include your name — and good luck!


JoyRide is a full-service spin studio.

Today (Tuesday, June 30, 5 p.m.), they host the first installment of their speaker series on racial inequality. It’s called “Teachers Raise Your Hands.”

Guests are Alli Frank and Asha Youmans, authors of Tiny Imperfections. The Black woman from Seattle and white woman from rural Washington use their stories from in and out of the classroom to encourage us all to actively seek out difference, and find our inner teacher.

Click here to register — and to ask questions of the authors.

Asha Youmans and Alli Frank.


Hey, Mullett fans!

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library are teaming up for the next Supper & Soul event (Saturday, July 11, 8 p.m.).

It’s a livestream concert with ’80s tribute band Mullet. They specialize in classic Van Halen, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Journey and Poison songs — and look the part.

“What a perfect opportunity to have some friends over for an 80’s hair metal party,” says Chamber director Matthew Mandell.

“This socially distant version of the popular Supper & Soul event supports local restaurants while giving everyone an entertaining evening.”

“Attendees” are encouraged to order takeout from local restaurants, and eat home for the show.

To find out more and to order tickets (just $10.80!) for Stay Home & Soul, click here.

Mullett


The deadline to renew railroad station parking permits is exxtended to July 15. Renewals can be done 4 ways: click here, by mail (50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880) or at the box outside Police Department headquarters.

People on the wait list are required to update their information annually. Use the link above.

For more information, click here. Questions? Call 203-341-6052.

Railroad station parking has not looked like this for a while.


And finally … The groundbreaking 1937 song “Strange Fruit” compares the victims of lynchings to the fruit of trees. It’s been recorded by artists ranging from Nina Simone and UB40 to Sioxsie and the Banshees, but Billie Holiday’s is perhaps the most famous.

Though her label, Columbia, refused to record it — fearful of the reaction of Southern record store owners and its own radio network, CBS — they allowed her to release it on the Commodore jazz label. It sold a million copies — more than any other Billie Holiday song.

However, the song helped cause her demise. It enraged the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who used his men to frame her. Click here for details about the song, and what it meant to her and her career.

During Lockdown, A Joyful Ride

When the COVID quarantine began in March, we lost our routines. For many, the lack of daily exercise — the Y, the gym, the spin studio, whatever — was toughest.

But we missed more than just the physical workout. We longed for our suddenly severed social connections too.

Early in the lockdown, a dozen women from Westport, Weston, Fairfield and Norwalk gathered on Zoom for what they figured would be 2 weeks of planks and push-ups. Their friendships had been solidifed at JoyRide. The group included one of the owners, an instructor, even one of the member’s sister-in-law and her friend, both in Denver.

Planking via Zoom.

What started as a temporary fix turned into much more. They do 75 push-ups and 5 minutes of planks daily (that’s over 7,000 push-ups and 8 hours already– and they have not missed a day).

If a group member can’t make the designated workout, someone joins her on FaceTime. No one works out alone.

After planking, they do another, member-inspired workout together. They track their favorites on a Google Doc.

More than exercising together though, the group is a support system. They laugh (“a lot,” says one member). They’ve shared their children’s college acceptances (and rejections), graduations from college, high school and 8th grade, and a pair of 50th birthdays.

After working out virtually for weeks, the group (minus their Denver members) got together for a 50th birthday celebration.

They created a logo, and designed a shirt, water bottle and (of course) face masks. They ordered the same leggings and workout equipment (including mini-trampolines). They had (multiple) happy hours.

They also gave back to the community, both as a small group and in conjunction with JoyRide.

These past few months, everyone needed something to keep sane and connected. These women may be back together — in person — soon. They’ll be fit and fresh, both physically and emotionally.

And they’ll have those very cool t-shirts, water bottles and face masks forever.

(Hat tip: Lauren Burg)

COVID-19 Roundup: Winslow Park Rules; Virtual Bingo Helps Non-Profits; Keep Your Distance!; Restaurant, Retail News; More

As of yesterday, there were 89 positive cases of COVID-19 in Westport — the smallest daily increase here since the spread was first reported. Norwalk has passed Westport for the most cases in Connecticut (105).

Social distancing appears to be working. Governor Lamont emphasized that again, restricting all social and recreational gatherings to no more than 5 people.

The Parks and Recreation Department institutes these rules at Winslow Park:

  • No off leash areas. All dogs must be kept on leash.
  • Pets must be kept close to the handler.
  • The 6-foot physical distancing protocol is to be followed for people and pets. 

These protocols should be followed everywhere in town, including Longshore. Park.


Reader Stan Witkow reports that a group of Westporters has started a virtual bingo night every Thursday. The winner chooses a non-profit to get the buy-in pot. This week’s beneficiary is Westport EMS.

Over 20 people played last week, from as far as Florida and California. Most met 20 years ago at New Neighbors, Temple Israel and parents’ night at Bedford Middle School.

Even more signed up for this Thursday. Bingo!


A reader writes:

My wife and I walk on our sidewalks and roads. We’re mindful of the 6-foot distancing recommendation, so we’re distressed to encounter people who seem oblivious or apathetic. Young folks seem most careless, though some are mindful. Some older folks are careless too.

Yesterday, a young man running and breathing heavily came up from behind and nearly brushed my shoulder. That single encounter could easily have spread the virus. Unfortunately it was not our only close call.

A reminder: The virus is in the community. We all must avoid spreading it.

Be careful out there!


Nefaire, JoyRide and Haus of Pretty have teamed up on a “self-care bundle.” It  includes a facial, cycling class and blowout.

15% of proceeds go to retail employees across the 3 businesses: estheticians, therapists, cycling instructors, front desk hourly staff and hair stylists.

The bundle can be purchased at www.westportisstrong.com.


In restaurant news, Bartaco is donating 100% of all gift card sales to an employee fund.

And although Bobby Q’s moved from Westport to Norwalk, its heart is still here. They always contribute generously to town causes, like Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool. A reminder: Their smoker is open now, with curbside and delivery service.


Last month, “06880” profiled Ben Saxon. The bright, creative Staples High School 9th grader had just launched a math, robotics and coding tutoring service  for 6- to 14-year-olds.

Schools closed, but Ben hasn’t. He now offers weekly LEGO building, Kano Star Wars programming and Makeblock robotics courses, for 2-3 students each. They’re 1 hour a day, 5 days long, starting on Mondays, all via Zoom Video Conferencing. For details, click here.


The Berniker family has had a tough time during this crisis. Jen is now recovered from a bout with COVID-19. Her husband Eric is at home after an encouraging chest X-ray.

The other day, Jen Berniker interviewed her 6-year-old son Max about the ups and downs of family isolation.

That’s today’s Persona interview (below). Download the Persona mobile app to share your own stories, by interviewing family members and answering questions we’ll be sending around. Tag “6880 Dan Woog” in the interviewee field.


Finally, this has absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19. But it has everything to do with the idea that everything we do matters. Bruce Springsteen took a chance and invited a kid onstage. Look what happened next. So cool!

 

COVID-19 Roundup: Call 211 For Test Questions; Small Business Loans Available; Takeout Restaurants Listed; New Transfer Station Rules; Fitness, Merchant News And More

COVID-19 testing is now available at several locations around Connecticut, and can be accessed through its 2-1-1 hotline — with certain caveats (see below).

The Westport Weston Health District’s initial contact trace testing is completed. They have one final round to test for those who were part of the initial investigation. It is only open to those already contacted directly by the WWHD.

Residents who feel symptoma of COVID-19 should stay home, and call or email their primary care provider with questions. Residents can call the state 2-1-1 line if instructed by their primary care provider to arrange testing, or if they have questions about being tested. A series of questions will be asked by a 2-1-1 representative to determine if testing is appropriate.

WWHD director Mark Cooper says, “It is no longer about parties, schools, religious institutions, employment, etc. Residents should assume that COVID-19 is everywhere and that anyone could have it. It has been shown that some people can have the virus with no symptoms at all. The number of COVID-19 cases in Westport and the state are going up, and they will continue to increase.”

Locally, the WWHD has contacted all those it became aware of who had contact with a COVID-19 positive person involved in the initial outbreak, and who it had tested.

Those who tested positive for COVID-19 are being advised to practice strict voluntary isolation. They are instructed not to go out, but to stay home. If they require something and must go out, they should do so during times there are fewer people out. Masks and gloves should be worn so as not to spread the virus.

Yesterday’s announcement about closing restaurants, bars, and theaters is a step towards implementing social distancing. Day care facilities continue to remain open. Day care facilities provide essential services, and the WWHD is working closely with them to reinforce the message that it is incumbent upon them to keep their staff and children safe. They have been requested to use thermometers and practice hygienic measures. If a staff member or child becomes infected by COVID-19, the WWHD will close that facility.  It is in the facilities’ and the parents’ best interest to keep sick children at home.


Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell just spoke with the director of the Connecticut Small Business Administration.

Mandell reports that loans of up to $2 million are now available. They can be used for most expenses: payroll, accounts payable, fixed costs. They do not cover business losses.

Interest is 3.25% (profit businesses) and 2.75% (non-profit businesses). Funds come directly from the US Treasury, not a bank.

All businesses with a physical presence in the state are available. Applicants must show a credit history and ability to pay back the loan.

Click here for an application, or call 800-659-2955, or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center can assist in filling out and filing applications. Click here for more information.


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has also updated its list of restaurants offering curbside and takeout delivery. Click here to see.


To facilitate social distancing at the transfer station, residents may no longer bring bulky waste items that require assistance.

While the transfer station remains open, personnel will refrain from coming into contact with individuals, or refuse brought there by residents. Thus, they will not assist residents with the removal or disposal of solid waste from vehicles.

Residents bringing smaller waste items to the transfer station must deposit their solid waste directly into the hopper, and discharge recycling directly in to the single stream bins. Plastic bags are not allowed in single stream recycling.

These protocols are in effect at least through March 31. During this time, all fees and collection of refuse tickets will be waived.

Bud Valiante is always helpful. But he can no longer help residents dispose of large items at the transfer station. (Photo/Cindy Mindell)


JoyRide is one of the many fitness centers closed by the coronavirus.

To fill the void, they offer free Instagram live classes all week at 10 a.m. Follow @joyridestudio, and click on in the morning.

Thanks to Forte.Fit, people can also take live 30-minute classes, or stream from a library of on-demand JoyRide cycling classes filmed over the past 2 years.

For those without a bike, there a number of JoyX boot camp classes, plus pilates, barre and yoga from other brands.

JoyRide offers Westporters a deeply discounted Forte.Fit membership (less than $8 a month). Use the code JOYRIDE89.

In addition, JoyRide has partnered with dietician Ilanit Blumenfeld to offer a 4-week nutrition and online fitness challenge. It starts March 23. Click here for info and sign-ups.


Annette Norton of Savvy + Grace asks customers and friends to follow her store on Facebook or Instagram.

She’ll post new merchandise daily. Her website will be ready to take orders on Friday. And she offers curbside delivery as well as shipping.


The other day, “06880” posted a story on 3 Westport teenagers who offer to run errands for older folks, and anyone else homebound by the virus.

A woman who took them up on their offer writes:

“I contacted them last night and got a text back from one that he would do my shopping. What a lifesaver! He kept in constant touch with me by text, went to 3 different stores (!) and spent about 3 hours.

“He delivered it all outside my door. I left him a check in an envelope with a generous tip, and proceeded to stock my house (after wiping stuff down with alcohol). We appreciate hearing about him, and what he did, very much.”

(From left): Ty Chung, Jonathan Lorenz, Luke Lorenz. — 3 very helpful guys.


Former 2nd selectman Avi Kaner continues to be interviewed by national media about the effects of COVID-19 on retail outlets. As co-owner of New York’s Morton Williams supermarket chain, he spoke today on Fox News about “senior hours” for shoppers, and contingency plans. Click below to see: