Tag Archives: Julia Marino

Roundup: Mindful Drinking, Car Thefts, Olympics …

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It’s no secret that alcohol consumption has soared during the pandemic.

What is a secret is that few people have talked about it.

Westport Together — the town’s health and wellness alliance — wants that to change.

On February 17 (7 p.m., Zoom), they’re sponsoring an online roundtable discussion. “Mindful Drinking: Reimagining Our Alcohol Habits & How They Impact Our Relationships” includes local residents talking about the role of alcohol in Westport culture, and its impact on ourselves and friends.

Click here for more information, and to register.

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Yesterday morning at 7:40, a car was stolen from the Playhouse Square parking lot. It was soon involved in an accident near the office building across from Fire Department headquarters, though the car thief escaped.

Around the same time, a wallet was stolen from a vehicle parked near Trader Joe’s.

In both cases, the cars were unlocked. The vehicle that was stolen had the key fob inside.

These incidents are astonishingly common in Westport. For a town that prides itself on its schools, the simple lesson of “lock your vehicle — and take the fob with you!” seems to take waaaaay too long to sink in.

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Calling all Olympics fans — especially those who follow Westport’s own Julia Marino:

The silver medalist snowboarder has one event left: big air.

Qualifiers are set for this Sunday (February 13), 8:30 p.m. EST, on NBC or USA. However, that may be pushed back to Monday morning at 12:30 a.m., due to Super Bowl coverage.

The big air finals are Monday (February 14), 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

Go for the gold, Julia! (Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)

NBC’s split screen last weekend showed Julia Marino in China, and the Marino family and friends in Westport. (Screenshot/Jeanine Esposito)

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For over 75 years, “Soundings” and “QED” have published Staples High School students’ prose, poetry, artwork, photography and more.

The publications have won many awards — including most recently 1st place in the American Scholastic Press Association’s national contest. The publications show off our town’s teenage talent, and inspire countless students to find careers in the literary and visual arts.

For the past couple of years — for reasons both economic (budgets) and medical (COVID) — the magazines have been digital only.

Yet editors and readers know there is something special — still — about print.

To publish on paper, they need money. It’s not a lot — just $3,000 — but they’ve asking for help. Via GoFundMe.

Click here to contribute. And if you need a few dozens reasons why this is important, click here for “Soundings”‘ website.

Make sure you’ve got time, though. Those 7 decades of archives won’t read themselves.

A page from the 1983 “Soundings.”

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It’s a lone little tree, stuck in a tiny park with no name on the windy walkway from Old Mill Beach to Compo Cove.

But it’s proud. And these days, the mini-tree is sprouting a special Valentine’s Day heart (and garlands).

Love is truly where you find it.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception tomorrow (Saturday, February 12, 4:30 to 6 p.m.) for its new show. Adam Noel and Karen Recor are the featured artists, at the Main Street space.

Adam Noel, in his studio.

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Gregg Tenser writes: “Some mornings, I found my bird feeder on the ground. I wondered: Did we have a bear?

“Apparently not. Tonight i busted the culprit.”

And there it is — in all its “Westport … Naturally” glory.

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And finally … happy 60th birthday, Sheryl Crow!

Julia Marino Scores! Westport Snowboarder Wins Olympic Silver!

Westport has an Olympic medalist!

In fact, hers is the entire American team’s first of the 2022 Games, in China.

Julia Marino led nearly all the way in women’s slopestyle yesterday, then finished second in the exciting, acrobatic event. She scored 87.68, in the 2nd of 3 runs. A snowboarder’s best result is the only one that counts.

Her medal performance included a perfect cab double underflip 900 off “The Matrix.” She ended with a frontside double cork 1080 on the last hit. Watch it all below:

It was the first Olympic medal of her career, in her second games. She competed in PyeongChang 4 years ago, placing 11th.

Julie — a 24-year-old who grew up here, and now trains in Colorado — beat US teammate and favorite Jamie Anderson (8th place) and better-known Hailey Langland (11th) yesterday.

“It’s honestly hard right now [to put into words], there’s just so much emotion,” Marino said on NBC after the medal ceremony.

“Right now it’s just pure excitement and happiness for everything, it was a great day – the weather was perfect, the course was perfect, the girls were riding well, couldn’t have asked for better finals.”

In keeping with these odd, COVID-stricken and politically fraught games, Julia’s friends and family were half a world away from China. But they got a gorgeous, up-close-and-as-personal-as-possible view.

Proud mom Elaine Marino (center, holding scarf), with family and friends at Vivid-Tek. (Photo/Dave Briggs)

As they did the day before, they gathered at Vivid-Tek, the store selling customizable (and hideable) large scale TV screens, between Fortuna’s and a rapid testing center. Owner Mark Motyl hosted the viewing party, as he had done the night before during qualifying runs.

NBC showed frequent shots of the family.

NBC’s split screen: Julia Marino in China, the Marino family and friends in Westport. (Screenshot/Jeanine Esposito)

Julia’s overwhelmingly proud mother, Elaine Marino, told Westport broadcaster Dave Briggs, “I can’t explain the joy in my heart. This is a dream come true. Silver is just as lovely as gold. She did her best, and that’s what counts.”

Julia’s sportsmanship was on display at the end. She piled on Sadowski-Synnott — the gold medalist who edged her out. “She’s happy for everyone,” her mom said.

Briggs noted that Julia’s father John has said, “I’m prouder of the person she is than her as a snowboarder.”

One commentator noted: “She’s from the East. She knows how to perform in the cold.”

After attending Westport schools, Julia transferred to St. Joseph High in Trumbull (and helped the Cadets win a state soccer championship as a junior). In the winter she headed to Colorado to train, then returned in the spring to take online classes.

Her parents are active Westporters, and she returns often.

The next visit will be a big one. First Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Matthew Mandell, director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, say a parade to honor Julia is in the works.

Screenshot from NBC’s broadcast. (Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

Next up: the big air competition. Click here for some of NBC’s coverage of the slopestyle final. Click here for a story on NBC’s website.

Roundup: Olympic Snowboarding, Cell Tower, Dogfight …

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Julia Marino has qualified for the Olympic snowboarding final!

The Westport native — who now trains in Breckenridge, Colorado, and has faced a number of obstacles during her time on the team — fell twice on her first slopestyle run yesterday. But she blazed to a great 71.78 in her second attempt, finishing 6th.

She’ll be joined by teammates Jamie Anderson and Hailey Langland in the final. It’s set for Sunday in China — which is 8:30 p.m. tonight (Saturday), on NBC. Click here for the streaming link. Click here for more information on Julia, and the US team. (Hat tip: Dave Briggs)

Julia Marino

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It’s back to the drawing board — and 92 Greens Farms Road — for a new cell tower.

Tarpon Towers/AT&T had originally proposed a structure for private property there, abutting I-95 near Hillspoint Road.

Then came a new site: the office park at 55 Greens Farms Road next to Assumption Cemetery, a couple of hundred yards west and across the street.

Now, the owner of that property has withdrawn the site from consideration.

A public information will still be held on Tuesday (February 8, 7 p.m., Zoom), to consider the 92 Greens Farms Road location.

The Public Information Session scheduled for Tuesday, February 8, 2022 at 7:00 PM will concentrate on the originally proposed location at 92 Greens Farms Road.

Click here for the legal notice. Click here for the Zoom link for the meeting.

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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More local government news: Next Tuesday’s Board of Finance meeting to discuss using ARPA funds for low-density affordable housing on the Post Road near West Parish Lane will be held in the Town Hall auditorium — not Room 309 of that building.

This Post Road site next to Walgreens has been proposed for low-density affordable housing.

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“06880” is “where Westport meets the world.” But the University of Michigan is no slouch. It’s “where Staples Players meets the theatrical world.”

A student group is producing “Dogfight.” Players alums Jamie Mann (musical theater) and Brandon Malin (lighting) — both first-years there — are deeply involved.

“Dogfight” is a 2012 musical adaptation of the 1991 coming-of-age-during-Vietnam film. Staples 2003 grad Justin Paul wrote the music and lyrics with his writing partner Benj Pasek. Both also graduated from Michigan.

The book was by Peter Duchan (Staples ’01). He has known Paul since Coleytown Middle School (and has no connection to Michigan — Duchan went on to Northwestern University).

Paul and Pasek did a Zoom call with the cast. No word on whether they asked Mann and Malin how Players is doing.

Click here for a link to Michigan’s “Dogfight” page.

Brandon Malin (left) and Jamie Mann, in the “Dogfight” theater.

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Speaking of Staples Players: Congrats to 2021 graduate Sophie Rossman. The New York University freshman appears in the short film “Clare,” which premieres at the prestigious SXSW Film Festival next month.

Click here for details.

Sophie Rossman (Photo/Kerry Long)

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And speaking still of Staples Players — though in a very different way — Meredith Boak is Harvard Law School’s new assistant dean for clinical and pro bono programs.

The 2001 Staples graduate — yes, she was in Players the same year as Duchan — most recently served as senior vice president of revenue and development at Teach For America, overseeing and executing its sustainable funding strategy.

Boak has been a lecturer at Harvard Law since 2013. She earned an undergraduate degree in political science from Columbia University, and a master’s in secondary English education from Pace.

Meredith Boak

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Through all kinds of weather — snow, rain, mist, fog — the Earthplace foliage hangs on. Rowene Weems snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo there.

(Photo/Rowene Weems Photography)

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And finally … if you enjoyed the item about “Dogfight” (above), and want to know more — click here:

Roundup: Restaurant Pickups, Winter Olympics, The Walters …

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The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce “Order Direct/Pick It Up” initiative has educated Westporters to use restaurants’ actual websites (or phones) to place pick-up orders. That’s because Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub and similar platforms take huge chunks of the bill for themselves.

Now the word has spread throughout the state. Other Chambers of Commerce are educating their residents too.

Now the Westport Weston Chamber is going a step further.

Click here, then scroll down for “direct” clickable links and phone numbers of Chamber restaurants. Now there’s no excuse to hand over much of a restaurant’s profit to 3rd-party apps.

The list includes:

  • 190 Main
  • Allium
  • Amis
  • Bistro du Soleil
  • Black Duck
  • Boathouse at Saugatuck Rowing Club
  • Don Memo
  • Dunville’s
  • Gabriele’s
  • Granola Bar
  • Harvest
  • Kawa Ni
  • Little Barn
  • Manna Toast
  • Match Burger Lobster
  • Naan
  • Pane e Bene
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Romanacci Express
  • Sakura
  • Sherwood Diner
  • Spotted Horse
  • Tarantino
  • Tarry Lodge
  • Terrain Garden Café
  • Tutti’s
  • Via Sforza
  • Viva Zapata
  • Wafu
  • Walrus Alley
  • The Whelk

(Graphic courtesy of Miggs Burroughs)

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The Winter Olympics open in 9 days, in Beijing. Of course there’s a Westport connection.

Our neighbor Julia Marino is on the US snowboarding team (slopestyle/big air).

With no fans, friends or family — plus COVID rules, political pressure, burner phones (!) and zero real snow (!!), it will be nothing like her previous Olympics.

Westport journalist Dave Briggs interviewed our local Olympian for his Westport Lifestyle Instagram Life series. Click here for her candid, up-close-and-personal view of these very unusual Olympics Games.

Dave Briggs and Julie Marino.

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Last month, “06880” reported on The Walters. The band — fronted by 2010 Staples High School graduate Walter Kosner had broken up, but became social media-famous thanks to a sudden slew of TikTok videos.

I included a link to their biggest hit, “I Love You So.”

But tomorrow (Thursday, January 27, 11:35 p.m.), Westporters — and everyone else in the world — can watch The Walters live. They’ll be on Jimmy Kimmel Live, on ABC.

They probably won’t be on for 15 minutes. But they will be famous.

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Several Staples students have taken the first step toward national recognition.

Judges have chosen winners in the PTA’s annual Reflections contest. They advance to the state level; after that comes the national competition.

Congratulations to 1st place winners Charlie Jandora (Literature), Jason Capozucca (Music) and Shivali Kanthan (Visual Arts), runners-up Josh Gordon, Jadon Laitman and Camille Vynerib, and 3rd-place finisher Hugh Kennedy.

Reflections winners: Front row (from left): Charlie Jandora, Shivali Kanthan, Camille Vynerib Rear: Jason Capozucca, Jaden Laitman, Hugh Kennedy, Josh Gordon, principal Stafford Thomas.

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We’re midway through dog season at Compo Beach. They take to the sand and shore like they own it. Which — from October to March — they do.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes courtesy of Karen Como.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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And finally … on this date in 1934, the Apollo Theater reopened in Harlem. Begun as a white-only burlesque house in 1914, it fell into disrepair. It was transformed 2 decades later into a jazz venue, with primarily Black performers and patrons.

Duke Ellington was on the opening day bill in 1934. So was Benny Carter and his Harlem Club Orchestra. He probably played this hit, recorded 3 months earlier:

 

COVID-19 Roundup: Hotspots; Help; Candy; Goggles; More

A pair of Bedford Middle School 7th graders (and Science Olympiad team members) have taken distance learning to a new level.

Using information from the CDC and WHO, Adi Mittal and Andrew Rebello created a website that helps anyone in the US find the nearest coronavirus hotspot — a place in their state with a noteworthy number of cases.

Hotspotsnearu.com (click here) is insanely easy to use. Just click in your Zip code; you’ll see a map with information on your distance from it. Bookmark it, and check often!


Daniel Sullivan — Westporter Michael and Amy Greenberg’s son-in-law — is a chef. When furloughed on March 13, he was in the process of starting a catering business.

Still, he wanted to help others in need. With an 18-foot open-air BBQ trailer — including a smoker and wood-fired grill — the answer was easy.

On Facebook, Daniel hoped to raise $600. That would cover a great meal, for 200 hospital staff.

He blasted through that goal. Friends came through with $2,700.

Soon he’ll cook meals for Stamford Hospital and Orange Regional Medical Center, in his Middletown, New York home town. He hopes to do the same for Norwalk Hospital, and Westport’s police, fire and EMT workers.

“I want to keep folks fed as long as I can,” Daniel says. To help him do that, click here.

Daniel Sullivan


Westport River Gallery — the great spot on the corner of Post Road West and Riverside Avenue featuring American, European and Asian fine art — is closed.

But owner Ken Warren — who works inside, cleaning and hanging —  put this sign outside:

A steady stream of people stop, pick up a piece of two, knock on the window and give a thumb’s-up. One man left a $20 bill.

“Free candy helps people smiling during an unsmiling time,” Ken says. Candy on indeed!


Julia Marino — Westport’s Olympic snowboarding star —  made a PSA for the US nation team’s “Goggles for Docs” initiative. The project collects ski and snowboard goggles, which offer great protection for healthcare professionals as they work with COVID-19 patients.

Julia’s mother Elaine — a noted local volunteer — loved the idea. Her home is now a local collection point.

Anyone with new or used goggles (adult or children’s size) can sanitize them with wipes or spray, place them in a sealed plastic ban, then leave them in a bin on the front steps at 129 Sturges Highway (near Cross Highway). The sealed part is important: The top of the bin stays open, so no one touches it. Questions? Email esmarino@msn.com.

Elaine Marino, and her Goggles for Docs bin.


Yesterday, Virginia Jaffe and her Greens Farms Elementary School sewing moms donated 135 washable, re-usable masks to Norwalk Transit’s bus drivers. Next up: 100+ to Homes with Hope.


Westporter Kanika Taylor works with homeless and recovering addicts in Bridgeport, through CCAR. She says that while Sacred Heart University has generously opened its dorms to people in shelters who have the virus but don’t require hospitalization, sheets, blankets, paper plates and microwaveable dishes are desperately needed. Donations can be dropped off at 387 Clinton Avenue, Bridgeport.

In addition, financial donations can be made to a restaurant that provides 2 fresh meals to Bridgeporters; the cost is $10 for food and supplies. Send checks to Carmen Colon, c/o Alpha Community Services YMCA, 387 Clinton Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06605.

Kanika Taylor


And finally, the youth group of St. Luke Church created this video. It’s their Easter gift to Westport:

Celebrate Julia Marino This Saturday

She just got back from South Korea. She heads out soon to her next competition.

But Julia Marino — Westport’s US Olympic snowboard team star — will be in Westport this weekend.

So let’s party!

Daly Method — the chiropractic, sports rehabilitation and wellness center at 272 Post Road East, opposite the Playhouse Square shopping center — is hosting a “meet and greet” with and for Julia this Saturday (March 3, 4-6 p.m.).

Everyone is invited.

Come as you are. But if you’ve got red, white and blue — wear it with pride!

Julia Marino

Julia Marino: The Deadspin Spin

The 2018 Winter Olympics are over.

Julia Marino — Westport’s favorite snowboarder Olympic competitor of all time – – is headed home. She did not win a medal.

There’s no shame in that. Most Olympic athletes don’t.

But she had quite an experience. And if she had won a medal, Hannah Keyser would have had quite a story.

Hannah is a writer/producer for Deadspin. Deadspin is a sports website with a decidedly un-Sports Illustrated/ESPN take on athletics. It’s a site that has taken off rose-colored glasses, then ingested a ton of edibles.

Hannah met Julia’s parents — John and Elaine — early in PyeongChang. She decided to stick with them. If Julia did well, Hannah would have a fantastic, first-person, up-close-and-personal story to write.

Instead, she wrote about what’s it like to be an “ordinary” Olympian — if there is any such thing.

Hannah writes with grace and honesty about Julia’s life and career. She notes:

Julia is a pretty white girl from Connecticut with likable and supportive parents who work white-collar jobs and just wanted to see their daughter do what she loves. At 20 years old, she’s generous and well-spoken, an advocate for the sport more than for herself. She is, in other words, your average winter Olympian—a group of nearly 3,000 people who are only average when they’re all together.

It’s an intriguing piece, remarkable in its unremarkableness. Click here for the full story.

Read it. Enjoy it. And then, welcome Julia Marino — Westport’s Olympic hero — home.

Julia Marino

Julia Marino Goes For Gold

First there was wind.

Then came the flu.

But after fighting off a disappointing fall in the slopestyle competition, and illness last week, Julia Marino is close to her longtime dream: an Olympic medal.

The Westport snowboarder was 2nd after her first big air run yesterday, then finished 9th overall in qualifying competition. That earned her one of 12 spots in Thursday’s final.

Julia’s jumps — shown around the world — were preceded a day earlier by a special NBC report on her long friendship with Chaihyun Kim. Their journey together began at Long Lots Elementary School, and ended in South Korea.

Click here to see that heartwarming report.

A screengrab from the NBC report shows Julia Marino and Chai Kim reuniting at the Seoul airport.

(Hat tip: Sharon and John Miller)

Julia Marino’s NBC Airings

Last month, “06880” described the heartwarming friendship between Julia Marino and Chaihyun Kim.

They met in Long Lots Elementary School kindergarten, and for the next 3 years were inseparable.

They went their separate ways later, as kids do. But — as Julia became a US Olympic team snowboarder, and Chai a pre-med student at Yale University — their friendship endured.

Chai and Julia, age 6.

As Julia got ready to head to PyeongChang for the Winter Games, Chai and her family used their South Korean contacts to help Julia’s family find lodging and tickets.

It’s exactly the type of story NBC loves. Many Olympic viewers are casual — or even non — sports fans. By showcasing athletes’ back stories, the network hopes those viewers will be drawn into the drama of sports.

Area residents can tune in at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, February 17, WNBC-TV Channel 4) for Julia and Chai’s story on “The Olympic Zone.” NBC stations around the country will also air the show; check local listings for time.

That segment should whet viewers’ appetites for Julia’s big air competition. It begins Monday (Sunday, US time).

(Hat tips: Sharon and John Miller)

Julia Marino

Julia Marino: She’s Always Done It Her Way

Westport is justly proud of Julia Marino. Now — thanks to NBC Sports — the rest of the country knows why.

The network has given a shout-out to the Olympic snowboarder — and her family — in a widely viewed video.

She was interviewed, along with her parents John and Elaine, and sister Cece. Though her hometown was never mentioned, NBC showed clips of her riding her bike, trampolining, and at the beach.

The theme of the video was that Julia’s parents gave her a chance to take risks, dare and dream — in a “relatively safe environment.” For example, she was allowed to ride her scooter in the house (though other parents could not believe that was okay).

“She’s always done it her way,” Elaine says.

This weekend, Julia fell on her first slopestyle run. She was not alone: 41 of 50 athletes did the same. A controversy ensued over the wisdom of allowing the event to be held in high winds.

She finished 6th overall.

Next up: the big air event, next Sunday.

(Click here to see the full NBC Sports video. Hat tip: Kathie Bennewitz)