Tag Archives: La Plage

Roundup: OKA, Orphenians, Children’s Care …

Opening today (with just 9 shopping days left before Christmas): OKA.

The British furniture and home accessories retailer moves into the former Banana Republic (and before that, Klein’s) space on Main Street.

They call this their “US flagship.” There are 14 OKAs in the UK, plus 2 in Texas (Dallas and Houston).

A press release hails the store’s “signature mix of classic, eclectic and contemporary furniture and homeware (for) shoppers and designers looking to add character to their homes.”

OKA’s Westport location includes a “series of fully decorated rooms and vignettes featuring a treasure trove of unusual finds and statement pieces. (There are) samples of our custom handmade seating service, Tailored by OKA, an English garden’s worth of faux flowers and plants, and a dedicated team of Home Stylists on hand to give advice and help realize your dream interiors. ”

O-kay!

 

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Meanwhile, opening yesterday: A new 30,000-square foot specialty care center opened, at 191 Post Road West (just west of Nash’s Plaza).

Connecticut Children’s Specialty Care Center features murals of the ocean, forests, sky and stars (with 12 LED constellations). There are self check-in kiosks, exam and procedure rooms, an outpatient infusion center, imaging services, plus speech, occupational and physical therapy, EEG and echocardiogram, and casting rooms.

This is the largest of Connecticut Children’s 6 specialty care centers. More than 20 specialties are represented.

Yesterday’s grand opening included a paper ribbon chain made by area kids, and Santa (and the Grinch) handing out toys.

Santa arrives at the Connecticut Children’s Specialty Center.

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Didn’t score a ticket for this weekend’s Candlelight Concerts? Or just a holiday music junkie who wants to hear more from the fabulous Orphenians?

The highly acclaimed Staples High School a cappella group present their traditional December program for the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston — and everyone is invited.

The event is Monday (December 19, 5 p.m.) at the Westport Library Trefz Forum.

Staples’ Orphenians are in high demand this month. In addition to this weekend’s Candlelight Concert, they sang recently at the town holiday tree lighting, for the Rotary Club and at Assumption Church — among many other gigs.

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Looking for a nice holiday meal?

La Plage — the popular and scenic Longshore Inn restaurant — offers 3-course dinners on Christmas Eve (4 to 10 p.m.) and Christmas day (noon to 7 p.m.), plus an early New Year’s Eve dinner (5 to 7 p.m., with a la carte specials); a gala New Year’s Eve dinner (8:30 to 10:30 p.m.; 5-course menu, Champagne toast, and live music by Tangled Vine),

Click here for menus and reservations.

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With approval ratings above 75%, Charlie Baker is the most popular governor in the nation.

The Massachusetts Republican chose not to run again. When his term ends next month, he’s got a new gig: President. (Of the NCAA, that is.)

The tangential connection to “06880” is that Governor Baker’s wife — Lauren Schadt — grew up in Westport. Back then, she was “Laurie.”

She’s no slouch herself. With an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School, she is a marketing communications consultant. She is active in many volunteer efforts, focusing on education. As First Lady of Massachusetts, she worked closely with the Department of Children and Families.

Governor Baker is familiar with his new role. Two of his and Lauren’s 3 children are former college athletes.

Governor Charlie Baker and Lauren Schadt Baker.

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature usually celebrates the animals, flowers, trees and other scenes of beauty that make our town beautiful.

Today’s image is from Terrain. Sure, it’s a business. But there are enough elements of nature here — and it’s so beautifully photographed by Patricia McMahon — that it fits right in.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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And finally … happy 76th birthday to Trevor Pinnock. The English harpsichordist and conductor — heard often on WSHU’s “Sunday Baroque” — is 76.

 

 

Roundup: Wreaths, War, WPD Toys …

Each Christmas season, the Wreaths Across America program honors fallen servicemembers, and all who serve. Over 2 million volunteers take part, in all 50 states and overseas.

This year, for the first time, Westport joins in.

The date is December 17. The time is noon. The cemetery is Assumption, on Greens Farms Road.

It wouldn’t have happened without Patty Kondub. The popular Westport Family YMCA and Senior Center (and Staples High School girls golf coach) is the local coordinator.

As part of her many other Westport activities, she’s also vice president of the VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 Auxiliary.

Click here to sponsor a wreath (the deadline is November 29). To designate a wreath for a specific veteran at the Assumption cemetery, email Patty: nortonpk@aol.com. You can also email her to volunteer to mark graves before December 17, and place them on that date

For Patty, the project is personal. Her father — John Kondub — was a World War II Marine, and VFW Post 399 member. He earned a Purple Heart, for hand-to-hand combat in the Japanese Islands.

He is buried at Assumption Greens Farms Cemetery — almost across from the farm where he was born, before I-95 was built.

“There are over 200 veterans buried in this cemetery,” Patty says. “I hope they all get wreaths.”

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Liz and Richard are true heroes.

She’s from Florida, and speaks 5 languages. He’s a German attorney. They met and formed a group that braves drones and missiles to drive desperately needed supplies to the front lines in Ukraine. Their supplies include water filtration systems and wood burning stoves for civilians, who are starving and bracing for a cold winter.

In Ukraine they met Brian Mayer. The Westporter spent several months helping coordinate relief efforts. He also helped fund Liz and Richard’s work.

After several months of non-stop work, the pair needed a rest. Brian invited them to Westport, for a few days of R&R.

On Monday they met with 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Ken Bernhard, another Westporter deeply involved in humanitarian aid.

Liz and Richard were taking a breather. But they did not stop working. The group discussed how Westport can be even more helpful in the global fight against Russian aggression.

(From left): Richard, Brian Mayer, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Liz and Ken Bernhard discuss how Westport can aid Ukraine.

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One of Westport’s favorite toy drives takes place soon.

The Police Department Benevolent Association and Westport Police Athletic League will again collect gifts for underprivileged children in Fairfield County.

Officers will accept new, unopened and unwrapped toys — plus cash donations — in the ASF Sports & Outdoors parking lot (1560 Post Road East), on Saturday and Sunday, December 3-4 and 10-11, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Toy collection boxes will also be available at:

  • Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road
  • ASF Sports & Outdoors, 1560 Post Road East
  • PAL ice rink, Longshore
  • Awesome Toys & Gifts, 429 Post Road East
  • The Toy Post, 180 Post Road East.

Questions? Contact Officer Craig Bergamo: 203-341-6000; cbergamo@Westportct.gov.

Westport Police accept toy donations at ASF.

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Speaking of police: As they do every year just before Thanksgiving, dozens of Staples High School students dodged cops.

The teenagers and officers had a ball.

The event was the annual Dodge-a-Cop dodgeball tournament. Each team of students included at least one member of the Westport force.

They hurled dodgeballs at each other. They protected their teammates.

The event — sponsored by the Westport Youth Commission and Staples’ Teen Awareness Group — was for a great cause. Entry fees supported the Toys for Tots holiday drive.

Staples school resource officer Ed Woolridge (back row, white shirt, blue headband) was on the winning Dodge-a-Cop team. The winners posed with Andrew Colabella — longtime Dodge-a-Cop referee, former Youth Commission member, and current RTM member. (far right).

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The poster evokes the Roaring ’20s:

That’s appropriate. Longshore — the site of this Saturday night’s first-ever Café Noir — is said to have been the setting for nearby resident (okay, renter) F. Scott Fitzgerald) when he later wrote “The Great Gatsby.”

But the music and vibe will be “classic house, funk and disco” at 9 p.m., when a pair of Westport DJs (self-described “middle-aged British dudes, aka “Bangers and Mash”) host the event at Longshore’s La Plage restaurant.

“We’re looking to introduce a bit of suave and sophistication to the evening,” says Phil White, who is Banger.

Tom Fielding is Mash. He’s also an accomplished house DJ. He founded London’s famed dance club The End back in the late 90s.

White DJed in college, then toured Europe putting on raves. before getting sucked into “the big bad world of global advertising.” (Hey, at least he’s advertising Café Noir well.)

The pair will run their Saturday night events at La Plage through Christmas. In the spring, they’ll take their act out on the terrace.

“So get out,” White urges. “Get your groove on. And dress to impress!”

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Westporter Jen Dennison and her colleague Kelly Gipson (who grew up here) are teachers at the Learning Community Day School on Hillspoint Road.

Recently, their class read “Pearl and Squirrel Give Thanks.” (The plot, if you don’t have a preschooler, is about 2 homeless pets.)

The class talked about people who have no homes, or money for food. They decided to help.

The children took home a letter about donations. In 3 days, they collected a truck full.

“They were so proud,” Kelly reports.

On Tuesday, they brought their donations to Operation Hope in Fairfield.

It’s never too early to learn about giving. Thanks and congratulations — you are a true Learning “Community.”

Giving back, at the Learning Community.

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Given the alleged nature of La Plage at Longshore ( the original millionaires party venue for the Great Gatsby?)…we’re looking to introduce a bit of swarve and sophicats to the evening proceeding and get 06680’s well healed and otherwise housebound cognoscenti to get out and get their groove on!

No shoe? No problem!

Ryan Smith — Bates College’s men’s cross country captain, and a Staples High School running star with the Class of 2019 — lost a shoe in the first mile of the 8K NCAA East Regional Championship, at Bowdoin College.

When his shoe was stepped on, there were 100 runners behind Smith. He could not slow down to fix it, so he kicked it into the woods and kept going.

He finished 11th out of more than 200 runners, helping the Bobcats to 2nd place overall. That helped them qualify for the NCAA Championships, (Hat tip: Brian Strong)

Ryan Smith

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Westport’s founding fathers did not wear t-shirts. And they sure didn’t have mouse pads.

But you can sport a tee (or tank top, sweatshirt or hoodie), wrap yourself in a fleece blanket, drink from a mug or use a mouse pad that commemorates 1835 — the year Westport became its own town.

Those items are part of Finding Westport’s newest offerings. There are 2 lines: the 1835 Collection, and one called Westport Est.

Daniel Nash would be proud.

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The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston took a brisk 5-mile walk Monday — in Manhattan.

The group headed out from Grand Central to the United Nations, Sutton Place, Rockefeller University, Carl Shurz Park and Gracie Mansion.

It was the 7th in their series of New York City explorations. Many Y’s Men spent their careers working there. They seldom had a chance to be tourists, though.

Y’sMen at the New York Daily News building. (Hat tip and photo/Dave Matlow)

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It’s not even Thanksgiving, but the raccoons are scavenging.

Jill Grayson went to fill the back yard bird feeder, and found a skunk. A short time later, these 2 guys appeared.

All creatures, great and small — and smelly — are part of our “Westport … Naturally” world. Happy Thanksgiving1

(Photo/Jill Grayson)

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And finally … Michael Butler, the wealthy financier and producer who brought “Hair” to Broadway in 1968, died earlier this month in a nursing home in California. He was 95.

He was hardly a hippie. But he made his mark on American theater with the “tribal love-rock musical.” Click here for a full obituary.

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Workers Of Westport: The Sequel

“06880” readers love Rowene Weems’ photos. She has a keen eye for the beauty of our town. Flowers, sunsets, the Levitt Pavilion— her camera and composition make those scenes come alive in special and compelling ways.

Rowene also has a great eye for people. As she travels around town, she captures some of the men and women who work — mostly unseen — to make Westport what it is.

She does not know their back stories. She tries not to interrupt too much. A woman once chastised Rowene for taking photos of workers on her property. “Time is money!” she said.

Last spring, “06880” featured some of those images. They’re part of a book she’s creating about workers everywhere, from her travels around the US and world.

It’s time for another look, at more of the men and women who make our town all that it is. Today, let’s appreciate them anew.

Anthony, in his truck …

… and digging a gas line.

Janine, a delightful server at La Plage.

Wood working on Jesup Road.

A friendly, efficient team of Optimum workers …

… starting a job …

… with plenty of cable …

… and time for a quick break …

,,, before finishing up (All photos/Rowene Weems)

(Photos are a big part of “06880” — but just one. If you enjoy this blog, please click here to contribute.) 

 

Roundup: Jimmy Kimmel, Westport10, Clocks Change …

Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue is often edgy.

The other night, in a segment on Kanye West’s social media remarks, he aired a (fake) ad for “Yentanyl” — an aid to help those who might be feeling a bit antisemitic.

And there — right in the middle — was a clip from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

But not just any production of the Broadway classic. This was from Staples Players’ 2015 show: the famous “Bottle Dance” sequence.

Directors David Roth and Kerry Long have no idea how Kimmel’s staff found the show. But it’s on YouTube.

Actually, it’s quite popular. It’s gotten over 113,000 likes — and admiring comments from as far away as Russia. Many admirers probably have no idea this is a high school group.

Click below for the Kimmel into. The “ad” begins around the 7:30 mark. Staples’ cast comes on just after 8:00.

Then click below for the original Staples Players’ “Bottle Dance.” Oy! (Hat tip: Caroline Rossi)

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Speaking of Staples: The high school’s logowear is everywhere. Athletes, actors, musicians, Inklings writers — all proclaim their Wrecker allegiance.

There’s plenty of generic “Staples” apparel too, worn proudly by students and parents. It’s fun — and quite profitable for the retailers (some local, some not) who sell it.

At the Homecoming football game last month, a Staples PTA member spotted 2 varsity jackets — on long-ago graduates: Gina Hackett (Class of 1991) and John McGrath (’95).

Gina Hackett and John McGrath, at Homecoming.

That sparked a fundraising idea.

For a limited time — and just in time for the holidays — the Staples PtA is selling Staples Wreckerwear. Some is branded for alums; some just says “Staples.” It’s available to all alums everywhere. And anyone else who is proud of our outstanding high school.

Keeping it local: This is a partnership with Nice Threads, the Kings Highway North customizing company owned by 2000 graduate Tim Nash.

Click here to see all the sweatshirts, t-shirts, flannel pants, hats and beanies. The ordering deadline is November 11.

Some of the Staples PTA/Nice Threads logowear items.

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Autostrada — the classic car/private club/event meeting space that’s one of Westport’s hidden gems — was the setting for yesterday’s Westport10 meeting.

The social and cultural group of Black Westport men was hosted by Autostrada founder Gioel Molinari. They enjoyed a private lunch and tour of the rare autos in the well-curated space.

Gioel’s oat milk lattes drew especially high praise.

So far Westport10 has met at La Plage, the Westport Library and now Autostrada. Next month …?

Westport10 at Autostrada. Standing (from left): Craig Melvin, Christian Bolu, Ted Parker, Jay Norris, Kevin Christie, Brian Corbett, Vincent Spencer, Eric Freeman. Front: Gioel Molinari.

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Tonight — well, actually tomorrow morning — is our reward for last March.

Set your clocks back before bed. Bingo! You get an extra hour of sleep. It’s the “fall back” part of the “spring forward…” saying.

But here’s the thing: Why are we now on “Standard Time”?

It’s only from tomorrow through early March. That’s 4 months.

The other 8 months are “Daylight Savings Time.” Shouldn’t that be the standard? And maybe call these next 4 months “Nighttime Darkness Time”?

I’m just sayin’…

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Back to Staples: The high school’s Zero Waste Committee’s first-ever sustainable holiday festival is in the cafeteria on November 12 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Green gift items include kids crafts, a thrift store and more. Admission is free. Click here and scroll down to see the nearly 30 vendors.

Speaking of green: Last winter, “06880” posted 2 stories about trees removed at the site of a new home on Hideaway Lane, off Hillspoint Road.

New trees have now been planted on the town’s right-of-way. They are slow growing, and will not reach as high as the utility wires above them (as the trees that were removed did).

SIR Development also planted approximately 32 trees on the property itself, replacing those that were cut down. The tree warden was consulted on all the plantings.

New trees on Hillspoint Road.

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With great weather predicted, La Plage’s Patio Bar at Longshore will remain open this weekend.

We’re not sure what Thanksgiving holds. But the popular restaurant will be serving (indoors) a special holiday dinner, from noon to 7 p.m. that day (November 24).

There’s a traditional Amish turkey, with seasonal local ingredients. The 3-course prix fixe menu is $85 per person (young adults: $39).

For reservations and information, click here or call 203-684-6232.

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Speaking of weather: It was foggy yesterday morning at Compo Beach.

And we don’t have the foggiest notion who put these boots there. Or why.

Just one more reason — if anyone needs it — that there’s always something to see by the shore.

(Photo/Alison Lee)

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Longtime Westport resident and noted actress Page Hedden Wilson, died at her Haddam home on  September 13. She was 96.

Page was born in New York City in 1926 to Walter P. Hedden, director of Port Development for the Port Authority of New York, and Worth Tuttle Hedden, an award-winning novelist and champion of minority rights.

After attending Antioch College, Page met her husband, Ian H. Wilson while studying at the Theater School of Bradford Yorkshire, England. They were married in 1951 and lived for a short time in London, where Page gave birth to her first child on the day Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne.

In 1954 the couple relocated to Westport, Connecticut, where they  raised their daughters Rebecca, Dori, Ellen, Holly and Alix. For more than 60 years the family lived in 5 different homes there.

Page and Ian acted in the Westport Community Theater during its early years at the group’s little theater on Kings Highway, Wilton Playshop and White Barn Theater.

Page was an artist and puppeteer, creating her own traveling puppet show Trunk of Tales Puppets in 1965 and performing at hundreds of schools, museums and nature centers in New York and Connecticut. She was also s founding member of the Connecticut Guild of Puppetry.

Page was a playwright, actress and producer of critically acclaimed plays about famous women, from Agatha Christie to Mary Cassatt and Eleanor Roosevelt. She researched her characters carefully, using authentic props and dresses.

Page is survived by her daughters Rebecca (John Armstrong) of Madison, Connecticut; Dori (George Ostasiewicz) of Norwalk; Holly (Jim Luce) of Denville, New Jersey and Dr. Alexandra Wilson (Terry Dawson) of Austin. and 12 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. Page was predeceased by her former husband, Ian Wilson, her daughter, Ellen Page Wilson and her companion of many years, Sayard Stone.

PageWilson, on stage as Agatha Christie.

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Yesterday’s fog on Orchard Hill Road intrigued Rowene Weems.

The result: this moody but mesmerizing “Westport … Naturally” image:

(Photo/Rowene Weems)

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And finally … inspired by the photo of the Compo Beach footwear (above):

(“06880” continues to rely on readers for support. Please click here to contribute.)

Roundup: Dog Park, Distracted Driving, Nice House …

Right now, there are no fenced dog parks in Westport. (Winslow Park is enclosed, but there are many gaps and areas without walls or fences.)

Andrew Colabella wants to change that.

The Representative Town Meeting member worked with Karen Kramer and Matthew Mandell to create a petition. The goal is to gauge support, to show town officials the need. Click here to see.

There are gates, and some new fences, at Winslow Park. But it is not a fully enclosed dog run. (Photo/Nell Waters Bernegger)

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The Westport Police Department is participating in the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s high visibility distracted driving enforcement campaign. The campaign — beginning today, and running through October 31 — will increase efforts to enforce distracted-driving laws.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who are 16 or 17 years old are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time — even hands free.

The fine for the first offense is $200. It’s $375 for the second ticket, and $625 for the third and subsequent offenses.

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Who knew so many “06880” readers also read the New York Post?

I’d need an entire haberdashery to hand out hat tips to everyone who sent me the tabloid story noting Shonda Rhimes’ purchase of Doug and Melissa Bernstein’s 11-bedroom home. The 7.5-acre property also includes a basketball court, bowling alleys, arcade, home theater, playroom, billiards room, 8 fireplaces, kitchen with a pizza oven, tennis court, pool, playground, and outdoor seating and dining areas.

Karen Scott was the KMS Partners at Compass broker who sold the property to the producer/screenwriter/author/global media company CEO/Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee’s agent.  Rhimes will move from elsewhere in Westport; the Bernsteins have bought another home here.

Click here for the full New York Post story.

Shonda Rhimes’ new home.

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Meanwhile, another New York newspaper — the Times — this week ran a Critic’s Notebook piece headlined: “Has War Changed, or Only War Photography?”

It begins by citing a 1991 Staples High School graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist:

Lynsey Addario began taking war pictures when the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Only two-thirds of a century had elapsed since Robert Capa documented the Spanish Civil War. But to go from the exhibition of Capa’s Spain photos at the International Center of Photography to the Addario show at the SVA Chelsea Gallery is to traverse not just time and geography but a profound shift in sensibility. Capa’s pictures express his belief in war as a conflict between good and evil. In our time, which is to say in Addario’s, unwavering faith in the justice of one side has perished, a casualty of too many brutal, pointless, reciprocally corrupt wars.

Addario over the last two decades has taken her camera to some of the most dangerous places on earth. A MacArthur fellow, she is a freelance photographer who shared a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting awarded to The New York Times in 2009 for its coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like Capa, she calls herself a photojournalist, not an artist. She has said that she is dedicated to “using images to undo preconceptions and to show a reality often misunderstood or misrepresented.” She has also named Capa as one of her main influences, even though many of the preconceptions she seeks to undermine are those he enshrined.

Click here to read the full story. (Hat tip: Kathie Motes Bennewitz)

In one of Lynsey Addario’s most famous photos, Ukrainian soldiers try to save the father of a family of four — the only one at that moment who still had a pulse — moments after being hit by a mortar while trying to flee Irpin, near Kyiv. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County has received a $5,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

It’s for their Dignity Grows chapter, part of a national network to fight period poverty among nearly 30% of menstruators in the U.S. Donors and volunteers fund and pack monthly totes of hygiene and period essentials. They’re delivered free of charge to partner agencies, who then provide them to their clients. 

From last September through June, the Federation organized 10 packing events — many in Westport — and delivered 800 totes. The grant will help them expand their reach, to meet a growing need.

A packing event hosted by Sharon Navarro (top right, 3rd from right) and Jen Frank (bottom row, 2nd from right). All participants are Westport residents — except the lone male, Ofek Moscovich. He’s the Federation Israel emissary spending a year here. The group packed 100 totes for LifeBridge Community Services in Bridgeport.

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Who knew there were “professional carvers”?

On Thursday (October 20), you can meet one. DeTapas restaurant hosts one. He’ll serve a “world-class jamon,” paired with special Spanish wines.

The carver will go from table to table, from 5:30 p.m. on. The cost is $45 per person. Guests can stay and enjoy dinner afterward. To RSVP, use Open Table, or contact the restaurant: hola@detapasrestaurant.com; 203-557-0257.

Owner Carlos Pia in his handsomely decorated De Tapas restaurant.

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Speaking of restaurants:

After a successful summer, La Plage pivots to fall. Highlights include “Mussels Wednesday” (Pemaquid Maine mussels with non-stop fries service, paired with a special Pilsner from Spacecat Brewing in Norwalk); “Lobster Bake Thursday” (with head-on shrimp, mussels, clams and andouille), and “Paella Sunday” (clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, chicken, chorizo).

La Plage also offers a “Halloween Bash” (Sunday, October 30). The winning costume earns 2 tickets to the restaurant’s New Year’s Eve dinner and gala.

Killer water views at La Plage.

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Looking for money?

Connecticut has just published a new “Big List” — names of people owed money from various sources, currently held by the state treasurer.

The website (click here) guides users through a form to complete and have notarized.  

If you get a windfall, consider sharing it with Dennis Jackson — the “06880” reader who found the site.

And, of course, with “06880.”

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The Joggers Club is not running out of great ideas.

Besides Fun Runs every Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at Compo Beach, and Track Night every Wednesday at 6:q5 p.m. (Staples High School), they’re taking part in races throughout the state. Among them:

  • Pumpkin Run: October 30 (costumes encouraged)
  • Jamie’s Run for Children: November 6 (DJ Party after)
  • Hot Coco 5K: November 12 (“Hottest Race in November”)
  • Branford Thanksgiving 5K: Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Run for Children: December 4 (free beer and live music).

The Joggers Club offers a free race bib to each of those races to one member — and discounted coupons for everyone else.

Club membership is $50 a year (new members get a free Endurance Brooks racing shirt. Click here or on Instagram or Facebook for more information.
$50 a year (And new members get a free Endurance Brooks racing shirt)

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Boo!

The scene outside Winslow Park Animal Hospital changes with the holiday. It’s clear what’s next:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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We’ve featured wasp nests before, in our “Westport … Naturally” series.

But I don’t think I’ve seen any as large — and scary-looking — as this. Pete Powell spotted it on the Longshore golf course, opposite the green at hole 13.

You sure don’t want to hit a ball near there.

(Photo/Pete Powell)

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And finally … in honor of the Connecticut state treasurer’s trove:

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Roundup: Dogs, La Plage, Playhouse …

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The other day, Jo Ann Miller saw a dog roaming the aisles of a Norwalk store.

(Photo/Jo Ann Miller)

Okay, it was Petco.

Still, as she thought about the dogs she’s seen in Westport — at CVS and Starbucks, among other places — she wondered: Is there a law here covering that?

The answer appears to be “no.” Town ordinances don’t seem to mention animals and stores.

So, “06880” readers: What do you think? Are we fine just the way we are? Should there be a regulation? If so, what should it say? Click “Comments” below.

And remember — as always — use full, real names. (Yours. Not Fido’s.)

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If you need more reasons to visit La Plage — and you really don’t — the popular Longshore restaurant is now open for lunch.

Starting today, it adds that to its Saturday and Sunday brunch, and 6-days-a-week dinners.

The lunch menu includes a raw bar, a la carte items, entrees that change daily, and a 2-course prix fixe for $24.

La Plage  plans to serve lunch and dinner 7 days a week in early spring, coinciding with the opening of the golf course.

 

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Westport Country Playhouse has named 5 new trustees. Two have close Westport connections.

 Westport resident Tracey Knight Narang is a Tony Award-winning producer, and a playwright. Her producer credits include “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!”; “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” (coming to Broadway this spring); “Sing Street,” and Arthur Miller’s “The American Clock” at the Old Vic. Narang is the lead producer of “Period Piece,” currently in development. She is on the board of directors of New York City Center, a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the League of Professional Theatre Women, and a steering committee member of Connecticut’s LPTW chapter.

Stafford W. Thomas, Jr. is principal of Staples High School in Westport. While principal of Hillcrest Middle School in Trumbull he was honored as Connecticut Middle School Principal of the Year. Thomas currently serves as an adjunct professor in the graduate school of education at Sacred Heart University. He earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Georgetown University, a master of arts in teaching from Brown University, and a dual degree in law (Juris Doctor) and educational administration (M.Ed.) from Boston College.

Ania Czekaj-Farber of Westport chairs the Playhouse board of trustees.

Tracey Knight Narang and Stafford Thomas.

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Staples High School’s February Students of the Month are seniors Krishin Wadhwani and Elena Lim, junior Julia Herlyn, sophomores Sophia Papp and Dagny Dahl, and freshmen Isabel Brookbanks and Mieszko Solowinski.

Principal Stafford Thomas says they “help make Staples High School a welcoming place for their peers and teachers. They are the ‘glue’ of the school community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together, making it the special place that it is.”

From left: Krishin Wadhwani, Elena Lim, Sophia Papp, Julia Herlyn, Dagny Dahl, Isabel Brookbanks. Missing: Mieszko Solowinski

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“06880” readers often see the name Pippa Bell Ader. She’s one of Westport’s leading environmental advocates.

Readers all over the country are now meeting her husband. David Ader recently published his first book of short stores.

A retired bond strategist who mined his many interests and hobbies for inspiration, the stories reflect David’s sense of irony.

Amazon says of the 32 short pieces: “You will encounter people in situation which are not always what they seem. There’s a good bit of humor, some shocks, and always twists and turns that lead to ‘ah hah’ conclusions.

“You will meet a bullied parochial school student who gets his revenge. An elderly widower is about to leave his beloved home until his memories keep him there. A well-heeled lawyer decides to take an evening walk through Central Park and greets a man he fears is a mugger for an O’Henry-esque meeting. A couple planning to climb Kilimanjaro on an eco tour reveal political-correctness gone awry. Another couple go out on the wrong day for a sail. A loner in the backwoods of Maine.”

Click here for more information, and to order. (Hat tip: Mitchell Lester)

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted that registration for many Parks & Recreation programs begin March 2.

That’s the same link to sign up for Wakeman Town Farm camps and classes too.

To see programs on the WTF website, click here. Then follow the prompts.

Eager students in a Wakeman Town Farm cooking class.

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Starting to make summer plans?

Pencil in June 19. Musician/humanitarian/activist/filmmaker Michael Franti brings his high-energy live show, inspiring music, devotion to wellness and power of optimism to the Levitt Pavilion.

The #1 artist (“Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey [I Love You],” “I Got You”) will release his 12th album around the same time as his show.

Pre-sale (Levitt Pavilion members) began yesterday. General public tickets are available this Friday (February 18, 10 a.m.). Click here for more information, and to reserve a spot.

Michael Franti

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This week’s cold temperatures set the scene for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo. Claudia Sherwood Servidio took off her gloves long enough to capture this stark image of Gray’s Creek, by the Longshore golf course.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)

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And finally … happy 84th birthday to contemporary classical composer John Corigliano. In a long, distinguished career he’s won 5 Grammys — plus one Pulitzer Prize, and an Oscar.

 

Roundup: La Plage, Indigo Wellness, Ed Van Gelder …

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La Plage — the Longshore Inn restaurant — is much more than a summer place.

They’re offering prix fixe holiday menus that reflect holiday traditions, while incorporating “coastal flavors.”

The Christmas Eve (4 to 10 p.m.) and Christmas Day (noon to 6:30 p.m.) menus ($79 per person) include starters like crispy Copps Island oysters with green tomato remoulade, and Maine lobster mosaic; entrees such as Stonington sea scallops risotto and Alen Brother filet mignon; and desserts like Christmas trifle and Connecticut maple syrup panna cotta. Click here for the full menu.

New Year’s Eve features an a la carte menu, with the first seating from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

There’s dancing and a 5-course prix fixe menu ($175 per person) from 8 to 10 p.m. Specialties include wild salmon tartare, Périgord truffle salad, local black sea bass a la plancha, and crispy duck breast. Click here for the New Year’s Eve menu

New Year’s Day brunch is served a la carte, from noon to 2:30 p.m.

Click here for reservations, or call 203-684-6232.

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The third time’s the charm for Indigo Wellness Group.

When Sarah Swanberg owned her first acupuncture location in Stamford, many customers came from Westport. They urged her to open here.

Right before COVID struck, she signed a lease near Terrain. She never opened — and closed her Stamford studio for 3 months, too.

Then she found a space by the Delamar Hotel in Southport. But that didn’t feel right either.

Then Roger Leifer offered an office at the Willows medical complex, on Kings Highway North at Wilton Road. Indigo offers acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, with a focus on women’s health, fertility and pregnancy, insomnia, anxiety, headaches and chronic pain.

Indigo also offers facial cosmetic acupuncture and micro needling, pelvic floor physical therapy, virtual nutrition consultations and online courses.

Sarah loves Westport. She’s been welcomed by the community.

Last month she was also welcomed by Governor Lamont, when he toured local businesses with actress and social media influencer (and Westporter) Eva Amurri. Click below to see:

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In case you missed the previous notice: A memorial service for Julie Belaga — our former state representative, gubernatorial candidate, regional EPA administrator and Export-Import Bank director — is set for 10 a.m. on December 19, at the Westport Library.

She was one of Westport’s great public servants — and a wonderful woman too.

Julie Belaga

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Longtime Westport resident Edgar Louis Van Gelder died Thanksgiving Day at his residence in Meadow Ridge in Georgetown. He was 98 years old.

He spent his childhood in Hilversum, Holland with his sister Ada and brother Joost. His family fled the Nazi regime, and arrived in the US in 1939.

After graduating from Windsor Mountain School in Vermont, Ed enlisted in the Royal Netherlands Army Air Force. After training in Jackson, Mississippi he was assigned to the No. 18 (NEI) Squadron RAAF. They fought in the South Pacific against Japanese occupation of what was then the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).

As a navigator Ed took part in over 40 bombing raids, facing heavy enemy defenses. The squadron was based on the northern coast of Australia under American-British-Dutch-Australian Command. After the war, he transported prisoners from Japanese internment camps. For his service, Queen Juliana awarded him the Silver Flying Cross of the Netherlands.

After discharge, Ed attended New York University. He soon joined the Van Gelder-Fanto Corporation in Manhattan, specializing in pharmaceuticals. In 1958 he became a full partner. With his partner Stan Hier, he expanded the business to become a global competitor.

In 1949 Ed married Inge Lange. She was born in Germany, but as a small child in 1927 immigrated to the US with her mother. The couple lived first in Tarrytown, New York,, then moved to Westport in 1952. In 1961 they purchased the Guyer Farm on Hillspoint Road, and spent the next half century refurbishing the house and barn.

A businessman, husband, father, passionate sailor and aviator, Ed spent his retirement traveling with his wife. His most memorable voyage was to Antarctica on a Russian research vessel. Ed and Inge were active members of the Westport Community Theater throughout the 1960’s. After his retirement, they delivered Meals on Wheels.

He became a member of the Y’s Men, and was elected to Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

Ed was predeceased by his wife and siblings. He is survived by his son Jeff, daughter Caroline, and grandsons Robin, Alex and Erin.

Ed Van Gelder

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Sure, the holidays are hectic. Hopefully, you can take a few moments and “reflect” on today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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And finally … in honor of our new acupuncture spot, Indigo Wellness:

Roundup: Longshore Patio Bar, Back To School, MoCA …

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Summer is not yet over. (Fingers crossed.)

Proof: The patio bar at the Inn at Longshore’s La Plage restaurant opens today at 4 p.m., with beer and wine (and killer views).

Hours are the same as the restaurant: Wednesday through Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m.

They hope to go to a full bar next week, and a patio menu.

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School starts Tuesday! (Wait — didn’t it just end yesterday?!)

The Westport Police Department says they’re gearing up for a “Back to School” enforcement and education campaign. Officers will look for drivers using cellphones and speeding in school zones, as well as monitoring bus stops and routes.

Homemade sign, near Kings Highway Elementary School.

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MoCA Westport is busy installing “Between the Ground and the Sky.” The new exhibition — in collaboration with the Westport Farmers’ Market — opens tomorrow (Friday, August 27, 6-8 p.m.). It’s on view through October 17.

Kristyna and Marek Milde created their site-specific installation using found plants. The Brooklyn-based duo — originally from Prague — are becoming well known for their works exploring environmental issues, and the alienation of contemporary lifestyles.

The plants in the installation were abandoned in Manhattan and Brooklyn. They’ve been repurposed for art.

Also included: large-scale naturalistic works from Southport artist Donna Forma, and photography of the “Who Grows Your Food” movement by Westport photographers Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff.

Kristyna and Marke Milde, at MoCA Westport.

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Westport BNI — the local chapter of Business Networking International — does more than help area owners.

Fourteen riders will participate in the virtual Closer to Free Ride on September 11. The team has raised nearly $3,000. The event raises funds for Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cander Center.

The Westport BNI Group will ride a 25-mile loop together.  For more information click here, or email info@salonpaulmichael.com.

In addition, the chapter seeks new members in specific business categories.  Classifications include interior designer, home inspector, developer, heating and air conditioning contractor, chef, and estate and elder law attorney.

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Elvira Noder Hale died last week, at 95. She was surrounded by family in her Westport home — the house her parents built.

 A Navy veteran of the Korean War. Elvira is survived by her daughter Paula (Dennis); sons Mark and Thomas (Camilla); grandchildren Stephanie, Anthony, Isabella, Katarina and Maximilian; sister Patricia, and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on September 2 (11 a.m., Assumption Church). Click here to leave online condolences.

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Wendy Levy saw yesterday’s “Westport … Naturally” spider photo, and wondered if I’d consider a cicada too.

Done!

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … today in 1936, Helen McKay sang “Here’s Looking at You.” It was the first song ever broadcast on television. Here’s a re-creation:

 

Roundup: Vaccines, Basso, Butterflies …

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and many youth sports organizations are urging all athletes 12 years and older to get vaccinated against COVID.

It’s the best way, officials say, to ensure a healthy, safe and uninterrupted fall season. The organizations suggest that sports groups host and sponsor mobile or other vaccine clinics, to reach students.

They note one major reason to get a shot: people who have been vaccinated do not need to quarantine if exposed to a COVID case, if they are asymptomatic.

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La Plage — the great new restaurant at the Inn at Longshore — opens today. But — as noted in a recent 06880″ story — it’s dinner only for now, Wednesdays through Sundays.

The reason: staffing. Finding help — cooks, servers, dishwashers, bussers, front-of-the-house, you name it — is tough.

It’s a town-wide (and nationwide) problem. Basso is one of Westport’s most popular restaurants. This sign hangs near the outdoor tables, on Jesup Road:

(Photo/Dan Woog)

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But there may be no lunch at any restaurants, if they can’t find enough help.

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Devil’s Den has reopened.

The popular 1,800-acre Weston preserve — The Nature Conservancy’s largest in Connecticut — closed in the spring of 2020, in the early days of the pandemic. It was overwhelmed with visitors, many of whom parked illegally, brought dogs or stayed past dark.

As of last Sunday, the woodlands, wetlands and rock ledges are open from sunrise to 5 p.m. Click here for more information. (Hat tip: Weston Today)

Devil’s Den

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Speaking of nature: Earthplace did it! They reached their $40,000 fundraising goal — and got a full matching grant for their Animal Hall.

Donations came from regular friends, new donors, neighbors and from afar. A matching grant of every dollar up to $20,000 was key too.

Earthplace officials thank the “amazing, generous and kind” community for its support. The animals join in too (see below!).

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Speaking still of nature: ButtARfly  is inelegantly named.

But it’s a great program, bringing butterflies from the Smithsonian’s Open Access collections to life on a computer screen. Users can learn about butterfly species, add them to a virtual shadow box, and release them into an augmented reality experience for desktop and mobile. There are even different sounds for each specimen.

The Department of Media Arts & Technology at New Mexico Highlands University helped develop the initiative — with the help of 1984 Staples High School graduate Lauren Addario, as audio advisor and content developer.

Click here to enjoy.

Monarch butterfly at Compo Beach. They’re everywhere — including the Smithsonian. (Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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Lotsa nature today. Our “Westport … Naturally” photo shows “2 bees in a bud.” It’s courtesy of Tracy Porosoff, from her garden near Compo Beach.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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The Y’s Men (and their wise spouses) meet every Tuesday during the summer at South Beach, for food, camaraderie and sunsets. Jon Fox organized the event several years ago.

Yesterday they added a bit of fundraising, for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Peter Nathan solicited donations — and brought in over $1,300.

That’s one more feather in one of Westport’s premier volunteer organization’s cap!

Y’s Men (from left): Mike Guthman, Roy McKay, David Kalman (hot dog supplier), Peter Nathan, Jon Fox, Baxter Urist and Larry Lich. (Photo/Dorothy Fox)

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And finally … our musical interlude usually celebrates birthdays, anniversaries and upbeat events from years gone by. After all, there aren’t too many downer songs about bad things in history. (Okay — “Eve of Destruction.”)

But today is the 47th anniversary of the day 3 civil rights workers — Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney — were found dead in Mississippi. They had disappeared 43 days earlier.

So — at the risk of alienating all my friends from that state — I present Phil Ochs:

La Plage Brings Beach New Vibe (And Menu) To Longshore

Westport’s newest restaurant opens Wednesday, at one of the town’s oldest, most favorite sites.

La Plage takes over the space previously occupied by Pearl, and before that Splash. It’s the restaurant portion of the Inn at Longshore, a property that has never quite taken advantage of its unique location: a spectacular view of the water, nestled next to a golf course and tennis courts.

Killer water views at La Plage.

If last night’s preview is any indication, La Plage will quickly become one of the town’s go-to destinations.

“La Plage” means “the beach” in French. The menu is “coastal.”

Greenwich Hospitality Group — owner of the Delamar Hotels, and the new operator of the Inn — has redecorated  the interior, and updated its dishes, to take full advantage of its assets.

It’s a more-than-worthy addition to the Delamar’s other 2 noted restaurants, Artisan in Southport and L’Escale in Greenwich.

The bright dining room.

Shellfish selections include oysters, clams and shrimps, of course — and an octopus dish with chorizo, fingerling pepper and castelvetrano that will keep its Mediterranean sources hopping.

The “Baked/Grilled/Broiled” portion of the menu is highlighted by a grilled prosciutto pinsa with Bayley Hazen Blue cheese, figs, arugula and spicy honey; a lobster roll, and a variety of pasta, fish and meat dishes. Dessert includes a highly touted Ile flottante with vanilla English cream, caramel and almond, and more.

Much of the interior — light, bright, and beckoning “la plage” — comes from Serena & Lily. That’s just one more way Michael Ryan and his crew have taken Longshore’s venerable Inn, and given it a new Westport vibe.

The redecorated entrance. (Photos/Dan Woog)

La Plage will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, beginning this Wednesday. Click here for the menu, and reservations.