Tag Archives: League of Women Voters of Westport

Roundup: Elliott Landon, Board Of Ed, Ted Hoskins …

Dr. Elliott Landon — Westport’s superintendent of schools from 1999 through 2016, who oversaw continued growth in the district and the opening of the new Staples High School building — died last night.

He came to Westport after 10 years in Long Beach, New York. Prior to that, he served 9 years as Ridgefield’s superintendent.

Landon began his teaching career at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, following his graduation from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

“06880” will post a full obituary, and service details, when they are available.

Dr. Elliott Landon, in his Town Hall office.


There’s a local election looming. How much do you know about the boards you’ll be voting for?

Next Wednesday (September 6, 7 p.m., Westport Library), the Westport League of Women Voters hosts a forum called “Know Your Town: The Board of Education.” It follows 2 similar successful sessions, on the Representative Town Meeting and Board of Finance.

Three members of the Westport Board of Ed — chair Lee Goldstein, secretary Neil Phillips and member Dorie Hordon — will discuss how the BOE operates. Topics include governance of our school system, operating and capital budgets, deliberations on major policy decisions, and how the public can most effectively participate in the process.


This Sunday’s 10 a.m. service at Saugatuck Congregational Church will be special. Guest minister Rev. William Salmond will provide time for worshipers to share their personal memories of Rev. Ted Hoskins, the longtime minister who died last month in Maine.

Rev. Hoskins touched many Westporters, in the church and beyond. All are welcome to attend.

Rev. Ted Hoskins


Westport Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Nick Marsan joined Westport Community Emergency Team members Wednesday night, for their annual picnic.

CERT is a little known — but very effective and truly important — volunteer effort. They provide support during crises allowing Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel to concentrate on their tasks.

Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan (far right) and CERT volunteers. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)


Tomorrow is opening day for Elvira’s.

That is, Elvira’s Pizza. The new restaurant on Norwalk’s Belden Avenue is owned by Harry Yiovanakos, son of the founders of the former Westport deli of the same name.

Norwalk’s Elvira’s Pizza. (Photo and hat tip/Andrew Colabella)


Here’s a first for our “Westport … Naturally” feature: a dead man’s hand mushroom.

It’s from Bobcat Trail, in the Partrick Wetlands off Wilton Road.

The wetlands are one of those hidden-in-plain-sight relatively unknown Westport jewels.

Photographer Matthew Mandell notes that there are new interpretive signs there, thanks to Earthplace. And, he says, it’s great for birdwatching.

(Photo/Matthew Mandell)


And finally … it’s September 1. Fall does not arrive for another 22 days. But this date always makes me think of …

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Roundup: Board Of Ed, 190 Main, Lemonade …

This November’s Board of Education election is very important. In the next 2 years, members may vote on everything from new buildings and redistricting to students’ access to library materials.

To help Westporters understand more about the BOE, the League of Women Voters of Westport will host 3 current members. The trio will discuss how the BOE operates.

Chair Lee Goldstein, secretary Neil Phillips and member Dorie Hordon are panelists for the September 6 event (7 p.m., Westport Library).


190 Main appears closed.

There is no sign on the door of the restaurant, located in the same mini-plaza as Joe’s Pizza and Le Rouge Chocolatier. Tables remain on the patio. The answering machine still describes its hours of operation.

But inside, furniture is piled high, ready for removal. Fans of the small spot, with an eclectic menu, will be heartbroken.

(Photo and hat tip/Sal Liccione)


For veterans, September 11 is a solemn day.

This year, it’s especially important.

Catch a Lift — the national organization that helps post-9/11 combat-injured veterans recover and rehabilitate, physically and mentally, through physical fitness, motivation and support — will hold its 2nd annual Connecticut golf and pickleball outing.

The event, at the Patterson Club in Fairfield (10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), also includes cocktails, dinner, raffles, and the chance to hear inspirational accounts from veterans about their journeys.

Click here to register, and for more details.

Catch a Lift veterans, at a previous event in Westport.


There are lemonade stands.

And then are super-lemonade stands.

Emerson, Beckett, Aja and Jada Rhimes set up a stand at a busy intersection near their home. They wanted to raise funds for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services.

“They help so many people. And they do it through donations. We wanted to help,” the girls said.

Did they ever!

Before running out of cups and lemonade, they raised $1,817. Their proud mother matched it.

An anonymous donor, impressed, added another $500.

So that’s $4,134 for WVEMS, from one lemonade stand.

Well done, girls!

A very successful lemonade stand. (Photo/Shonda Rhimes)


Labor Day is (ugh) sooner than you think.

Time to get back to business — in more ways than one.

The Westport Business Networking International chapter’s Quarterly Visitor’s Day is September 7 (United Methodist Church, 7 a.m.).

Westport BNI has 50 members, with only one per category. Current open classifications include printer, salon/spa, restaurant, security systems, HVAC, photographer, travel agent, caterer, florist, event planner, home inspector, moving company,  electrician, dentist, personal trainer, auto repair, cleaning service, physical therapy, cosmetics/skincare and promotional products.

Meetings are held weekly. Email debralommascout@gmail.com or cara.mocarski@welcomewagon.com to sign up for Visitor’s Day. For more information, click here.


The home at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Treadwell Avenue — across from the VFW — draws plenty of admiring stares.

There are 3 reasons: It’s handsome. It’s historic. And there’s plenty of time to look, at what can be a very long light.

Recently, there’s another reason: renovation work.

It looks dangerous. Kudos to the workers who navigate that steep roof, and the rickety-looking ladder laid horizontally across.

(Photo/Pat Auber)


Dan Vener’s “Westport … Naturally” photo of a Burritt’s Cove swan is great.

But his comment is even better: “She only has 4 months left to find 6 buddies.”


And finally … when you saw the photo of the workmen on the house at Treadwell Avenue, you must have known this was coming:

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Roundup: Levitt Pavilion, Crabbers, Absentee Ballots …

Last night was another glorious one at the Levitt Pavilion.

Theo Kandel and Grace Gardner headlined.

Tonight it’s Quadrature. Click here for more information on Westport’s premier outdoor entertainment venue, including a calendar of upcoming events.

(Photo/Joel Treisman)


Also last night:

“06880” has run several photos of crabbers in Sherwood Mill Pond.

They’re also in Long Island Sound — using the same LED headlamps as in the pond itself, to illuminate their work.

This view — taken at 8:45 p.m. — is from the Old Mill Beach parking lot.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)


Also this weekend:

Filming took place in Westport for a documentary about film critic Susan Granger. She has spent 8 decades in and around the movie industry, from the Golden Age of Hollywood to present-day streaming.

Granger’s father directed and produced films like “Born Yesterday.” Her godfathers were Milton Berle and Red Skelton. Thanks to her dad, starting at age 4 she appeared in small roles with Skelton, Lucille Ball, Abbott & Costello and others.

That background gave Granger a unique perspective as a film critic and speaker. She writes often for Westport Journal and Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

Others interviewed in recent weeks include Fairfield residents Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon.

The documentary short is projected to be ready for film festivals next year. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Susan Granger, preparing for her shoot.


Westport’s League of Women Voters reminds students heading off to college to apply for an absentee ballot, for November’s election.

Click here for information, including a link to the application.


A colorful hibiscus takes center stage, in today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)


And finally … on this day in 1962, Jamaica gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

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Roundup: Fine Arts Festival, Ospreys, Dementia …

The 50th annual Fine Arts Festival ended yesterday just as it began Saturday: with huge crowds, a great variety of excellent art, plenty of music and food, and tons of smiles.

The Westport Downtown Association drew raves for the organization, execution and energy of what many called the “best ever” of all 50 shows.

The family-friendly event included a children’s art project, sponsored by the Artists Collective of Westport. Youngsters drew a huge whale in chalk, near Bedford Square.

It was part of Westport artist Jana Ireijo’s “Vanishing Mural” project. It looked great. But it will eventually disappear — emphasizing the fragility of the natural world.

The not-yet-completed, but eventually vanishing, whale. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The Fine Arts Festival was pet-friendly too — for real dogs, and artistic ones.

(Photo/Ted Horowitz)


Yesterday, as Carolyn Doan does what she often does — checking on the Fresh Market ospreys — a concerned woman in the parking lot said she had not seen them in a couple of weeks. She worried they were no longer there.

Carolyn reports, happily, that all is well. Both adults were in the nest, doing fine.

“They are probably taking care of hatching eggs or very young chicks now,” she says.

“When they sit on the eggs, it’s very hard to see them. Thank you to the nice lady who asked about them!”

And thank you, Carolyn, for sending along this photo:

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


Of all the difficult traffic merges in town, one of the worst is heading west on Coleytown Road, where it runs into Lyons Plains Road.

You stop, crane your neck, and hope for the best. Not only can’t you see to the right — but oncoming traffic does not stop, in either direction.

Some drivers may not be aware of that last fact.

Fortunately, a new addition to the stop sign lets you know.

It won’t help you see. But in this case at least, a little knowledge is not a dangerous thing.

(Photo and hat tip: Stacy Prince)


The League of Women Voters of Westport’s annual meeting and lunch is Wednesday, June 7 (11:30 a.m., Green’s Farms Congregational Church).

The public is invited — and welcome to stay for a very timely panel.

The topic: “Building Consensus in Today’s Political Climate.” Panelists include  Jim Marpe, former Westport first selectman; Ken Bernhard, former Connecticut state representative, and Dr. Nora Madjar, associate professor of management at the University of Connecticut School of Business.

The lunch (cheese platter, sliced beef tenderloin, poached salmon, 4 salads, dessert) is $50 per person. RSVP to celestelacroix@hotmail.com, or send checks to LWV Westport, PO Box 285, Westport, CT 06881.


Homes with Hope brought back its famed “Gather ‘Round the Table” fundraiser, for Project Return at Susie’s House.

Among the 240 guests at the Shorehaven Golf Club luncheon were the keynote speaker,  Connecticut Commissioner of Housing Seila Mosquera-Bruno; Westport 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and the many town employees who work hard behind the scenes to support the home and program.

Plans have been approved for renovations, to better accommodate homeless women in Fairfield County. The program offers long-term housing in a nurturing, home-like environment.

From left: Lena Holleran, Connecticut Department of Housing; Homes With Hope program director Paris Looney; Seila Mosquero Bruno, Connecticut Commissioner of Housing; executive director Helen McAlinden;; Carmen Ayala of Homes with Hope, at the “Gather ‘Round the Table” fundraiser.


Looking for “The Complete Family Guide to Dementia”?

Thomas Harrison and Dr. Brent Forester — authors of a book by the same name — will be at The Residence at Westport on June 19 (4 p.m.), talking about that subject.

A limited number of complimentary books are available. To RSVP, email ddunning@residencewestport.com, or call 203-349-2002.


Before he graduated in 2005, Igor Pikayzen was already one of the most talented violinists in Staples High School’s long musical history.

After Juilliard, a master’s degree and artist’s diploma from Yale University, a doctorate in musical arts at CUNY and solo appearances with major orchestras at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and more, he founded Festivo Edalio.

The opening concert June 11 (7:30 p.m., Saugatuck Congregational Church) celebrates the joy of sharing live music.

Pikayzen will play Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” As the violinist says, “‘Edelio’ means ‘forever young.’ This masterpiece remains beloved 300 years after it was composed.”

The program also includes the “Estaciones Porteñas” of Argentine legend Astor Piazzolla.

Edelio continues at the Pequot Library June 14 (7 p.m.). The return to chamber music features Mozart’s impeccable piano quartet in G minor, the rarely played edgy and tumultuous first Shostakovich trio, and the triumphant Dvorak piano quartet.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Igor Pikayzen


Most “Westport … Naturally” photos are completely natural.

Today’s, from Hillandale Road, shows a man-made assist to Mother Nature.

Come to think of it, the hedge and stone wall look a bit unnatural too.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


And finally … on this (and every) Memorial Day, we salute all the men and women who served in our armed forces. And we remember the far too many, who gave their lives so that we can be here today, living ours.

(“06880” is honored to bring you news and information about Westport, on this holiday and every day. Please consider a contribution to help us continue. Click here — and thank you.) 

Roundup: Pizza, Trump, Cops …

Old Mill Grocery & Deli, Outpost and Romanacci were all double winners in Westport’s Great Pizza Contest.

Nearly 2,000 votes were cast throughout March, for 14 restaurants and markets.

OMG won in the Best Meat and Best Veggie Pizza categories. Outpost won for Best Slice and Best Delivered Pizza, while Romanacci copped top honors for Best Personal and Best Gluten-Free Pizza.

Solo winners were La Plage (Best Flatbread) and Pizza Lyfe (Best Plain).

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event. They’re already planning next years return of the Great Burger Contest.


Joe Tacopina — one of former President Trump’s lead lawyers — was not the only Westport connection to Tuesday’s historic Manhattan arraignment.

Staples High School Class of 2002 graduate Toby Burns covered the event for The Hill.

And, Toby says, his longtime friend and fellow Staples grad Frank Runyeon — an award-winning criminal justice reporter for legal news service Law360 — was “the most knowledgeable court reporter on the ground” outside the courthouse. He helped coordinate “hundreds of global journalists.”

That’s not all. Frank also drew the lucky straw, and was the first journalist of all those hundreds to see the actual indictment. (Hat tip: Kerry Long)


Speaking of elections: There are 53 new voters in Westport.

The League of Women Voters registered them — all seniorso — yesterday, as part of Staples High School’s Invest in Yourself day.

It was the first such event since the pandemic began 3 years ago.

New voter registration at Staples.


Westport Police made 2 custodial arrests between March 29 and April 5.

A home health care aide was arrested for 2nd degree larceny, illegal use of credit card, and receiving goods obtained by illegal use of credit card, after a complaint by a Westport resident.

A Westport man was arrested for 3rd degree criminal mischief after a complaint from someone who saw him punch and break a window in the front door of a business. Police investigated the license plate, and found the man with fresh cuts and blood on his hand. He had no explanation for why he broke the window.

Westport Police did not report citations issued this week.


Michael Friedman’s great new book “Exposed” — his lost-and-then-found up-close-and-personal photos chronicling rock legends like Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones and The Band — gets great exposure April 22 (7 p.m., Westport Library).

He’ll talk about the book, the photos and the stories behind them on a panel with WPLR’s Mike Lapitino and longtime local musician Roger Kaufman.

The panel will be followed by live music from the era with Kaufman’s longtime band, Old School Revue. Special guests include drummer Chris Parker (who played with Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Todd Rundgren), bassist Stu Woods (Dylan, Rundgren, Jim Croce), and Staples High School graduate Drew Angus.

Signed copies of Friedman’s book, along with prints, will be available for purchase.


Also at the Library:

Westporter Margrit Strohmaier celebrates the launch of her second book — “What to Know Before You Get Your Cat” — on April 19 (7 p.m.).

She’ll be interviewed by Julie Loparo, president of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates. This book is aimed at young readers; it’s a follow-up to her debut, “What to Know Before You Get Your Dog.”

It’s part of the “Saugatuck Scribes: Healing & Caregiving” event. Tracy Livecchi — who wrote Healing Hearts and Minds: A Holistic Approach to Coping Well With Congenital Heart Disease — will be featured too.

The discussion will be followed by book signings, and a drawing for a gift basket.

Margrit Strohmaier


And more about writing:

Westport Writers’ Workshop‘s “More Than Words: Celebrating Outreach to Unheard Writers” fundraiser is set for April 28 (6 to 9 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). The event includes light dinner fare, music, a door prize and silent auction.

Proceeds support WWW’s Outreach Program. The writing organization offers in-person and online workshops for writers of all levels, along with “the gift of expression” to people unable to take a traditional class.

Westport Writers’ Workshop has expanded their reach outside their core classroom to individuals undergoing special challenges, or who have survived hardship, abuse, or trauma.

The Outreach Program provides complimentary writing workshops for organizations that request them. Volunteers help new writers heal and grow through story.

Among the WWW’s partners: the Center for Empowerment and Education, Homes for the Brave, Caroline House, Harlem Village Academies, Writing for Women Affected by Breast Cancer, College Essay Writing for Fairfield Seniors, and Writing for Women with Special Needs Children. For more details on the program, email info@westportwriters.org.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Club 203 — Westport’s social organization for adults with disabilities — heads outside, for its next event.

TAP Strength leads a fun, fitness and movement field day on April 20 (6 to 7:30 p.m., Jesup Green). MoCA Westport will be there with crafts, too.

The cost is $10 per person. Click here to register.

Westport Book Shop will be open during the event, for parents to mix and mingle.

New members can click here to join Club 203, and click here for the consent form.


If spring cleaning includes getting rid of old mattresses and box springs — hold on until May 20.

That morning Earthplace, Sustainable Westport and Bye Bye Mattress will sponsor a free mattress and box spring recycling event. Up to 90% of them can be recycled into carpet pads, exercise equipment and bike seat cushions, insulation, air filters and steel materials.

The event runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., at Earthplace.

Can’t transport your mattress or box spring? No problem!

Boy Scout Troop 36 will provide pickup service, for a small donation. Click here to sign up.

Saving the planet, one mattress at a time. (Photo: Pippa Bell Ader)


Yesterday’s wind brought kept most people away from Compo Beach.

But it attracted at least one kiteboarder.

Today’s forecast calls for showers, but with temperatures reaching into the 70s.

(Photo/Nathan Greenbaum)


Andy Weeks spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo in a very nature-unfriendly part of town: Compo Shopping Center.

Somehow, this old tree survives amid traffic, gasoline fumes, even an old metal post.

As baseball season begins, remember the adage: “Mother Nature bats last.”

(Photo/Andy Weeks)


And finally … congratulations to Westport’s Great Pizza Contest winners:


Roundup: 233 Hillspoint, “Guys & Dolls” Drama, Post-Election Coffee …

For a few years now, 233 Hillspoint Road has sat half-finished. Swaddled in blue, with a chain link fence and weeds, it demolishes the beauty of the Old Mill neighborhood.

But one day, it will look like this:

And — from the beach — like this:

The property is listed for sale.

What would you get for $7.9 million? (Or $4.9 million, unfinished?)

The listing says:

233 Hillspoint Rd. is an exciting, sleek and sophisticated new construction waterfront home. A truly open floor plan that is drenched in sunlight through walls of glass that frame the water from every room. This stunning, beautifully designed, four bedroom all ensuite home, will be finished with high-end, understated elegance by noted architect, Lucien Vita.

The primary suite, with a true cathedral ceiling and private balcony, is next-level. The roof-top deck is beyond cool. Soak up the sun and fresh air while entertaining and watching the fireworks and sailboats on the horizon. Walk barefoot on the champagne sands, through the-beach level covered terrace to your personal elevator that will whisk you from the garage to where your life is lived with clarity, at a pace dictated by nature, the sun, the tides and the rhythm of the waves.

Only a handful of Westport homes have this incredible, panoramic view with a sandy beach. You’re home. And your home is on the beach with crazy gorgeous views.

Click here to see more (and make an offer).


David Roth and Kerry Long — co-directors of Staples Players — missed the opening night of “Guys and Dolls” in 2009. Kerry gave birth to their daughter Lucy, just 17 minutes before the curtain rose.

Henry Carson missed opening night of the same show on Friday. His absence was at least as significant.

The senior plays Nathan Detroit. But he caught the flu, and — with very little warning — his understudy had to go on.

His freshman understudy.

Will McCrea stepped up big time. He delivered an almost flawless performance, earning a huge hand from the sellout crowd.

That may not have been surprising. Will is Jack Lemmon’s grandson.

Will McCrea as Nathan Detroit, and Jackie Peterson as Adelaide. (Photo/Kerry Long)

The rest of the cast came through too — big time as well. The acting, singing, dancing, sets, lighting and pit make this one of Players’ best shows ever. And that’s saying something.

On Saturday, 2 more actors fell ill. Freshman Graham Griffin took over as Big Jule from senior Charles Watson. Junior Finley  Chevrier went on too.

Both Will and Graham’s Players debuts were impressive. Of course, they’ve been trained well: They shared the role of Daddy Warbucks in last year’s Bedford Middle School production of “Annie.”

Graham Griffin as Big Jule. (Photo/Kerry Long)

“Guys and Dolls” continues this weekend, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (November 18 and 19), and a Saturday matinee at 3 p.m. Click here for tickets, and more information.


The League of Women Voters of Westport invites voters (and everyone else) to a “Post-Election Coffee.” It’s Wednesday (November 16, 10 a.m., VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue).

Westport’s registrars of voters Deborah Greenberg and Maria Signore will discuss the election, and what happens now the Connecticut’s early ballot initiative has passed.


Caroline Hendley and her husband rode to Saugatuck Shores this weekend.

She sent this image for “Westport … Naturally.” Check out the Buddha on the far right. Caroline thought that its head, resting on a dock, suggests that it can calm the waters.

(Photo/Caroline Hendley)


And finally … Jeff Cook, a founding member of Alabama, died last week in Florida. He was 73, and suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

The band had 32 #1 country hits between 1980 and ’93. Several crossed over to the pop charts. Click here for a full obituary.

(Alabama is great. But Westport is better. Please click here to support “06880” — your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: Car Robbery, NY Marathon, Election Debate …


The weather was great — and crowds large — for yesterday’s Westoberfest.

It wasn’t just about the craft beers. Among the scenes at the Westport Downtown Association-sponsored event: fun for kids.

(Photo/JC Martin)

A Post Road West business owner writes:

A technician was in my store Thursday evening, fixing our Wifi network and cameras.

Around 10 p.m. he saw a guy trying to break into his car, which was parked in front. He banged on the window to get him to stop. He didn’t want to step outside, because the man had a backpack. My network guy didn’t know if there was a weapon inside.

My guy called the police. The cops arrived very quickly.

Incredibly, while waiting for the police, my guy started praying for a safe resolution. When he looked outside, the robber stopped trying to break into the car. He started sobbing and praying as well.

My guy said that somehow his prayer had something to do with the change of heart of the would-be robber.

The police took him in without incident. But they said that was the third call of a car break-in that night.


Todd Suchotliff moved to Westport this summer. He’s enjoyed running through town. Next Sunday (October 24) he’ll run the New York Marathon — right here.

He encourages his new neighbors (and strangers!) to cheer him on, or join him for part of the route.

It’s his 9th straight NYC Marathon — and the 2nd virtual one. He runs in memory of his mother, who died of chronic lymphocytic leukemia 9 years ago this Tuesday. It’s his way of keeping her fighting spirit alive (and supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — click here to help).

Todd has been training with his kids, and been motivated by the beauty of Westport.

His long runs start at his home on River Lane. He goes down Wilton Road, across the Saugatuck, up Cross Highway to Sturges Highway, down across Post Road to Greens Farms Road, turning at Hillspoint Road to Compo and through Longshore, then back across the Saugatuck on Bridge Street, up to Wilton Road and home.

“I realize it looks crazy, written out like that,” todd says. “But that’s more or less (actually more) the marathon route.”

His shorter runs, with his kids, include Compo and Longshore. They finish at the beach playground, and top the day off with donuts from Coffee An’ on the way home.

Todd Suchotliff and his kids.

Todd’s “NYC Marathon” route through Westport.


As the days dwindle before the election, the League of Women Voters Westport is gearing up for a pair of debates. They’re set for Monday and Tuesday, October 25 and 26 (7 to 9 p.m.).

The first debate includes candidates for first and second selectmen, and the Boards of Finance and Assessment Appeals.

The second is for the Board of Education, and Planning & Zoning Commission.

Candidates will be in Town Hall, but there is no live audience. The debates can be watched on Cablevision Channel 79, or livestreamed from the town website.


There must be a reason this driver chose this parking spot at Long Lots Elementary School.

But I sure don’t know what it is.

Guesses are welcome. Click “Comments” below.


In the midst of COVID, Staples High School Class of 2002 graduate Sarah Kesselman and her boyfriend Hermes Arriola filmed a series for YouTube. it features snacks from other countries.

It was a hit. Viewers soon sent in their own snacks,. Sarah likes the sweet ones; Hermes, the salty ones. Hence the name: “Salty and Sweet.”

Click here for the channel. below to enjoy “Oreos from Around the the World.” Who knew?


Halloween comes early to the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Nest Saturday (October 23, 5 to 6:30 p.m.) — 8 days before the holiday — they’re sponsoring a “Spooktacular,” for children 10 and under.

Events include costumes, cookie decorating, Halloween crafts, face painting, ring toss, bean bag throw, and free play in the gym.

The cost is $5 per child. A parent or caregiver must attend. Click here to register.


Speaking of the Y: Collette Winn took today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo at the parking lot there.

I wonder: “Y” did these 2 birds choose that particular car?

(Photo/Collette Winn)


And finally … happy 79th birthday to Gary Puckett!


Westport Activist Wants All Connecticut Votes To Count

As a zoology major Nicole Klein learned that when sea turtles hatch, they instinctively turn to the horizon. That leads them straight to the ocean.

In the aftermath of November’s election, she felt similarly impelled. But it was not until Christmas — when she had a chance to take a break from her very demanding full-time job — that she understood exactly what she had to do.

So she served notice to her employer, McKinsey. Today she devotes herself full time to grassroots political activism.


Nicole Klein

Klein loved McKinsey. The consulting firm encourages personal growth into new areas of the company, and she’d taken full advantage. After 17 years, Klein had worked her way up to global event manager.

But — like those sea turtles — Klein followed her destiny.

She’d been involved in political campaigns from 1992 to 2004. In 2008 she fell in love. “I didn’t care about anything else,” she laughs.

Klein got married, had a child, moved to Westport. In the run-up to this year’s election — as she worked hard for Hillary Clinton — she wanted her 6-year-old son to see what involvement looked like. She brought him to her phone bank shifts.

In the weeks after the election — but before her resignation from McKinsey — Klein grew more active.

She attended Westport Democratic Town Committee meetings. She volunteered as a bus captain for the Women’s March on Washington.

Klein calls that event “one of the 5 best days of my life. It was so powerful to see everyone come together peacefully. It wasn’t a protest — it was a unifying moment.”

Nicole Klein (left) enjoys the Women's March on Washington.

Nicole Klein (left) enjoys the Women’s March on Washington.

Now Klein is putting her event planning talents to work on another project. It’s an informational session on changing the way Connecticut casts its electoral votes for president.

Set for this Thursday (March 2, 7 p.m.) in the Westport Country Playhouse barn, the “State of Voting: CT Debates a New Way to Elect the President” panel includes New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg. It’s part of a move to have our state join 11 others whose legislatures have agreed to let its electors vote for the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

The idea is that all votes cast nationwide for president will count equally — without abolishing the Electoral College. Under the current method, voters in Connecticut — and other almost-certain blue or red states — are easily ignored.

Of nearly 400 events during the 2016 general election, 94% were held in just 12 battleground states. Only 1 was held in the Constitution State.

equalize-the-vote-ct-logoOrganizers of National Popular Vote CT — including Westporters John Hartwell and Rozanne Gates — call the concept one of fairness. Citizens of every state should have their vote weighed equally, they say.

The project’s leaders also point to surveys that show 3/4 of Connecticut’s voters — including a majority of Republicans — believe the candidate who gets the most votes in the country should become president.

Thursday’s event is non-partisan, Klein says. “We want people to hear the issues, and make up their own minds.”

She hopes for a large turnout at the Playhouse. And when that’s done, she’ll turn her attention to the next activity.

“Not one day goes by that I regret resigning,” Klein says. Every day she feels more excited about being part of the democratic — with a small “d” — process.

In her own way, she’s making sure America stays great.

(“The State of Voting: CT Debates a New Way to Elect the President” — at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 in the Westport Country Playhouse barn — is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Westport and National Popular Vote CT. The event is free, but seats must be reserved. Click here, email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org, or call 203-227-4177. Video of the event will be available on Facebook Live at NationalPopularVoteCT, and afterward on www.npvct.com)