Tag Archives: Learning Community Day School

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.

(“Easy to be hard …” — and easy to support “06880.” Just click here. And thank you!)

Roundup: VFW, Nemo, LCDS …

 

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VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 is one of Westport’s underappreciated, often-overlooked gems.

In addition to providing a home and community for veterans, the building at the Saugatuck Avenue/Riverside Avenue merge offers a restaurant and bar — and a state Veteran’s Service Office, assisting with disability support.

Thanks to 4th Row Films — Westporter Doug Tirola’s great documentary film company — you can learn all about the 100-year-od Westport VFW post, from members themselves. Click the link below; the password is “4throw” (without the quotation marks).

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Weather postponed 2 Remarkable Theater showings last week. So get ready this week for …

“Finding Nemo” (tonight, Monday, June 7) and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Saturday, June 12). Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; the “curtain” goes up at 8:30.

Click here for tickets and more information. Enjoy the show!

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A reader writes:

“We are a family of 4, with 3 dogs. When one was hit by a car, we wanted to find another. We ended up at Puppies of Westport (although we said we wouldn’t ever go to a ‘puppy mill’). Lauren Meren, the owner, was very kind. We had health issues with our dog, and she immediately reimbursed us for the hospital stay.

“y vet told me that Lauren recently died. Her children are trying to find homes for all of the dogs in the store. Please highlight this story, so the dogs end up in a loving home instead of a fate much different.”

There has been no answer to phone calls. If “06880” readers have any idea of the fate of the dogs — or how to help — click “Comments” below.

Puppies of Westport –

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For years, an unattractive concrete tower marred the playground and baseball field behind the Learning Community Day School (formerly Hillspoint Elementary).

Before …

Now — thanks to art teacher Lauren Beusse, her colleagues and (especially) the talented kids, it’s been  transformed beautifully.

Lauren was inspired by Tyree Guyton, a Detroit artist who creates large installations out of dilapidated properties and recycled materials.

Children worked on 6 individual panels, exploring colors and adding their own touches. LCDS says: “the flowers reaching for the sun, and birds and insects flying above, will always remind us of the way young children grow, bloom and take flight during their time here.”

… and after.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo from Lou Weinberg. In addition to overseeing our fantastic Community Garden next to Long Lots Elementary School, he’s a brilliant nature photographer.

Lou says: “The cedar waxwings are tossing them back at the old serviceberry tree. Robins are getting their fill as well. Serviceberry trees are native, and have very high wildlife value.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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Voices Café — the Unitarian Church’s music series — premieres its livestream season on June 19 (8 p.m.). Featured performers are Goodnight Moonshine with Molly Venter (of Red Molly), and Eben Pariser, who also performs with Roosevelt Dime.

For nearly a decade, Voices Café has supported social justice programs. Recognizing the historical significance of this year’s concert date — Juneteenth — proceeds from the performance will benefit the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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And finally … in the hopes of finding homes for all the Puppies of Westport (see story above) …

 

https://vimeo.com/fourthrowfilms/review/559173229/e9a3ef9587

Roundup: Memorial Day Parade, Yankee Doodle Fair, Waterspout …

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In one more sign of approaching normalcy, the town is moving forward with plans for an actual Memorial Day parade.

This year’s theme for the float contest is “Honoring Women Veterans.” Certificates will be awarded for Best Development of Theme, Best Youth Organization Float, Most Creative, Best Community Organization, Most Colorful, and the Best Overall Float.

If past form holds true, the Y’s Men will win the Overall award. They’ve won it nearly every year for the past 20 or so.

And the only reason the Y’s Men did not win in 2020, 2017 or 2016 was because there were no parades. (COVID last year; rain those other 2.)

Weather and COVID permitting, this year’s event begins at 9 a.m. on May 31, at Saugatuck Elementary School. Veterans — and thousands of others — will march north on Riverside Avenue, trn right on Post Road East, then continue to Myrtle Avenue.

 

The Y’s Men’s float won, as usual, in 2012. This one honored Korean War veterans — complete with freezing mist.

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The Memorial Day parade is not the only tradition that’s returning.

The Westport Woman’s Club’s Yankee Doodle Fair returns this year — but not in its century-old mid-June, end-of-school, welcome-summer slot.

Yesterday, the Board of Selectmen approved the event for September 23 through the 26th.

So it will be a start-of-school, welcome-fall fair.

But it’s still at the Woman’s Club site on Imperial Avenue.

Even after 100 years, little changes.

The 2017 Yankee Doodle Fair (Drone photo/Ryan Collins)

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Yesterday was spring-like — warm and mostly sunny. Guy Sherman wanted to  photograph a few interesting clouds over Saugatuck Shores.

He got a bonus: this rare and remarkable waterspout:

(Photo/Guy Sherman)

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A month ago, the old wood-shingled house at 19 Soundview Drive bore a demolition sign.

Then it was gone.

Now the home — one of the oldest, as-yet-unrenovated along the Compo exit road– has been painted and spiffed up. It looks eager to greet renters and beachgoers.

And ready to last another 100 years.

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The Learning Community Day School celebrates its 50th anniversary on April 28th.

The institution — housed for many years on Hillspoint Road — is not just patting themselves on the back. They’re raising money for kindergarten scholarships, with their first-ever golf outing.

It’s set for Monday, April 26 at Longshore. Check-in and breakfast are 9 a.m.; tee times start at 10 a.m. You can play 9 or 18 holes.

The cost is $250 per player, $900 for a foursome. You can form your own twosome or foursome, or be paired up.

Popup Bagels and Manny’s Ultimate Bloody Mary Mix are sponsoring food and drinks. Of course, there are prizes and giveaways.

For more information, email learning_community@yahoo.com or call 203-227-8394.

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Longtime Westport resident Judith Portner Sappern died peacefully on Saturday. She was 88 years old.

The Rumson, New Jersey native was an adventurer who, after serving as managing editor of her high school newspaper, took the unusual step at the time to go out of state for college. A

t the University of Connecticut she served as president of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, made lifelong friends and fell in love with Donald Sappern. Married shortly after graduation, they started a telephone answering service in Norwalk.  As Don’s career progressed and he became a successful insurance executive, Judy managed office operations and bookkeeping.

Judy Sappern

As the couple’s children grew, Judy helped with their studies and supported every interest, from the choir room and pool to the baseball diamond and the rock band that practiced in the basement. She fed generations of Staples High School students who used their nearby house on Wedgewood Lane as a home base throughout the day.

Judy pursued a master’s degree in social work, and volunteered at Norwalk Hospital. She loved helping others work through tough times, and passed that empathy on to her children. When not at the hospital or office, Judy worked on needlepoint, and played golf or bridge with friends. She also became a personal computer enthusiast and fanatical supporter of UConn basketball.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Donald, and her older sister Joyce Cooper. Judy is survived by her children, Laurie Sappern Gaugler  (Dean), and Matthew (Rianne), both of Fairfield, and Adam (Margot)of Bethel, Vermont. Judy enjoyed frequent visits and calls with her 7 grandchildren: Billy, Chloe, Brian, Geoffrey, Rachel, Carly and Tobey. She is also survived by her beloved sister-in-law, Pietrina Sappern of Milford.

A memorial service will be held when travel and gathering is less limited. Memorial contributions in Judy’s memory can be made to the IGA Nephropathy Foundation, PO Box 1322, Wall, New Jersey 07727.

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And finally … sure, the IRS has extended this year’s filing deadline to May 17. But April 15 will always be, um, special.