Tag Archives: Levitt Pavilion

Roundup: Pops Concert, Pink Aid, Pequot Library …

One of Westport’s newest — but quick-selling-out — traditions is the Westport Public Schools’ Pops Concert.

The Levitt Pavilion event — featuring the Staples High School Symphonic Orchestra and Band, Jazz Ensemble, Choralaires and other small ensembles — returns Friday, June 9 (7 p.m.). The host is Westport’s own music and media maestro, David Pogue.

Tickets will be available at staplesmusic.org beginning at 9 a.m. on May 31. They’re first-come, first-served — and free! (A donation of $15 per ticket is suggested, to help offset the concert’s production costs.)

The Levitt lawn opens at 5:30 p.m. BYO chair — but food trucks will be there for picnickers.

2022 Pops Concert. (Photo/Allison Ginzburg)


The use of automated cameras to enforce speed limit and red light violations in Connecticut moved closer to reality yesterday.

The House voted 104-46 in favor. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Enforcement would be limited to school zones, pedestrian safety zones and other locations approved by the Office of State Traffic Administration. Speeders would have to go at least 10 miles per hour over the limit to get an automated ticket.

Fines would not surpass $50 for a first offense, $75 for a second offense. Revenues would go to municipalities, to be used for traffic-related expenses.

Click here for the full story, on Connecticut Mirror.

Red light traffic camera.


Pulitzer Prize finalist Nicholas Dawidoff is the main attraction tomorrow night at the Westport Library

He’ll join former Assistant US Attorney Althea Seaborn to talk about his book The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City (Thursday, May 25, 7 p.m.).

He will be in conversation with Norwalk Community College Professor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Althea Seaborn.

Dawidoff spent 8 years researching and writing in his hometown of New Haven. Urban decay, white flight and redlining helped contribute to the transformation of Newhallville. Dawidoff makes these symptoms of “racist neglect” vividly clear.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Nicholas Dawidoff


Breast cancer is no laughing matter.

But Pink Aid — the organization offering support and financial assistance to patients during treatment, and their families — will benefit from a night of comedy next month.

The event is June 1 (7 p.m., Chabad of Westport). Featured comedians include Cody Marino, Beau McDowell, Andrew Ginsburg and Nick Scopoletti. Tickets ($75 each) include 2 drinks, popcorn and candy. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Twenty soon-to-graduate high school rowers were honored for their hard work, persistence and commitment Monday, by the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Nine live in Westport.

Saugatuck Rowing Club seniors from Staples High School (from left): Elisabeth Chadwick, Janna Moore, Dylan Halky, Wyatt Dodge, Jesse Herman, Luke Miller, Cooper Weyers, and Vincent Penna all attend Staples. Andrew Bacro (not pictured) attends the Pierrepont School,

The seniors and other teammates competed last weekend to qualify for Young Nationals in Sarasota, Florida in June.


First Five Guys closed (for renovations?).

Now there’s a “For Lease” sign in front of Shake Shack.

Maybe Big Top or Chubby Lane’s can come back …

(Hat tip: Bruce Schneider)


Robin Tauck returned to the University of Vermont on Sunday. This time, the 1977 graduate gave the commencement address at graduation ceremonies for the Grossman School of Business.

Robin is a longtime Westporter. She is a 3rd-generation oo-owner and former president and CEO of Tauck Inc., the luxury travel company started by her grandfather in 1925, and headquartered for many years here.

She is a business graduate of UVM, Stanford University’s Executive Business Program, and the University of Cambridge Leaders Sustainability Program.

She was recently honored at the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in Hartford, for her career in “Global Impact.”

Robin Tauck


The Pequot Library is not actually in Westport.

But with so many local connections, it might as well be.

For example, Westporter Coke Anne Wilcox is president of the board of trustees. Caroline Calder serves as vice president, while Belinda Shepard and Richard “Deej” Webb are both trustees.

Westport poet laureate/Westport Writers’ Workshop instructor Jessie McEntee handles marketing and communications at Pequot.

Alex Heekin works in development. Jane Manners is the beloved children’s Librarian. Leslie Mahtani, also a librarian, works at the circulation desk.

Though the Pequot Library receives 20% of its annual funding from the town of Fairfield, it must raise the other 80% on its own.

One method: an annual Southport Garden Stroll. This year’s event — a behind-closed-gates peek at 8 stunning outdoor space — is June 2. Click here for tickets, and more information.

One more Westport tie-in: TV host/author/lifestyle expert/realtor Mar Jennings hosts the June 1 Champagne & Canapé kickoff party.

Pequot Library.


A new farm dinner — an “intimate, bourbon-inspired” event — has been added to the Wakeman Town Farm menu.

It’s July 12. But, WTF notes, it makes a great Fathers Day gift.

Chef Lamour Workman promises that each course will be paired with a specialty bourbon, created by Bridgeport’s Fifth State Distillery.

Tickets are $125 each. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Longtime Westporter Sophia Makowski, most recently of Wallingford, died peacefully on Saturday.

The 9th child of 10, and a “second mother” to several family members, Sophie is remembered for her “incredible endurance, priceless humor, sharp wit, and unending support of her loved ones.” Loved by all who met her.

Sophia’s funeral is tomorrow (Thursday, May 25, 11 a.m., Assumption Church). Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Greens Farms Road.

Click here to leave online condolences. Contributions in Sophia’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Sophia Makowski


Thanksgiving is a solid 6 months away.

So this turkey figured it was safe to strut his stuff.

Luisa Francoeur took his “Westport … Naturally” photo on Broadview Road, during her morning walk.

(Photo/Luisa Francoeur)


And finally … Linda Lewis died earlier this month, near London. She was 72.

I never heard of her. But the New York Times took note. She was “a critically acclaimed soul singer and songwriter whose pyrotechnic voice propelled four Top 10 singles as a solo artist in her native Britain and led to work as a backup vocalist on acclaimed albums by stars like David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Rod Stewart.”

The newspaper added: “Ms. Lewis drew raves for her soaring five-octave vocal range and impressed listeners with her genre-hopping instincts, drawing from folk, R&B, rock, reggae, pop and — with more than a nudge from label executives — disco.”

Click here for the full obituary. And enjoy (as I did) this sampling of her work:

(If you get a ticket to the Westport Pops Concert, thank “06880.” You can say thanks with a contribution, too — just click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: Music Honors, Library Book Sale, Twiddle …

It’s getting to be routine. But it never gets old.

For the 11th year in a row, the Westport Public Schools have been named a “Best Community for Music Education,” by the NAMM Foundation.

The honor goes to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.

The application process includes questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. The Music Department cites partnerships with organizations like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTA Cultural Arts, WestPAC and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.


Westport music instructors take bows, at the Levitt Pavilion Pops Concert.


The Westport Library’s spring book sale starts today (Friday).

Thousands of gently used books for children and adults are available in over 50 categories, plus vintage children’s and antiquarian books, music CDs, and movie and television DVDs.

Of special interest: Books donated from the homes of former US cabinet member Joseph Califano; NBC Sports producer Ricky Diamond, and philanthropist and educator Elisabeth Luce Moore, sister of Henry Luce (Time-Life founder). Many of the books in the Califano collection have been signed political, journalist, literatary and entertainment figures.

Plus a collection of works by or about James Joyce, and an extensive collection of history books, especially US and world politics, and World War II.

The “Fiction for $1” room is back by popular demand, filled with hardcover fiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy and young adult fiction, plus paperbacks, just $1 each.

Vinyl records, graphic novels and manga will be available at the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green from the Library.

  • Friday, May 5: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 6: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 7: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; almost everything half-price.
  • Monday, May 8: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: fill a logo bags for $8 (or fill your own equivalent-sized bag for $5), or purchase individual items for half price.

Westport LIbrary Book Sale


Years ago, as a student at Providence College, Alison Reilly became interested in American Sign Language.

This year she began exploring how to add it to the Staples High School curriculum. She cites the benefits of learning any language, including improved memory, attention and problem-solving skills, and increased cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Studies have shown that learning ASL can have cognitive and academic benefits for students. Learning a second language has been shown to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills, and ASL is no exception. In addition, learning ASL can help students become more culturally aware and sensitive, and demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Schools like Brown, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Berkeley, Michigan, Penn and Yale all accept ASL as fulfilling students’ world language requirement for admission.

Fairfield, Wilton and Greenwich already include ASL in their course offerings, Reilly says.

Assistant superintendent of schools of teaching and learning Anthony Buono says, “We currently offer ASL online as an elective. We have had conversations about offering it as a World Language option, but nothing formal has transpired.

“One significant challenge is finding certified teachers. Darien is currently searching for a teacher and has been unable to find one.”

Reilly says she’ll keep “06880” posted on the progress of her initiative.

Artist/photographer Miggs Burroughs created “Signs of Compassion,” by asking 30 Westporters to sign a different word, in Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name.


In his work with “CBS Sunday Morning,” PBS’ “Nova,” the Missing Manuals tech guides and more, David Pogue calls himself a “professional explainer.”

At Monday’s Y’s Women meeting (May 8, 11:15 a.m., Green’s Farms Church), he’ll explain something all of us have heard about, but few understand: artificial intelligence.

It’s useful — and terrifying. An app can write anything you ask it to: Letters, song lyrics, research papers, recipes, therapy sessions, poems, essays, software code.

Other apps create music, perfectly mimic anybody’s voice, and generate complete video scenes from typed descriptions.

His talk is so important, the Y’s Women are inviting everyone to come. So be “wise”: Go hear David Pogue.

And get even wiser.

David Pogue, professional explainer.


The Westport and Fairfield Senior Centers co-hosted a “Meet the Authors  yesterday, in Westport Nearly 2 dozen local authors chatted informally about their works (and sold copies).

Susan Garment buys an autographed copy of “I Pried Open Wall Street In 1962: Overcoming Barriers, Hurdles and Obstacles – A Memoir” from author Winston Allen. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Twiddle — the Vermont-based ensemble that played to sold-out Levitt Pavilion crowds last summer — returns for a 2-day, 4-set festival July 21-22. (Click here for a great video of that weekend.)

It’s extra special, because soon after, they’ll take an indefinite hiatus from touring.

The Twiddle Festival also includes Lespecial, Kung Fu, Oh He Dead, and one more band to be announced soon. Click here for tickets, and more information.


The Levitt Pavilion recently announced a new slate of free shows, too.

The Suffers — an 8-piece Gulf Coast Soul/rock/country/Latin/Southern hip hop/Stax and Muscle Shoals band from Houston — take the stage July 14.

Calexico’s “Feast of Wire 20th Anniversary Tour” is August 17.

Click here for free tickets, and more information.


Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — heads to Longshore for their next event.

The picnic at Evan Harding Point includes card games, MoCA art, the Super Duper Weenie food truck, a giveaway, and a special surprise.

The date is May 25 (6 to 7:30 p.m.). Click here to RSVP, and for more information.


Do you have questions about aging, like who will protect your financial assets, how to navigate healthcare, and whether you can age in place?

The Residence at Westport hosts a panel on “Navigating Senior Care Options” (May 16, 2 p.m., 1141 Post Road East).

Representatives from Cohen & Wolf, Constellation Health Services, Growing Options, Hartford Healthcare Geriatric Medicine, Moneco Advisors, National Heath Care Associates, Privatus Care Solutions, Stardust Move Managers, The Carolton and William Raveis Real Estate will join The Residence experts.

RSVP: lscopelliti@residencewestport.com; 203-349-2002.

The Residence at Westport.


Westport artists Dale Najarian and Tomira Wilcox are featured in the “Shadows Revealed” exhibit at Sono1420 craft distillers in South Norwalk.

Proceeds from a portion of sales, and an artwork raffle at the opening reception May 11 (6 to 8 p.m.) benefit The Rowan Center sexual assault resource agency.

Artwork by Dale Najarian.


Laurel Canyon comes to Westport on May 13.

Voices Café’s next concert (8 p.m., the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport) features with The Bar Car Band. Their “Songs & Stories of Laurel Canyon” — with the music of Carole King, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and more — is a benefit for the Green Village Initiative.

The Bar Car Band includes Nina Hammerling on vocals, Russell Smith on guitar and vocals, plus Joe Izzo (drums), Scott Spray (bass), Tim DeHuff (guitar), Tim Stone (keyboards), David Allen Rivera (percussion), Amy Crenshaw (vocals) and narrator Hadley Boyd.

There’s café-style seating (at tables) or individual seating, plus room for dancing. Bring your own beverages and snacks; snacks are available for purchase too. Tickets are $25 each. Click here for tickets and more information.

The Bar Car Band


LaBeaute Artistry Brow & Nails has just opened, in the rear of the 234 Post Road East building that is anchored by Calico (just east of Imperial Avenue).

Owners Penny Yi and her sister, and their team, specialize in designs and nail extensions. They offer mani and pedi, microblading, brows lamination, tinting, waxing and other services.

Right now, there is 20% off for promgoers and new clients. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 203-349-5655.

Nails by LaBeaute.


The first rainbow of the year rose yesterday evening.

Mary Beth Stirling spotted it over Compo Beach. She notes that it’s just in time for today’s Full Flower Moon.

And Cinco de Mayo.

(Photo/Mary Beth Stirling)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is more proof — not that any is needed — that spring has arrived. Sunil Hirani captured this image on Riverside Avenue.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … in honor of Voices Café’s Laurel Canyon show (story above):

Roundup: Daryl Hall, Church Lane, More Music …

Nearly 40 years after Hall & Oates did not appear in Westport, Daryl Hall will be here.

That 1985 non-event is the stuff of local legend. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the town, Hall & Oates were signed for a special concert at Longshore.

Except the signing was done by a Westport nanny, who had no connection with the duo. It was, to use the technical term, BS.

Nearly 4,o0o people thronged Longshore, on a beautiful day.

They waited … waited … and waited. No Hall. No Oates. Nothing.

Staples High School student Cary Pierce had a band. They stepped up, saving the day (and kick-starting Cary’s eventual career, as one half of Jackopierce).

Now — in a new millennium — Daryl Hall has been signed for a Levitt Pavilion gala. He will be here August 24.

And there’s more: Todd Rundgren joins, as a special guest.

Levitt member pre-sale begins today at 10 a.m. Public sale starts Friday, at 10 a.m. Click here for all tickets. Click here for sponsorship opportunities.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is sill going strong. Four decades later, we’ll get to see for ourselves.

Hall and Oates, back in the day.


More entertainment: Music returns to Church Lane June 2.

Area artists have already been booked, to add to the al fresco enjoyment of restaurants like Spotted Horse and soon-to-open The Blondinit.

The entertainment runs through September 30.

Click here for a full schedule — and a link to donate to the cause.

Music on Church Lane (Photo/Dan Woog)


And all that jazz:

Staples High School’s Jazz Ensemble rocked the National Jazz Festival this past weekend in Philadelphia.

They placed 2nd in the top division, with drummer Witt Lindau receiving one of 3 Outstanding Musician medals. .

This is the second time the jazz program at Staples has been recognized nationally in recent years. The Staples High School Jazz Combo received first place in Small Ensemble Live Performance at the 2021 National Jazz Festival.

Congratulations to instructors Phil Giampietro, Gregg Winters, and all the young, award-winning musicians: seniors Jason Capozucca, Jaime Paul, Ana Jahnel, Delaney McGee, Henry Now, Jet Tober and Witt Lindau; juniors Freddie Aldridge, Zach Abramowitz, Deneil Betfarhad, Spencer Geiss, Ethan Walkmark and Matt Weiner; sophomores Sam Rondon, Tommy Linn and Cooper Paul, and freshman Charlie Beckwith.

The Staples High School Jazz Ensemble. Director Phil Giampietro is in the front row, at right.


Today’s “What’s Next in Weston” with 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor covers the plan and timeline for construction of Weston’s first sidewalks. Click below for insights into this town-changing event, courtesy of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.


Speaking of podcasts: Beth Berger sends along a link.

In it,, former Westporter Blanche Napoleon is interviewed about her friendship with Dan Hartman. In the 1970s she made music with him in his “schoolhouse” studio here.

Blanche was a background singer on some of Dan’s biggest disco hits (“Instant Replay”, “Relight My Fire”, “Love Sensation”). They remained good friends until his death from AIDS in 1993.

“It’s a great piece of Westport musical history,” Beth — who is now friendly with Blanche, her Palm Beach neighbor — writes.


The expanded Bruce Museum reopened 3 weeks ago. It showcases community, art, science and education, in a natural light setting.

Yesterday, the Y’s Women enjoyed a fascinating presentation by executive director and CEO Robert Wolstertoff.

The painting, sculpture, mineral and science galleries (the latter featuring penguins past and present) are free on Tuesdays. Free passes to the Bruce (and other museums) are available at the Westport Library.

Robert Wolstertorff at the Y’s Women meeting.


Sunday’s rain did not deter Pam Constantikes’ friends.

A crew from Staples High School’s Class of 1981 walked to raise money for research to end pancreatic cancer, in her honor.

They note that contributions can still be made. Click here to help.

Walking for Pat Constantikes (from left): Suzanne Sherman Propp, Patty Kondub, Linda Prestegaard, Ann Wriedt Sisto, Lauren Tarshis, Susan Charlton Wallace, Helen Rauh Glenn.


A new monthly podcast for the Westport Library’s Verso Studios features 2 familiar faces: Westport Writing Workshop leaders Patricia Dunn and Tessa Smith McGovern.

“Go Ahead, Write Something” is for “writers who want motivation and the deep-down truths about getting published, and how to find joy in writing and sharing your work with the world.”

The podcast launch begins this month. Five episodes are available via traditional podcast aggregators. Among them: Dunn and Smith McGovern’s StoryFest 2023 discussion with bestselling fantasy author Naomi Novik.


Raccoons are known for their “bandit eyes.”

So it was appropriate that this one — the subject of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — was fishing for dinner the other night behind the police station.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … for reasons unknown, today is National Telephone Day.

You remember telephones, right? The app you every once in a while use on your “smartphone”?

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog — and donations are tax-deductible. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)


Roundup: Club 203 Celebrates, Martha Stewart Returns, Amy Irving Sings …

Thursday was special for dozens of Club 203 members, relatives, friends and volunteers.

TAP Strength hosted the social group for adults with disabilities, at their 8th event of the year.

The “field day” was led by TAP founder EJ Zebro. His 5-person team facilitated stations for soccer, volleyball, dancing, cornhole, musical chairs and giant Jenga.

Also on “tap”: music, snacks, hacky sack prizes, and lots of laughs.

Joining TAP on Jesup Green were MoCA Westport (crafts and art project), Westport Book Shop (open late for parents to hang out), Lesser Evil Popcorn (snacks), and Kevin Godburn of Toquet Hall (tables and chairs).

Club 203’s next event: a fun day May 25, sponsored by Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department. Click here for more information on the group.

EJ Zebro (far right) and friends have fun at Jesup Green.


Martha Stewart returns to Westport June 1 (4 to 6 p.m.).

And not just anywhere. The former resident and longtime lifestyle guru will be back at her old Turkey Hill home. She’ll share memories of her years there, as she started her business and grew her media empire.

She’ll guide guests through the gardens, ending with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the patio. (A few guests will stay for dinner with Stewart.)

It’s a fundraiser for Positive Directions, Westport’s behavioral health organization addressing the national mental health crisis.

Tickets are $1,000; $2,500 gets you that dinner. Click here to purchase, and for more details.

Former Westporter Martha Stewart.


A baseball game between the only 2 undefeated teams in the FCIAC should be a nail-biter.

Yesterday’s was anything but.

Chase Siegel threw a perfect game. He needed just 59 pitches to shut down Danbury 10-0. The game ended early, thanks to the mercy (10-run lead) rule.

It’s been a great season so far for the 7-1 Wreckers, whose lone loss was 8-7 to non-league Fairfield Prep.

Staples has been led by pitchers Hiro Wyatt and Chris Zajac — and great defense. They’ve made only 1 error all season long. Ethan Cukier sparkled at shortstop against the Hatters.

In other Wrecker sports news, the boys lacrosse team — 6-1 after knocking off powerhouses like Massapequa, Bergen Catholic and Darien (13-11, storming back from an 8-1 halftime deficit) are ranked 16th in the latest national poll.

Chase Siegel. (Photo courtesy of Allison Ginzburg for The Ruden Report)


Kings Highway Elementary School students arrived early yesterday, to meet 2 special guests.

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas starred in a special “Rise & Read” event. They chatted with parents and kids over donuts, hot chocolate and coffee.

Tooker knows KHS well: Her 3 children went there. She read aloud to the current students from a very appropriate book: “Duck for President.”

The youngsters then asked questions, ranging from what she did to if her job is hard, and the benefits of having an office so close to Cold Fusion.

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, and “Duck for President.”


Compo’s South Beach is a great spot for romance.

Last night’s Pics of the Day featured a young couple enjoying the sunset in a hammock.

Also yesterday; another man proposed, to another woman.

Jody Peters saw it all happen, from a discreet distance. She reports: “I think she said yes…she put the ring on and they exchanged a kiss. It was beautiful.”

(Photo/Jody Peters)


Everyone knows Amy Irving as an actress.

She’s now a musician. “Born in A Trunk” includes 10 cover songs, pulled from her life and career.

On June 21 (7 p.m.), Westport welcomes her to the Levitt Pavilion stage.

Free tickets are available now to Levitt members. They’ll be available to everyone else on Monday at noon. Click here for yours.

Amy Irving


For years, one of the joys of Parker Harding Plaza — how’s that for an oxymoron?! — has been the pedestrian bridge.

Jutting into the Saugatuck River just a few yards from asphalt and automobiles, it offers a serene chance to stroll, observe nature, and relax.

Not anymore.

A chain and stern sign now keep everyone at bay.

(Photo/Diane Bosch)

It’s not clear whether the danger is because of rotting wood, to protect nesting swans, or another reason.

Nor is it clear when — or if — the bridge will be safe again.

Or who, exactly, is in charge of making it so.


The apple doesn’t fall far …

Shea Frimmer — child of Coleytown Middle School Company’s theater program — is directing a reading of “9:47” — a world premier play. It’s next Friday (April 28, 7 p.m., Toquet Hall).

The cast includes 2 professional adult actors, and 3 students.

Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Click here to purchase.


State Representative Dominique Johnson’s office is open to submissions for a Pride Month video essay contest. Any high school student in Westport or Norwalk can enter.

Video submissions should answer this question: “What is something you have done to build community that makes you most proud?” Creativity counts — but videos must be between 1 and 3 minutes only.

There are 2 categories: 9th-10th grade, and 11th-12th. Winners will receive a state citation, and be honored by Representative Johnson June 10 in Norwalk.

Video submissions should be sent to Dominique.johnson@cga.ct.gov. The deadline is May 15.

Representative Dominique Johnson.


If you’re wondering why the delay on the Merritt Parkway was longer than usual yesterday: There was a car fire by northbound Exit 41.

Be careful out there.

(Photo/Mar Servin)


Heli Stagg manages the Westport Library café. She sees this view — and others like it, though always changing — often.

Today, she shares it with “06880” readers, for our “Westport … Naturally” treat.

(Photo/Heli Stagg)


And finally … in honor of the prodigal daughter returning to town (story above):

(You may or may not want to pay $2,500 — or even $1,000 — to see Martha Stewart. But you can contribute any amount to “06880.” We’re happy for any help! Please click here. And thank you!)


Roundup: Sweetgreen, Y Memories, March Madness …

As reported last July on “06880,” Sweetgreen will be opening in Westport.

The salad-and-bowl fast casual restaurant — with over 150 outlets in more than a dozen states — will replace Organic Krush.

Although Sweetgreen representatives went before the Architectural Review Board with plans for their new restaurant in July, Organic Krush protested vociferously that they were not leaving.

But as WestportMoms notes this morning, the Sweetgreen website lists the 374 Post Road East location as “opening soon.”

The WestportMoms post drew over 700 likes, and more than 70 comments. “Love SO much!” one said.

“My prayers have been answered,” added a second.

And this: “Best news ever. My son and I just literally high-fived in the kitchen.”

A few of Sweetgreen’s many salads.


After 100 years, the Westport Weston Family YMCA knows plenty of folks have lots of memories. And memorabilia.

As part of their century celebration they ask members, former members and everyone else to haul out their photo albums, think back on the past, and share what they find. Click here to submit.

All year long, the Y will feature those photos and stories on their lobby monitor, website and social media, and in email newsletters.

Click here for the dedicated web page. Click below for a sample submission.


There are many ways to enjoy March Madness.

A great “06880” connection: Dave Briggs.

The media celebrity (Fox News, NBC Sports, CNN) is hosting “March Madness Fast Break” for Turner Sports. It’s noon to midnight, Thursday through Sunday on MarchMadness.com and the March Madness Live app.

Dave calls it “Red Zone for college basketball with the best live action, analysis and social media reaction.” He partners with a pair of legends: Kentucky’s Tony Delk and Wake Forest’s Randolph Childress.

Dave Briggs, ready for all the action.


Speaking of basketball: Tonight’s state Division II boys semifinal between #7 Staples High School and #3 Fairfield Warde is easy for fans to get to.

The game is at Westhill High in Stamford. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

The winner advances to the Connecticut championship this weekend, at Mohegan Sun.


The Levitt Pavilion season is still 3 months away. But — to help raise funds for over 50 nights of free entertainment — the riverside outdoor venue has just announced 2 special ticketed events.

Samara Joy — 2023 Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album — takes the stage June 3. Triple Grammy winner Bruce Hornsby follows with the Noisemakers on July 1. Both Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m.

Member pre-sales start today (Wednesday, March 15) at 10 a.m. Public sales start Friday (March 17, 10 a.m.).

Tickets are already on sale for the June 24 show: Michael Franti & Spearhead Big Big Love Tour, with Phillip Phillips.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Representative Town Meeting member Matthew Mandell joins other elected officials this morning (Wednesday, March 15, 10 a.m.; Zoom).

They’ll speak prior to the state General Assembly Planning & Development Committee’s public hearing on HB 6890, the “Live Work Ride” bill that proposes withholding, withdrawing and perhaps clawing back state infrastructure funding from communities that fail to adopt regulations permitting greater density, with limited parking and a prescribed affordability component, around transit areas.

Mandell and his colleagues are part of “CT169Strong.” It’s a statewide non-partisan group “dedicated to local control and oversight, and protecting the unique qualities of Connecticut’s 169 towns.

Click here for a link to Mandell’s meeting. The ID is 455 019 2513; the passcode is 6C436A.


We missed Pi Day yesterday (3/14 — get it?).

But there’s still a bit of pi left over.

Check out this web site created by our Westport neighbor, Michael Winser.

It calculates the value of the famed mathematical constant to, oh, about a squintillion places, on a scrolling page.

Geek away!

Staples High School math teacher Kevin Cuccaro celebrated Pi Day yesterday, with appropriate food and a t-shirt. (Photo courtesy of Humans of Staples)


Love the Westport Library? Want to help make it even better?

The Library and Representative Town Meeting are seeking candidates to fill vacancies on the Library board of trustees.

Trustees work closely with the executive director, in areas like funding, policies and planning. They develop long-range plans, monitor the budget and help oversee fundraising. The board meets monthly; there are also committee meetings.

Trustees must be Westport residents. There are 20 members. Half are appointed by the RTM, half by the Library board itself.

More information about the role of trustees is available here.

Applicants should email a resume and letter of interest to rpowell@westportlibrary,org. by April 17, with information on how past work and experience qualify them for consideration as a trustee.

Westport Library. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


How can parents and caregivers support healthy identity development in young children?

Many ways. And you can learn about them at “Supporting Healthy Identity Development in Young Children: Race, Culture and Beyond.” The Westport Library keynote (April 4, 7 to 8:30 p.m.) is led by Takiema Bunche Smith, founder and CEO of Anahsa Consulting and a noted executive leader, advisor, coach and educator.

The session will explore “how adults socialize young children into racial, cultural and other social identities, and what that means in the context of an inequitable US society.”

Click here for more information. The event is sponsored by TEAM Westport.


Laurie Sorensen took this photo of snow drops a couple of days ago — before yesterday’s way-less-than-fierce “snow storm.”

But the snowy idea works well for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


Bruce Hornsby is playing and touring now with the Noisemakers (see Levitt Pavilion story above).

But he started his career — and had the biggest hit of his career — with The Range.

That’s just the way it is.

(Whew! There’s a lot going on in Westport. And “06880” covers it all. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)


Roundup: Tyre Nichols, Ruegg Grants, Michael Franti …

The Tyre Nichols story is national news.

Despite Hearst Connecticut Media’s story yesterday, there is not a Westport connection.

A Connecticut Post story headlined “Advocates call for policing reforms, as Lamont questions whether Tyre Nichols incident could happen in CT” quoted Scot Esdaile, president of Connecticut’s NAACP chapter, as saying, “It’s not only happening in Memphis, we’ve seen it in New Haven, we’ve seen it in Westport, we’ve seen it in Hartford, we’ve seen it in Bridgeport.”

However, the link associated with “Westport” referred to a case from 2011 — in Westport, Massachusetts.

A statement from the Westport (Connecticut) Police Department says: “Understandably, (we) were disappointed by this article because we feel we have worked hard to build relationships and have never had any incident that resembles what we saw in Memphis.”

Hearst Media deleted the Westport link.

Esdaile apologized to Chief Foti Koskinas, the Westport Police Department and the town of Westport. He said that he meant to reference West Haven.

Esdaile added, “I have had a conversation with the chief along with Harold Bailey, the chairman of the Westport Civilian Review Panel, and we had a wonderful and energetic conversation. I apologized during the call several times, and we are looking forward to working together in the future.”

Koskinas called his conversation with Esdaile “productive, and brought about a positive resolution.”



If you’re a local non-profit organization, the Westport Woman’s Club wants to give you money.

Ruegg Grants provide up to $10,000 for a 2023 project. Proposals should be “high-profile initiatives that make a meaningful difference in the Westport community.

The grants — established in 1995 by an endowment from former WWC member Lea Ruegg — go to projects that enhance social services, health, safety, the arts or education. Recent beneficiaries include the Westport Astronomical Society, Project Return, Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm.

Click here for the grant application. The deadline is February 28.

The Westport Woman’s Club opens its doors to grant applications.


The first big ticketed event of the Levitt Pavilion has been announced.

Michael Franti & Spearhead‘s “Big Big Love Tour” kicks off the Stars on Tour Series on Saturday, June 24 (7 p.m.). Phillip Phillips is the opening act.

Franti is a globally recognized musician, activist, hotel owner (Soulshine Bali) and award-winning filmmaker revered for his high-energy live shows, inspiring music, devotion to health and wellness, worldwide philanthropic efforts and the power of optimism.

His hits include “Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I Got You.” Spearhead’s 12th studio album, “Follow Your Heart,” debuted last June at #2, behind Harry Styles.

Levitt Pavilion members can purchase tickets now. The public ticket sale begins Friday (February 3, 10 a.m.). Click here for details.


Here in Westport, we take garbage trucks for granted.

In Lyman, Ukraine they are game-changers.

A small part of the $252,000 donated by Westporters recently went to the purchase of 1 large and 1 small used trash trucks.

They’re vital to the reconstruction of our new sister city. When the Russians fled last fall, after 5 months of occupation and carnage, they took or destroyed all the vehicles. Refuse from the occupation — including bombed-out buildings and schools — has piled up ever since.

Katya Wauchope created this video, with footage supplied by Westport’s on-the-ground partners, Ukraine Aid International and Alex 21:


Last August, “06880” highlighted Aiden Schachter. The rising Staples High School junior started a business — creating and selling LED light clouds — that has taken off nationally.

That’s impressive — and time-consuming. But it’s not all Aiden does. He is also a varsity wrestler.

And a pilot: He soloed on his 16th birthday. Next month, he hopes to get his full license.

Westport is justifiably proud of Aiden. Now the whole state can be.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) just posted a video starring Aiden. Check it out (below): The story of this athlete/cloud-making entrepreneur/pilot is truly uplifting.


After several years, the Greens Farms train station waiting room has reopened.

That’s good news for commuters during this winter — even if they have not yet needed to take refuge from bitter cold.

It’s open from 5:30 to 10 a.m. No coffee vendor yet — but that is on the front burner.

The Greens Farms train station waiting room is open again.


Getting into and out of the Westport Book Shop just got easier.

A handrail — often requested by patrons — was just installed on the steps to the Jesup Road used book store.

Now there’s one more reason — besides helping fund the Westport Library, and keep people with disabilities employed — to stop in and browse.

Surrounding the Westport Book Shop handrail (from left): Evan Payne, cc-manager Katherine Caro, Lia Walker, Lori Wenke. (Photo/Tom Lowrie)


Coming up at Earthplace:

Family Campfire (February 11, 1:30 to 3 p.m.; $30 member families, $40 non-member families): Learn about animal tracks while roasting marshmallows next to a crackling fire; meet an “animal ambassador,” and participate in a guided activity. Click here to register.

February Break Camp (February 20-24, 27; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., $100/day; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., $150/day; ages 3-12): Spend winter school break outside with nature; animal encounters, and self-chosen activities. Themes change daily. Click here to register.

Maple Sugaring Magic (March 5, $20 per family; 1:30-2:30 and 3-4 p.m.): Take part in a New England tradition. Learn how to identify maple trees on a trail walk, tap a tree and collect sap, and make maple syrup at home. Finish with tasting fresh maple sap, syrups and other maple goodies around the campfire. Click here to register.

Books & Beverages (March 15, 7 to 8 p.m.; free):  Participate in a casual discussion about “A Sand Country Almanac,” with naturalist Becky Newman. BYOB and snacks. Weather permitting, it’s outside. Click here to register.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows what — even in mid-winter — is always one of our town’s most beautiful spots.

(Photo/Michelle Harmon)


And finally … Barrett Strong, Barrett Strong, whose 1959 hit “Money (That’s What I Want),” helped launch Motown Records, and who later co-wrote “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Ball of Confusion” and “War,” died on Sunday. He was 81. Click here for a full obituary.

(It would be tempting to follow up the item above with a crass plea for donations to “06880,” but I won’t do that. I’ll just say: Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

Pic Of The Day #2003

Who knew there was a “rain garden” behind the Levitt Pavilion? And who knew it was so educational too? (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Roundup: Scholars, Cyndi Lauper, Universe …

Twelve Staples High School seniors have qualified as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Congratulations to Aalok Bhattacharya, James Cao, Sharmila Green, Emma Losonczy, Colin Morgeson, Gavin Thomas Rothenberg, Katharine Shackelford, Matthew Shackelford, Tegh Singh, Lucia Wang, Lilly Weisz, Tom Zhang   

Nationwide, 16,000 semifinalists — fewer than 1 percent of the over 1.5 million students who took the 2021 PSAT/NMSQT qualifying exam –will compete for 7,250 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $28 million.

From left: Aalok Bhattacharya, Tom Zhang, Colin Morgeson, Sharmila Green, Lilly Weisz, Emma Losonczy,

From left: Lucia Wang, Gavin Thomas Rothenberg, James Cao, Matthew Shackelford, Katharine Shackelford. Missing: Tegh Singh.


A sold-out crowd loved Cyndi Lauper’s Friday night benefit concert at the Levitt Pavilion.

And she loved Westport.

That’s not just “06880” speculation. The legendary singer/actress posted “thanks” on both her Facebook and Instagram pages.

She put on a great show. It was clear the girl just wanted to have fun.


There’s a true hometown flavor to this week’s Jazz at the Post.

“Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall will be joined by Westport’s own Melissa Newman.

She’s had a long career singing jingles for companies like AT&T and Chevrolet. Neighbors know her from performances at Blue Lemon, Tengda and Harvest.

There are 2 shows — 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. — on Thursday (October 6) at VFW Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue). There’s a $10 cover. Food service starts at 6:30.

Guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Matt Moadel will join Greg and Melissa.

Reservations are strongly suggested. Email JazzatThePost@gmail.com.

Melissa Newman


For thousands of years, humans have wondered about the universe: How big is it? How did it start? How will it end?

Only in the last few decades have we had the space tools to begin to find answers.

Marty Yellin has special insights. With a doctorate in biomedical engineering, he worked at PerkinElmer on a top secret program to design and build the largest spy satellite ever. Then he helped design and manage the Hubble Space Telescope.

On October 20 (10 a.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum and Zoom), he offers an overview of the fascinating, often mindboggling discoveries made by modern  telescopes. Click here for the Zoom link.

Just an infinitely small portion of the universe. Can you see where we are?


Need another reason (besides great books) to go the Westport Book Shop this month?

How about Susan Lloyd’s shells?

The longtime Westporter exhibits an assortment of 2-dimensional shell art works, including mirrors and mosaics.

Over 15 years, her work has evolved to include skulls (plastic reproductions), old dolls and Saints (for their stories, not religious reasons). Colors, shapes, textures and shell varieties are all important elements n her designs.

Her work is on display through October 31, and is available for purchase. To see more of her art, click here.

Susan Lloyd at the Westport Book Shop, with shell art.


The 13th annual Push Against Cancer is coming soon. And a group of Westport dads is pushing hard, to raise money for campers and their families at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, it offers fun, friendship and a healthy dose of mischief to seriously ill children at its great facility in upstate Connecticut, plus  outreach to hospitals, clinics and communities across the Northeast. All services are free.

The event is Sunday, October 16 (10 a.m., Staples High School). Andy Berman and Adam Vengrow are spearheading the dads’ effort. Click here to help.

Adam Vengrow (far left), Andy Berman (far right) and friends get ready for the Push Against Cancer.


It’s still early October. But Al’s Angels is getting ready for the holidays.

This year’s goal is to provide toys to over 20,000 children suffering from cancer, rare blood diseases and financial hardship.

They’ll do it by providing an Amazon wish list. Just click here; purchase as many needed items as you wish, and have them shipped to: Al’s Angels, 342 Greens Farms Road, Westport, CT 06880.

You can also make a cash donation; click here.


Date clarification: Westport Moms’ 2nd annual Fall Family Festival is next weekend — not the coming one. It’s Saturday, October 15 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Greens Farms Academy; $20 per family).

The event includes food, crafts, games and fun (bouncy houses, ninja course, music, art projects, DJ, pumpkin and cookie decorating, face painting, hair extensions, glitter tattoos, magic, STEM activities and more).

Many businesses will show off their products and services — all with activities for kids.

Organizers Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post ask attendees to bring gently worn jackets, for donations to a local non-profit.

A scene from last year’s Fall Family Festival.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is one of the happiest ever.

And why not? Junior, Winston and Frank are thrilled to be back (legally) at Compo Beach.

(Photo/Nicola Sharian)


And finally … in honor of the upcoming Westport Astronomical Society lecture (story above):


Roundup: Cyndi Lauper, Aspetuck Land Trust, Longshore Ladies …

Last night, Cyndi Lauper joined a long list — Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson and Chuck Berry, to name just 3 — who played a Levitt Pavilion Fundraiser.

Bantering with the audience and sounding in fine form, the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” girl wowed the sellout crowd.

The weather was fine. The set list was great. And — thanks to all those ticket buyers — Westport’s favorite outdoor entertainment venue can begin planning another summer of over 50 free events for 2023.

Cyndi Lauper, in action. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


This is the week to pick up 6,000 pre-ordered native plants, through Aspetuck Land Trust’s semi-annual sale.

Funds support their Green Corridor. It links green spaces within developed residential and urban areas to the protected natural areas ALT preserves, maintains, and manages as public spaces.

The Land Trust has added 34,000 native plans to the region, in just the past 3 years. 1,400 Fairfield County residents have contributed more than $100,000, helping improve the region’s biodiversity.

To learn more about Aspetuck Land Trust, click here.

Haskins Preserve is one of Aspetuck Land Trust’s many such areas. (Photo/Wendy Cusick)


The Longshore Ladies 9-Holers’ recent Charity Golf Event lived up to its name.

The Westport Woman’s Club Food Closet received over $1,125, and 4 grocery carts of food donations. The funds will help provide Stop & Shop gift cards.

Seems like there were plenty of winners at that golf outing,

Food donations, courtesy of Longshore Ladies’ 9-Holers.


“06880” covers Westport, past and present.

On Thursday, I spoke on exactly that subject to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

My message was, “The bad news is: Westport has changed. The good news is: Westport has changed.”

It was a great audience — as the Y’s Men are for all guest speakers. They asked great questions. They laughed at all the right times.

And the donuts and coffee were fantastic.

Yours truly, at the Y’s Men meeting. ({Photo/Ted Horowitz)


Hurricane Ian has claimed another victim.

Well, at least the weather has.

The Westport Book Shop event with Lauren Tarshis — originally scheduled for this afternoon (Saturday, October 1) on Jesup Green — has been rescheduled to November 5 (3:30 p.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum).

For more information, click here.

Westport Book Shop.


Work continues on Westport Hardware’s new location.

The popular store is moving a few storefronts west of its current site, in the shopping plaza opposite Fresh Market.

They’ll open “soon,” they promise.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


Speaking of shopping: Hurry on down to Walgreens.

Altoids are selling now at a much lower price than before!

(Photo/Phil Rubin)

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is a serene scene, off Compo’s South Beach:

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


And finally … today is October 1. Or, as it’s better known in Westport: The day dogs can return to Compo Beach.’

Enjoy th next 6 months. April 1 will be here before you know it.

 (After playing with your dogs, please consider a contribution to “06880”! Click here to help.)

Roundup: Arline Gertzoff, Teen Pressures, Shanah Tova …

Longtime jUNe Day hospitality chair, poll worker, RTM member, proud Staples High School graduate and avid “06880” reader and commenter Arline Gertzoff is in the hospital.

Let’s show her some blog love, and flood her with cards. Her address is: Arline Gertzoff, c/o St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Room 915, 2800 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06606.

Arline Gertzoff


Westport kids are under a ton of pressure. Everyone knows that.

On October 19th (7 p.m., Westport Library; reception at 6:30), parents can learn about causes, recognize signs of struggle, discover anxiety-reducing strategies, and hear about family resources.

The Library is partnering with Positive Directions and the Westport Weston Family YMCA, to present “The Cost of Success: What Pressure is Doing to Our Kids.”

PD’s executive director Vanessa Wilson moderates. Panelists include Staples High School Teen Awareness Group students, plus Val Babich, coordinator of psychological services for Westport Public Schools; Frank Castorina, clinical supervisor at PD, and pediatric hospitalist Alicia Briggs.

Psressures — academic, social and other — are high on teenagers today. (Photo/Dan Woog)


The High Holy Days are here.

Jolantha — Weston’s favorite sculpture — wishes her many Jewish friends a Happy New Year.

Sure, she’s a pig. She’s no doubt pleased she’s not on the Rosh Hashana menu.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


Speaking of animals:

Bob Weingarten offers thanks to Greens Farms drivers. He writes:

“Last week, while adjusting my puppy’s collar at our front door, Misty ‘escaped’ and ran into the street. I ran after her and yelled for her to stop, but she continued running for 20 minutes. She thought that this was a game!

As I ran after her, drivers stopped their cars and waited so she would not get hit.  They were all very considerate. Two other dog walkers tried to capture her but she ran from them when she saw me approaching.  She finally had enough. When she lay down I put her collar on, and took her home.

“This was not the only time drivers were considerate to me and others while walking our dogs. When they see us, they drive on the other side of the road to provide space and safety. Even construction truck drivers do the same. So Misty and I say ‘thanks to all you  driver!'”

Misty, secured at the door (Photo/Bob Weingarten)


The Levitt Pavilion summer season continues into fall.

The outdoor venue added another ticketed event. DAS Trio, featuring Rob Derhak, Vinnie Amico and Al Schnier of moe, appear on Saturday, October 8 (7 p.m.).

Tickets are $15 for members (on sale now), $18 for non-members (beginning tomorrow, Monday, at noon). They’re available at the box office the day of the show too, beginning at 5 p.m.

The terrace bar will be open that night, sponsored by Rizzuto’s. There will be food trucks too. For tickets and more information, click here.

DAS Trio


Tickets are on sale for the Staples Lacrosse Association’s great raffle. It’s part of their golf outing, set for October 3 at Longshore.

Prizes include tickets on Avelo Airlines; golf club component fitting from Golftec; one night’s stay at the Inn at Longshore; a personal training session with Drew Accomando, plus much more. There are tons of gift cards too.

Click here for the full list of items, and to purchase tickets. Then scroll down for information on the golf outing.

Staples High School: boys lacrosse state champs — and #1 in the nation!


Westport artist and frequent “06880” online gallery contributor Brian Whelan has been commissioned by the Episcopal Church of Wyoming to produce 13 paintings about the life of Rev. Dr. John Roberts. The Welsh Anglican missionary-priest ministered among Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation.

The series will premiere at the John Roberts Festival in Ft. Washakie, Wyoming next summer. They then embark on an international exhibition tour, at museums throughout Wyoming, then at Episcopal cathedrals in the US, and finally to Wales in partnership with the Anglican Church. The paintings will then be on permanent display in Wyoming.

Beyond commemorating the life and ministry of Rev. Roberts, the exhibition will draw attention to the importance of learning from the spirituality, culture and worldview of Native Americans.

Brian Whelan begins work, on the first of 13 paintings.


Fred Cantor provides today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

He writes: “I have no clue what the red plants at Old Mill Beach are. But they are beautiful!”

(Photo/fred Cantor)


And finally … in honor of Misty, the dog that almost got away (story above):

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