Tag Archives: Local to Market

Roundup: Local To Market, Y’s Men, Elaine’s …

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Local To Market — the food/coffee/gift/gift basket/and more shop that opened a few months ago in the former Talbots/Remarkable Book Shop prime space at the Main Street entrance to Parker Harding Plaza — is closing soon.

Whether it’s temporary or permanent is uncertain. And, in a way, up all of us.

Owner Chris Marcocci must move out by April 30, because the building was sold.

He has not yet found a new location. “We may have to hit pause,” he says, “but hopefully not for too long.

“Bringing Local To Market to Main Street was an amazing experience. My wife Rita, general manager Jon Clement and I are grateful for the wonderful community support, especially our loyal customers and amazing Connecticut suppliers.

“Bringing in the Art Collective of Westport for our art gallery, featuring local musicians and giving back to local charities made this very worthwhile.

“We wish to remain in Westport, and hope to be open again soon with an even wider assortment of products and services. We are looking for our next location, and possible partners to add a café and more.”

If you’ve got a lead, contact him directly: chris@localtomarket.com.

The Local to Market patio.

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Almost two dozen Y’s Men spent yesterday serving the community.

Joined by 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, they gathered with bags, gloves, coffee, donuts and homemade matzoh bark at the Baldwin Parking Lot. They spent hours gathering trash — cans, paper, cigarette butts, even a tent from — from the periphery.

Dewey Loselle, head of the group’s Community Service, organized the event.

Y’s Men of Westport/Weston includes almost 400 retired men. They meet weekly from Labor Day to Memorial Day, sharing coffee and donuts and hearing speakers.

Activities range from bridge. boating, golf, tennis, hiking and walking to a global issues discussion group, dining and field trips.

Meetings are Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. Click here for more information, or email

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker (6th from right) and Y’s Men at the Baldwin Parking Lot.

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The New York Times describes a new musical in the works. “Everyone Comes to Elaine’s” is based on the Upper East Side spot that for decades attracted celebrities from Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen and Truman Capote to Joe DiMaggio and Keith Richards.

The creators optioned the rights to the 2004 book “Everyone Comes to Elaine’s.” It was written by A.E. Hotchner, a Westport resident and Elaine’s regular. He died in 2020, at 102.

They added Hotchner’s son Timothy, who grew up here, as a creative and business partner. Click here for the full Times story. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

A. E. Hotchner, in Westport. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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Congratulations to April’s Staples High School Students of the Month: seniors Emma Londoner and Rachel Greenberg, juniors Carine Rosado and Ian Patton, sophomores Sacha Maidique and Nicholas De Munck, and freshmen Brady Dennett and Shelby Weisman.

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

From left: Shelby Weisman, Ian Patton, Sacha Maidique, Carina Rosado, Brady Dennett, Rachel Greenberg, Emma Londoner. Missing: Nicholas de Munck.

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The Westport Police Department will be out in “force” next Saturday (April 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Stop & Shop), collecting food for the Gillespie Center and Westport Human Services food pantry.

The event is co-sponsored with the Westport Rotary Club, and Westport Woman’s Club. They ask for non-perishable items only — and no glass!

Items needed for Saturday’s food drive.

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Yesterday’s Roundup included a video with what I was told were the sons of Plácido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti’s.

Nope. The trio are called Il Novo, and though they are extremely talented, they have nothing to do with those three stars. One more reason to remember that, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “you can’t believe everything you see on the internet.”

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There’s always something happening at the Senior Center. Including — this time of year — magnificent spring colors.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image was captured beautifully by Molly Alger.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … until yesterday, I’d never heard of Art Rupe.

But without him, chances are I’d also never have heard of the music I love.

The founder of Specialty Records, he brought rhythm and blues — formerly “race music” — into the white mainstream. He jump-started the careers of singers like Little Richard and Lloyd Price. Hearing those artists influenced groups like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Animals.

Art Rupe died on Friday at his home in Santa Barbara. He was 104. Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Michael Taylor)

Roundup: Metro-North, Ukraine Donations, Longshore Golf …

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Metro-North is expanding service and restoring some express trains — including adding 34 new trains on the New Haven line.

Weekday service will be restored to 89% of pre-pandemic levels, and new train service will reduce trip times for a number of commuters (the railroad says).

Click here for new Metro-North schedules.

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All week long, donations for Ukraine have poured in to Wakeman Town Farm.

Medical and emergency supplies, sleeping bags, boots, socks, sweaters, gloves, radios, hand warmers, binoculars — all were sent or dropped off by Westporters.

Similar collections took place all week long at Weston’s Lechat Town Farm, and Wilton’s Ambler Farm.

Tomorrow, they’ll be sent overseas.

As soon as they arrive, they’ll be put to great use.

Christy Colasurdo of Wakeman Town Farm, in front of some of the donated items. (Photo/Ted Horowitz).

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Speaking of Ukraine: Lynsey Addario was a guest last night on “Amanpour & Company.”

Christiane Amanpour had an in-depth conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photojournalist/1991 Staples High School graduate.

Click below to see. (Hat tip: Linda Montecalvo)

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Tee it up!

The expected opening for the Longshore golf course is this Friday (March 25) — weather permitting, of course. The halfway house concession opens April 1.

Click here for the course website. The pro shop phone number is 203-221-0900.  For day of play tee times, call 203-226-9785.

Westport residents can purchase or renew a handpass online at www.westportrecreation.com or in person weekdays (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Parks & Recreation office, across the parking lot from the pro shop.

The18th hole. (Drone photo/John Videler for videler.com)

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Jane Green — Westport’s favorite international best-selling author — has just released her first novel in 3 years. “Sister Stardust” is also her first biographical fiction.

Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty, in this unique story from a forgotten chapter of the “Swinging ’60s.”
  
Though Talitha’s life seemed perfect, in her 20s — already a famous model and actress — she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh with her husband, oil heir Paul Getty. She presided over an ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.

When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous façade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.

The epilogue: Because Jane is as clever a person as she is a writer, she’s bringing out a range of caftans and jewelry inspired by the book.

Jane Green

 

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Speaking of trains (as we were above): Got something to say about Wheels2U and/or the Westport Transit District?

Director Peter Gold and others will be at the Westport train station this Wednesday (March 23, 6 to 10 a.m., near the elevator on the westbound side), to meet commuters. In case of rain, they’ll meet inside the station house.

Gold says, “We want commuters to let us know what’s right with Wheels2U, what’s not working, and what we can do better. We also want to talk to commuters who don’t take Wheels2U [the on-demand, group ride, platform shuttle service] to make them aware of it.”

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The list of goodies at Local to Westport — the nearby-sourced food-and-more market on Main Street — always changes.

Among the new items:

  • Whistle Stop Pies (Ridgefield): Owner Lolly makes delicious berry crumble, chocolate espresso and lemon cream pies.
  • J’s Vegan Elderberry Syrup (Bethel): Julie does this batch with maple syrup instead of the traditional honey.
  • Riad’s Mediterranean Dips (Bethlehem): Hummus, yogurt dip, tapenade, pesto and baba ghanouj.
  • Alma’s Mexican Foods Macha Salsa (Westport, CT): Chili pepper-based condiments.
  • *Cato Corners Cheese (Colchester): Raw milk cheeses
  • Good Doggy Treats (Brookfield): Tony’s treats are a hit with canine visitors.
  • Knipschlidt Chocolates Easter Eggs (Norwalk): Fritz’s Easter collection.
  • Wanke’s Yankee Hot Pepper Products (Norwalk): Dave’s jalapeno garlic hot sauce, plus spicy peanuts.
  • Shearwater Coffee (Trumbull):USDA-certified organic coffees, roasted right up the street.

The Local to Market patio.

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Last year, Westport Pride sponsored the town’s first downtown LGBTQ celebration. This year’s event is set for June 12.

But that’s not all. Leading up to it, there’s a Queer Cook-off (May 19, Aitoro’s).

Four teams — each including one chef — will have an hour to prepare an appetizer and dessert. It’s a fun fundraiser for the Pride group.

On June 1, they’ll kick off Pride Month with an LGBTQ-themed movie (appropriate for all families).

Also in the works: a drag show, and celebrations at Staples High School.

Showing the flag at last year’s Westport Pride celebration. (Photo/Kerry Long)

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Russell Oost-Lievense has been named only the 4th head coach in the 64-year history of the Staples High School boys soccer program.

A former Staples captain (2007) and player at Hartwick College, Oost-Lievense has been a member of the Wreckers staff for 6 years. He is a special education teacher at Darien High.

He succeeds Dan Woog — hey, that’s me! — who retired in January after 19 years. I’m happy to quote myself:

“Russell is a spectacular choice. He has the total respect of players, parents and other coaches. He breaks down a match — both by teams, and individually — better than anyone I know. He is a master at creating game plans, and the training sessions leading up to them. He is a true student of the game.

“Russell is passionate about soccer at all level. He understands Staples’ tradition, our legacy, and the importance of passing that along to current and future players.

“Our program is in good shape. I am confident Russell will kick it up many more notches, in the years ahead. It will be great to see.”

Russell Oost-Lievense, in front of the Staples High School boys soccer trophy case.

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The Artists Collective of Westport’s pop-up exhibit has announced a new date for its artists’ talk, at the Westport Country Playhouse barn. The new date is Saturday, March 26 (4 p.m.).

There’s an opening reception March 23 (6 p.m.). The exhibit is then open from March 24 through 26 (2 to 6 p.m.).

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“Westport … Naturally” is delighted to present as many signs of spring as we can. Here is Richard Epstein’s witch hazel:

(Photo/Richard Epstein)

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And finally … in honor of Metro-North’s expanded (and supposedly faster) service on the New Haven line (story above):

Roundup: Saugatuck Sweets, Valentine’s Sweets, Haiku …

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Last night’s Saugatuck Elementary School 5th grade orchestra and chorus concert was the first such in-person event in 2 years.

To celebrate afterward, kids and parents headed to Saugatuck Sweets. To their dismay, they learned their favorite shop closes at 8 p.m.

To their delight, owners and employees kept the place open late.

Grateful parent Felicia Sale says, “Thank you Saugatuck Sweets!”

Celebrating at Saugatuck Sweets.

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United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has awarded the town of Westport $2,000. The funds — and a supply of KN95 masks — support residents impacted by COVID, along with a supply of KN95 protective face masks.

This is the third round of United Way grants to help during the pandemic. It brings to 6,500 the number of masks donated to residents.  A previous award of gift cards helped ease the way for struggling residents.

United Way has also helped area agencies, including Homes with Hope, during COVID.

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Westport ❤s Local to Market. And the aptly named food-and-more store celebrates upcoming Valentine’s Day with a few specials this weekend.

This Saturday (February 12, 1 to 4 p.m.), Locavore Kitchens offers the debut of heart meringues, and tastings of shortbread cookies.

Dustin Lowman — one of Westport’s favorite singer/songwriter/guitarists — plays Saturday too, from 2 to 4 p.m.

And, of course, there’s a full array of Valentine’s goodies, from BE Chocolat and Knipschildt.

Dustin Lowman

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Speaking of the Lowman family:

Poet laureate

Presents great haiku workshop

At Wakeman Town Farm

It’s not great haiku. But that’s what’s happening February 28 (7 p.m.) at Wakeman Town Farm.

Westport’s own Diane Lowman (aka Dustin’s mother) will help you learn to write concisely and beautifully — well, at least more beautifully than my effort. The Farm will serve as inspiration. Click here for details and registration.

Haiku, by Westport poet laureate Diane Lowman

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Fans of Mark Twain and/or music will enjoy the Westport Library’s February 27 event.

Westport composer Barbara Backlar Reis will present songs and commentary from her original collaboration “My Millionaire.” The musical is based on Twain’s short story, “The Million Pound Bank Note.”

The show explores the themes of money and power and how people behave toward those who possess them. Click here for details, and registration.

Coming (sort of) to the Westport Library

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The family of Roberta Eggart writes that their “proud stage manager, assistant to Michael Sottile, writer, dancer, sister, mother of 3, widow, comedy texter, giver of gift cards to strangers and collector of stray humans, died peacefully on January 26 at the age of doesn’t matter. She will be missed by all who interacted with her.”

She lived in Westport for 3 decades, and knew nearly everyone. She is survived by her children Kat, Casey and Jesse Eggart, and grandson Kai.

Kat calls her mother “one of a kind, and a huge influence in so many people’s lives. She loved to dance, sing and write. She was  the best stage manager in the world, and the coolest mom in town!”

The family adds, “A celebration of life will be announced at a later date. Light a candle and wish her well. That’s how she rolled.”

Roberta Eggart

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Nancy Prevo Andersen — believed to be the last surviving member of Staples High School’s Class of 1941 — died recently in Texas. She was 98 years old.

A noted illustrator and artist who showed frequently in the Southwest and Mexico, she was married to Bill Andersen (Staples ’42). Nancy’s father-in-law, Einar Andersen — longtime president of Westport Bank & Trust — helped put together financing for the town’s purchase of Longshore in 1959.

Nancy and Bill had 4 children: Nonnie, Lee, Diane and BJ. Further details on survivors and services were unavailable. (Hat tips: Carl Addison Swanson, Tom Allen)

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Jerry Kuyper sends along today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, with this comment: “At our feeder, birds of a different feather flock together.”

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

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And finally … to get you in the mood for Dustin Lowman’s appearance this Saturday at Local to Market (above), check out this video:

Roundup: Closures, Mrs. London’s Bakery, Jazz & Java …

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You don’t need to be a weatherman to know that nearly everything in Westport — the Library, Y, you name it — is closed today.

Local to Market has also postponed tomorrow’s Cloudy Lane Bakery event, scheduled for Sunday. A new date will be announced soon.

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The long-awaited Mrs. London’s Bakery — successor to Aux Delices, Java, Wild Pear, Chef’s Table, and a few other places I’ve probably forgotten on Church Lane, at the foot of Elm Street — will open next month.

“Hopefully for Valentine’s Day,” says Max London. His parents started the now-famous original Mrs. London’s Bakery in Saratoga Springs, New York, in the 1970s.

Nearly a year ago — on February 25, 2021 — “06880” broke the news about the 2nd location. I wrote:

He (she?) feature pastries, baguettes, croissants, grilled sandwiches, paninis, salads, quiches, soups, “decadent desserts,” espressos and teas. Ingredients are organic, locally grown and sourced.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for Il Pastaficio — “artisanal pasta” and more, around the corner on the Post Road and announced in the same story — to open.

(Click here for a full CT Examiner story on Mrs. London’s Bakery’s Westport location.)

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Homelessness is a national issue — even in Fairfield County.

And even in Westport.

We’re fortunate that many dedicated organizations and individuals are addressing the problem.

Helen McAlinden — CEO of Homes With Hope — also co-chairs the Opening Doors Fairfield County Advocacy Taskforce. On Monday (January 31, 8:30 a.m.), they host a roundtable information session including breakout discussion groups.

Interested residents can learn more about legislative priorities, and how to help our most vulnerable neighbors.

Click here to register, and for more information.

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Jazz aficionados know the best clubs — places many others have never heard of.

They were out in force Thursday night, at the Staples High School cafeteria. Phil Giampietro’s Jazz Ensemble hosted a “Jazz & Java” night.

Well, okay — most of the attendees were parents and friends of the very talented young musicians. COVID kept the crowd small.

But — thanks to this very talented group — the joint was jumpin’!

Just a small section of Staples’ Jazz Ensemble. (PHoto/Allison Ginzburg)

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Speaking of arts: Two new exhibits opened last night at MoCA.

“The Westport Idea” features selections from WestPAC holdings of more than 2,000 artworks. Most of these works are housed in public schools and municipal buildings, not always accessible to the public.

The Museum’s annual high school exhibition features nearly 200 compelling works focused on the theme of “Identity,” created by student artists from across Connecticut and Westchester.

The exhibitions are on view through March 12 (weather permitting, duh). Free docent-led tours are available, and free supporting Cocktails and Conversation events will be held on Thursday evenings. Click here to learn more.

Staples High School junior Sophie Spheeris, a 17-year-old junior from Staples, with her artwork “Us and Them.” It’s the collage of the woman, on the left.

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The recent death of Meat Loaf — followed a few days later by Jim Ryan‘s passing — sent Kathleen Dehler looking for a photo.

She found it. In 1988, the 2 men joined her husband Will Dehler as coaches of their daughters’ Westport softball team, the Rebels.

“What wonderful memories!” Kathleen says. “And so sad that Meat and Jim are no longer with us.”

Meat Loaf (left), Jim Ryan (right) and Will Dehler (center), with the Rebels.

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Congratulations to Westport’s 9 Presidential Scholar candidates.

Nomination for the prestigious program is a high honor for high school seniors. Selections are made on superior academic and artistic achievement, leadership, strong character, and involvement in school and community activities. The program is run by the US Department of Education.

The Westporters include Staples High School’s Aidan Mermagen, Tessa Moore, Chloe Nevas, Konur Norbert, Nicholas Prior and Julian Weng, and Hopkins School’s Will Cooper, Max Gordon and Finnbar Kiely.

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Hours before the snow began, William Webster captured this “Westport … Naturally” image of what he believes is an immature eagle, 100 yards across the Saugatuck River.

“The beak looks right,” he says, “and the front feathers are starting to turn white.”

(Photo/William Webster)

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And finally … on this day in 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union, as our 34th state. Years of controversy led up to the event: Would it be a free state, or a slave state? Abolitionists prevailed.

But less than 3 months later, the Civil War began.

 

 

 

Roundup: Carbon Monoxide, Ice Hockey, Local To Market …

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The Westport Fire Department wants residents to know that carbon monoxide poisoning is a winter threat.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible odorless gas that can be fatal. It forms when fuels like gasoline, natural gas, propane, wood, charcoal, and kerosene do not burn completely. Breathing carbon monoxide can deprive the body of oxygen, and may lead to illness, loss of consciousness and death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
  • If several members of a household experience these symptoms when they are home but feel better when they are away from the home, there may be a carbon monoxide problem.

If you have symptoms:

  • Get out of the house immediatelyand seek medical help if you or a family member or guest has unexplained/sudden onset of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s home and the Connecticut Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Carbon monoxide alarms are the only way to know if the deadly gas is present in your home. It is recommended that all residents with fuel burning appliances or indoor equipment install carbon monoxide alarms near all sleeping areas in their home to alert them of the presence of carbon monoxide. Install a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of your home and outside of each bedroom. Install new batteries as per manufacturer’s instructions and replace alarms every five years, as the sensors degrade.

To stay safe:

  • Never use portable generators, charcoal or gas grills, gas or propane powered pressure washers, saws or other fuel powered equipment inside your home, garage, carport, basement, or other enclosed spaces. Opening windows and doors, and operating fans is not enough to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide in a home
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of your home & outside of each bedroom.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe on your standby generator is pointing away from the house.
  • Place portable generators at least 20 feet from the house.
  • Make sure gas dryer vents and automobile tail pipes are not plugged up with snow.
  • Have your heating systems, chimney flues, gas appliances, wood stoves, and generators checked every year, and cleaned and serviced as needed by qualified heating/appliance contractors.

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There are many ways to illustrate the current tensions in Ukraine.
Staples High School 1988 graduate/Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks did it with a unique shot of Ukrainian soldiers jumping into a cross made out of ice, near the Russian front — a tradition in that country.
The image was the lead one today, on page 1 of the Times. (Hat tip: John Karrel)
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Congratulations to the Staples High School boys ice hockey team. The Wreckers beat Norwalk-McMahon 4-2 in the 3rd annual Dale Wemhoff Cup. Wehmhoff attended Westport schools and was the assistant hockey coach at Staples before taking over the Norwalk program. (Hat tip: Hannah Kail)

Staples High School ice hockey team.

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There’s (almost) always something going on at Local to Market. Mark these dates, for the popular food-and-more store on Main Street next to Parker Harding Plaza.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 22, 2 to 4 p.m.): Maria from Fairfield’s Bee Love Project offers tastings, suggests pairings and presents insights into the world of honey bees.

Two days before Valentine’s (Saturday, February 12, time TBD), Samantha from Locavore Kitchens in Westport talks about her rosemary glazed shortbread cookies (and more).
Go for the local food stars. Stay for the samples?

The Local to Market patio.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows 3 deer, trying for camouflage. Or perhaps just hungry.

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)

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And finally … 2 recent deaths with local connections.

Meat Loaf died yesterday, at 74 (or so — read full obituary here). The larger-than-life ’70s singer would of course be commemorated here no matter where he lived.

But for a while he was a Westport resident. He played softball on Sunday mornings at Compo Beach, coached his daughter’s softball team, hung out on Terry and Gail Coen’s very visible Soundview Drive front deck, and was a cheerful, popular presence in town. Everyone of a certain age has a Meat Loaf story from those days.

And Fred Parris, co-founder of the Five Satins and writer of “In the Still of the Night,” died recently after a brief illness. He was 85.

The New Haven native wrote the song while on guard duty with the Army in Philadelphia. His group recorded it “in a makeshift studio in the basement of St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church in New Haven on February 19, 1956,” the New Haven Register says. Click here for the full obituary. (Hat tip: Audrey Rabinowitz)

 

Roundup: MLK Event, Fleet Feet, Local Art …

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There’s a new time for this Sunday’s Dr. Martin Luther King celebration.

The free program featuring author Heather McGhee begins at 2:30 p.m. It had been set for 3 p.m.

Her book — The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together spent 10 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Her TED talk — “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” — reached 1 million views in just 2 months.

Due to COVID, the event — sponsored by the Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy — is now online only.

The program includes performances by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and dance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

To register for the link, click here.

Heather McGhee

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Fleet Feet is leaving Sconset Square.

But Westport’s favorite running store is not going far. The new location is just a jog away: the Fresh Market plaza, next to Little Beet.

Fleet Feet will double its size, offering an even larger selection of footwear, apparel and accessories. The more open space will also allow for expanded service, and social distancing. The move is planned for mid-February.

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Sure, Local to Market is a great place to shop for food with “local” ties.

But it also provides food for the soul.

Westport artist Elizabeth Petrie DeVoll has a solo show at the store — formerly Talbots and before that, the Remarkable Book Shop — at the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

The show also features cards by Jane Gilman Fleischner.

There’s a great tie-in with the historic building. DeVoll creates new art from old objects. She “enlivens history and questions the supposed border between the past and the present. She sees possibility in the discarded, weathered, and forgotten.”

Her work is part of a rotating gallery. All art shown at Local to Market comes through the Artists Collective of Westport.

Elizabeth Petrie DeVoll, with her work at Local to Market.

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A free Zoom event featuring Westport child psychiatrist Gwen Lopez-Cohen Dr. Harold Koplewicz is set for next Tuesday (January 18, 7:30 p.m.). They’ll discuss Koplewicz’s new book, The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety.

Koplewicz says that the deliberate buildup and then gradual loosening of parental support (like scaffolding on a building) is the single most effective way to encourage youngsters to climb higher, try new things, grow from mistakes, and develop character and strength.

Click here to register. Sponsors are Schoke Jewish Family Service and the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County.

Dr. Gwen Lopez-Cohen

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An opening reception for the latest George Billis Gallery show — featuring 34 artists curated by New York critic and writer David Masello — is set for Saturday (January 15, 4 to 7 p.m.).

The public is welcome.

Norm Siegel’s “Mona Rolla” oil on canvas is featured at the new George Billis Gallery show.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Marie Gross. She spotted these beautiful birds on Riverside Avenue.

(Photo/Marie Gross)

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And finally … Ronnie Spector died yesterday, after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.

Her career was defined both as the leader of the spectacular Ronettes, and her marriage to the abusive producer Phil Spector.

The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 by Keith Richard of the Rolling Stones.

Ronnie’s sister and fellow Ronette Estelle Bennett died in 2009. But their music will live on for ages.

Roundup: Planning & Zoning, Local To Market, Margot Bruce ….

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Earlier this week, “06880” noted the full agenda of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Regulation Revision Subcommittee meeting.

Yesterday, the group discussed a proposed amendment to preserve mature trees on private property. It received both positive and negative feedback. The text amendment will be re-drafted, for further discussion at a future subcommittee meeting.

Proposals that would permit 2nd floor retail, as well as stores over 10,000 square feet, downtown will be considered at next Thursday’s work session, to be brought as a P&Z-sponsored text amendment at a future meeting.

A proposal to allow non-team activities — for instance, guided hikes, painting classes and yoga — at Baron’s South will also be considered at next Thursday’s work session, to be brought to a future public hearing as a P&Z-sponsored text amendment.

Discussions will continue on a Planning & Zoning Commission tree proposal.

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Local to Market — the food-and-more store featuring (duh) all local goods, at the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza — has a constantly changing array of items.

But they’re always on the lookout for more.

Which is where we all come in.

Next Tuesday (January 11, 4 to 5 p.m.), they’re sponsoring a “think tank.” Everyone is invited to hear about procurement, ask questions, suggest ideas, and meet fellow food lovers.

Want two more reasons to go? There’s also a wine tasting from Stappa Vineyards. And you’ll get 15% off if you shop during the event.

What else would you like to see on the shelves?

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Westport, get ready for your star turn.

Tomorrow (Friday, January 7; 9 pm on New York’s Channel 13; check listings for other PBS stations) marks the first of 3 “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse” specials.

Gavin Creel stars in the inaugural broadcast, taped during 2 shows in September, and produced by our own Andrew “Live from Lincoln Center” Wilk.

Pre-press has been excellent. The Los Angeles Times called it a “Pick of the Week,”

But see for yourself (below). Then mark your calendars for the next 2 Fridays: Shoshana Bean on the 14th, Brandon Victor Dixon the 21st.

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Want to see another world premiere?

2011 Staples High School graduate Margot Bruce’s short film, “Harbor,” debuts at the Westport Library next Wednesday (January 12, 7 p.m.). She’ll be there, and hosts a conversation afterward. Click here to register.

“Harbor” offers a modern twist on selkie stories from Celtic, Gaelic, and Norse folklore.

While at Staples, Margot swam and played water polo, and was a member of the band, orchestra and chorus. She discovered a passion for filmmaking at Fairfield University, and graduated from the College of Wooster with a BA in English. She recently completed an MFA in cinema at San Francisco State University.

Margot Bruce

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Suzanne Bauman — the pioneering female documentary filmmaker who lived near Old Mill Beach from 1976-1991 — died on January 2, from complications of cancer. She was 76 years old.

She and her husband Jim Burroughs gave noted 1971 Staples High School graduate Brian Keane his start in film scoring.

Suzanne was editor and co-producer of the Academy Award-nominated “Against Wind and Tide: A Cuban Odyssey” (1981). She and Jim produced the film while living in Westport. It was the first one scored by then-27-year old Keane.

She produced, directed and wrote more than 80 films, both documentary and drama.

Suzanne took crews all over the world, and worked with — among others — John Kenneth Galbraith, Norman Mailer, the Sixth Earl of Carnarvon, Diana Vreeland, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Anna Wintour, Gianni Versace, Tina Brown,  Jane Alexander, David Rockefeller, Fidel Castro, Ted Kennedy, Annie Liebowitz, Gloria Steinem, Cybill Shepherd, Raul Julia, Stacy Keach, Martin Sheen and Sir Ian McKellen.

She was supervising producer/director of “The Writing Code,” a landmark series for PBS on the invention, history, art and craft of writing, from ancient times to the internet.

“Water Wars” won the award for best documentary feature at the 2014 Universe Multicultural Film Festival.  Her feature documentary “Shadow of Afghanistan” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam. “Jackie Behind the Myth,” a two-hour documentary special on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was People Magazine’s Pick of the Week, premiered on PBS nationwide and aired in more than 30 countries.

Suzanne is survived son Ryan, and step-children Rain, Shannon, Shane and Doah Burroughs.

For more information on Suzanne’s life, click here and here.

Suzanne Bauman

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” Earthplace photo has been hanging around the “06880” files for a while. But a good mushroom never gets old.

(Photo/Peter Gold)

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And finally, as we mark the 1-year anniversary of the storming of the US Capitol, we continue to hear — from some quarters —

Roundup: Senior Center, Toquet Hall, Twilight Zone …

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The latest casualties of COVID: the Senior Center and Toquet Hall.

Both places — gathering spots for older Westporters and teenagers, respectively — have suspended all indoor and in-person programming.

The town Department of Human Services says that some Senior Center classes and programs will be offered on Zoom.

The Senior Center lunch program will operate as a drive-thru at noon, Monays through Fridays. To participate, call 203-341-5099 at least 24 hours in advance.

Back in action soon — hopefully.

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Rod Serling moved from Westport to California in the late 1950s. He died — at just 50 years old — in 1975.

But the screenwriter extraordinaire still lives. Continuing a long tradition, the SyFy network airs a “Twilight Zone” New Year’s marathon. It starts at 2 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, December 31) and runs through 5 a.m. Sunday, January 2.

There’s a new episode every half hour or so. Click here for the schedule.

Looking for “A Stop at Willoughby” — the famous show in which the conductor of a train calls out “Next stop: Westport Saugatuck!” (and which Serling called his favorite of the entire first year)?

It’s 8:20 p.m. on Saturday — New Year’s Day.

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Local to Market — Main Street’s great new spot for food, crafts and much more — is hiring.

If you’re fond of fine local stuff, have a passion for small business, and are interested in joining a fun team for 10-20 hours a week, email jon@localtomarket.com.

Local to Market is hiring.

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature focuses on natural features (naturally).

Sometimes though, the natural world needs a slight man-made touch. David Lowrie created this scene, using (naturally) all natural tree stumps, at his property off North Bulkley.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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And finally … today is the birthday of a ton of important musicians: Bo Diddley, Skeeter Davis, Del Shannon, John Hartford, Paul Stookey, Felix Pappalardi, two Monkees (Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones), Patti Smith and Jeff Lynne.

It’s hard to pick just one to showcase. But in the spirit of optimism — at the end of a tough year, and the dawn of a new one — I’ll go with this:

Unsung Heroes #219

This week’s Unsung Heroes award is simple: Every local merchant.

For nearly 2 years, whether they sell toys, clothes, gifts or liquor — well, okay, maybe not the latter — they’ve had a very tough time.

COVID kept customers home. Some remain hesitant to return. The supply chain broke. So did the supply of willing and able workers.

Everywhere they turned, every store owner who had done all the right things suddenly found it wasn’t enough.

But they adapted. They adopted new methods of sales and delivery. They worked extra hours themselves.

They persevered. They survived. And now — during what is for many the busiest week of the busiest month of the year — they continue to serve us.

Take a bow, Westport merchants. We thank you for your wonderful, way-beyond-what’s-expected service.

Now: Get back to work. There’s a line at the counter, and they need help!

Local to Market patio brings fresh energy — and tons of cool Connecticut products to downtown. It’s one of many mom-and-pop shops that’s making our town alive again.

Roundup: Mask Mandate, Shop Local, Jonathan Greenfield

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The sign at the Stop & Shop entrance says masks are required for entrance.

A young boy was not wearing one. A shopper asked his mother why not.

“Mind your f—- business,” the mother replied.

“This is a public store with a sign in front mandating a mask,” the first shopper said.

“Mind your f—ing business,” the boy’s mom repeated.

It escalated from there, says Jo Ann Miller, who saw the whole thing.

When the mini-drama was over — and the manager said masks were not, in fact, mandate — he was asked, “Why not take down the sign?”

“Good point,” he said.

Two days later, the sign was still there.

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Speaking of shopping: Shop local! In fact, shop Local to Market!

Need a nudge to head to the food/gifts/and more store on Main Street at Parker Harding Plaza? Here’s what they’ve got:

This Saturday (December 11, 1 to 4 p.m.), Sam from Locavore Kitchens will have artisanal shortbread cookies to taste (and buy). Luke Molina — like Sam, from Westport — will play guitar. And there’s a 10% discount all day, in honor of the 4 to 7 p.m. Holiday Stroll.

Next Saturday (December 18, 2 to 5 p.m.), Netown’s Neviana’s winery is on hand for the Market’s first “Sip & Shop.” Plus, Luke Molina returns with his guitar.

The next day (Sunday, December 19, 1 to 4 p.m.) there’s more wines. These are from Stappa Vineyards in Orange. Jim Saxon provides musical entertainment. Santa will show up too, from 12:30 to 2.

Every day through December 17, orders are taken for Michele’s Pies (apple, apple crumb, pecan and chocolate bourbon pecan). Delivery (at Local to Market) is midday December 22.

Oh yeah: Local to Market also sells art, created by members of the Artists Collective of Westport. The current show features works by Nina Bentley, Miggs Burroughs, Louise Cadoux, Lynn Carlson, Susan Fehliinger, Jane Gilman Fleischner, Holly Hawthorn, Amy Kaplan, Julie Leff, Fruma Markowitz, Guy Phillips. Katherine Ross and Lee Walther.

It doesn’t get more local than that!

Art and more at Local to Market.

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Just across the street from Local to Market, George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception this Saturday (4 to 6:30 p.m.) for their newest exhibition.

Featured artists include Connie Connally. Shivani Dugar, Glen Hacker, Abby Modell and Leslie Lewis Sigler. Click below for a video of Sigler creating her paintings.

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It wasn’t much: an early evening dusting.

But yesterday’s snowfall was just enough to make us realize that winter is pretty much here.

We’ll take scenes like this one (near Compo Beach) any day. From now until late February, anyway.

(Photo/Mona Patel)

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Yesterday’s “06880” Unsung Heroes were FedEx, UPS and other deliverypersons.

Of course, not every delivery goes as planned. Jeanine Esposito sent this photo:

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

She writes: “Given the stories of late deliveries and drivers going rogue, we were curious to see this U-Haul truck parked in the Imperial Avenue lot. Its entire contents were spread around the parking lot, including packages marked Zappos, Away, and other retail and online outlets.

“A person sat on the passenger side looking relaxed and texting, but there was no sign of a driver. I’m not sure what’s up, but would love to know if there’s a story there.”

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When Jonathan Greenfield died after an inspiring struggle against ALS, his many friends mourned.

But the multi-talented Westporter lives on.

His wife Iris Netzer Greenfield and her amazing team created a table book, capturing Jonathan’s life in photographs. His photographs.

Among Jonathan’s many accomplishments, he was a documentary-style photographer. His works “bring to life the juxtaposition of darkness and controversy, flecked with humor and surprise. 

All proceeds benefit Breathe 4 ALS. The foundation — set up by Jonathan and iris — supports research efforts for genetic ALS, provides Wim Hof breathing method trainings, and leads in ALS activism.

The book comes in platinum, gold, silver and hardcover editions. Click here to order. (NOTE: The site loads slowly. Be patient!)

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Christmas is 2 weeks away. New Year’s follows a week later.

Which means Martin Luther King Day is not far behind.

On Sunday, January 16 (3 p.m.), Dr. King’s life will be celebrated at the Westport Library by Heather McGhee. She’s the author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together; her TED talk, “Racism Has a Cost for Everone” reached 1 million views in just 2 months.

The free event is co-sponsored by the Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy.

The program also features a recital by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and a dance performed by the Regional Center for the Arts.

To register for either the in-person event or the livestream, click here.

Heather McGhee

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Congratulations to Westport’s 12-year old karting racer Vivek Kanthan.

He is the 2021 SuperKarts USA SuperNationals XXIV Vice Champion. Vivek competed in the “Super Bowl” of competitive national kart races recently in las Vegas.

This year Vivek moved up a racing category, to the Mini Swift Race category for 10-13-year-olds. He reached speeds up to 70 miles an hour.

Vivek Kanthan

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a good “Westport … Naturally” praying mantis photo.

This shot of Connecticut’s state insect (!) comes courtesy of Jonathan Prager.

(Phoro/Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … Donny Osmond turns 64 years old today. It seems like just yesterday when those were the sweet and innocent, puppy love days.