Tag Archives: Long Lots Elementary School

Roundup: Long Lots, Death, Food …

Another step toward a new Long Lots Elementary School has been taken.

The town of Westport is seeking proposals for architectural designs for a replacement of the 70-year-old building. They’re looking for a construction manager for the project too.

Requests for quotes will be received until 11 a.m. on February 24. Click here for details.

The RFQ is posted even though the Board of Education has not yet determined whether to renovate, or fully replace, Long Lots.

And until that issue is resolved, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice told the Board of Ed Monday night, he would not recommend redistricting.

That’s a hot topic in town. But — based on the Long Lots timetable, and an elementary school capacity study due next month — Scarice does not recommend redistricting until the fall of 2025.

The future of Long Lots Elementary School — whether it’s renovated or rebuilt entirely — is still up in the air. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)


Eldercare, aging and dying are topics for all ages.

This Saturday (January 28, 9 a.m. to noon, Unitarian Church meeting house), anyone with in interest in preparing for the next phase of life — for ourselves, our loved ones, and those who might care for us — is invited to share perspectives, stories and insights from Atul Gawande’s best-selling book, “Being Mortal.”

Life is short, and you may not have time to read it (spoiler alert: It’s great). No problem! Click here, for an outline and key ideas. Click here for an excellent 54-minute PBS “Frontline” special, based on Gawande’s work.

The format is a discussion, to share insights and best practices. Rev. John Morehouse will be there; death and mortality is part of his ministry.

There’s a hot breakfast to start. RSVPs are encouraged: email bethclifftucw@gmail.com, or call 203-227-7205, ext. 16. Walk-ins are welcome.


Between the gardens and the animals, there is plenty to crow about at Wakeman Town Farm.

Then there’s Tim’s Kitchen.

The dozy, high-ceilinged space inside the farmhouse is always humming. It’s a place to meet neighbors, eat great food and learn culinary skills.

Upcoming events include a Mardi Gras celebration with chef Caroline Fey (more seats are now available); an up-close-and-personal experience with Fatto a Mano’s Pierluigi Mazzella, Connecticut Baker of the Year; chef Raquel Rivera’s springtime supper class, featuring roasted chicken and a ricotta gnocchi with spring peas; chef Robyn Herman’s engaging Italian class for kids; birthday cupcake wars parties, and adult tea parties.

Click here for a full list of classes. NOTE: Check back regularly, as new options are added often.

Pierluigi Mazzella offers a special Wakeman Town Farm baking class on March 14.


Congratulations to Nancy Thiel. Her Weston-based Thiel Architecture + Design firm has just earned an Award for Excellence, from the American Institute of Architects’ Connecticut chapter.

The firm recently completed Eco Evolution, a sustainable store and café in South Norwalk, and is designing residential and hospitality projects throughout the tri-state area.

Nancy is developing the new Weston Town Green, and last year worked with Westport Farmers’ Market on a permanent home for them. The firm proposed a park along the Saugatuck River, a bird-watching platform, and an open-air pavilion for use by WFM and other organizations in town.

Thiel Architecture’s award-winning Brooklyn office. (Photo/Sam Sachs Morgan)


We’re nearly at the end of January, and still no real snow. (Knock wood — a mix is possible today.)

So dogs like Bobo take advantage of the mild weather, to romp at Compo Beach.

And pose, mid-run, for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … following up on this coming Saturday’s Unitarian Church discussion on preparing for the next stage of life (story above): a two-fer. Here’s the Dead, talking about death.

(If you’re alive and reading this, please consider supporting “06880.” Click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Portable Classrooms, Police Reports, New Stores …

The 2 portable classrooms for Long Lots Elementary School approved Tuesday by the Board of Education hit a roadblock yesterday.

The Board of Finance declined to vote on the $600,000 request. They want to make sure that other options — including moving some students to other schools with more space — are considered.

Long Lots Elementary School.


It was another quiet week — mostly — for the Westport Police Department.

There were 3 custodial arrests.

One man was charged with enticing/inducing/coercing a minor with computer service for sex. Another was arrested for criminal trespass.

A third was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, evading responsibility, and failure to drive in the proper lane.

Citations were issued for:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 3
  • Failure to obey control signal: 2
  • Public disturbance: 1.
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 1
  • Improper turn: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic signal: 1.

“Don’t you even know how to make a proper turn?!”


Main Street continues to add new stores.

Gorjana will open this summer, at #74 — the current location of Sunglass Hut.

Gorjana — a high-end jewelry boutique based in California — opened its first Connecticut location on Greenwich Avenue early last year. They operate 40 boutiques in “lifestyle centers and high street locations in affluent markets nationwide.”

Meanwhile, Courtgirl  will lease their first bricks and mortar location: 2,350 square feet on the upper level of 125 Main Street (the Gap building).

The line of gift and related products for tennis and golf launched in 2019. Courtgirl products are now sold in over 500 private clubs, pro shops and sports stores.


Nice weather for … a “Westport … Naturally” photo.

It’s on Berkeley Road.

(Photo/Jill Grayson)


And finally … Phil Ramone was born today, in 1934. He died in 2013.

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Roundup: Leaf Blowers, Long Lots, Taxes …

A leaf blower ordinance — discussed for years, and blowing in the wind for the past few months — was finally enacted last night.

Westport’s Representative Town Meeting voted 22-9 in favor of the proposal, which regulates when and which types of leaf blowers can be used, and by whom. The town of Westport is specifically exempted from the rules. Enforcement will be done by the Conservation Department.

Click here, the scroll down to Slide #28, for the full ordinance, and supporting materials.

Meanwhile, the Board of Education voted 4-3 to request up to $600,000 from the Board of Finance (which meets tonight), for 2 modular classrooms at Long Lots Elementary School. The portables will be placed behind the school, near a small play aea.

The Board also discussed redistricting. Pieces of the puzzle include unbalanced populations at Westport’s 5 elementary schools; Stepping Stones preschool, currently housed at Coleytown El but slated to move to Long Lots after a new building is constructed, and the schedule for that new Long Lots.

The new portable classroms would be placed behind the school, at the upper left on this photo. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)


Westporters — especially seniors and those with low to moderate incomes — can once again take advantage of the town’s no-cost full-service AARP/VITA/IRS Volunteer Tax Assistance Program.

On-site personal counseling is available by appointment at Town Hall (Mondays from 1 to 7 p.m.) and the Senior Center (Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.), starting January 23. Call 860-590-8910 for an appointment.

The service is also available through a secure internet site. Click here for an appointment.

The “SimplyCT” counselor group that services Westport prepared and filed more than 7,000 returns last season – almost all electronically. Federal refunds of over $10 million were received by their clients..

The program is administered by Westport’s Department of Human Services.


Westport is less than $10,000 away from its goal: raising $250,000 to support our sister city of Lyman, Ukraine.

Yesterday’s donations brought the total to $241,700. Our partners on the ground — Ukraine Aid International, founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — are arranging for building supplies, a trash truck and more to be delivered immediately to the war-torn town.

It is far quicker and cheaper for those to be sent from Poland and elsewhere in Europe, rather than the US.

Can we reach our goal today?

Tax-deductible donations can be made to Lyman through Ukraine Aid International. Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 


Most of us have already forgotten the recent pre-Christmas wind and rain storm. After all, it happened last year (ho ho).

But Westport’s Public Works Department continues its clean-up efforts. They were out again yesterday — in more rain — at Compo Beach.

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)


Grammy winner Frank London headlines tomorrow’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, January 5, VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, sets at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; $15 cover; dinner from 7 p.m.).

The trumpeter will be joined by pianist Roberta Piket, bassist Hilliard Greene, drummer Billy Mintz and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

Wall calls London “one of the most inconoclastic traditional musicians I have ever met. I have heard him tear down the walls of parochial practices of old and new jazz, swing, bop, klezmer, Gypsy, Baltic, Cuban, West African and many other musical genres, and create community across the globe while bringing joy to literally hundreds of thousands  of concert goers.”

Wall and he were partners in Hasidic New Wave, a band combining traditional Jewish celebratory music with downtown jazz, funk and “pure improvised mayhem.” They play together now in Zion80, a “mixed marriage of avant jazz and Afro beat.”

London will play new works inspired by Pharaoh Sanders, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Azar Lawrence and others, with an ethnic twist.

Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com

Frank London


The Westport Book Shop’s guest exhibitor for January is mixed media artist Katya Lebrija.

Her works from the “Destinations” collection feature real and imagined places. Much of her work is inspired by her Mexican heritage.

Lebrija’s art has been exhibited throughout Connecticut, New York, Vermont Mexico City.

Her art is on exhibit at the Book Shop through January 31. All work is available for purchase.

Katya Lebrija at Westport Book Shop.


Longtime Westporter Richard Auber of Westport died peacefully on New Year’s Day, surrounded by his family. He was 87.

Dick lived on Long Island before moving with his wife and 5 children here in 1975. He served in the Air National Guard for 6 years.

After graduating from St. John’s University he had a long career in the business world, and retired from the New York Transit Authority in 1987.

He met the love of his life, Elizabeth Mary Schick, in church choir. They were married for 64 years. He enjoyed sharing his singing talents with the St. Luke Church choir every Sunday morning. He also sang with the Hoot Owls and Fairfield County Chorale. He was a gifted storyteller too.

Dick is survived by his wife Elizabeth (Betty) Auber; children Patricia Auber (Tom Magro), Richard (Tatyana Nivina), Ron (Cheryl Fogg), Judy Auber Jahnel (Ferdinand) and Christine Auber (Michael Bauersfeld); 7 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; his sister Marilyn Fitzpatrick, many nieces and nephews, and countless friends and extended family.  He is predeceased by his brother Robert and sister Edna.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday (January 7, 11 a.m.. St. Luke Church). Contributions can be made in his memory to the St. Luke Church Matthew 25 fund, or Food for the Poor.

Dick Auber


Westporters love Compo Beach.

But long before we were here, there were birds, and fish.

They’ve been doing what they do naturally for millions of years.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo of how they do it comes courtesy of Laurie Sorensen.

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


And finally … Earth Wind, & Fire drummer Fred White died Sunday. He was 67.

The New York Times says he “propelled some of the funkiest songs in pop history, helping to provide a soundtrack to the nation’s weddings, bar mitzvahs, high school reunions and any other function at which people of all ages dance.”

Click here for a full obituary.

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[OPINION] Long Lots Must Be A Sustainable School

The process for renovating Long Lots Elementary School, or replacing it, has begun.

This could be the first new school in Westport since Staples High (completed in 2005) and Bedford Middle (several years earlier). Coleytown Middle School reopened last year, after a long renovation project.

Sustainable Westport — an advisory group that helps town officials set environmental policy, and educates residents and businesses on  gree issues — has some ideas on the future of Long Lots.

Their website says:

Facing capacity and infrastructure issues, Long Lots Elementary School is currently being considered for renovation, rebuilding, or some combination of both. This fall, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) appointed a building committee to determine if a new build or renovation is the best course of action, and develop plans and specifications for the new space.

Long Lots Elementary School will be renovated or rebuilt. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Whether Long Lots Elementary is renovated or rebuilt, the building represents an important opportunity to support and advance the town’s resolution to become Net Zero by 2050. But why should Westport consider building a “sustainable school”?

Sustainable schools deliver major health, educational, financial, and environmental benefits to students, teachers and communities. Sustainable schools more efficient, leading to lower operating costs. They also provide learning spaces that significantly improve the wellness and productivity of those in and around the building.

Better ventilation and air quality: A hallmark of sustainable schools is improved ventilation and air quality. Better ventilation will decrease the spread of illness and diminish the effects of asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems. Put simply, cleaner air will result in healthier spaces with fewer absences for students and educators. With proper ventilation, air quality improves, which results in higher student productivity. High amounts of COz slows cognitive functioning, lowering both memory and concentration levels.

Long Lots Elementary School’s entrance is surrounded by trees.

Increased access to daylight: Sustainable schools are designed in a way that provides access to natural sunlight in as many spaces as possible, reducing the need for artificial light. Allowing sunlight to permeate deep into interior spaces provides numerous health benefits, including improved emotional well-being and sleep. In addition to mental and physical benefits, studies have also shown that daylight increases students’ test scores: students in classrooms with windows perform 20% faster on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests than students in windowless classrooms. Not to mention, increased daylight also reduces the reliance on artificial lighting, which decreases overall energy costs.

Lower operating costs: America’s K-12 schools currently spend $12.5 billion per year on energy costs. In Westport, the district budgeted over $3.2 million dollars for electricity, natural gas, and heating oil this school year. Pursuing net zero construction not only reduces building emissions and improves climate resilience, it also saves districts money that can then be used to re-invest in additional infrastructure updates. Compared to traditional school buildings, sustainable schools cost less than 2% more to build but use 33% less energy and 32% less water. The nation’s first net zero school opened in 2010. In its first 8 years of operation, the school saved $11.5 million.

Educational Opportunity: Sustainable schools provide a unique opportunity for students and the larger community to develop a deep connection and understanding of environmentalism and sustainability. Exposure to and education about the benefits of net zero buildings will help change mindsets leading to increased awareness and public support. Research shows that one year of climate change education can have a meaningful impact on a lifetime of emissions.

Environmental Impact: With less reliance on fossil fuels (high-performance) or no reliance on fossil fuels (net zero), sustainable schools release less pollution and greenhouse gases while also using less energy and water. These schools are carefully designed to utilize renewable energy sources and passive systems like daylighting and natural ventilation to reduce overall energy load. As a result, sustainable schools leave a microscopic carbon footprint, while also contributing to the health and well-being of their communities.

With the rebuild or renovation of Long Lots Elementary School on the horizon, we hope to champion the development of Westport’s own net zero school for the health of our community and to advance the town’s resolution to become net zero by 2050.

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What’s Happening, Westport? Jen Tooker Talks About Log Piles And Long Lots

What’s up with the log pile at the corner of the Post Road and Roseville Road?

How about a major new project: renovation of Long Lots Elementary School?

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker answers those questions, from Dick Kalt of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

This Y’s Men podcast is released every 2 weeks. Click below to listen. If you have a question for the next episode, email: westport@ysmenwestportweston.org.


Small Fire Empties Long Lots

In the wake of yesterday’s elementary school shooting in Texas, police officers were assigned today to all 8 Westport school buildings.

Around noon, the officer at Long Lots Elementary School was alerted to an odor of smoke in the auditorium. Seeing smoke, the officer activated the fire alarm to evacuate the school.

The Westport Fire Department responded with 4 engines, 1 ladder truck, the safety officer and shift commander.

The first arriving unit found the school evacuated and a small fire burning in the wall of the auditorium. The police officer who found the fire had used an extinguisher to put out most of the fire. The fire department gained access to the inside of the wall and extinguished the remaining fire.

The auditorium is behind the main entrance to Long Lots Elementary School.

The small fire was contained to a wall in the auditorium.  An investigation by the Westport fire marshal’s office determined the cause to be an electrical short.

Students and staff returned inside shortly before 1 p.m. Out of an abundance of caution, students were dismissed at 1:15 for the rest of the school day.

The fire department was assisted on scene by the Fairfield Fire Department, Westport Police Department and Westport EMS. There were no injuries to first responders, students or staff.

The Westport Fire Department notes, “The quick actions of the police officer and execution of a well-practiced evacuation plan contributed to this successful operation.”

Long Lots Welcomes A Hero Home

It’s always fun to return to your old elementary school.

Especially if it’s as an Olympic champion.

Fifteen years ago, Julia Marino was a Long Lots student. This morning — now an Olympic silver medalist — she was back.

Before the assembly, Julia and her mother Elaine posed with an “Einstein” costume the Olympian wore in 3rd grade.

Energy was high, as nearly 600 students, staff, central office administrators and PTA members gathered in the auditorium for the first school-wide meeting since COVID struck 2 years ago.

With the Olympic theme playing and Mark Carmody — her former phys. ed. teacher, still at the school — serving as host, Julia came on stage to thunderous applause.

Host Mark Carmody read student questions. Julia Marino answered them all, with honesty and humor.

Video clips showed Julia on her 2nd spectacular slopestyle snowboard run. Students also saw her great display of sportsmanship, piling on the New Zealand athlete who had just edged her out for the gold medal.

“Everyone wants to win. You go to the Olympics to get gold,” Julia told the crowd.

“But it’s so important to be there for your friends. Even if they do better than you, it’s great to support them.”

Superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice and Julia’s mother Elaine enjoyed the assembly.

Julia answered students’ questions too. They ranged from the names of former teachers, her birthday (September 11) and whether she’s married (no) to her favorite part of the Olympics (“hanging out with my friends from different countries”), what she’d do if she weren’t snowboarding (film and photography), her favorite subjects at Long Lots (PE and art), whether she’s still friends with Long Lots kids (yes!), her other sports (soccer, basketball, softball, skateboarding and more), her favorite video games (Nintendo Switch and Mario Kart), her biggest challenge (overcoming fear of hitting big jumps), and advice to new snowboarders (“get butt pads — you’ll fall a lot”).

After gifts of flowers and a Long Lots swag bag, principal Kim Ambrosio unfurled a sign honoring the Olympic champion. It will hang in the gym.

Principal Kim Ambrosio (far right) and the new sign.

The assembly ended with Julia joining in, as students sang the school song.

Once a Lion, always a Lion.

Julia Marino’s 5th grade writeup, in the Long Lots yearbook. How many elementary school students’ dreams come true?!

Roundup: Vacation Alert, Paving, Nitrogen …

IMPORTANT ALERT: The “Roundup” will join me on vacation for a few days. “06880” will continue as usual, but you won’t see the Roundup until the weekend. My apologies — but hey, everyone else is away too!


It’s taken a couple of weeks, but the paving projects at Long Lots Elementary School and Wakeman Fields is done. The dust and gravel are finally gone.

That’s good news for everyone — except Splash Car Wash.

(Photo/Dan Woog)


Like the photo above, last night’s Levitt Pavilion concert was a bit soggy.

But Mimi & the Podd Brothers brought their special mix of jazz, classical and soul to an appreciative audience. It was another wonderful night under the stars — even if you couldn’t see them.

The Levitt is dark tonight, as it is every Monday. Click here for the full calendar, and free ticket information.

Mimi & the Podd Brothers (JC Martin)


Staples High School Class of 1971 graduate David Jones has been involved in some very interesting ventures. His latest has him particularly excited.

“Granular fertilizer is destroying the plant,” he says. “There are too many chemicals. The runoff gets into water tables and aquifers.”

NTP Technologies’ new product is water-infused, with nitrogen. There are no chemicals at all.

They’ve built a machine that reacts the plain tap water through electricity, creating high nitrogen content.

“We want to change farming forever,” Jones says. They’ve got a building in Florida, and a strong management team.

Intrigued? Want to learn more? Email djones@ntptechnologies.com.


Today’s soothing “Westport … Naturally” photo reminds us that it is almost mid-August. And that means September is just around the corner…

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … on this date in 1936, Jesse Owens won his 4th gold medal at the Berlin Olympics.

He was not scheduled to compete in that 4th event — the 4×100 meter sprint relay — but the head coach replaced Jewish sprinters Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller with him and Ralph Metcalfe.

Owens’ performance was said to have “single-handedly crushed Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy.”

I don’t remember any songs honoring Jesse Owens’ accomplishments. Well, there is one that mentions him — “Jesse Owens,” by the rapper Rowdy Rebel — but it’s got waaaaaay too many drug, misogynistic and “N-word” references to post here.

So these will have to do.

Roundup: Long Lots Readers, Nature …


Long Lots Elementary School students love to read. And they love sharing books with others.

The other day, as part of a “Reading Across America” project, students and staff brought in 1,200 new and gently used K-5 children’s books. Bridgeport’s Lighthouse Program will donate them throughout the city. Westport and Bridgeport Police officers, and Connecticut State Police, helped with collection and distribution.

Way to go, Long Lots Lions! (Hat tip: Ned Batlin)

(Photo/Trooper P. Muniz)


Sure, you lost an hour of sleep last night. But look what this late winter day has given us:

Blooming crocuses on Riverside Avenue (Photo/Katherine Ross)


Michael Catarevas writes:

“This is what happens when the neighbor on one side has a deer fence on their property, and the other side neighbor’s backyard is swampy. We have drainage pipes in the backyard, so the ground is nice and dry.”

(Photo/Michael Catarevas)

And finally … On this day in 1794, Connecticut’s own Eli Whitney received a patent for the cotton gin.

Friday Flashback #208

The big day is Tuesday. Nearly 6 months after closing — and a week after the original date — students return to Westport schools.

Many things will be different. They’ll attend in shifts: half in classrooms, half studying remotely. Desks will be 6 feet apart. Some hallways will be one-way. And those are just a few of the changes COVID has wrought.

Some youngsters have not even driven past their schools in half a year. To remind them of what they look like, here is a special “Friday Flashback” drone gallery. All images are courtesy of multi-talented and spectacular Staples High School senior Brandon Malin. (Click on or hover over any photo to enlarge.)

To start off, here’s the school he’s headed back to:

Bedford Middle School

Coleytown Middle School (construction project)

Coleytown Elementary School 

Greens Farms Elementary School

Kings HIghway Elementary School

Long Lots Elementary School

Saugatuck Elementary School

Bonus feature: Greens Farms Academy (All drone photos/Brandon Malin)