Friday was a big night for Staples High School football.
After an address by 3 active servicemembers, quarterback Caleb Smith led the Wreckers to a 42-13 rout of Conard-West Hartford. It was the season opener for both teams, at Paul Lane Field.
And the Gridiron Club presented Catch-a-Lift founder Lynn Coffland with a check for $23,000. Funds were raised this summer by the club and players, who participated in the “Murph Challenge.” The money helps post-9/11 combat wounded veterans, with gym memberships and fitness rehabilitation.
The Wreckers travel to St. Joseph next Saturday, for a 1:30 p.m. contest.
Gridiron Club and Catch-a-Lift representatives are all smiles Friday night.
That’s the strong sentiment from a town-wide survey about the future of Longshore, says the woman in charge of overseeing any changes to the 168-acre park.
Jen Fava — Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department director — has looked at the results and comments of the springtime survey. Administered by landscape architect, planning and engineering firm Stantec as an early step in the Longshore Capital Improvement Plan, it drew 2,658 responses.
Longshore includes a golf course, tennis courts, marina, pools, and much, much more.
“The surprise was that there were not a lot of surprises,” Fava says.
“People said ‘Longshore is great. We love it.’ They don’t want to change too much. They just want it tweaked, to fit their needs.”
Of course, not every resident has the same needs. One person’s priority for pickleball may conflict with another’s desire for a golf clubhouse.
Golfers weighed in strongly for an actual clubhouse, with a pro shop, locker room and grill. The golf course itself will not be redesigned.
Longshore golf course. (Photo/Dave Dellinger)
Platform tennis players want 2 more courts, and a warming hut.
As for pickleball: 1,512 respondents want courts. 962 said no.
As expected, Fava says, survey respondents expressed a strong desire for the pools — and for keeping the current location, near Long Island Sound.
However, many asked for more shade there; a patio and picnic area, and renovated locker rooms.
Longshore pool (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)
There was a clear desire too for trails, paths and walkways throughout Longshore. “That fits in with national trends,” Fava says.
Stantec’s job now is to provide options. Fava calls it “laying out the jigsaw pieces.” Where, for example, would a golf clubhouse be constructed: on the site of the current ramshackle pro shop, or elsewhere? Should the current maintenance shed — right in the heart of the facility, near golf, tennis, the Inn and the pool parking lot — be moved? If so, where?
The driving range now occupies prime real estate, at the confluence of the Saugatuck River and Long Island Sound. A number of respondents would like to see that space available to more users. If so, what happens to that practice facility?
The survey asked several questions about parking. Most respondents rated it low on their concerns. “Perhaps we’ll look at a realignment of spaces, or better accessways,” Fava says.
Parks & Rec officials will go to the public this fall for more input. Then comes a detailed capital plan, with requests for specific items before town finance and land use commissions.
“We can’t give everyone everything,” Fava notes.
Moving forward, she says that she and other officials will keep in mind the main takeaway: “People said, ‘don’t overdevelop Longshore.’ We’ll keep its character, while meeting as many needs as possible.
“Longshore has very good bones. We just need to sculpt around it.”
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)
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.
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.”
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.
And if you’re playing golf at Longshore, and you get to the 7th tee — and you’re a male — the place to go is behind a tree.
That’s been true for generations. So — according to Carl Addison Swanson — a plaque commemorating the impromptu port-a-potty was put there in the late 1960s. The deed was done by members of the Longshore Junior Association.
Carl recalls a small pail hanging from the tree, too.
The plaque (photographed by Carl himself) was last week’s Photo Challenge. Click here to see.
Paul Lenihan, Fred Rubin, Barry Cass and Dave Eason all knew exactly where the plaque is. Dave also nailed the reason.
Now, if you can nail this week’s Photo Challenge, click “Comments” below.
A bill that would have banned municipalities from imposing high fees that might restrict non-residents from using public beaches — and from barring out-of-towners in order to prevent the spread of COVID — will not come up for a vote in the state legislature.
Politicians are spending their time on 2 other controversial measures — zoning reform and affordable housing — instead. The deadline for moving bills out of committee is April 5.
Speaking of our Parks & Recreation … they say:
“It has been nice to see so many people out using our facilities as the weather has improved, including some people using the Longshore golf course as an open space for walking. As of Monday (March 29), it will be open for play, and no longer available for those not actively playing golf.
“Please keep in mind, even using the roadways through Longshore can be dangerous as errant golf balls can cause serious injury or damage. For your safety, we urge you to use other locations for getting outside.”
Even with social distancing, Longshore golf course is off limits. (Photo/Mary Sikorski)
Westport Country Playhouse’s popular “Script in Hand” series returns next month, with a virtual play reading of “Rent Control.” The Off-Broadway hit comedy tells the true story of a struggling-to-survive New York actor who invents a moneymaking scheme that (of course) backfires.
After premiering April 26 (7 p.m.), “Rent Control” is available on demand from April 27 through May 2.
Virtual tickets are available online, at 203-227-4177, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It started out as a white Christmas. By the end of the day, rain and 50-degree weather had washed most of the snow away.
All that remains are brown, crusty mounds like the ones below, at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.
The forecast is for temperatures in the high 40s today, 30s tomorrow and Wednesday, 40s and 50s the rest of the week and weekend.
Rain is predicted for New Year’s Eve. No big deal — you weren’t going out anyway, were you?
Was it a line for COVID testing — or the vaccine?
Perhaps PlayStation 5?
Nope, nope and nope.
This was the post-Christmas line outside Lululemon yesterday.
Jo Shields reports: “People waiting say it’s just social distancing, combined with shopping appointments and a limited number allowed in the store. Sounds like a really responsible company policy. Maybe even smart for sales.
“And although there were complaints about being cold, everyone was good natured and patient. And wearing masks.”
Barbara Levy entertained this good-looking — but hungry — visitor outside her Greens Farms home yesterday:
Pam Kesselman jokes: “Someone left a Big Bertha (large driver) in the 9th hole sand trap at Longshore. Please claim before it disappears.”
And finally … we catch up with one more recently deceased musician.
Chad Stuart died last week of pneumonia. He was 79.
One-half of Chad & Jeremy — often confused with the longer-lived, more successful, equally cute British duo, one of whom also wore glasses — Chad & Jeremy made a brief career out of summer-themed songs.
And there’s this tidbit from Stuart’s New York Times obituary: describing Stuart’s solo career after the pair broke up: “At one point he opened for the hard-rock band Mountain in a bowling alley in Hartford, Conn.” Yesterday’s Roundup paid tribute to Mountain founder Leslie West, who died just 3 days after Chad Stuart.
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