Being proactive here: In the event of a power outage, “06880” may need a temporary home. If any reader has a generator and space where I can work, please email: email@example.com. All options are gratefully accepted!
When the 2020 (’21) Paralympic Games begin Tuesday in Tokyo, Westporters should pay attention to swimmer Matthew Torres.
The 20-year-old Fairfield University sophomore — born without part of his right leg and missing all but one toe on his left foot, along with curvature of his hands — will compete in the 100 and 400 meter freestyle, and 100 meter backstroke.
He’s a proud alum of the Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rats program — and winner of the 200 individual medley at the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series.
Go get ’em, Matthew. And congrats to the Water Rats, who helped get him there!
The Westport Police Benevolent Association Car Cruise scheduled for today (Saturday), has been canceled due to weather concerns. The new date is October 2 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
All 3 sailors from Longshore Sailing School’s week-long regatta in honor of the late Doug Sheffer are Staples High School students. In the photo below, winner James Russell is flanked by second place finisher Annabelle Lott, and bronze medalist Alex St. Andre.
Who knows what Henri will bring?
But even as the clouds rolled in, there were few worries last night at Compo Beach:
Longshore Sailing School has a great reputation. The staff is knowledgeable, courteous, friendly and hardworking. Even when they’re swamped (ho ho), they handle everyone — students, renters, people who have no idea what they want — with care and concern.
So things must have gotten really bad for them to post this last Saturday, on social media:
The physical and emotional well-being of our staff and customers is our number one priority. We reserve the right to ask any renter/student to cease visiting our facility if their behavior is deemed to be inappropriate, especially when directed at another customer or Longshore Sailing School employee.
After dozens of “likes,” they added:
We love what we do, and we lover our staff. When you visit, we ask for kindness and readiness for a good time! Get ready for a stellar Sunday! Forecast is looking gorgeous.
It was a great weekend. Let’s hope whoever has been harassing the staff got the message, and took a hike.
Or at least took their obnoxious, entitled behavior elsewhere.
Deputy Fire Chief Michael Kronick is back in Westport. He just completed a 2-week wildfire assignment with the Connecticut Interstate Fire Crew, battling wildfires in Minnesota and Montana.
Westport Fire Chief Robert Yost says, “I’m proud to welcome back our deputy, who epitomizes Westport’s values of sacrifice and service to others. When communities and states need help, we can support our neighbors in their time of crisis battling dangerous wildfires. The experience and knowledge he gained in working a large-scale incident are invaluable to us.”
Deputy Fire Chief Michael Kronick, in action out west.
The headline on yesterday’s Atlantic story was strong: “The Taliban’s Return is Catastrophic for Women.”
The subhead was even stronger: “As a photojournalist covering Afghanistan for two decades, I’ve seen how hard the country’s women have fought for their freedom, and how much they have gained. Now they stand to lose everything.”
The byline read “Lynsey Addario.” As usual, the Staples High School Pulitzer Prize- and MacArthur “genius grant”-winning photojournalist delivered even more than she promised.
Click here to read the full, harrowing piece. (Hat tip: Kathie Motes Bennewitz)
An Afghan woman (Photo/Lynsey Addario, courtesy of The Atlantic)
The talented writer/producer /creator of Starz’ “Power” franchise — and 1994 Staples High School graduate — has just signed a “high 8-figure overall deal” with Netflix. She’ll “create new series, and develop other projects for a global audience through her End of Episode banner,” says Deadline. Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Judith Hamer)
COVID knocked the Westport Writers’ Workshop classes onto Zoom. But now they’re back — and in a great new location.
The new gallery-like teaching and event space is 25 Sylvan Road South — just down the hill from the previous site. It’s perfect for workshops, readings, publishing events and collaborations with other nonprofits.
Remote options are still available. Click here for fall schedules — and mark your calendars for an open house on September 9 (6 to 8 p.m.).
Piglet — Westport’s very famous deaf, blind rescue puppy — will appear with Melissa Shapiro, the veterinarian who made him famous — at the 3rd annual Smart Walk for Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. The event is October 3, at Sherwood Island State Park.
Shapiro will talk (and Piglet will watch) about her new best-selling book, “Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family.”
“We can’t wait to share a little positive Piglet Mindse with everyone after the walk,” Shapiro says.
The Smart Walk is a day of crafts, games, music, ice cream — and the fundraising walk. Click here for more information, and to register.
Longtime Westporter Barbara Reis has spent over 50 years writing musicals.
They’ve been produced at the White Barn Theater, Fairfield Playhouse, Orpheum in New York and others.
She and collaborator Nancy Tobin have just completed “My Millionaire.” The musical is based on a Mark Twain short story.
They believe a presentation at Mark Twain’s former house would be great. They’re also looking for other ideas. Unfortunately, her agent has died. So she’s looking for help from “06880” readers, to move the show along.
If you’ve got ideas — or are interested in learning more — email firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally … Nanci Griffith died last Friday, at 68. The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter “kept one foot in folk and the other in country, and was blessed with a soaring voice equally at home in both genres,” the New York Times says. Click here for a full obituary.
“The show must go on” is a time-honored tradition. On Friday night, Drew Angus honored it well.
The Staples High School graduate, recording artist and all-around good guy was booked for the Levitt Pavilion. Right before showtime, a hard rain fell.
But Drew — standing behind his band’s covered instruments — gave a fantastic performance.
Most of the crowd was far in back, under the overhang. A few hardy folks sat on the grass. But it didn’t take long for many to get up and dance. It was an amazing scene. (It didn’t hurt that one of his numbers was “Singin’ in the Rain.”)
Carleigh Welsh announced that Drew will be booked for another performance this summer. Hopefully he knows “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine.” (Hat tip: Laura Schwartz)
Drew Angus, singing in the rain. (Photo/Laura Schwartz)
Conversion of the former Armstrong Rubber Company headquarters in New Haven — the concrete box on the left as you head north, next to Ikea and just before the I-91 merge — into what may be the most energy-efficient hotel in the country has “Westport” all over it.
Hotel Marcel’s developer and architect is Westport-based Bruce Becker. He’s building it to meet net-zero energy standards. It will generate as much energy as it uses. All electricity is produced on site, and it’s the first passive house-certified hotel in the US.
Saugatuck’s LANDTECH is the project’s site/civil engineer.
It’s a great project. To learn more, click on the video below. (Hat tip: Peter Gold)
The Board of Education takes another step toward deciding reopening plans at tomorrow’s meeting (Monday, August, 3, 7 p.m.).
The virtual session will be livestreamed on westportps.org, and shown on Optimum channel 78 and Frontier channel 6021. Emails to board members can be sent to BOE@westportps.org.
The “Wall of Fame” at Longshore Sailing School displays staff photos going back several decades. Most of them look quite similar. This year’s does not.
(Photo courtesy of John Kantor)
And finally … the legacy of John Lewis, the protests after the death of George Floyd, the linked arms of the Wall of Moms in Portland, the passion of young people after Parkland, the knee-taking by Major League Baseball players — those and so many other acts of standing up for one’s beliefs reinforce the inspiring message of the great Phil Ochs:
“The facility has been serviced by ServPro as a response to our positive COVID case. Vessels have been postponed until today, as the weather prevented proper sanitizing.
“Though we are technically able to stay open, we are choosing to remain closed through the end of the day on Friday. We will reopen on Saturday. We will provide a refund for the missed class days of our students. Rentals and sdult programs will resume on Saturday, July 11 at 9:30 a.m. Junior programs will resume on Monday, July 13.”
Everyone’s talking about racism. But how can we talk about it appropriately and effectively, with kids?
That’s the focus of an important virtual panel discussion. “Towards Becoming an Anti-Racist Society: Talking with Young Children About Race and Racism” — sponsored by TEAM Westport, Greens Farms Academy, The Westport Library and United Way of Coastal Fairfield County — is set for Wednesday, July 22 (7 to 8:30 p.m.).
Panelists include Bank Street educator Takiema Bunche Smith, early childhood director Linda Santoro and TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey Jr. Moderator Shanelle Henry is director of equity and inclusion at GFA.
It should be an engaging (and free!) discussion. Click here to register.
MoCA Westport reopened this week with — executive director Ruth Mannes says — “a renewed sense of perspective, purpose, and hope.” Guests are welcomed to the Helmut Lang exhibition “in a very safe setting. Physically distanced visits will feel like private tours.”
Summer hours are Wednesdays through Fridays, 12 to 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, click here.
The Westport Country Playhouse, Shubert Theatre and Long Wharf Theatre have teamed up to present a free, virtual program for high school students in Fairfield County and New Haven County.
THRIVE (Teens Having Resilience in a Virtual Environment) includes interactive workshops and discussions on themes like spoken word, creative writing, arts, performance, wellness, job training, cooking and more, led by specialists in each field.
The program runs from Monday, July 20 through Saturday, August 8. It ends with a virtual showcase hosted by Tony-winning Broadway star (and Westport’s own) Kelli O’Hara.
The deadline to apply is (uh oh) tomorrow (Friday, July 10). Click here for more information.
Who knew that Michael Wolfe’s blog post “My Definitive And Absolutely Correct Ranking of 40 Jewish Foods” would go viral (over 220,000 views so far)? Oy!
Tonight (Thursday, July 9, 7 p.m.), the Westporter will speak online about it all. Everyone is welcome. Click here to join. Don’t forget your bagel!
Singing is supposed to be cathartic. These days, it’s also a very effective way to spread the coronavirus.
But not if the vocals are virtual.
Westport music educator Danielle Merlis has enlisted Backtrack Vocals — the New York a cappella ensemble with Broadway appearances in “Kinky Boots,” and here at Toquet Hall — to be artists in (online) residence at her Camp A Cappella.
Beginning tomorrow (Friday, July 10) Backtrack Vocals members will lead virtual for young singers entering grades 4-12. Students will learn an arrangement of a pop song, which they’ll perform in a final video alongside the professional ensemble.
The workshop includes lessons in beatboxing, choreography and ensemble skills; each student receives individual instruction.
No prior vocal training or ensemble singing is required. Students can sign up any time before July 23rd, and watch the classes on demand! Email email@example.com for more information.
Norwalk author Jerry Craft made history when “New Kid” became the first graphic novel to win the prestigious Newbery Medal. He is also only the 5th Black writer to earn the prize.
He’s the second speaker in the Westport Library’s new Camp Explore summer program, for youngsters entering grades 4 to 8. Each week there’s a new guest — a global expert in his or her field.
Craft will appear (virtually) Monday (July 13) at 4 p.m. To register, click here.
Tomorrow at noon, 4 Westport girls will be honored for their social impact ventures.
The quartet — Staples High School’s Hannah Cohen and Lina Singh, and Bedford Middle School’s Samantha Henske and Yanira Rios — participated in Girls With Impact‘s online entrepreneurship academy. The program’s goal is to increase the number of diverse women leaders and innovators in the workforce.
Tomorrow’s online event includes nearly 1,000 teenagers, from 40 states.
And finally … 65 years ago today — July 9, 1955 — “Rock Around the Clock” hit #1 on the Billboard chart. It’s called “the first rock ‘n’ roll” record. I have no idea how you define such a thing. But I do know: Neither Bill Haley nor his Comets look anything like what we call a “rock star.”
Longshore Sailing School adds this information about their temporary closure, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19:
This employee is not an instructor nor do they work inside our office. We notified all current families as soon, as we were informed. We are also reaching out to all students that have been at our facility over the last three weeks.
ServPro will be at our facility today doing a full sanitization of our facility and equipment. After speaking with the Westport-Weston Health District, it was concluded that we are going above the requirements of the State of Connecticut OEC Coronavirus Memo #18 regarding Youth Camp Guidance. We will do our very best to continue to provide updates as they come.
I woke up this morning to an email from Longshore Sailing School. They said they will be closed today, because one of their employees tested positive for the coronavirus. All staff will get tested today.
I am freaking out, because my son was there Monday and Tuesday. I’m not sure if he was exposed or not.
More importantly, this is how the spread happens again. This was the first week we sent my son out to an organized activity since March (we quarantined until last weekend). I will be so upset if he turns out to be positive from this.
I am very worried because my elderly parents live with us.
Many people were partying and not being safe over the July 4th weekend. Now the virus may spike again in our town.
Of course our family will get tested this morning to be safe.
The reader followed up an hour later with this:
I talked to my son’s doctor this morning. She said the problem is if someone got exposed, it may not show up as positive for a week. So if he tests today he could get a false negative.
She said this will be a problem with kids going back to school in the fall. Norwalk summer school opened this week. Then a teacher tested positive, and they have now shut down for the remainder of the week.
If this happens when school opens, what will they do? Will they shut down every time?
This should be a really good discussion. I don’t think anyone has a clear decision at this point about what to do.
Phase 1 is kayak and paddleboard rentals online. Tomorrow (Monday, June 1), those rentals are available online, and for walk-ins.
Wednesday (June 3) is the first day for sailboat and catamaran rentals. Online reservations are suggested; walk-ins are first-come, first-served.
Click here to reserve. NOTE: Renters must present a license or photo ID at the office.
It’s been quite a first year for Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas.
No one could have predicted what happened in March — or since then. But in addition to shepherding the school through distance learning, keeping the lines of communication open with a series of warm, informative videos, and doing thousands of other things that no one ever taught in his education classes, the popular principal hand-wrote congratulatory notes to graduating seniors.
All 433 of them.
It doesn’t make up for what the Class of 2020 missed during their final 3 months. But if anyone still keeps scrapbooks, a note like that should go right in front.
As restaurants throughout Westport reopen, Roly Poly is closing.
Yesterday, employees were wrapping up the final wraps. The longtime franchise on Saugatuck Avenue could not make it through the COVID crisis.
The Fine Arts Festival was supposed to be this weekend. It’s been postponed. The new dates are October 17-18.
But you can still see and buy beautiful paintings, sculptures and photos from the artists who would have lined Main Street today.
Click here to browse. Then mark your calendars for the live event this fall.
One more piece of proof that Westport is on its way to reopening fully:
Our self-important, really obnoxious entitled bad parkers are back!
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