In honor of autumn, last week’s photo challenge featured Andrew Colabella’s orange-filtered shot of some trees and reeds.
They could have been many places in Westport. Lots of alert “06880” readers zeroed in on the Longshore/Gray’s Creek/Compo Beach Road area. They were close.
But only Peter Barlow and Diane Bosch knew that the shot was taken in Longshore’s lower parking lot — beyond the golf course. It showed the east bank of the Saugatuck River. Click here to see the gorgeous image (and read all the ohsoclose responses).
This week’s photo challenge is also seasonal. The season was spring — but this Adirondack chair perches on the grass all year long. If you know where it is, click “Comments” below.
Over 100 students — soon-to-be graduates as well as alumni from the past 4 years — will receive $300,000 in college aid.
The ceremony is low-key, but warm and inspiring.
And very, very important. Contrary to myth, there is plenty of need right here in Westport.
Fred Cantor did not receive an STG grant when he graduated from Staples in 1971. He no longer has formal ties to the school; he’s just a proud alum.
But the longtime Westporter is eager to give back. Recently, he found a unique way to do so.
For the 1970s on, he’s taken photos of iconic Westport scenes. Now he’s licensed 5 of them to STG: Main Street with Remarkable Book Shop; Fairfield Furniture and the Saugatuck River; Fine Arts Theater; Longshore’s main entrance, and Railroad Place.
They’re displayed on gift items like luggage tags, coffee mugs, magnets, note cards and tote bags. They’re on sale to the public — with all profits going to the scholarship organization.
Actually, they’ll go to one specific fund: the STG award named after Chou Chou Merrill. The 1970 grad reveled in her childhood and youth here — the memories she shared, the friendships she nurtured, the opportunities she was given. She died in 2014.
A luggage tag, with an image of the Longshore entrance.
Fred says that the photos and souvenirs are a perfect way for Westporters, current and spread around the globe, to show their affection for this town. And help a great cause.
How generous of Fred — an avid “06880” reader — to think of Staples Tuition Grants in this way.
How fitting that he’s chosen Chou Chou’s scholarship to be the recipient of his generosity.
Now all you have to do is click here for a great Fred Cantor-themed/Westport-style/STG-assisting souvenir. (NOTE: More items will be added soon!)
(The public is invited to today’s Staples Tuition Grants ceremony [Thursday, June 9, 5:30 p.m. in the Staples library]. To donate to Staples Tuition Grants, click here.)
Luggage tags, coffee mugs, magnets, note cards and tote bags feature Fred Cantor’s photos of Westport. Fairfield Furniture is now back to its original name: National Hall.
As reported yesterday, Westport’s ospreys have returned to their (relocated) nest, high above Fresh Market.
Drivers regularly stop to gawk. But busy Route 1 is not the only place in town to spot these magnificent raptors.
Three other platforms exist here. Two were created by CL&P (in their pre-Eversource days), in partnership with the Westport Conservation Commission.
CL&P set old utility poles at Longshore. One was on the right side of the exit road, near the 12th fairway. It’s hosted a nesting pair for at least 5 or 6 years.
The 2nd pole was set in the back of the guest parking lot, to the left of the marina. A pair nested there for a while last year, but seems not to have had success with eggs or chicks.
A 3rd platform exists to the east of Burying Hill Beach. In a private yard next to the seawall — erected, probably, by the homeowners — it has been home to some successful nesting ospreys.
Meanwhile, alert reader Mary Ann West reports that purple martin “scout” arrived at Sherwood Island yesterday. Scouts venture ahead of the flock after spending the winter in South America.
Tina Green spotted the early arrival as she helped set up 24 “gourd condos” in Connecticut’s 1st state park.
The “condos” (pictured above) consist of 12 “homes” per pole. They were established outside the Sherwood Island Nature Center last year.
The houses are removed after each nesting season, cleaned and put up just before the birds arrive. That keeps more invasive species from taking over the colony. Last year, 105 new featherless baby bird residents were monitored by volunteers.
The fledglings were banded in early July, before they prepared to fly the coop back to their wintering grounds. The Westport band is red, so if you see a bird sporting a red metallic band, it’s one of ours.
Another pole with 12 condos will be added soon, making a total of 36 purple martin couples very happy.
Sherwood Island is also home to 2 other Westport ospreys. The park’s couple — Will and Kate — are due back to their nest soon. It’s set up in the marsh outside of the Nature Center.
You can see it there — or on the “osprey cam” (click here).
The big debate in Westport these days is over affordable housing. Ospreys and purple martins seem to have solved that problem. Perhaps we can ask CL&P/Eversource and Sherwood Island to help the humans too?
The Sherwood Island “osprey cam,” earlier this morning.
It’s Westport’s 2nd favorite sport, after tearing down perfectly good homes: Bashing our home town. (See? I can’t resist, even in a perfectly good introduction to this story.)
But, of course, there is much — very much — to love about this place. Alert “06880” reader (and longtime Westporter) Jayne Mauborgne sent this along. She wrote it 10 years ago. A real estate agency reprinted it for potential buyers. It’s as relevant today as it was, way back at the dawn of the 21st century. Jayne said:
When I was in my late teens I traveled with my father, who was in sales. He called on a clothing store, on Main Street.
Part of the pleasure of traveling with him was lunch. This day was no different. We ate at a Chinese restaurant on Main Street, then took a walk in the back by the water. I remarked to my dad, “when I grow up I hope I can live in a house in Westport.” It was love at first sight.
When Jayne Mauborgne first visited Westport, the Saugatuck River lapped up against the back of Main Street stores.
Many years later the dream became a reality. My husband and I moved with our 2 little daughters to a lovely house in the town of my dreams.
That was 54 years ago, but the thrill of Westport never wears thin. My girls attended public schools here, getting attention one can only dream about. Teachers were our neighbors and friends, and the caring was overwhelming.
I didn’t work when my children were young. I enjoyed the PTA, made lasting friendships, played tennis, my husband golfed at Longshore, we enjoyed the beach and 4th of July, Staples Players, wonderful restaurants, Memorial Day parades, a first-class library (even before the new building) – too many things to mention.
Nothing beats a Memorial Day parade in Westport.
Life has changed. The girls are professional women. For the last 35 years I have owned my own business. I worked hard. But at the end of each day, just walking at the beach, watching a sunset at Compo or walking at Winslow, my thoughts stray to the wonder of this town. To the familiar faces in the supermarket. The friends and acquaintances I run into in a restaurant or just walking on Main Street. How lucky I am.
The greatest pleasure for me is Winslow Park. What forward-thinking people we have had at the helm of this town, to put 22 of the most valuable acres aside for walking, enjoying or doing nothing at all (which is a lost art in this town). How beautiful to watch the sun go down, see the dogs playing, see their owners having a few relaxed moments from their busy days, moms with carriages, joggers, kids on sleds in winter.
To have such a beach 1 mile from my house is unbelievable. An Olympic pool at Longshore, sailing, tennis courts galore, golf: what doesn’t this town have?
Everyone loves Longshore.
I have had occasion to call the police a few times over the years. I don’t think I have even hung up the phone when they appeared at the door. The same holds true for EMS. The dedication of the people who serve this town voluntarily. Hats off to all of you who give tirelessly of your time and energy — especially as everyone here has a point of view and wants to be heard, even if it is midnight. And show me another town where you get to meet, eat and chat with the top executives.
Yes, I knew this was the right place for me. So I just want to say “thank you Westport.” You have given me a really nice life, and if I am lucky I hope for many more years of pleasure.
The unique, beautiful spit of land drew his parents to Westport nearly a century ago, and kept Allen here ever since. (He added a house on King’s Highway, which is perfectly fitting. It’s the most historic part of town, and no one knows Westport’s history better than Allen Raymond.)
Allen is 91 years old now, and his heart is failing. This afternoon — the 1st sparkling day of spring — he visited his beloved Old Mill home. It’s rented out, but he sat on the porch, gazed at the rippling high tide and spectacular views of Compo Hill, and reminisced.
Allen Raymond this afternoon, in the Compo Cove home he has loved for 91 years. (Photo/Scott Smith)
Allen spoke about his childhood days on the water, his summers growing up, and the life he’s lived here — and loved — ever since.
What a remarkable 9 decades Allen has spent in town.
He’s served on more boards, brokered more good and smart deals, and contributed more to every facet of life — educational, recreational, spiritual — than anyone since the Bedfords. (And there were a lot more of them than him.)
The Westport Y has named the entrance road to their new facility at Camp Mahackeno after their longtime friend.
Allen has contributed unfathomable amounts of time, energy (and money) to the Green’s Farms Congregational Church, and the Y. He led the Westport Historical Society into (paradoxically) the modern era, and Earthplace to sustainability.
He has advised nearly every elected official in town, at one time or other. He’s saved many of them from political disasters, and us from the financial fallout.
It is safe to say Westport would not be the town it is — nor would we be the people we are — without the love (sometimes gentle, sometimes tough) that Allen Raymond has lavished on us for longer than nearly any of us have been alive.
Perhaps his greatest gift to the town, though, is the 169 acres on South Compo Road known as Longshore.
Allen Raymond, circa 1963.
Few Westporters realize that our town jewel camethisclose to being something else entirely. In early 1960, the privately owned Longshore Beach and Country Club — with a golf course, tennis courts, pools, marina, inn/restaurant and play areas — came up for sale.
The typical Westport response — build houses! — was strongly considered. But First Selectman Herb Baldwin and his kitchen cabinet decided to make a bid, on behalf of the town. Baldwin put his best adviser in charge of the project: Allen Raymond.
The group had to act quickly. In just 18 days they put together a $1.9 million package — then earned approval from the Board of Finance and RTM. The latter vote was 38-0. (The RTM doesn’t even name bridges or approve jUNe Day unanimously.)
A month and a half later — on May 28, 1960 — Longshore Club Park opened to the public. It’s been one of the town jewels ever since.
As has Allen Raymond.
He is a remarkable, inspiring, truly wonderful man.
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe released this statement today:
After reviewing Tree Warden Bruce Lindsay’s report and his recommendation to remove the remaining original 15 trees, and after participating in the public on-site information session with a number of citizens and RTM members, I have advised Mr. Lindsay and Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy to proceed with their recommendation.
This recommendation was an extremely difficult one to make given the age and size of the trees, as well as their iconic presence at Longshore. I would like to thank all those who attended Saturday’s information session and who helped me with my decision.
Mr. Lindsay has made it clear that, among other things, there is a safety issue which the town cannot ignore and which requires the removal of these trees. Most of the larger trees along the entrance drive have already come down over the years and, as stated during the information session, the removal of the additional trees reflects the final stage of a landscape plan which has been in place for over 20 years. Fortunately, the town had the foresight to start the tree replacement process many years ago.
Longshore trees tagged for removal along the entrance road.
I am fully aware that the entrance to Longshore Park presents one of the more scenic views in Westport. There are many newer trees along the entrance which are doing well and I believe that as these new trees continue to mature, they will preserve that familiar majestic look. The removal of the trees presents us with an opportunity to plan for the future. Many helpful suggestions to address the planting, care and maintenance of trees within Longshore Park and on other town owned property in general have come out of our recent discussions. With those suggestions in mind, I will:
1) Consult with the Parks and Recreation Commission and staff to ensure that a sufficient number of trees are planted to replace those that are being removed. (In this regard, Charlie Haberstroh, Chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission, will propose to the Commission that two trees be planted for each one that is removed within the Park);
2) Seek recommendations from the Tree Warden and the Tree Board on how to adopt a program of tree preservation in town which balances aesthetics with safety; and
3) Look into establishing a fund to which citizens may contribute for the purpose of purchasing trees to be planted on town property.
I remain committed to ensuring that Longshore will continue to be of great pride to Westport residents today and for many generations to come.
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe issued the following statement today:
I have asked for a temporary delay in the removal of 15 trees along the entrance to Longshore Club Park.
Since this is a new issue for me and my administration, Westport tree warden Bruce Lindsay will prepare for my review a written report outlining his analysis and confirming his recommendation that the trees be removed.
I have the utmost confidence in, and respect for, Mr. Lindsay, who recently came to Westport with excellent credentials in this field. However, in view of the importance of this issue and the discussion which it has generated, I have requested that Mr. Lindsay temporarily delay the tree removal and to prepare this report.
Upon receipt and analysis of the report, which of course will be shared with the public, I will determine the appropriate next steps. It is anticipated that a public meeting will be held to review the Tree Warden’s analysis and recommendations.
I should note that the Longshore trees have been the topic of much analysis and planning by the Town for many years. Twenty years ago, new trees were planted by the Parks and Recreation Department in anticipation of the replacement need. There are now approximately 75 younger and healthier trees lining the Longshore entrance. Most recently, in September 2013, Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy brought this matter to the Parks and Recreation Commission, which had a public meeting to discuss the need for the tree removal.
I look forward to receiving Mr. Lindsay’s report soon and sharing it with the public.
Longshore trees tagged for removal along the entrance road.
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