Tag Archives: Lyman Ukraine

Roundup: Saugatuck Hamlet, Lyman Video …

The next stop for the rezoning of Saugatuck: the full RTM.

On Thursday, 2 subcommittees of the Representative Town Meeting — Planning & Zoning, and Transit — discussed a text amendment and map amendment, approved earlier by Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

That decision — which would create a new district in Saugatuck, suitable for development of a retail/restaurant/hotel/residential/marina complex — was opposed by more than 30 voters.

Their petition to the RTM led to the subcommittee hearings. The votes to uphold the P&Z’s approval of the new district were 6-0 in the RTM P&Z Committee (with 1 abstention), and 5-1 in the Transit Committee.

The full RTM votes this Tuesday (January 17, 6:30 p.m.; remote). Two-thirds of the members — 24, regardless of how many are present — must vote in favor of the petition to overturn the zoning change.

The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.

The shaded area includes the new text and map amendment boundaries.

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Several readers had difficulty accessing the link in yesterday’s Roundup to a YouTube video showing the delivery of supplies to our sister city Lyman, Ukraine, and the exchange of town flags.

Click the red arrow in the middle of the logo below to view.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” bald eagle was spotted at the Cross Highway/Sturges intersection.

Which makes it a good candidate for “Fairfield … Naturally” too.

(Photo/David Furth)

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And finally … today in 1973, Elvis Presley’s “Aloha from Hawaii” concert was broadcast live via satellite. It set a record: the most watched broadcast by an individaul entertainer in TV history.

(The King is long gone, but “06880” lives. Please click here to support your local blog. Thank you!)

Video From Lyman: First Westport Aid Arrives

Less than a week after Westport surpassed its $250,000 fundraising goal for our new sister city of Lyman, Ukraine, the first aid has arrived.

Alex21 — the on-the-ground partners of Ukraine Aid International, founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — delivered much-needed supplies to the police department.

Printers, laptops, Starlink communications, tablets — and shoes, sweaters and socks — will help first responders immensely. That was identified as one of the town’s highest priorities by the mayor, after police headquarters were hit by Russian missiles.

On the way: materials to shore up apartment buildings until they can be fully repaired this spring. Residents are spending the winter in structures without head or electricity — sometimes without roofs or windows.

Much more aid is on the way, including crucial supplies for children and bombed-out schools.

Westport’s support has been a tremendous morale-booster, Lyman officials say.

For a first look, check out the video below. It was shot in Lyman this week by the Mayers and Liz Olegov of Alex21. It was edited by Katya and Clyde Wauchope, 2 members of the working group in Westport that helped raise the $252,000.

NOTE: The “Sister Cities” logo was designed by Miggs Burroughs. Then graphic artist and Staples High graduate has Ukrainian heritage.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to Lyman through Ukraine Aid International — the non-profit co-founded by Westporter Brian Mayer. 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). 

Westport Flag Flies In Lyman

A day after 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker formalized Westport’s sister city relationship with Lyman, our town flag was delivered to the war-torn Ukrainian town.

Soon, the Lyman flag will be sent here.

Brian and Marshall Mayer — the Westport natives who founded Ukraine Aid International, and helped forge the sister city partnership — met today in Lyman with Mayor Alexander Victoravich Zuravlov and the chief of police.

‘The Westporters, and Liz Olegov of the on-the-ground organization Alex21 — provided a report of the goods and materials on the way to Lyman. They also presented the flag, which Tooker had given them in Westport.

The flag was designed for Westport’s 150th anniversary, in 1985, by native Westporter and renowned artist Miggs Burroughs. He is of Ukrainian descent.

The mayor handed them the Lyman flag, and thanked Westport for its help. In 3 weeks, the town raised $252,000 for Lyman.

Holding the Westport flag (from left): Lyman’s police chief and mayor. With the Lyman flag: Marshall Mayer, Brian Mayer, Liz Olegov.

“I am excited to build ties with America and the West — especially Westport,” he said.

“Spending time with you Americans, I realize the only way we differ is our language.”

Mayor Zuravlov then gave the Mayers and Liz a tour of the town. Among the sites: a school, recently destroyed in a missile strike.

The most recent casualty in Lyman: a school, destroyed by a Russian missile.

It’s Official: Westport And Lyman Are Sister Cities

In the first international meeting in Westport Board of Selectwoman history, Jen Tooker affirmed this morning something that residents have known since the holidays: We have a new sister city.

With the mayor of Lyman, Ukraine joining by telephone, Tooker read a proclamation formalizing ties between the two towns.

The language was both official and warm.

Tooker — flanked by Selectwomen Andrea Moore and Candice Savin, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Fire Chief Michael Kronick — described the links forged through the great work of Westport natives Brian and Marshall Mayer (founders of Ukraine Aid International) and Liz Olegov of the Alex21 group (which delivers goods and materials to war-torn communities). All 3 were on the Zoom call.

Among those on today’s Zoom call: Top row: 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, Fire Chief Michael Kronick, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, 3rd Selectwoman Candice Savin; middle row: Brian and Marshall Mayer of Ukraine Aid International, in Kharkiv; bottom row:Liz Olegov of Alex21, also in Ukraine.

Tooker described Westport’s long history of giving back to communities in need, including our other sister city: Marigny, France. They join us in this effort with Lyman.

Tooker noted that with the sister city relationship, residents of Westport and Lyman will learn about each other.

“Through mutual, interwoven bonds, we will foster our ties,” Tooker said. “We are partners in friendship and recovery, now and always.”

Mayor Alexander Victoravich Zuravlov responded, in remarks translated by Olegov.

“We give great thanks to all who are ready to restore Lyman,” he said.

“We no longer feel that we are not alone.”

In the 3 weeks since Westport’s relationship with Lyman was announced, residents and their friends have donated over $252,000.

The Mayers have sourced building materials and vehicles, which are on their way to Lyman. The Westport Fire and Police Departments are also contributing to the effort. (Full details are being withheld, due to security concerns.)

“Brian, Marshall, Liz and their group figure out exactly what is needed, and how to get it there,” Tooker said. “That’s a game changer — and a morale-booster.”

In honoring the citizens of our new sister city, Tooker cited their “courage and bravery. We are proud to support you and your mayor, now and in the future.”

The 1st Selectwoman said that the Westport-Lyman relationship is believed to be the first of its kind for towns in the US and Ukraine.

“Westport … What’s Happening”: Jen Tooker, Foti Koskinas And Lyman

Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast is special.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas talk passionately about Westport’s new sister city: Lyman, Ukraine.

They provide background information on the war-torn town; describe the logistics of our humanitarian aid; note the close ties our chief has developed with his security counterparts in Lyman, and emphasize the importance of our relationship — not just for delivering crucially needed goods and materials, but for morale too.

Tooker and Koskinas also note that our sister city partnership has only just begun. Students, and many other townspeople, will be involved in a variety of projects in the weeks and months ahead.

“Westport … What’s Happening” is produced by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston. Click below to see:

 

Westport Does It: $252,800 For Lyman!

It took just 18 days for Westport to reach an audacious goal — and help change thousands of lives.

On Friday, $6,525 poured into a fund established to help Lyman, Ukraine. That pushed the total raised since December 19 to $252,800. On that date less than 3 weeks ago, “06880” announced a target of $250,000 to help our new sister city.

Lyman — a town in the Donbas region — suffered mightily during 5 months of Russian occupation. Homes, apartments and schools were destroyed. Police and fire stations were stripped of vehicles and equipment. Even a new playground was demolished.

Without housing, heat or electricity, Lyman residents looked to a joyless Christmas, and a grim winter.

This was once a family’s home in Lyman.

Donations paid immediate dividends. Brian and Marshall Mayer — Westporters who left secure jobs to found Ukraine Aid International — arranged for the surprise delivery of 400 homemade meals on Christmas day. They brought 491 gifts too — one for every child still left in the war-torn town.

Brian and Marshall are in Ukraine right now. They’re sourcing building materials and vehicles, to be delivered soon. Details will be announced later, due to security concerns.

When “06880” readers hear what their dollars have bought — and what UAI and their partners on the ground, the Alex21 group — have done to get it to Lyman, they’ll be awed.

Distributing holiday meals in Lyman.

And this is just the start.

The Westport-Lyman sister city partnership will continue, just as its inspiration — Westport and Marigny, France — has, for over 75 years.

In the years after World War II, our town helped the French village recover. They are joining us in our work with Lyman. Next week, the Marigny mayor announces their own aid effort.

Staff and students at Staples High School, and Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools, have expressed interest in helping Lyman’s youngsters — much as Westport did with Marigny, decades ago.

The shape of that help will be determined soon. But harnessing the enthusiasm of Westport students is another important element of our sister city relationship.

New town-wide initiatives are in the works too.

The drive to $250,000 was a community-wide effort. 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker is solidly behind the effort, and has worked behind the scenes to involve other town officials and departments.

On a Zoom call with Lyman’s mayor Alexander Victoravich Zuravlov, she held up a sign that said, “We Stand With Ukraine.” Her counterpart in Ukraine was moved to tears.

Westport, Ukraine and aid organization participants in an early Zoom call.

Westport — plus former Westporters, and friends and relatives beyond our town — contributed that $252,800 almost entirely as individuals. There were no foundation grants, and only a couple from civic groups.

Of course, organizations will have their chance to help in the coming months.

“06880” is proud to have helped kick-start our drive to raise over $250,000 for Lyman. A working group including Mark Yurkiw, Steve Taranko, Polly Newman, Katya Wauchope, Kathleen Wauchope, Clyde Wauchope and Tom Kretsch joined with Brian and Marshall Mayer, the Alex 21 group’s Liz Olegov and Richard von Groeling, Tooker and other town officials to fast-track the fundraising, then get the goods where they needed to go.

Like all of Westport, that group — and “06880” — is in this for the long, long haul.

Our town will continue to assist our friends in Ukraine, always and in all ways.

We’ve only just begun.

Donations to Lyman are still welcome. Just click here for the credit card “Donate” button. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” You can also scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.) Or you can donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

Roundup: Saugatuck Zoning, MLK Day, Remarkable Bookcycle …

The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will hold a special public hearing on January 17 (7:30 p.m., Zoom) to review last month’s Planning & Zoning Commission decision to create a new zoning and map amendment in Saugatuck.

The vote rezoned 11 properties, and could pave the way for the new Hamlet at Saugatuck retail/hotel/marina project.

The RTM’s Planning & Zoning Committee planned to hold a public meeting to review the P&Z Commission’s decision last night. However, due to a Zoom glitch allowing a maximum of 100 people to attend at a time, with more seeking to participate, the meeting was canceled.

Further meetings are set for January 10 and 12, via Zoom (7 p.m.). The RTM Transit Committee will also meet on Monday, to discuss Saugatuck. Click here for agendas and details.

Details on the January 17 public hearing have not yet been released. It will be livestreamed at  www.westportct.gov, and aired on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.

The shaded area includes the new text and map amendment boundaries.

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This year, Westport celebrates more than Martin Luther King Day.

It’s a full Martin Luther King weekend.

On Saturday (January 14), the Westport Library features several community events.

Junauda Petrus and local artists offer workshops in creative mediums, culminating in a panel discussion on justice, art and healing. They include:

11 a.m. to noon:  Writing Workshop with Shanna T. Melton, a poet, painter and art educator in Bridgeport. The author of “Unraveling My Thoughts” and founder of The Writer’s Group, she is also an arts consultant who integrates social justice and community engagement in her creative workshops, performances and events.

Noon to 1 p.m.: Self-Portrait Workshop with Alicia Cobb, a visual artist, fine body painter and teaching artist in Bridgeport. She honors her ancestors, and creates art for those who couldn’t. Breaking away from conventional canvas and concepts, Alicia creates stories of survival and beauty on human skin and through fine art.

1 to 2 p.m.: Art Workshop

2 to 3 p.m.:  Workshop with Junauda Petrus, a creative activist, writer, playwright and multi-dimensional performance artist. Born on Dakota land, West-Indian descended and African-sourced, her work centers around Black wildness, futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, spectacle and shimmer.

3 to 4 p.m.: Justice, Art and Healing panel discussion with Junauda Petrus and guest artists; moderated by Connecticut poet laureate, author and artist Antoinette Brim-Bell,

Click here for more details about the free Library events, and registration.

On Sunday (January 15, 3 p.m.), Petrus will deliver a keynote address at the Westport Country Playhouse.

The program includes a dance performed by the Regional Center for the Arts.

Click here to register for the free Westport Country Playhouse event.

The Playhouse — partnering for the weekend with the Westport Library, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy, says:

“Together, we invite our entire community — those who live, work, study and participate in the life of Westport, Fairfield County, and adjacent counties — to join us as we begin the work needed to continue King’s call to action, as urgent now as it was in 1968.

“For members of a community such as Westport, that begins with a challenge to understand our place of comfort and the work we each, as individuals, need to do to transform ourselves and our society into a more equitable and just one.”

Westport’s 17th annual Martin Luther King Day celebration begins next Friday (January 13), with Petrus leading student workshops in various schools.

Junauda Petrus

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The Remarkable Bookcycle is enjoying its winter home on Main Street, outside Savvy + Grace.

It’s all good. Except: It needs books!

They can be dropped off in the Bookcycle itself, or with Annette Norton in her Savvy + Grace. (No yellowing softcovers, please.)

The back story: Jane Green — yes, that Jane Green — and her husband Ian Warburg created the Remarkable Bookcycle as a tribute to the beloved pink book shop — the Remarkable — that sat on the Main Street/Parker Harding Plaza corner for 34 years.

The Bookcycle is a free library that moves between Compo Beach and Main Street — reminding everyone, Jane says, “of the many charming idiosyncrasies, and the many creative people, that made us fall in love with Westport in the first place.”

Jane Green, and the Remarkable Bookcycle on Main Street.

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As contributions for Westport’s sister city of Lyman, Ukraine continue to come in — $4,500 over the past 2 days — our 3-week fundraising total stands at $246,300.

That’s just $3,700 of our $250,000 goal.

Meanwhile, Brian and Marshall Mayer — native Westporters, and our partners on the ground through the Ukraine Aid International organization they founded — are in Europe. They are sourcing material and goods to help Lyman, as it emerges from several months of Russian occupation.

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). 

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Food for thought: The Westport Library’s January 10 (7 p.m.) event.

Michel Nischan dishes on “Dinner Disrupted: The Power of Food.”

The Library says: “Food has the power to transform. From where it is grown through consumption, food transforms us along its journey from seed to plate. But what journey is your food taking? And is it reaching everybody? Do we all have access to healthy and nutritious foods?”

Nischan — former partner with Paul Newman in The Dressing Room restaurant; 4-time James Beard Award-winning chef; founder and president of Wholesome Crave, which sells responsibly sourced, plant-forward soups to large-scale dining facilities, and co-founder of Wholesome Wave, the nonprofit food equity organization — will talk about food access, food choice, and how to create a more equitable and sustainable food system.

Click here for more information.

Michel Nischan

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Yesterday’s Roundup mentioned a new store — Courtgirl — moving into 125 Main Street soon. They sell tennis and golf products in private clubs, pro shops and sports stores. This will be their first retail outlet.

Patti Brill — one of Westport’s 12 zillion pickleball players — wondered if “tennis products” included her sport.

The answer: Yes! Courtgirl will sell pickleball gear.

I don’t play. (I know, I know …). So I don’t know what “pickleball gear” is.

But I’m sure everyone else in Westport does.

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This year’s CT Challenge is July 29.

The bike tour that raises money for cancer survivors through 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100-mile rides through Connecticut (and virtually) draws dozens of Westport cyclists (and contributors).

Registration opens January 17. Click here for details.

And they’re off!

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A morning ritual for many Westport girls is getting together for coffee.

Here’s a “Westport … Naturally” ritual for many local gulls.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … today — January 6 — has joined December 7 as days that will live in infamy.

 (“06880” relies entirely on reader support. Please click here to help. Thank you!)  

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)

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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.

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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). 

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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)

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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

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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.

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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

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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)

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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.

(Read about all that jazz — and everything else — on “06880.” Please click here to help support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: 2023 — In Westport And Lyman

Levon celebrates at Compo Beach (Photo montage/Patricia McMahon)

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As the New Year begins with bang here, we think of our friends in Westport’s sister city of Lyman.

They greet 2023 in homes without heat — in some cases, even roofs and walls.

They lack electricity and running water. Their police and fire departments have no vehicles.

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of “06880” readers, they’ve gotten some help. They had homemade meals on Christmas, and all 491 children left in Lyman got gifts.

They need much more. We set an audacious goal of $250,000. In just 13 days, we’ve raised $227,700.

How’s this for our New Year’s resolution: We’ll raise that final $22,300 today.

If every Westport resident gave $1, that would get us over the top. That’s right: With just $1 from every Westporter, we’d reach and pass our target for Lyman.

Come on, Westport! Take 2 minutes from watching football, getting ready for a party or beach walk, or whatever else makes life here so good.

There’s no better way to ring in 2023 than with $1 for our sister city.

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).

PS: Our partners on the ground, Ukraine Aid International — co-founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — are purchasing building supplies right now for Lyman. They will be shipped soon to the town.

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Barbara Walters — the pioneering newscaster and interviewer who died Friday at 93 — inspired countless aspiring journalists. Many were girls.

Alisyn Camerota was one. The author, “CNN Newsroom” anchor and Westport resident described Walters’ early influence, in an opinion pieces posted on CNN+ yesterday.

“Whenever people ask me about the moment I decided to become a broadcast journalist, I explain that it happened in utero,” Camerota begins.

How did that happen? Click here to read the full piece.

Alisyn Camerota

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Howard Simon, a longtime resident of Weston, died Friday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 90 years old.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Howard studied business administration at the University of Minnesota, and was a member of Phi Epsilon fraternity.

He joined his family’s manufacturing business, Simon and Mogilner, in Birmingham, Alabama where he directed sales and marketing before becoming CEO. Howard then worked as an early pioneer in financing for cellular communications and independent TV stations, before representing Major League Baseball players as an agent.

Howard was an avid tennis player and sports fan, and loved his monthly poker game. He followed politics and current events with keen interest. He was a mentor and advisor who was always happy to provide advice and business guidance. Above all, his family says, “he was known for his affable personality, engaging everyone he met with Midwestern charm.”

He is survived by his wife Amy Simon; daughters Katherine McCarty (Matthew) and Lisa Simon Bailey (Jeff); sons Matthew, David (Andrea) and James, and grandchildren Ross and Evan Simon, Marshall Bailey, and Reed and Kira McCarty. Howard was predeceased by his brothers Jerrold and Ronald, and his son Bruce.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday (January 4, 11 a.m., Abraham Green & Son, Fairfield). Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Howard’s family is grateful to the staff at Jewish Senior Services of Bridgeport, who cared for him with great compassion and kindness.

Howard Simon

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Sure, it was New Year’s Eve.

But Bob Weingarten wondered about a utility pole.

He sent a photo from Turkey Hill South …

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

… and wrote: “For all the money we pay to Eversource, you would think they would not include a 5-6-foot extra pole about 2/3 up an existing one pole.”

I’ve learned not to fire first and ask questions later. So I forwarded this to my utility “source” — er, expert.

He replied:

Poles in Westport are 95+% owned and installed by Eversource as the custodian utility. Across Connecticut the ratio is 50/50. Eversource has half and Frontier half, as owners and custodians.

There is no joint agreement on attaching or shifting wires and equipment on and off of poles. The company that owns them installs, maintains and removes the attachments’to each overhead wood pole.

Now comes the tricky/frustrating part. When a pole is damaged or replaced, the custodian does the pole setting/replacement, but each “owner” of the attachments (wires, transformers, streetlights, etc.) does the work to shift their equipment onto the new pole,

In this photo, the top primary voltage electric wire (sitting on the gray transformer) belongs to Eversource, so they set them onto the new pole. The bottom of the transformer has secondary (120 volt) wires running to the left and right from the transformer — owned and installed by Eversource as well.

The next wire down just below is a telecom (Optimum’s?) wire with a roundish spreader (left side of pole), but attached to the new pole. Now come the last 2 wires going down the photo, both telecom wires, likely owned by Frontier … and still attached to that 3-foot long piece of the old pole, dangling in the air!

From my experience it’s likely to remain like that for months, because it’s low (very low!) priority for the company that owns those telecom wires.

So advise your reader that it’s not Eversource’s problem!

Then he added a PS:

Look at every pole you pass by just in this town alone.  Count how many “double” poles there are — not just a piece of a pole dangling 15 feet up, but the entire old pole, from the ground up to the top telecom wires.

I’d guess something around 1 in 20 or 30 poles will have one of these hideous double poles. And some lean out from the new straight (and usually sturdier pole), looking a bit precarious.

Take a look. You’ll be amazed!

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Westporters don’t always get along.

Nor do other animals.

Perhaps — as the new year begins — we should take a page from today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Well, at least for a day …

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And finally … in the spirit of the photo above, as we welcome 2023:

Roundup: Comments, Ukraine, Cops …

A note about Comments:

Yesterday, a commenter calling himself “Ed Doucette” posted a swipe at the woman who had nominated dog owners as “06880”‘s  Unsung Heroes of the Week.

I asked him how many Unsung Heroes he had nominated. Remember the old ’60s saying? “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Turns out, he used an alias.

That makes him even more of a jerk. Coming on the heels of my discovery of a couple of other aliases — some plausible-sounding like “Will Leach,” others clearly fake — I feel like a jerk, too.

I trust “06880” readers. I do not require verification to post comments. I only ask that people use full, real names.

I spend a ton of time on all aspects of “06880.” Monitoring comments for civility and accuracy is one of them. Monitoring them for honesty should not be part of the deal.

I’ve asked before: Please be nice. Please don’t abuse the Comments section. If you have something to say, have the guts to say it publicly, under your real name.

That shouldn’t be too much to ask. Obviously though it is, because I just did.

“06880” welcomes your comments. Please have the courtesy — and guts — to use your real name.

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The New York Times’ “Morning” newsletter just published their most memorable photos of the year.

The very first one was taken by 1991 Staples High School graduate — and Pulitzer Prize/MacArthur “genius grant” award winner — Lynsey Addario.

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)

The caption says:

“Millions of people fled Ukraine in the early weeks of Russia’s invasion, seeking refuge in other countries. Desperate families shoved their way onto a train leaving the capital, Kyiv, in early March.”

Click here for more of the Times’ top images. (Hat tip: Susan Leone)

Meanwhile, the Times’ other photo feature — the more extended “Year in Pictures” — includes more than half a dozen images from Addario and Tyler Hicks, her colleague who is also a Pulitzer winner and Staples grad (Class of 1988).

The first in the chronological list is from January 19. It’s a shot by Hicks of a Ukrainian soldier at a frontline position. “The world watched nervously as Western countries warned that Russia was preparing to attack Ukraine at any moment,” the caption says.

(Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

There was also this harrowing photo of a dead Russian soldier near Kharkiv, as Ukrainian troops defender their land in the first days of the invasion.

(Photo/Tyler Hicks for The New York Times)

“The Year in Pictures” includes this explanatory quote from Hicks:

There was no way to know if you would run into Russian soldiers. I decided to get out of the car and walk to make sure we weren’t going to drive up to any surprises. There was snow on the ground and I wasn’t sure what I was going to find, but I eventually came upon several Russian soldiers who had been killed. I took the photos as quickly as I could because the area where I was working was exposed, and then I got back to cover.

There’s also this iconic shot by Addario, immediately after Russian mortar fire killed a family trying to flee Irpin, near Kyiv. The photo drew worldwide attention to the horrors of Russia’s invasion:

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)

Addario explains:

I was photographing along a civilian evacuation route and was in the actual attack. The shell landed between us. The woman and her two children and the church volunteer were killed. I was just lucky the blast went the other direction and not toward me.

Click here and scroll down, for many more photos by Hicks and Addario (and others). (Hat tip: Evan Stein)

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Speaking of Ukraine: It’s now a few days after Christmas. But the good feelings from Westport’s holiday gift to our sister city of Lyman, Ukraine still linger.

Click below for a brief video — just posted to YouTube’s “Sister Cities Westport Lyman Marigny” channel:

The total amount raised now by our town (and friends and relatives of Westporters) is $209,300. We are closing in on our goal of $250,000.

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).

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Crime took a holiday last week.

Westport Police report no custodial arrests between December 21 and 28. With the cold weather, traffic was light too. These were the only citations issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 2
  • Following too closely: 2
  • Speeding: 1
  • Evading responsibility: 1
  • Traveling too fast for conditions: 1
  • Failure to drive in proper lane: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 1
  • Failure to carry certificate of registration/insurance: 1
  • Failure to obey control signal: 1
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation: 1.

Required by law

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The end of the year is the perfect time for Westport Town Farm to announce programs for the new year.

“Parent and Me” returns, from January through March. Classes include outdoor time for feeding animals, followed by age-appropriate crafts, games or stories inside the Farmhouse.

Families transitioning out of “Parent and Me” enjoy “Toddler Sprouts” (ages 3-5,  Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.).

A new program — “Tiny Farmers Playdate” — begins in January (Wednesdays, 9 a.m.). Taking place in the Farmhouse, it’s geared toward ages of 0 -18 months.

A new “Rugged Bear Wilderness Club” runs after school. Youngsters ages 11-14 will develop outdoors skills like fire-making, orienteering, using basic hand tools, simple first aid, pitching a tent and being challenged in nature. The club begins February 9.

Spots are also available in the “Fantastic Farmhands” elementary school program.

WTF also runs an MLK Jr. Vacation Day Camp on January 16.

Click here for more information, or email education.wakemantownfarm.org.

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The Appalachian Mountain Club’s Westport Fairfield County Group will “Skate Through New Zealand.”

That’s the topic of their January 10 meeting (Saugatuck Congregational Church; appetizers, wine, dinner at 6:15 p.m.; presentation 7:30 p.m.; members $10, non-members $15).

Speaker Geoffrey Saunders has been skateboarding since he was 10. He lived in New Zealand for a year as an exchange student, and has returned 4 times. He skateboarded 400 miles through North Island, raising funds for Wildlife in Crisis, and will discuss his many adventures.

Reservations not required, but please RSVP: easasso7@icloud.com.

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Several “06880” readers sent photos of last night’s crazy cloud, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

This Compo Beach view was the most colorful:

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … in honor of Geoffrey Saunders’ talk next month to the Appalachian Mountain Club (story above):

(If you’re a skater — or a commenter — or anyone else who reads “06880,” please consider a year-end contribution. Just click here — and thank you!)