Tag Archives: Main Street

Roundup: Cribari Bridge, Mahackeno, Bedford Wind Ensemble …

The state Department of Transportation is working on the Cribari Bridge from 10 a.m. through noon today.

They plan intermittent openings and closings. Police officers will be stationed on both sides of the bridge — with one at Post Road West/Wilton Road/Riverside Avenue, and one on Post Road East/Imperial Avenue — to assist with traffic, as it is diverted to the Post Road.

Traffic congestion will be heavy. Drivers are urged to avoid the area if possible.

The Cribari Bridge will be closed intermittently through noon today. (Photo/Adam Goldberg)


The Westport Weston Family YMCA had a split decision this week.

The Planning & Zoning Commission agreed to their requests to increase the capacity of their Mahackeno camp from 360 youngsters to 400, and for 1 more hour of morning practice for the Water Rats swim team.

No whistles may be used at the pool, and someone must be available 24/7 in case of neighbors’ concerns.

But the board denied a request for extended hours for the splash pad and large slide.

The Mahackeno Outdoor Center pool.


Lou Kitchner has had some great bands, during his 16-year career as a beloved Westport music teacher.

But none ever received a 99 score (out of 100) at the Fantastic Festival — an adjudicated event — until this year’s Bedford Middle School Wind Ensemble.

They’re also his first concert band to win 1st place. They beat out 65 bands from 4 states for that honor.

Lou told parents: “A professional trumpet player with a degree in performance commented she has never heard a band at this age, this good. She said, ‘your band puts high school bands to shame. I cannot believe they are middle schoolers and can play like this.’ She went on to compliment their tone, style, mechanics and musicality.”

Congratulations, Lou and all the musicians. Staples High School looks forward to hearing you play! (Hat tip: Maggie Gomez)

The Bedford Middle School wind ensemble. Director Lou Kitchner is in the back row, center.


Speaking of middle school: This year’s 5th graders are headed there next year.

These Kings Highway Elementary School friends are ready for their next adventure. Go get ’em, guys!

From left: Dylan Rosen, Jacob Selzer, Gavin Nash.


The newest Staples Tuition Grants named award honors Dick and Paula Leonard.

For decades, they were fixtures in the Westport community. As a long-time English teacher at Staples High School, president of the Westport Education Association and a labor lawyer, Dick inspired educational excellence for generations of Westport students.

A successful real estate broker, Paula gave generously of her time in many ways. She helped lead construction of the Westport Senior Center and convert the original Saugatuck Elementary School into The Saugatuck, providing moderate income housing to aging town residents.

Paula Leonard died last month. A celebration of her life is set for June 25 (3 p.m., Senior Center).

The award commemorates the spirit of community and volunteerism that Paula and Dick embodied. Click here to donate; click here for the Staples Tuition Grants home page.

Paula and Dick Leonard.


Rindy Higgins was inspired by yesterday’s “06880” story on the Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee, and their work to help a Syrian family find a home in Stratford.

The longtime Westporter works with the extended family of 11. She helped get household supplies, offered job ideas, and provided tutoring and love. She’s especially excited at the great progress made by their 6-year-old.

She notes that the 16-, 14- and 11-year-olds need pro bono tutors in math, reading and English. Volunteers can email 06880blog@gmail.com; I’ll pass your information on to Rindy.

Volunteer tutors are needed for 3 Syrian younsters.


Club 203 wrapped up its fantastic first year yesterday, with karaoke at the Westport Library.

The social organization for adults with disabilities welcomed dozens of partiers. CRUMBL Cookies donated goodies, MoCA took care of the art, CTFSN presented on taking new friendships to the next level, and volunteers made everyone feel welcome.

Club 203 kicks up again in September. Click here for more information.

Club 203 karaoke at the Westport Library. (Photo/Stacie Curran)


As if traffic wasn’t bad enough yesterday — the Cribari Bridge was stuck in the “open” position for a while — this supposedly licensed driver ignored the “One Way/Do Not Enter” sign, plus 2 lines of cars facing him, to cause chaos on Main Street.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

We’re used to seeing occasional wrong-way automobile drivers. We seldom see wrong-way truckers.

Jamie Walsh describes what happened around 2:30 p.m.: A state trooper pulled the driver over. Cars had to back up onto the Post Road to let the truck pass.

The trooper followed him with lights on, presumably to a safer location to continue their conversation.

Perhaps the trooper could say: “Don’t you know? There’s a cut-through in Parker Harding Plaza!”


Speaking of downtown: Luke Molina is tonight’s (Friday) featured musician on Church Lane.

The Staples High School graduate plays old-school music — Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Hot Tuna — with new flair.

Music for diners and strollers comes courtesy of the Westport Downtown Association. Click here to help support the musicians.

Luke Molina


Everyone in Westport — and, thanks to “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” far beyond — knows the Black Duck.

And everyone in Athens knows it too.

Their Duck does not have sloping floors, and a view of the river. It’s not a former barge.

But, according to Beth Berkowitz — who visited the outdoor café and found it packed with locals (not a tourist in sight) — it too is very relaxing.

“It’s our tour guide’s favorite place for true Greek coffee,” she says.

“More like an espresso shot than like our coffee. And it’s served only black or with a pinch of sugar — no cream or milk. It was great!”

Russ and Beth Berkowitz at the Black Duck — Athens version.


Work on the Evergreen Avenue sewer system between Myrtle Avenue and Washington Avenue begins July 5, and runs through August 4. Through traffic will be detoured from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays. Evergreen Avenue will be open to the residents of the area.

Markings are made for the Evergreen Avenue sewer project. (Photo/Mark Mathias)


The 2nd annual Westport Pride drag show is set for tomorrow (Saturday, June 17, 5 to 8 p.m., MoCA Westport).

“Light Up the Night” is family friendly. The evening includes neon face painting, hair and makeup services, a photo booth, custom pizzas and cocktails.

The show itself begins at 6 p.m. MC Desmond reads from their book “Be Amazing: A History of Pride.” After 3 performers, there’s a Q-and-A about their journeys.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Kevin Mashia died Wednesday, at his Norwalk home. He was 54, and began his career at Westport Tile & Design, using his creativity and eye for design well. He then moved on to Hastings Tile.

Kevin is survived by his parents, Richard and Martha; his sister Stephanie, niece Sydney, and many friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial is set for Tuesday, June 20 (10 a.m., Assumption Church). The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Monday (June 19, 4 to 7 p.m.). Click here to leave online condolences. Contributions in Kevin’s name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Kevin Mashia


“Westport … Naturally” has been swamped with dozens of deer photos.

This is the only one, though, that includes a “dear” little kid.

Yash Lorenzato got acquainted with 2 fawns, in his North Bulkley Avenue yard.

(Photo/Gianni Lorenzato)


And finally … here’s a salute to all the 5th and 8th graders in Westport. It’s time for you to be movin’ up … and:

(Before you move on, please consider a donation to “06880.” We’re a non-profit; it’s tax-deductible. Just click here — and thank you!)

Pic Of The Day #2244

There was a cloudburst on Main Street today.

But the main reason this is today’s Pic of the Day is that it shows — after a few days orange days — our sky is once again back-to-normal blue.

(Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

Pic Of The Day #2239

Strawberry moon over Main Street. (Photo/Jodie Brooke Aujla)

Pic Of The Day #2087

Main Street kiss (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Main Street Holiday

Yesterday’s wild weather disrupted the plans of many Westporters.

It started the night before. On Thursday, as the rain and wind began, “06880” photographer Lynn Untermeyer Miller was downtown.

In the midst of the mess, she found color, light and beauty.

Before those memories are baked in to Christmas 2022, let’s take a look back — all the way to a few days ago.

Here’s what Lynn Untermeyer Miller saw then, as she strolled downtown:

Lynn Miller’s Main Street

On Saturday evening, Lynn Untermeyer Miller joined hundreds of other Westporters for our 2nd annual Holiday Stroll.

But while they strolled leisurely between the dozens of stores and restaurants with special offerings — plus Santa, face painters and carolers — Lynn was hard at work.

The talented “06880” photographer has a special fondness for downtown. A Westport native (and 1971 Staples High School graduate), she remembers the days of mom-and-pop shops, and the special energy everyone felt this time of year.

It’s still there. There are many special places to feel it, all around Main Street.

Lynn captured much of the magic Saturday night. Here is some of what she saw:

Lynn was intrigued by windows … 

… and what was beyond them …

… and of course, the shoppers …

but always, it all comes down to:

(All photos/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Pic Of The Day #1038

Main Street leaves (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Roundup: Cumby’s Gas, Main Street Paving, FEMA Grants …

On Wednesday, “06880” reported that the Cumberland Farms at Bulkley Avenue South near Stop & Shop — formerly Mercury — was charging customers Super Premium prices for Unleaded gas.

Yesterday at 2 p.m., an “06880” reader was getting gas (hopefully for the correct price). In mid-pump, a woman emerged from the mini-mart and told her — and 4 other customers — that the station was short-staffed, and had to close.

Then the pumps were immediately shut off. The customers could not even finish filling their tanks.

The lights were turned off inside. No gas, no Ring Dings, no processed pizza. Nothing.

“Very strange,” the reader notes.

Yesterday’s sign at Cumberland Farms.


Earlier this week, parts of Westport were affected by paving projects. Traffic backed up near Saugatuck and Jesup Road.

Here’s the next site. Main Street between Post Road East and Avery Place, plus Avery Place itself, will be milled beginning Monday (October 17.

Main Street will be closed to through traffic and parking starting at 5 a.m. Monday. Avery Place will be closed to through traffic beginning around 10 a.m.

Once milling is done, both roads will be re-opened to traffic until paving begins. It is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18, and follow the same schedule as milling. However,  a weather system may postpone paving until Wednesday, October 19.

You won’t see this early next week. Paving and milling will close Main Street.


One of the the Westport Library’s most popular technology events — the “Anyone Can Use…” series — returns next month.

The classes offer live tech instruction, for all users. They include:

The sessions run from 11 am to noon, near the checkout desk.

Use your library card to download stuff!


FEMA grants help property owners make homes and businesses resilient against future floods, or relocate to safer locations.

The Western Connecticut Council of Governments’ Regional Flood Mitigation Assistance Program helps educate property owners about opportunities, determine if they qualify, and aid in applications.

An informational session is set for October 27 (6:30 p.m., Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Boulevard). The public is welcome. It will be recorded, and available at www.westcog.org afterward.

Questions? Call or email Todd Fontanella: 475-323-2070;  tfontanella@westcog.org(Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

Flood-proofing, at Old Mill Beach. (Photo/John Videler, Videler Photography)


The winds picked up yesterday. Not enough for a flood (see story above) — but enough to draw at least one man to Compo Beach:

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


The first public reading of “The Incubators” — a new comedy by Madison Fiedler — is set for the Westport Country Playhouse (November 7, 7 p.m.).

It’s an absurdist dark comedy, as the “Pro-Life Generation” is just getting started.

On the first day of California Right To Life Leadership Camp Age Division 15-17, everyone is nervous. But they’re excited to be surrounded by what they believe in, with new strategies of warfare.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


A few days ago, our “06880” Roundup included a photo of pink ribbons on several trees in Grace Salmon Park.

We figured they honored Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


Nathalie Fonteyne writes: “They were placed there by Monica Buesser (conservation chair of the Westport Garden Club and chair of the Westport Tree Board) and myself (civics chair of the Westport Garden Club).

“They highlight the prevalence of the invasive Ailanthus altissima — also known as tree of heaven — at the park. We tagged 20 trees there.

“The Westport Garden Club is working with Mike West of Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department to get the trees removed. Removing invasive species can be an arduous process because of their extensive root system, and their ability to re-sprout. The fact that the trees are in a wetland complicates the process.

“However, the Westport Garden Club and the town are committed to removing the invasive species at the park and planting new native species in their place, hopefully very soon.”

Pink ribbons on trees of heaven.


Just in time — well, a bit ahead of — the shopping season, the “Ugly Westport Holiday” collection has landed in Finding Westport’s e-store.

The design is available as a sweatshirt, bodysuit, fleece, hoodie or blanket. Click here for more information, and to order.


Speaking of Grace Salmon Park (see story above), Peggy O’Halloran says of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo: “It looks like this poor tree already has a headstone.”

(Photo/Peggy O’Halloran)


And finally … speaking of Cumberland Farms (story above):


[OPINION] Time To Rethink Architecture, Design Choices

Longtime Westporter and alert “06880” reader Elisabeth Keane keeps a sharp eye on this town. She’s not pleased.

Elisabeth writes:

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at Bridge Square. The formerly charming historic waterfront has turned into absurd “farm-style” buildings. Yellow and green paint, and tin roofs and windows befit the “style du jour” architecture. (Most builders and architects are on the same design page, in the same design book.*) It is ugly and inappropriate.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

How did this type of  renovation (certainly not an improvement) get past avoid the town’s guidelines?  Yikes.

Are there any architectural guidelines for Westport?  The architectural charm of Westport is being devastated.

They ruined Sconset Square too, which used to be charming and New England-y. Now it resembles just another somewhat upscale strip mall, with tin roofs and black-appearing windows. I know it is still under construction but…

Sconset Square (Photo/Dan Woog)

Not to mention the sketch I saw of the the former Westport Inn (aka Delamar Westport).

At this rate, I don’t have high hopes for rejuvenating Main Street either. I think those uninspired strings of lights along both sides of Main Street more closely resemble the rows of lights strung up for a week above street fairs in the city. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for me those undistinguished strings of lights do not convey any artistic, unusual or thoughtful way to light our Main Street, in this still artistic and talented town. Did anybody consult a resident or local lighting professional (perhaps theatre or movie lighting) for advice?

Then there’s the chain link fence at Veterans Green. Seriously? One  might want to have that special place accessible.

Speaking of Myrtle Avenue: Whoever will be doing it better be very careful restoring Town Hall, and not messing up the exterior or interior.

And speaking of interiors: I hope the current interior decorating fad in public buildings will fade soon. Restaurants for some perverse reason seem to follow along lamely, with hard surfaces everywhere. The noise level is through the roof. Sound reverb requires everyone to speak LOUDLY. Seating is hard, not comfortable. The high bar stools are not for everybody — maybe in a corner of a bar, but not in a restaurant.

Restaurant ambiance is more than the food; it involves comfortable seating, and conversing in a normal tone, not yelling as at a sporting event.

*Design book: Look at all the houses built c. 2003-2005-ish, with faux Palladian windows. Is there really only one architectural design book? It’s cheaper that way, and it shows. I can only imagine what our most skilled and creative architects must think as they see these things…

“Confusing Intersection” Sequel: Previous Plans

The state Department of Transportation’s announcement of possible work on the Route 136/Route 57 intersection — where Main Street, Weston Road and Easton Road meet in a confusing number of ways — is welcome news.

But it’s not the first plan.

Nor is it the second. Or even the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh.

Former 2nd Selectman Avi Kaner sends along a slew of previous solutions to the confounding confluence. All were prepared by ConnDOT, and discussed with town officials between 2004 and 2006.

Here they are. Click on or hover over each image to enalrge.

One envisioned 3 small roundabouts:

Another showed one large rotary:

Five others involved some combination of road widening, adding turning lanes, and eliminating or modifying the center island:

As the saying goes: Whatever goes around, comes around.

Or, in the case of the roads near Exit 42, whatever goes around may crash into whatever else goes around, unless everyone going around pays close attention.