Tag Archives: Make-a-Wish Connecticut

Roundup: Oystercatchers, Longshore Survey, Dr. K …

We all feel battered by bad news. This morning — reminded of Sandy Hook, Buffalo and so much more by the tragedy in Texas — seems especially difficult.

Fortunately, birds don’t read the papers. They just live their lives — and bring joy and beauty into ours.

A tiny bit of good news: The oystercatchers have hatched at Compo Beach.

Please give them space. They need it. Enjoy them from afar — as in this great telephoto view.

(Photo/Tina Green)

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Longshore is on the drawing board.

As Westport plans “replacement, relocations and/or enhancements of existing facilities and new facilities” for Longshore, the town seeks residents’ input.

Stantec — a landscape architect, planning and engineering firm — has developed a town-wide survey. It takes about 10 minutes to complete. Click here to participate. The link will be active until June 14.

Click here for more information, and project updates.

The Inn at Longshore and 18th hole are just a small part of Longshore Club Park. (Drone photo/John Videler for videler.com)

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The Staples girls golf team — ranked #1 in the state — added to their superb season by defeating Greenwich 181-186 yesterday. The win clinches the FCIAC Western Division championship, the Wreckers’ first solely held division title since 2016.

Staples — now 13-1 — vies for the FCIAC crown on June 2. Two days earlier, they end the league season with a match against Eastern Division champion New Canaan.

Congratulations to coach Patty Kondub and her team!

The 2022 Staples High School golf team. Seated (from left): senior co-captains Lizzie Kuehndorf and Leni Lemcke. Standing: freshman Rachel Pontoriero; sophomore Kathleen Coffey, juniors Reilly McGeehan and Keeva Boyle.

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No one loved Staples High School more than Gerry Kuroghlian. The beloved English teacher collected many Wrecker items during his long career — including yearbooks.

“Dr. K” died last November. Now his wife Ellen is offering some of those yearbooks to anyone who wants them. They’re free — but she hopes their new owners will make a donation to the Dr. K. Humanitarian Scholarship, created by friends and administered by Staples Tuition Grants.

(The first award will be given out May 31. Donations are always welcome!)

The yearbooks are from 1970, ’71, ’72, ’75, ’79, 2000, ’02, ’03 and ’05. Email 06880blog@gmail.com for details.

Dr. Gerry Kuroghlian

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Speaking of Staples collectors’ items:

Yesterday’s Roundup included an item about the Class of 1967 Homecoming Queen ballot, now for sale on eBay.

Robert Gerrity — who sent that link — has discovered another Class of ’67 eBay goodie. This one has a bit more appeal: a vinyl recording of an Orchestra concert.

Click here to buy this rare item. If, that is, you’ve still got a turntable. And are willing to pay $100.

The 1966 Orchestra record, with conductor Robert Genualdi.

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There’s only one week left in Gilbertie’s Herb & Garden Center’s town-wide scavenger hunt. It’s one of the fun lead-ups to the family-owned business’ 100th anniversary celebration June 4.

All you need for the scavenger hunt is a smartphone, car and driver, and the clues (click here).

It takes half an hour. It’s a great activity for families, anyone new to Westport, anyone who’s lived here a long time and loves Gilbertie’s — or anyone else.

Click here for details. Then click your seatbelt, and scavenge away. When you’re done, you’ve got a chance to win a $50 Gilbertie’s gift certificate.

Meanwhile: Congratulations to the first winners: Bonnie and Allan Arkush.

A scavenger hunt map.

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Some youngsters with critical illnesses ask Make-a-Wish for a trip to Disney World, or to meet a celebrity.

Aaron James wanted to serve food from a truck.

The 17-year-old was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago. It’s now in remission. So the other day he happily took over Dan Kardo’s food truck at Don Memo. Along with great chefs like Bill Taibe (Don Memo, Kawa Ni, The Whelk), Jess Bengtson (Terrain Café and Amis Trattoria), Matt Storch (Match Burger Lobster, Match) and Robin Selden (Marcia Selden Catering), he served up tacos, oysters and more.

Aaron’s goal is to have his own food truck one day. Here’s hoping that’s one more wish that comes true.

Aaron James outside Don Memo.

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Yesterday, Westport Police released the name of the man killed in Monday evening’s fatal automobile accident on Saugatuck Avenue. He was Mark Lemoult, age 59 of Norwalk.

The incident remains under investigation.

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Westport Country Playhouse’s current production — “Straight White Men” — is both funny and thought-provoking. In between male bonding rituals and conversations about money, work, and love, a father and his 3 adult sons face serious questions about their own identities.

The play runs now through June 5. But the Playhouse is offering free post-curtain events, open to all who want to learn more about the production and its themes.

Anyone can attend; tickets are not needed. Just arrive at the Playhouse 90 minutes after curtain time.

The first (Thursday, May 26) is a conversation with director Mark Lamos,

A symposium after this Sunday’s (May 29) 3 p.m. matinee features the full cast, in an in-depth discussion. of “Straight White Men” for an in-depth discussion about the show.

On June 3 Edson Rivas, executive director of the Triangle Community Center, leads a discussion on gender expectations

Click here for more information “Straight White Men.”

Westport Country Playhouse

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The threshold for entitled parking photos on “06880” is now taking up 3 spaces — not just 2. And a parking job must be a lot more egregious than just a “No Parking” zone to make the cut these days.

But this driver managed to do both yesterday, at the Westport Library. He or she came all the way from Florida (or registers his or her car there, to avoid Connecticut taxes), just to 1) hog 2 spaces perfectly and 2) ignore the sign that says — smack in front of the driver — “No Parking/Loading & Unloading Only.”

But hey: It is a very nice car.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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Spring brings a riot of colors to Westport. Sunil Ghirani captured some of them on Soundview Drive, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

The sailboat in the distance adds even more.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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And finally … on this day in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “HMS Pinafore” opened in London.

Roundup: Outdoor Dining, Old Dominion, Billy Joel …

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Over the past 2 years, the restaurant industry has been rocked by COVID. Amid all the bad news, one bright spot was the rise — and popularity — of outdoor dining.

This Monday (March 14, 7 p.m. Zoom), the Planning & Zoning Commission meets to consider permanent outdoor eating regulations.

Under new state legislation, the P&Z can determine the size of an outdoor dining area, when it can operate, and what public safety protections are needed.

Planning and Zoning Department director Mary Young says, “The Planning & Zoning Commission looks forward to hearing from food establishment owners to help set reasonable standards, allowing the Restaurant Renaissance in Westport to continue and provide safe and secure dining options for patrons under the ‘New-Normal’ conditions.”’

Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell predicts, “some restaurants are going to love this. Some are not going to like it at all. It depends on whether you have the land, an amenable landlord, a parking lot to use or a town road to be able to do it. The Chamber sees both sides to this.”

Monday’s public hearing will be livestreamed at www.westportct.gov, and on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.  Comments can be sent to the meeting to PandZ@westportct.gov. Click here for the full text amendment.

Out door dining on church Lane. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Lynsey Addario’s photo last Sunday — of a family killed by a Russian mortar attack — horrified the world.

Yesterday, the New York Times photojournalist — a Pulitzer Prize winner, and 1991 Staples High School graduate — spoke compellingly about that image, and the events surrounding.

In an in-depth interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper — at 3:30 a.m. Ukraine time — Lynsey talked spoke of her surreal feelings as she realized the Russians were targeting civilians. With mortars whizzing just 30 feet away, she witnessed the killings.

Cooper asked her thoughts as she took her photos. She felt she had to document the event for the world. With a 10-year-old of her own, she had to maintain her professionalism — even as she noticed the family’s luggage lying next to them.

She also talked about her feelings afterward, and what it’s like to witness such scenes over and over again.

It was excellent journalism from Anderson Cooper — and one more reason to pray for Lynsey’s safety, and that of everyone in Ukraine.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Lynsey’s photo was also featured on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday. Scott Pelley used it to frame that night’s Ukraine story. Click here for the link. (Hat tips: Susan Woog Wagner and Hedi Lieberman)

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A bright young man from Westport
Who really cares about transport,
Said to get to the train,
Wheels2U is a gain!
It’s like your own private escort!

Okay, it’s not Keats. It’s not even Ogden Nash. But it’s a good way to introduce the Westport Transit District’s limerick contest.

The goal is to raise awareness of Wheels2U Westport, the on-demand, group ride, door-to-train platform shuttle service.

The top 7 entries win gift certificates to Westport restaurants of their choice, ranging from $100 to $25.

Want some info before writing your poem? WTD director Peter Gold calls Wheels2U “easy, inexpensive and convenient. It comes when you call it, picks you up at your door, and takes you right to the platform at the Westport and Greens Farms stations. No more walks from the parking lots in the cold and dark. And it’s a greener way to get to the train.”

Westport residents use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup between 5:45 and 10 a.m., and 4 and 9:30 p.m., almost anywhere in town. Pickups should be requested 20 minutes before you would normally leave to drive to the station.  The fare is just $2, when paid with the Wheels2U app.

The contest is open to all Westport residents. Enter as often as you like. Email entries to pgold@westportct.gov no later than March 25. Put “Limerick Contest” in the subject line, and include your name, address, and email. Click here for the full rules.

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For Old Dominion, winning awards is old hat.

The group — whose lead guitarist is 1997 Staples High School graduate (and former soccer star) Brad Tursi — was named Group of the Year at Monday’s ACM ceremony in Las Vegas.

It was the 5th consecutive year they’ve won country music’s top prize.

Their acceptance speech included a tribute to the citizens of Ukraine. (Hat tip: Tricia Freeman)

Old Dominion, at the CMA Awards. Staples grad Brad Tursi is on the far right.

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Speaking of music: Every month, Billy Joel sells out Madison Square Garden. Now his music is coming to the Levitt Pavilion!

Yeah, read that sentence again. “His music” — not the Piano Man himself.

But this is no tribute band. It’s Mike Del Guidice & Big Shot. He tours all over the world with Billy Joel. His band performs astonishing renditions of those songs, plus others by Elton John, the Beatles and other beloved artists.

The concert is Friday, May 20 (7:30 p.m.). Levitt Pavilion member pre-sales start today (Wednesday, March 9, noon). Click here to become a member. Sales to the general public start Friday (March 11, 10 a.m.).

Mike Del Guidice and friends.

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On April 7, some of Westport’s best chefs will leave their kitchens. They’ll head to Aitoro’s, the great appliance store just over the Norwalk line. There — amid high-end appliances — they’ll offer great food for a good cause.

It’s a benefit for the Make-a-Wish Connecticut chapter. The nonprofit helps fulfill the dreams of critically ill children.

Among the celebrity chefs: Bill Taibe (The Whelk, Kawa Ni, Don Memo); Matt Storch (Match Burger Lobster, Match Restaurant), Jes Bengtson (Terrain Garden Café, Amis Trattoria), Robin Selden (Marcia Selden and Naked Fig Catering), Dan Kardo (Oar & Oak), and Christian Petroni (Food Network star).

Tickets include samplings, and complimentary beer and wine. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

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Bill Webster sends today’s captivating “Westport … Naturally” photo, and adds:

“People often hear the tom turkey gobbling on spring mornings, but seldom do you get a chance to see a wild turkey strut. The turkey strut is an incredible courtship display that is intended to attract hens and display dominance.”

(Photo/Bill Webster)

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And finally … in honor of the great photo above:

Alison Milwe Grace Reveals All

Reveal parties are all the rage these days. They showcase everything from home renovations to the gender of a fetus.

The other day, Alison Milwe Grace — one of Westport’s favorite caterers — got into the reveal party act.

But she did far more than provide hors d’oeuvres for a new dining room, or the cake to say whether the new baby will be a boy or girl.

Alison hosted a reveal party for Kaden. He’s Make-a-Wish Connecticut’s newest recipient. The organization fulfills the dreams of youngsters battling serious illnesses.

Kaden’s friends and family gathered in Alison’s kitchen. They cooked together: Hawaiian sweet and sour chicken, with fresh pineapple and coconut rice. Plus Hawaiian potato salad.

Yep — Kaden is headed to Hawaii.

Kaden and his friends have fun. (Photo/Eileen Sawyer)

When the cooking was done, everyone ate together at a communal table. They had a wonderful meal.

And they talked about Kaden’s upcoming Hawaiian trip.

Mahalo!