Tag Archives: masks

Signs, Social Media Urge: “Unmask Our Children”

Connecticut’s statewide school mask mandate expires February 15. Pressure is growing on Governor Lamont to end it immediately — and for legislators not to extend it, when they vote February 10.

If the state mandate expires, local school districts could implement their own policies.

Local “Mask Choice” groups sprang up earlier in towns like Fairfield, Wilton and Darien. In the past couple of days, “Mask Choice Westport signs” appeared in front yards and public spaces.

A sign near the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown … (Photo submitted by “WestportParents06880@Gmail.com”)

On social media, the handle is @MaskChoiceWestport. As of last night, an Instagram account with that name had posted 31 times — mostly links to news stories, opinion pieces and videos — and had 463 followers.

A reader told “06880”: “Parents are sending letters to Lamont, state representatives, the Board of Education, our superintendent, the Connecticut Teachers Association, and anyone else who would listen. This is the hot topic of all the parents I know right now.”

Statewide, 86% of 16- and 17-year-olds, and 79% of those 12 to 15 have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. The figure for 5- to 11-year-olds is 44%.

Cases have dropped sharply in Fairfield County since their mid-January Omicron peak.

… and the Sherwood Island Connector. (Photo/Seth Schachter)

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice notes that the topic has caused “a great deal of division in both the public health and medical community, as well as in the school community.” The district “will continue to receive guidance from our local health district, medical advisor and the state Department of Public Health,” he says.

Scarice adds:

At the outset of the pandemic and the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, the district took a very conservative approach to our learning models and mitigating measures.

Since last January, we have learned a great deal and provided increased access to programs and services within the guidance we have been provided. Not only have we remained fully open, including extracurricular programs, we have consistently peeled back layers of mitigation when the opportunities have presented themselves.  I anticipate that we will take the same approach with universal masking based on the guidance we receive.

“06880” attempted to speak with a spokesperson for “MaskChoiceWestport.” However, contact information was not immediately available.

Roundup: Mask Up, No School, Betty White …

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As Westport begins a new year — battling a now-old pandemic — the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has a few strong thoughts.

In an email sent to “members and more,” they say:

“We are at a health and workforce crossroads.

“Westport reported 150 new cases since last weekend, and that does not account for all the at-home tests. The state is at 15% positivity. Businesses all across the area and country are closing. with employees falling ill.

“The First Selectwoman mandated that masks must be worn in all town-owned buildings. The business community must fill in the rest.

“Protect your employees. Protect yourselves. Keep our economy moving. MASK UP!”

“Please have your front, public-facing employees wear a mask. Protect them from Omicron and COVID overall.

“Masking could be a policy in your store, office or restaurant to protect everyone working there and who comes in.

“If employees get sick it threatens their health, your customers, your business and the entire economy of our town. Masking makes sense and is easily done. We did it before. We can do it now.

“And get your booster shot. The science is clear: A booster reduces the effect of Omicron.

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Meanwhile, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice sent this email yesterday to all Westport Public Schools families:

“As you are all aware, the recent surge of infections has gripped our region. We are experiencing infection rates unlike any time since the start of the pandemic.  We do know that our students are best served being in school and, along with continuing to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff, keeping our students in school and engaged in all of their programs remains our priority.

“As the conditions rapidly unfold, guidance from our partners at the state Department of Education and Department of Public Health remains delayed.  There are legitimate questions about our ability to staff our schools next week based on recent infection rates, travel cancellations for those out of state, among other complications. With limited guidance from the state level, we will work at our local level to develop approaches in the event conditions warrant further interventions and modifications.

“For this reason, a decision has been made to extend the winter break by one day for all students. Monday, January 3 will not be a school day for students.

“All faculty and staff will report on Monday. This will enable the district to work collaboratively to develop a range of responses to the changing conditions over the coming weeks. The fluid situation requires thoughtful consideration and this additional day on Monday provides a measure of time to continue planning and assessing actual staffing levels to ensure that we can provide a healthy and optimal educational experience for our students.

“Among the many considerations, the district team has been working this entire week to make provisions for:

  • a range of potential Executive Orders or state emergency declarations,

  • additional ways to support a significant increase in the number of students in isolation due to infection

  • optimizing mitigating measures in schools, such as  lunch waves

  • State adoption of new CDC guidance which potentially shortens isolation and quarantine periods, and redefines “fully vaccinated” (all of which could impact staffing levels and student attendance)

  • the high school mid-term exams

“There are obviously other considerations beyond this list, however, this is illustrative of the many challenges we face in successfully returning our students and staff to school next week.

“You can expect further information over the weekend. In the meantime, stay healthy.”

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The Senior Center is closed until at least mid-January.

But that did not stop one intrepid group of regulars from working out.

Undeterred by COVID, mist or the end-of-year hubbub, they gathered yesterday in the Compo Beach parking lot near Ned Dimes Marina.

They smiled. They exercised. They could not imagine another way to end the year.

(Photo/Dina Upton)

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The burn pile, landfill or Boy Scouts are not the only ways to get rid of your quickly dying Christmas tree.

You can also bring it to the Westport Farmers’ Market this Thursday (January 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane). There is a suggested fee of $10.

They’ve partnered with Action Waste Solutions. for a recycling program. Each year, they turn hundreds of trees into compost.

Be sure to remove ornaments and garlands. And if you sign up for Action Waste’s home or office composting program, they’ll waive the $25 set-up fee.

The Christmas tree at Wakeman Town Farm will not be recycled. But yours can be.

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Fans of all ages are mourning the death yesterday of Betty White. The beloved entertainer was less than 3 weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

Larry Silver — the Westport photographer whose work has been shown internationally — had special reason to remember the star. In the 1990s, he did a commercial shoot with her for Humana of California.

Larry recalls: “It was obvious Betty was paid quite well for this shoot. She arrived with her own hair and make-up person, an assistant to help the hair and makeup people, and her own wardrobe, which was perfect.

“She was adamant that I photograph her from what she said was her best side. She was very cooperative, but became a little agitated when a much younger photographer than me — the director — would tell her what to do.

“A lot of our conversation was about her pets, and her love for animals.”

Some of the images — including this one — have never been published before:

Betty White (Photo/Larry Silver)

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Before we greet whatever 2022 brings, let’s chill with a serene “Westport … Naturally” scene.

It’s Compo Beach, naturally …

(Photo/Susan Leone)

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And finally … this year, “Holiday Inn” is 80 years old. But Bing Crosby and Irving Berlin were right:

 

Roundup: Cell Tower, Masks, WTF, …

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The next town controversy may be “Tarpon.”

Tarpon Towers and Cingular Wireless (AT&T) have notified town officials that they’re moving ahead to install a cell tower at 92 Greens Farms Road. The next step in their long process is filing an application with the Connecticut Siting Council.

Tarpon is new — but the location and plan is not. It dates back to 2014. There was plenty of local opposition, based on the proposed height and location at the “gateway” to the beach.

There was also support, based on poor cell coverage in the area.

The proposal faded away. Now it’s back.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe is not a fan. He says, “I am dismayed that this proposal for a cell tower installation at the same location that the Town reviewed seven years ago has returned. At that time, many raised numerous rational and thoughtful reasons why this location was inappropriate, and the proposal was dropped.

“With regard to this new proposal, under the rules of the CSC, I will conduct an initial meeting with Attorney (David) Ball to review the project. The town will also have an opportunity to propose alternative sites. There will also be opportunities for the Planning & Zoning and Conservation Commissions to review and comment on the proposal.

“After the initial meeting and within the statutory time period, a public informational meeting will be held to further discuss the application with the community. Please be assured that we intend to review this proposal carefully with staff and legal counsel, exploring all options and alternatives. I will keep the community informed throughout the process.”

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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Marpe also announced a tweak to Westport’s indoor mask policy. Masks are no longer mandatory in gyms, provided participants remain socially distant. The change does not apply to school gyms. patrons of gyms and athletes to remove their masks whenever they can remain socially distant. The amendment does not cover school settings.

Masks ae no longer required in commercial gyms in Westport — provided patrons are socially distanced.

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Registration begins Wednesday (September 8) for a full array of Wakeman Town Farm programs.

They range from Mommy + Me and preschool to after-school activities for tots and teens. Click here for details of the farm programs; click here for details for culinary programs. (NOTE: When you click “Register,” you’ll need to search on the Parks & Rec website.)

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MoCA Westport sponsors a fun Family Day next Saturday (September 11, noon to 4 p.m.).

Like the current “Between the Ground and the Sky” exhibit, this is a collaboration with the Westport Farmers’ Market. On tap: family-friendly nature-related art projects, including designing and stamping your own tote bag and planting your own herbs in the MoCA garden; live music by Henry Jones; food trucks, and entrance to the exhibit, featuring farms of the Who Grows Your Food program.

Click here for tickets.

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Sorelle Gallery’s retrospective show, featuring works by modern artist Stanley Bate, starts next Saturday (September 11). Click here for details.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is actually a question.

Dawn Henry spotted this creature yesterday at the Rolnick Observatory. She wonders: “What is it?”

Nature-lovers: Click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dawn Henry)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Google. It was founded on this date in 1998, by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

 

Marpe Issues Indoor Mask Mandate

Moments ago, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe announced:

As a regional response to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday (August 23), the towns of Westport, Fairfield and Easton have issued temporary town-wide mask mandates. Neighboring cities of Norwalk, Stamford, and Bridgeport currently have mask mandates in place.

Yesterday, Fairfield County was the 5th county in Connecticut to be moved into the “high transmission” category – the most severe level as defined by the CDC. Hospitalizations in Fairfield County are on the rise. The rise in case levels in Westport for the past 2 weeks will likely place the town into the “substantial transmission” or “red” category this week.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health strongly recommends that all residents over the age of 2 years, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, wear masks when in indoor public spaces. The Governor’s Executive Order No. 13A provides municipal leaders with the option of requiring masks in indoor public places within their respective towns and cities for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Indoor public spaces include retail establishments, restaurants, gyms, workout studios or other businesses, as well as galleries, museums, performance spaces, places of worship and government buildings. Businesses may still require proof of vaccination to enter, but a mask will also be required.

Masks are once again mandated indoors in Westport. (“Mask Quilt” by Amy Schneider)

Westport Weston Health District director of health Mark Cooper said, “The COVID- 19 vaccine is the most powerful tool against infection and severe illness, but the increasing number of breakthrough infections after vaccination are a reminder that no vaccine is 100% effective. As long as there continues to be cases of COVID in Westport, it is important to continue the use of the other tools at our disposal to reduce transmission such as masking when indoors and in large outdoor crowds, hand washing, social distancing, and limiting gathering sizes. This is particularly important as we approach the start of the new school year and to those young people who are unable to be vaccinated as they return to the classroom.”

Private social gatherings appear to be a growing source of transmission. Please reconsider social gatherings and be mindful of transmission that happens within the home. Keep gatherings to outdoors if possible and get tested, even if you only feel cold-like symptoms. Follow CDC guidelines for masking against the Delta and other variants. This advice is for everyone whether vaccinated or not.

I am grateful that Westporters recognize the importance of wearing masks and getting vaccinated. It is for our physical and mental health and safety that we remain vigilant, and at the same time, be respectful to others who may have differing opinions. We have come a long way in combatting this virus.  While this development may seem like a step backward, it is undoubtedly necessary until the time comes when all have the capacity to be vaccinated and COVID-19 is a more manageable, non-life-threatening virus. We are stronger together.

Vaccine Booster

Yesterday, the President announced that it will be critical to administer “booster” vaccinations to continue to fight the pandemic.  Please note that the general public will not be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster until after September 20, and at that time, anyone receiving the booster will need to be at least 8 months from their second vaccination. When available, additional information and instructions about the booster will be posted on the WWHD website, www.WWHD.org. For questions about COVID-19, including vaccine planning, call the WWHD at 203-227-9571.

Roundup: Masks, Vaccines, Backpacks …

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The Delta variant is causing concern across Connecticut. Late last night, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe issued this statement:

“As you know, Westport has already re-instituted the requirement for everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks indoors in public buildings as recommended by the CDC and the State Department of Health.

“Westport residents have been very diligent in getting vaccinated, with full vaccination rates approaching 90% for the eligible population.

“Nevertheless, the COVID virus knows no municipal or county boundaries, and a significant portion of our workforce commutes into Westport every day from areas of the state that may have had less success in vaccinating their population.

“As a result, I will be working with our COVID Emergency Response team, which includes the Westport Weston Health District leadership, to consider what additional steps our community should take within the Governor’s Executive order to further limit our residents’ exposure to the virus through masking requirements.

“I will be meeting Friday morning with my counterparts from the Western Connecticut Council of Governments to better understand our options, and to attempt some consistency of masking guidelines across the region.  In the meantime, I encourage everyone to wear a mask indoors, particularly in any crowded setting and, for those who are eligible to be vaccinated and have not done so, to please get vaccinated.”

 

1st Selectman Jim Marpe encourages everyone to wear a mask indoors.

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Speaking of COVID: Test lines are getting longer.

This was the scene yesterday, in Westport train station parking lot #8, off Riverside Avenue next to I-95 northbound Exit 17:

(Photo/Matthew Mandell)

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Back-to-school time means many things. Including: It’s time to help youngsters in need go back to school.

Each year, Westport’s Department of Human Services helps local families who lack the financial means to purchase back-to-school supplies and/or provide reliable after-school childcare for their children.

The pandemic has exacerbated that need.

Family program coordinator Annette D’Augelli says, “Ordinarily, the Back-to-School program provides basic school supplies to lessen the financial burden on families struggling to make ends meet.

“The post-pandemic Back-to-School program requires more than backpacks, pens and pencils. Community donations help reinforce a child’s sense of hope and stability by ensuring they have the tools they need to excel in school, and opportunities to participate in after-school activities so their parents can focus on getting back to work.”

Tax-deductible donations, in the form of cash or gift cards (Staples, Target, Walmart, etc.) through “We Care Westport,” Human Services’ donation portal. Click here to donate; then choose “Family to Family Programs – Seasonal Program – Back to School.” Checks payable to the “Town of Westport/DHS Family Programs” can be sent to Human Services, 110 Myrtle Ave Westport, CT  06880.

If you or someone you know requires assistance, call 203-341-1050 or email humansrv@westportct.gov to speak confidentially with a social worker.

The Department of Human Services’ Back to School program helps youngsters get backpacks — and fill them with supplies.

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In 2011, JoyRide became Westport’s 1st cycling studio.

This month, they become the first local gym to require all customers and employees to submit one-time proof of COVID vaccination to attend any of their Connecticut studios (Westport, Darien, New Haven).

Effective August 16, proof can be provided via an actual immunization card, or a photo of it. It can be presented at check-in, or sent via email to info@joyridestudio.com.

JoyRide also notes that the CDC encourages wearing masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.


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Speaking of exercise: A customized program for people with Parkinson’s starts soon at he Westport Weston Family YMCA. The goal of the program — which includes boxing, yoga and tai chi classes — is to reduce symptoms.

A support group for Parkinson’s patients and their care partners is also offered.

For details click here, and watch the video below.

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Alert — and concerned — “06880” reader Bob Mitchell writes:

“A reminder: Please walk on the proper side of the street, facing traffic on the left side of a 2-way street. It drives me crazy to maneuver around walkers, particularly families with kids, strollers or dogs, walking with their backs to oncoming traffic, oblivious to potential danger.

“Walking the proper way is not only safer and more comfortable (no looking over the shoulder), but it is state law.

I suspect many people don’t know this. We are lucky there have not been any incidents (that I know of).”

The folks in front are walking properly on Canal Road. Those in the rear are not. (Photo/Gene Borio)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is fascinating — and educational.

Photographer Lou Weinberg — who in his spare time serves as director of Westport Community Gardens — says: “Dragonflies are models of flight. They can even fly backwards. Plus they love to be photographed. I love these insects. Nature wins!”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … the New York Times reports:

“Willie Winfield, whose silken lead vocals with the Harptones in the 1950s made him a favorite of doo-wop connoisseurs, even though the group never achieved wide mainstream commercial success, died on July 27 in a hospital in Brooklyn. He was 91.”

I had never heard of him (or the Harptones). But I sure know this beautiful song:

Roundup: Kings Highway Bridge, Masks, Sip & Swap …

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First the bad news: The Kings Highway North project (connecting Main Street and Canal Street) will not be paved until next spring.

Now the good news: It won’t be closed that long.

Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich says his department (and the rest of the country) has run into supply chain issues. As soon as some piping comes in, they’ll finish the water line. The road will reopen then.

The reason final paving must wait until 2022 is to let all the utility work settle.

Paving of the lower portion of Main Street — where utilities are also going in — may wait until spring too. Ratkiewich said it’s possible to do it in November, but he does not want to disrupt prime shopping season.

Bottom line: All roads will be open, hopefully soon. They just won’t be just-paved smooth.

Once upon a time, traffic flowed easily on Kings Highway North. (Photo courtesy of Google Street View)

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The latest COVID advice from the CDC: Even if you’re vaccinated, you should wear masks indoors if you live in a place with “substantial” or high virus transmission.

The CDC classifies a community as having “substantial transmission” if there are 50 to 99 weekly cases per 100,000 residents or if the positivity rate is between 8.0 and 9.9%.

NPR has a handy tool that lists risks in every US county. As of yesterday, Fairfield County was “moderate” — in other words, below the “substantial” threshold.

Not in Fairfield County? Click here to see how your county is doing.

COVID transmission rates across the US.

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Longtime Westporter Charlene Zeiberg has organized a great women’s clothing “sip and swap” for next Tuesday (August 3, 6 p.m., Unitarian Church parking lot).

There’s a lot going on. It’s a chance to see old friends and meet new ones while trading — not buying! — clothing and accessories. There are adult beverages and nibbles. And voluntary charitable cash donations to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center of Connecticut will be gratefully accepted. Any leftover items will be donated to charities.

Swapper alert: This is not an unload-your-junk tag sale. It’s for high-end, designer-type goods. Each participant must bring at least 10 items. And it’s ladies apparel only — not men’s or children’s. (Of course, all are welcome to attend.)

The deadline to register is this Friday night. Click here for details.

Get rid of your slightly worn gowns on August 3.

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Adam Kaplan is taking the big leap.

The 2008 Staples High School graduate has been cast in Fox’s “dance dramedy “The Big Leap.”

The show-within-a-show “takes viewers on a journey of self-acceptance, body-positivity and empowerment at any age.” It’s described as “a modern tale about second chances, chasing your dreams and taking back what’s yours.”

The show revolves around a group of diverse, down-on-their-luck characters attempting to change their lives by participating in a potentially life-ruining reality dance show that builds to a live production of Swan Lake.

Kaplan’s role is Simon Lovewell. He is a talented dancer, has confidence to spare, and is wildly ambitious. He’s “comfortable in his queerness and likes to challenge expectations about gender in both his attitude and appearance.”

“The Big Leap” is in production in Chicago. It premieres on Fox on September 20 (9 p.m.). Click here for more details.

Kaplan recently wrapped a supporting role in “Mr. Russo,” directed by Ray Romano. He also appeared in a lead role in A Bronx Tale on Broadway opposite Chazz Palminteri, directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks.

Adam Kaplan

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Earlier this week, “06880” noted Melissa Shapiro’s upcoming appearance (Saturday) on “Good Morning America.”

You can also see the Westport veterinarian Melissa Shapiro live. Next Tuesday (August 3, 7 p.m., Zoom) she’ll discuss her book “Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family. It’s the story of how fostering the unwanted dog transformed her, her family, and countless admirers.

Piglet (and Melissa) have been featured in People Magazine, and on NBC Nightly News, CNN, CBS News and more. Click here to see our neighbor (virtually). The event is sponsored by the Westport Library; autographed copies of the book are available here.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” orchids come courtesy of Molly Alger, on Whitney Street:

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And finally … if you’ve followed these “And finally …” videos for any amount of time, you know that Bruce Springsteen is one of my all-time favorite rockers.

His wife, Patti Scialfa, is no slouch herself.

She joins Bruce every night for a few songs at his Broadway show. From my 2nd-row pre-pandemic seat*, it was a riveting performance.

Today is Patti Scialfa’s 68th birthday. Hope she has a brilliant one.

Eat your heart out

 

Marpe Clarifies Mask Rules

First Selectman Jim Marpe says:

We are aware that there has been some confusion around the mask wearing protocols since both the guidance and regulations on mask wearing and social distancing have recently changed. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state or local laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

According to the state Department of Public Health, masks are no longer required outdoors. Those who are vaccinated are not required to wear a mask in indoor settings. However, some businesses, state and local government offices, and certain events and event venues, still require universal masking. Masks will still be required in healthcare facilities, facilities serving vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools, and childcare facilities. Those who are not vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors when unable to maintain a six-foot distance from others.

Some places still require masks. Don’t abandon all of yours just yet. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Masks continue to be required for all visitors of Town Hall, indoor town facilities and the Westport Library. We also suggest wearing a mask when in crowded conditions — even outdoors.

Business owners and event operators should consider requiring customers to wear a mask when they are inside an establishment or at a large indoor event or private gathering if the space is not designed for continuous social distancing. If not specifically required, these establishments should consider posting signage indicating that unvaccinated customers must wear a mask and any customer is invited to wear a mask if they are more comfortable doing so.

We are encouraged by the results of the vaccine distribution and the dramatic slowing of the spread experienced in the state, and particularly in Westport. This weekend, we are hoping for good weather for at least part of the time and to be able to conduct the parade as planned. In addition to attending the parade, I hope that you will visit downtown on Saturday and Sunday for the Westport Fine Arts Festival, sponsored by the Westport Downtown Association.

I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend as we continue to emerge from COVID and begin resuming activities in a manner that we were accustomed to prior to the pandemic.

Roundup: Masks, Gatsby Day, Ospreys …

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Yesterday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most situations — including indoors — will be effective next Wednesday (May 19) in Connecticut, Governor Lamont said yesterday.

That’s the date other restrictions will be lifted too.

Connecticut residents can’t abandon their masks just yet. Wait until May 19! (Photo collage/Miggs Burroughs)

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Happy Gatsby Day!

A few years ago, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe declared May 14 “Gatsby Day” in Westport.

That’s the date — 101 years ago today — that F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald signed their lease for the house at what is now 244 South Compo Road.

Marpe said that Gatsby Day should be celebrated in perpetuity. COVID has prevented celebrations last year — the centennial! — and this. But historian Deej Webb (who literally wrote the book on “Gatsby in Connecticut”) wants to make sure that Westport remembers the day.

It’s interesting to note that the Roaring ’20s — the decade associated so closely with the legendary author and his wife — were a direct result of the influenza pandemic of 1918-19.

Will a similar decade follow COVID? And if so, will the direct result of the Roaring ’20s — the Great Depression — ensue too?

FUN FITZGERALD FACT: Deej Webb says that the iconic shot of F. Scott and Zelda in front of their Westport house was not, as is often assumed, photoshopped. It’s legit:

We know the Westport Country Playhouse is a town jewel.

So does the National Endowment for the Arts. They just awarded the Playhouse a $10,000 Arts Projects grant. It supports “Ain’t Misbehavin,” the musical planned for 2022.

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Nico Eisenberger writes: “I just witnessed an unbelievable spectacle. Three bald eagles went up against 3 ospreys in a full-on battle for the skies … all right above the new osprey nest on the way to Burying Hill.

“They screeched, swerved, swooped, dove, teamed, ganged, isolated, regrouped and went at it again and again. My measly iPhone photo [below] doesn’t do it justice. It was jaw-dropping.

“I caught a hint of this growing local rivalry a few times over the past few days, but nothing like the epic battle now.

“I am sure there will be more. Fingers crossed for all involved, especially our new nesting pair. So far, it seems they have been able to defend themselves nicely.”

Nico copied Patrick Comins, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society. He replied:

“This is something we will see more and more of, especially with the overlapping hunting territories of the nesting eagle pair and many ospreys. Bald eagles regularly harass osprey, steal their prey, and occasionally kill or injure ospreys in the process.

“But both species treat each other with some degree of respect, because each can cause damage to the other.”

(Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

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Now there are 3.

Easton has joined the Westport Weston Health District.

Which means it needs a new name. Suggestions (beyond “Westport Weston Easton Health District,” I guess) are welcome. Email publichealth@wwhd.org.

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The only thing better than al fresco dining may be doing it with the best local bounty. Oh, yeah … with chef Alison Milwe Grace in charge.

The popular caterer works her magic at Wakeman Town Farm on June 12 (6 to 9 p.m.). The menu for the WTF fundraiser (for educational programs) includes chilled spring pea and basil soup, spring vegetables, spring lamb chops with mint chimichurri or herb-dusted salmon over asparagus, with lemon-thyme berry trifles. BYOB adult beverages.

Guests can stroll the grounds and gardens, visit the animals, and enjoy acoustic music.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Alison Milwe Grace, at Wakeman Town Farm.

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And finally … there was no Billboard Hot 100 on May 14, 1920 (the day, noted above, that F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald signed their Westport lease). It started August 4, 1958.

However, there are records kept of the top records of 1920. The most popular song that year was Al Jolson’s “Swanee.” “How I love ya, how I love ya …”

The rest of the top songs include a few folks I’ve heard of (Paul Whiteman, Eddie Cantor, Jascha Heifetz, Sergei Rachmaninoff). But 2 titles caught my eye, for different reasons.

There was this topical tune, “Prohibition Blues” …

… and this one: “My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle.” It would never fly today, 101 years later:

Roundup: Jim Belushi, Trader Joe’s, Joe Biden, More


Everyone knew that yesterday’s Saugatuck Survive-OARS “River of Roses” breast cancer benefit would be great.

But Jim Belushi made it even greater.

The actor/comedian/musician played a 30-minute set with the Fake ID band, at the Saugatuck Rowing Club.

Jim Belushi, in action yesterday.


Jim Belushi was not the only big name in town this weekend.

On Friday night, MoCA Westport hosted Wynton Marsalis, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet. It was a wonderful evening of music and community — under the stars.

Wynton Marsalis at MoCA. (Photo/John Brody)

Younger artists were highlighted too. The audience was wowed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra High School Academy warmup band, featuring Staples High School senior Dylan Goodman on drums.

(Photo/Leslie LaSala)


An “06880” reader writes:

I was out yesterday doing errands. I wore my mask at Stop & Shop and the post office, but forgot to put it on when I entered Trader Joe’s.

I shopped for 10 minutes, then went through checkout. As I exited the store, I saw another customer walk in and realized, “I forgot to wear my mask!”

No one said a word to me in the store. In fact, I chatted with a nice woman for a few minutes while we waited for the register.

I wish someone had said something to me. I would have dashed outside immediately to get my mask. I felt terrible about it.


Two Old Hill neighborhood residents report Biden/Harris signs being stolen from their property.

Vicki Volper is ” very frustrated and disappointed.” She says a friend elsewhere in Westport had her yard sign taken too.

Nancy Diamond says she will simply purchase a new one — giving even more money to the campaign the thief presumably opposes.


For nearly 50 years, CLASP Homes has created and supported family environments for people with autism and intellectual disabilities.

COVID forced the cancelation of the great Taste of Westport fundraiser. A second big event is usually held indoors, at FTC. That’s no longer possible either.

But the show goes on — outdoors. “Flashback to the ’80s & ’90s” is safe, fun, family-friendly entertainment — and it’s live.

Band Central musicians is partnering with the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce for the October 15 show at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Tailgating begins at 4:30 p.m. The show kicks off at 6. Click here for tickets ($150 per car; 70 car limit in the lot).


Today should have been Mercy Learning Center’s big fundraising gala. Instead, it’s postponed a year. The new date is October 3, 2021 at Shorehaven Golf Club.

But the Bridgeport agency — which educates underserved women — has huge needs, now and in the coming months.

  • $50+ purchases school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils, and a calculator for 1 woman.
  • $100+ provides emergency social-service needs for 1 woman.
  • $250+ provides instructional materials for 1 tutored student.
  • $500+ provides instructional materials for 1 Intensive Study Program student.
  • $1,500+ provides for 1 student in the National External Diploma Program.
  • $2,500+ provides a full year of holistic literacy and life skills education for a child in the MLC Early Childhood Education Program.
  • $5,000+ provides a full year of holistic literacy and life skills education for 1 full-time Intensive Study Program student.
  • $7,500+ provides a full year of holistic literacy and life skills education for 1 full-time Intensive Study Program student and her child in the Early Childhood Education Program.
  • $10,000+ provides a full year of holistic literacy and life skills education for 10 tutored students.

Checks can be sent to Mercy Learning Center, 637 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604. Click here to donate online.


And finally … in case you missed Jim Belushi yesterday at the Saugatuck Rowing Club:

Pics Of The Day #1246

Every day, Rowene Weems takes a walk in Westport. Every day, she sees sights like this.

Sure, it’s great that everyone wears masks. But let’s take the next step, and dispose of them properly. We can do better!

(Photo collage/Rowene Weems)