Grace Salmon Park is one of Westport’s most beautiful — and underrated — places to relax.
Yesterday, it was a classroom.
University of Connecticut master gardeners (and Westport residents) Monica Buesser, Alice Ely and Nathalie Fonteyne conducted an invasive plant workshop. It was sponsored by the Westport Garden Club.
Sixteen participants learned about the park’s top 15 invasive plants. They then broke into 4 groups, each canvasing a quarter of the site — and found several different invasives.
The next step: using the data to apply for a grant for removal of invasives from Grace Salmon.
Buesser — the conservation chair of the Westport Garden Club — plans to be at Grace Salmon Park every Thursday from 8 to 10 a.m. (weather permitting). She invites everyone interested in weeding or learning more about the park’s plants to join her.
“You can’t miss me. I wear overalls!” she says.
Grace Salmon Park is a beautiful spot. Like many in Westport, however, it is home to several invasive species. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
Sure, NASA is excited about the James Webb Space Telescope.
But the Westport Astronomical Society has Cal Powell.
The former WAS president hosts the “Cal & Friends Meteorite Show & Tell Party” on Tuesday (July 19, 8 p.m.).
Cal received his first meteorite in 2010, as a going-away gift from WAS. He started collecting them a few years later. His collection of nearly 400 specimens covers most meteorite classifications.
Cal will his present his extensive personal meteorite collection, and introduce Stefan Nicolescu with rare samples from Yale’s Peabody Museum. The WAS adds: “Bring your own meteorites and assemble your meteorwrongs!” Click here for more information.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only Hook’d-related news today.
A reader writes: “A quick Google search of (concessionaire) Upsilon Ventures and (owner) Itai Shoffman uncovers all sorts of stuff, like unpaid taxes.”
Attached was a link to Southern District of New York District Court judgment in “United States of America v. Itai Shoffman.” He was held liable for $201,659.73 in unpaid federal income taxes for 2007 and ’08, plus interest.
The judgment was dated February 12, 2021 — nearly one year after he and Upsilon were awarded the concession contract for Compo Beach and Longshore.
Every day, there’s family fun at Wakeman Town Farm.
But this Saturday (July 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), it’s an official, capitalized Family Fun Day.
Kids of all ages can visit feed animals, plant sunflower seeds, and enjoy music from the School of Rock Fairfield. Food and drink for purchase includes ice cream, smoothies, iced coffee, lemonade and wood-fired pizza.
11 to 2:45: Animal visits; reading room
11 to 12:30: Buzzin’ Bees Craft
11:30 to 12:45: Seed planting
11:30 to 2:30: Pizza
12 to 2: Ice cream
12:30 to 2: Face painting
1 to 2:45: Flight of the Butterflies Craft
1 to 3: Music from the School of Rock House Band
1:15 to 2:45: Farm Olympics.
Click here for advance tickets. Walk-ins are welcome too.
Canoe paddles along the Saugatuck River — in search of egrets, osprey, ducks, shorebirds and much more — are set for this Saturday (July 9, 10 a.m. to noon); Friday, August 12; Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, October 16. Click here for reservations and more information.
Family campfires, with (of course) roasting marshmallows — plus meet an animal ambassador, and enjoy s’mores and a guided activity. There is a different theme for each campfire. Each family has their own picnic table. Dates are July 15, September 16, October 21, November 26 and December 21. Click here for details.
Meanwhile, admission to the Earthplace Museum is free through September 5, for Connecticut residents age 18 and under, and one adult caregiver. Support comes from Connecticut Humanities, the Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, and ARPA.
Round Pond is one of Westport’s most historic (and overlooked) sites.
Located near the Longshore entrance road — and across the street from the house F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald rented in 1920 — it was where social reformer Lillian Wald lived for many years. Eleanor Roosevelt was a frequent guest.
These days, it’s better known as a winter skating spot.
A small sign now notes its name. It’s in keeping with the beauty of the place — and a great image for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.
Greens Farms Academy’s commencement ceremony yesterday had many traditional elements.
The 90 members of the Class of 2022 marched in, to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Valedictorian Shealeigh Crombie and salutatorian Alicja Farber addressed the crowd. Head of school Bob Whelan spoke movingly of the class as a whole, and described each individual graduate with personal adjectives.
But the commencement speaker was not your usual honoree. Darryl McDaniels — co-founder of Run-DMC (the first rap group on the cover of Rolling Stone, and first inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame); an author, philanthropist and mental health advocate — took the mic, and owned the crowd.
Parents, grandparents — and of course the graduates — sat rapt, as “DMC” spoke (and rapped) about the soon-to-be-alums’ possibilities, potential and purpose.
He talked about the importance of imagination, and assured them they were well prepared for whatever lies ahead.
The recessional was as traditional as ever. But this was a GFA graduation for the record.
Darryl McDaniels delivers the commencement address.
Once again it’s graduation season. For the third year in a row, Le Rouge is distributing “Give a Little Love” chocolate hearts. The goal is to give one to every graduating student in Bridgeport, when they get their diplomas.
It’s a community-wide effort, for our neighbors a few miles away. Each heart is $8. To buy one (or more!), click here.
“Double Indemnity” — an exhibit of work by artists Miggs Burroughs and Ann Chernow, based on the film noir classic — is on display at the Westport Library through September 6. An opening reception is set for June 23 (6:30 p.m.).
The show also includes 3 special movie nights, all on the 19-foot screen in the Trefz Forum.
“Double Indemnity” will be shown on June 23, immediately following the reception.
“Detour” will be screened on July 7 (7 p.m.); Susan Granger hosts.
On July 14 (7 p.m.), it’s the original “Nightmare Alley.” Miggs and Ann will host.
Ever since COVID, Westporters have enjoyed outdoor dining — and music — on Church Lane. It’s a great experience — but the musicians don’t play for free.
The Westport Downtown Association has started a GoFundMe campaign to help. The goal is $4,000, to offset the cost of 30 evenings of music by local performers. Click here for more information, and to help.
Music on Church Lane.
Around the corner from Church Lane, one of Westport’s most iconic buildings has been sold.
177 Main Street — the restored house at the entrance to Parker Harding Plaza, most recently home to Local to Market, and before that Talbots and (of course) the Remarkable Book Shop — was purchased by Eleish Van Breems Home Westport.
Headquartered on Franklin Street, and with stores on Railroad Place and Nantucket, Eleish Van Breems offers “a clean, elegant and fresh approach to interiors, all with a Scandinavian essence.”
The anthology — inspired by Dan Levinson’s experience with his father’s end-of-life passage — includes 10 Westport stories about those choices, and the challenges faced by people with terminal illnesses.
Each narrative explores men and women who faced the medical establishment head-on, then deliberately embraced grace and courage in the aftermath.
Click here to order the book. All proceeds benefit the Westport Library, Senior Center and Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.
Mark your calendar for October 13 (7 p.m.), too. That’s the date of the official, twice-COVID-delayed launch party for the book, at the Westport Library. Click here for details.
Danny Amoruccio, manager/sexton of Willowbrook Cemetery Association, says: “This little one is hanging around Section 11. We remind everyone not to approach or bother the new fawn. We seeing so many people pestering this little guy.”
Westport native and noted artist Miggs Burroughs created 16 LED-lit lightboxes. Each continued a lenticular image that combined one from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport’s past, with a current shot of the same scene.
Downtown, Compo Beach, Longshore, the station itself — all are displayed in fascinating then-and-now fashion. It’s a much more welcoming “Welcome to Westport.”
One view — or rather, two — of downtown, at the train station.
Now there’s another lightbox nearby — on the station wall itself. And this one even says “Welcome.”
Miggs and the WPD worked with renowned lighting designer Gary Novasel to create a custom LED light panel.
The image changes from a view of the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge to a beach scene.
Those 2 iconic views of Westport now greet visitors. It’s one more way to let them know we’re glad they’re here.
And residents coming off the train will be happy to know they’re home too.
From left: Officer Shawn Sembler, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, lenticular image creator Miggs Burroughs, lightbox lighting director Gary Novasel, Deputy Police Chief Sam Arciola.
Media personality David Briggs has interviewed some heavy hitters in his career.
But, he says, actor/filmmaker/director/martial artist/studio head Michael Jai White was “the most inspirational person” he’s ever talked with.
The InstagramLive interview is deep and intriguing (see below). And you can see — and listen to — White live and in person tomorrow.
He kicks off the 2nd day of the Westport Library’s VersoFest — a music-and-media extravaganza modeled on South by Southwest — with an 11 a.m. keynote address. It’s free, as are nearly all the events starting today.
Click here for a full schedule and more details — including 3 big concerts.
Wakeman Town Farm is crowing about its “egg-cellent” 3-session series: an introduction to raising chickens responsibly at home.
Whether you attend just one, two or all three of the sessions, you’ll have a chance to bring home 2 Farm-raised chicks, along with a handy starter pack, (feeder, waterer, wood shavings, and 5-pound bag of organic feed).
Instructors include WTF staff and “local chicken experts.”
Session 1 (April 26, 7 p.m., $40): “Introduction and Starting Your Flock” covers how chickens can enrich your life; positive environmental impacts; chicken facts and anatomy; starting a flock, dos and don’ts and more.
Session 2 (May 17, 7 p.m., $55): “Coop, Habitat, Environment and Basic Needs” includes housing and spacing issues, free range pros and cons, local zoning, and creating a happy, stress-free environment.
Session 3 (June 21, 7 p.m., $55): “Products, Maintaining Your Flock, Behavior and Physical Health” offers product recommendations, plus coop maintenance and advice on physical behavior and disease.
Westport Sunrise Rotary’s contribution of $5,000 to the only coding school for girls in Afghanistan has gone a long way.
It helped ensure that 160 females ages 15 to 24 had access to computers — including 12 laptops purchased through the grant — in class and at home during COVID lockdowns, then following the rise of the Taliban when the school was closed.
Twenty girls and women have already received remote jobs, ranging from design and animation to website development. They have earned $10,000 — an enormous sum in that impoverished country.
Since graduating from Staples High School in 2015, and the University of Southern California, she’s been a producer’s assistant on “Love, Victor” and
“Euphoria.” Season 2. Zoe now works for the president of the K Period Media production company.
In her free time she produced a short web series (“LolaMay”) and a short film (“Great White Lies”). In 2020 Zoe co-founded the Mental Health Content Collective.
(Oh, yeah — she’s also been a tutor, restaurant hostess, communications intern for the Two Oh Three lifestyle brand, babysitter, Challah Connection worker, jewelry designer helper, and started a greeting card/poster business).
Now Zoe has joined a few other young creative-types to produce a play.
“Get It Together” is a woman-led comedy/drama about 2 alienated kids finding a sad, imperfect, real romance at the most confusing time of their lives: stuck between home and the rest of the world.
Since premiering at Boston College in 2018, the play has won awards at the NYC Indie and Denver Fringe Festivals.
Zoe and her crew are raising funds to pay for the crew, set, props, marketing and LA’s Zephyr Theater. To help with a tax-deductible contribution, click here.
Westport artist/author/illustrator Elaine Clayton as she discusses those topics (and more) as she celebrates her newest book, “The Way of the Empath: How Compassion, Empathy and Intuition Can Heal Your World.”
The in-person and virtual event is set for the Westport Library on April 20 (7 p.m.).
Her book mentions fellow Westport artist/author Miggs Burroughs’ book “What If?” Clayton says his art “shifts people and communities into a place of compassion.”
No prior experience is needed — just curiosity, and a willingness to be open and have fun. Click here to register, and for more information.
Nancy (Roach) Tanzer — a longtime social studies teacher at Bedford Middle and Staples High Schools — died March 29 in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She was 92, and suffered from congestive heart failure.
She grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Nancy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. She played lacrosse there, and was one of the few women enrolled in business classes.
She began her career in advertising and public relations, where she met her first husband, Duane Roach. After starting a family, Nancy earned a master’s degree in education at Fairfield University and became a history teacher.
Throughout her 20-year career in Westport, she impacted the lives of students in the classroom, and through ski trips and outdoor backpacking adventures. She spent her summers racing sailboats on Long Island Sound. When her children were in college, Nancy became a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.
Nancy enjoyed the peacefulness of Vermont, and had a vacation/retirement home built there. During a sabbatical year from teaching, she lived in her Vermont home and earned a second master’s degree at Dartmouth College. While there she met Henry Tanzer, who shared her love of the Vermont lifestyle.
After retiring to Vermont with Henry, Nancy volunteered reenacting historical events at Billings Farm and Museum, and giving presentations at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.
She enjoyed playing bridge, was president of the garden club, and an active member and trustee of the senior center.
She skied at Killington and Okemo well into her 70s. Her love of travel brought her to 36 countries, and she saw 5 of the 7 wonders of the modern world.
Nancy was predeceased by Duane Roach and Henry Tanzer. She is survived by her daughter Deborah (Jeff) Lasala of Scituate, Massachusetts; son Jeff (Susan) Roach of St. Charles, Missouri; her granddaughter Mary (Jake) Genthon and her husband Jake of Ballwin, Missouri, and the Tanzer and Benjamin families of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Nancy was passionate about the work of Doctors without Borders, the World Wildlife Fund, and St. Jude’s children’s hospital. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of those causes.
And finally … Francisco González, a founding member of Los Lobos, died recently. He was 68, and had been diagnosed with cancer.
The group blended “rock-and-roll and R&B, surf music and soul, mariachi and música norteña, punk rock and country,” their website says. NPR called it “Chicano hippies playing mariachi music.” Click here for a full obituary.
The drumbeat of news from Ukraine is relentless. It’s tragic, horrific, frightening — there really are not enough words to convey how Westporters feel.
Sitting safely thousands of miles away, we wonder what we can do.
Some, like Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn and Buck Rosenfeld, travel overseas to help.
Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn, with supplies.
Others, like Stephan Taranko and Mark Yurkiw — both with Ukrainian heritage — use their words and art to keep the plight of their countrymen in the forefront of our minds.
Mark Yurkiw, with his Ukraine installation on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.
Still others, like Darcy Hicks and Bean Corcoran, organize rallies.
Miggs Burroughs at last weekend’s rally. The QR code provides quick access to donations through Save the Children Ukraine. (Photos/Rowene Weems Photography)
And many, many more — our neighbors and friends — respond to requests by organizations like Wakeman Town Farm to collect clothes, toys, medical supplies and money.
Those who help are not doing it to be heroic. The true heroes are on the ground, 4,500 miles from Westport.
But many people here do what they can. If you’ve done anything over the past month — organized or attended a rally, donated needed goods or funds, posted information on social media, flew a flag, whatever — thank you.
It’s a small gesture, but it speaks volumes. Mark Mathias has changed his outdoor lights, to show support for the embattled nation of Ukraine. (Photo/Mark Mathias)
For decades, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge and Jesup Green have been the site of political rallies.
Many are controversial: Vietnam. Iraq. Black Lives Matter.
Today’s drew more than 200 people, in a united show force. Democrats, Republicans, independents; men, women, children; Americans, Ukrainians, and immigrants centuries ago and yesterday from many other lands; a US Senator, a Congressman, and their constituents.
Congressman Jim Himes and Senator Richard Blumenthal, with constituents. One had a very pointed message. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
All had one message: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is abhorrent.
Holding signs supporting Ukraine, denouncing Vladimir Putin, and bearing QR codes with ways to support the invaded nation, they stood quietly but purposefully.
Listening intently at Jesup Green. (Photo)Susan Woog Wagner)
The past week has shocked the globe. In nearly every nation, people have gathered to express outrage and sorrow, and show solidarity.
Senator Richard Blumenthal met Ukrainian President Valodymyr Zelensky 6 weeks ago. “Putin has badly miscalculated this man,” Blumenthal said.
Senator Richard Blumenthal addresses the crowd. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
Blumenthal added that he told Zelensky, “Your values are America’s values. And today, we are all Ukrainians.”
Congressman Jim Himes called Russia’s invasion “something we did not think we’d see in this century, or this world. This is not a distant fight. Our parents fought against communism. Our grandparents fought against fascism. It’s time now for us to do our part.”
Many came dressed in Ukrainian colors. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker said: “Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their country, their democracy and their lives. Their incredible courage and resolve, and that of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian government, has galvanized and inspired the world – and Westport.”
Other speakers included Westporter Stephan Taranko, who described the terrors his Ukrainian family felt previously at the hands of the Russian government, and Yaroslav Palylyk, president of the Westchester chapter of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.
Some attendees noted their Ukrainian roots, or of similar heritage.
Other nations have suffered under Russian rule too. These Georgians showed solidarity on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
This was not a large demonstration, like Times Square or Berlin. It did not require the bravery of last weekend’s protests in the streets of Moscow.
But it was Westport’s way of showing that we do not live in a bubble. And of doing our part to let the Ukrainian people know that we are one town among many that stands with them.
Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas and his daughters were at today’s rally, with a sunflower. It’s the national flower of Ukraine. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
(Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
Darcy Hicks (shown here with her husband Josh Koskoff) helped organize today’s rally. Darcy’s brother Tyler Hicks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer, is chronicling the devastation. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
Miggs Burroughs — who is of Ukrainian descent — holds a sign he designed. The QR code opens a link for donations to help Ukrainian relief organizations. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
The crowd on Jesup Green (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)
Saugatuck Elementary School students joined in too. (Photo/Dan Woog)
Westport artist Mark Yurkiw — whose parents fled the Ukraine in 1949 — decorated the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge with fabric. Blue and yellow are Ukraine’s national colors. (Photo/Dan Woog)
For 7 years, Westport’s Tunnel of Love & Community (TLC) — the pedestrian tunnel between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza, enlivened by Miggs Burroughs’ stunning lenticular images of Westporters connecting with each others — has inspired passersby.
For the first time ever this weekend, graffiti marred the walls.
I don’t know what the message means. Fortunately, no paintings were damaged. No foul language was used. And the building owner will repaint the wall soon.
Meanwhile, “06880” readers: If you have any explanation, click “Comments” below.
And if you have a lead, call the Westport Police: 203-341-6000.
An extensive search river and land search was conducted yesterday by the Westport Department and Fire Dive team, after a 22-year-old woman disappeared from a canoe near the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.
After 5 hours, the woman was seen on a surveillance tape at a local business. The search was suspended.
Early this morning she was located in Norwalk, and reunited with her family. Chief Foti Koskinas thanked all who aided in the search.
Based on Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name — and spurred partly by the darkening political climate — the noted Westport artist asked 30 Westporters to participate.
Old and young; Black, white and Asian — all learned one word or phrase in American Sign Language. Through Miggs’ unique lenticular photography, each sign shows the beauty of that form of communication. It’s also a “visual chorus of our community, expressing the need for compassion in the world.”
Nearly 5 years later — thanks to the generosity of Westporter Melissa Ceriale — the 30 portraits have been permanently acquired by Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains. They were installed on Wednesday.
COVID has delayed a formal unveiling. But the hospital has a robust social media presence, and they’re showing off their new acquisition to the world.
As Miggs notes, his piece lives on, “in a place dedicated to compassion and healing.”
Miggs Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion,” at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. And yes, that’s me in the top row, 2nd from left.
Looking for some great reading this holiday weekend?
Click here for the “Westport Progress Report on Floodplain Management.”
As you probably know, the report is prepared annually to enable residents to receive a 10% reduction in flood insurance. That insurance is offered by FEMA, to communities participating in the Community Rating System.
Municipalities are ranked from 1 to 10. A ranking of 1 offers the highest reduction in flood insurance rates. Actions taken by the Planning & Zoning Commission over the years have brought Westport’s ranking from 10 to 8. More efforts are planned.
Insurance is important to homeowners in flood-prone areas like Compo Cove.
Nicholas Marsan has been promoted to deputy chief of the Westport Fire Department, while Theodore Crawford has risen to lieutenant. They — and new Fire Chief Michael Kronick — were sworn in yesterday at Town Hall.
The promotions fill vacancies created by the retirement of Chief Robert Yost on January 1.
Marsan became a Westport firefighter in 2007. He then served as fire inspector and lieutenant.
He is a veteran of the US Army and the CT Army National Guard. In 2010 he was deployed overseas. He received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor during operations in Afghanistan, and is a 2-time recipient of Westport Rotary Public Protection & Safety Awards, and 2 unit citations.
Marsan was also president of the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 1081. He earned a master’s degree in history from Western Connecticut State University. He is now completing a master’s in public administration and emergency management at Sacred Heart University.
Crawford joined the department in 2011. He is an EMT, and president of the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation.
He is also a rescue diver on the Westport Police/Fire dive team, and a hazardous materials technician on the Fairfield County Hazmat Team. He received a Westport Rotary Public Protection & Safety Award, the Firefighter Dominic Zeoli Award, and 2 Unit Citations.
Crawford is a graduate of Clarkson University, majoring in civil engineering.
From left: Theodore Crawford, Nicholas Marsan, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Fire Chief Michael Kronick.
Audiences across the country look forward to tonight’s “Stars on Stage From Westport Country Playhouse” (Friday, January 14, 9 p.m. Channel 13; check listings for other PBS stations).
Shoshana Bean is the star of this episode. It was taped in September, before 2 local audiences.
But that’s not the only Shoshana news this week. The “Wicked” and “Witness” actress has just been signed to the cast of the new musical comedy “Mr. Saturday Night,” with Billy Crystal. The shows opens at the Nederlander Theatre on April 27.
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