Tag Archives: Miggs Burroughs

Roundup: Patagonia, Police Scam, Heat Pumps …

One of Westport’s most iconic locations will soon have a new tenant.

A “For Lease” sign on Patagonia leads to this listing for 87 Post Road East — the 1909 Westport Bank & Trust building that’s now home to the clothing chain:

Located at the intersection of Westport’s busiest retail corridor of Main St, Post Rd and Church Lane, this landmark building is a standout location visible from all points that vehicle and pedestrian traffic enter the downtown. Located adjacent to Urban Outfitters and across from Anthropologie and Barnes & Noble. Space consists of 6,200 SF on grade on Post Rd, with and additional 1,650 SF of retail on lower level, accessed internally from selling floor. Historic charm abounds with high ceilings, and 10′ Palladian windows!

It’s a 5-year lease. Rental rate and type are negotiable.

(Photo and hat tip/Eric Grossberg)


Several residents got phone calls yesterday from 203-341-6000: the Westport Police Department non-emergency number.

Someone claiming to be from the WPD told whoever answered that they were being called on a recorded line, and had missed a court subpoena.  The citizens recognized the calls as scams, and contacted the department.

The Police say, “We believe the end goal of these calls was to have the recipient send money or gift card information as payment for a fine or to avoid arrest. The Westport Police Department does not accept payment for any services, fees, etc. over the phone.

“Residents should hang up and contact our non-emergency number if they ever have a question regarding the legitimacy of a call from someone identifying themselves as a member of the Westport Police Department.”


Sustainable Westport is launching a 3-part energy learning series. The programs will bring together experts with Westport residents who have upgraded their homes with heat pumps/solar/geothermal.

The sessions (reception at 6:30 p.m.; presentation and Q-and-A, 7 p.m.) include:

  • All About Heat Pumps: October 3 (Click here to register)
  • Everything Solar: November 7
  • Going Geothermal: December 5



A ground-breaking exhibit at United Nations headquarters, featuring Miggs Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion” — 30 lenticular photos, showing local residents using sign language to recite Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name, and Yurkiw’s accompanying Braille “prayer wheel” mantra, based on those he saw in Bhutan (including a wheelchair-accessible element) — opens next month.

The 2 works will be displayed on and next to a 102-foot curved wall.

Ever since the United Nations moved into its Manhattan headquarters in 1951, the lobby’s rotating art exhibit has been sponsored by member nations. For what is believed to be the first time, the featured works are offered by individual artists.

This is also the first time that Connecticut artists are featured at the UN.

The exhibit was made possible by individual donors. “06880” helped raise $18,000 fpr producing, printing and mounting the 30 large lenticular images; materials for the “prayer wheel” sculpture, and security for the reception (a UN requirement).

It is open to the public from October 10 to November 20, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Miggs Burroughs’ lenticular images on the , and Mark Yurkiw’s Braille wheel (right).


The other day, the  Greens Farms Garden Club celebrated their third fruitful Growing for Good Project.

Thirteen harvests from Wakeman Town Farm and Prospect Gardens were delivered to Mercy Learning Center. The first was 17 pounds in June; by this month, the harvest was 75 pounds.

Members fought pests, protected their crops, fertilized vegetables, and plowed through the hot summer to produce the produce.

From left: Greens Farm Garden Club  member Chen Yang, president Maybette Waldron, Prospect Gardens landscape designer Cindy Shumate, 1st Selectwoman Jennifer Growing for Good chair Jacque O’Brien.


This is the 29th year for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Fairfield County.

At least one participant has been involved with every one.

Denise Lucarelli says: “29 years ago, I was assisting at the front desk when the phone rang. The young lady began to explain that she was from the American Cancer Society, and they were sponsoring a new walk in Westport.

“I stopped her and said we would be glad to participate, since we are a radiology practice and early detection does save lives. She was amazed, and thought it would be much harder to convince me.

“We both laughed. Since that cold call, Advanced Radiology’s physicians, staff and family members have attended this vital and awesome walk every year.”

The walk draw approximately 5,000 walkers annually to Sherwood Island State Park in October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Participants include healthcare systems, youth organizations, local and national businesses, and community teams (often honoring or memorializing survivors).

This year’s event is on Sunday, October 15 (9 a.m.). Click here to register, and for more information.

The American Cancer Society also sponsors a Men Wear Pink campaign. Participants are asked to raise at least $2,500; wear pink every day in October, and raise awareness through social networks. Click here for more information.


The Smart Walk for Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities is a family event celebrating the strengths of children with learning and attention differences.

This year’s walk — the 4th annual — will include volunteers tossing colored powder as participants stroll by.

It’s set for October 1 (noon to 3 p.m., Sherwood Island State Park).

Children will also enjoy critters from Stamford Museum & Nature Center, bridge building with 3DuxDesign’s Team STEAM, Sasco River Center sensory stations, glitter tattoos, crafts, photo booth, lawn games, refreshments, ice cream and more.

Parents and caregivers will learn about resources, and experience community.

Children’s author Sivan Hong will read from her “Super Fun Day” books. Also planned: a youth chorus performance and youth speaker.

Participants walk the 2-mile route along Long Island Sound at their own pace. Registration fees are $15; $10 for children ages 6 -12; free for 5 and under. Strollers are welcome. For information and registration, click here


Westport Tilt Parenting is a support group for parents of neurodivergent children.

They’ve partnered with the Westport Library to host Debbie Reber. The educator, author and advocate for understanding and embracing neurodivergent youngsters will speak at the Library on November 28 (7 p.m.).

Her topic: “Understanding and Embracing Differently Wired Kids.”

Westport Tilt Parenting says that at least 1 in 5 youths are in some way neurodivergent (ADHD, learning disabilities, autism spectrum, gifted, sensory issues, anxiety and more).

However, they are often misunderstood. Current support strategies may be misguided; their strengths and gifts can be overlooked.

All parents of neurodiverse and neurotypical children are invited, as are teachers, administrators and interested others. Click here for more information. To learn more about Westport Tilt Parenting, email  alexandre.acupuncture@gmail.com.


Comic art, deconstructed case-bound book boards, and visual mixed media all grace the walls of The Westport Library gallery spaces this fall. Local featured artists include Marc Zaref, Niki Ketchman, Rowan MacColl and Connor McCann.

Coinciding with the Neil Gaiman StoryFest keynote conversation (Friday, October 20) is the visual companion in the Sheffer Gallery, “Panels & Gutters: The Comic Art of Rowan MacColl and Connor McCann.”

The exhibition celebrates the form storytelling in comic art featuring MacColl’s and McCann’s illustrations with added panels demonstrating their conceptual and technical process. The graduates of Staples High School and Rhode Island School of Design are navigating the art scene with great success.

The opening reception and artist talk (Thursday, October 19; reception 6 p.m.; artist talk, 7 p.m.) will reunite MacColl and McCann reuniting their former art teacher, Katherine Ross.

“Cascade 2023,” by multidisciplinary artist Zaref, features an installation of recycled, deconstructed case-bound book boards.

The South Gallery hosts Ketchman’s “Resinations,” with mixed media resin visual works.

Rounding out the Library’s art activity is the Westport Artists Collective Affordable Art Trunk Show and Sale. It’s Sunday, October 1 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Library lower parking lot).


Forty Collective members will display their work out of their car trunks. All art is for sale, at affordable prices. ‘

A new family planning book by Westporter Dr. Mark Leondires goes on sale November 14.

“Building Your Family: The Complete Guide to Donor Conception” covers the complex medical and emotional considerations of becoming a parent, from choices (egg, sperm or embryo donation), through selecting a donor, through dealing with the ethical and practical dilemmas of parenthood.

Leondires is the founder and medical director of Illume Fertility. For more information and to pre-order, click here.


Butterflies are free.

And at Burying Hill Beach, they don’t have to worry about fences.

Johanna Keyser Rossi spotted this monarch flitting about yesterday. It did not land, but she “captured” it for posterity — or at least, for our daily “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … his name was not well known, but he “entertained” millions of music fans.

Bobby Schiffman, who led Harlem’s Apollo Theater in the 1960s and early ’70s, when it became a storied venue — died last week in Florida. He was 94. Click here for a full (and fascinating) obituary.

And — though after Schiffman’s time — here is Weston’s own Keith Richards, playing at the Apollo too:

(“06880” is truly “Where Westport (and Weston) meet the world.” Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)


“Signs Of Compassion”: Westport Artists In Historic UN Exhibition

Ever since the United Nations moved into its Manhattan headquarters in 1951, the lobby’s rotating art exhibit has been sponsored by member nations.

In October, for what is believed to be the first time, the featured works will be offered by 2 individual artists.

And both are from Westport.

The historic event is the culmination of a multi-year project by Miggs Burroughs and Mark Yurkiw.

Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion” — 30 lenticular photos, showing local residents using sign language to recite Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name, and Yurkiw’s accompanying Braille “prayer wheel” mantra, based on those he saw in Bhutan (including a wheelchair-accessible element) — will be displayed on a 102-foot curved wall.

Artist’s rendering of the UN exhibit, including Miggs’ Burroughs’ lenticular photos, and Mark Yurkiw’s Braille prayer wheel (right).

An opening exhibit is set for October 17 (6 p.m.).

Now all that’s left is the fundraising. It’s a great opportunity for “06880” readers to score an invitation to the historic reception.

The $18,000 cost includes producing, printing and mounting the 30 large lenticular images; materials for the “prayer wheel” sculpture, and security for the reception (a UN requirement).

So far, there are $1,000 pledges from former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (one of the ASL signing models) and his wife Mary Ellen; Bud and Roz Siegel; Christian Trefz; Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler; Mike Tewey, and the Westport Library’s restricted artist-in-residence fund (where Burroughs began the project).

All that’s needed is another $12,000. The top 10 donors will be invited to the opening event. (Donation information is at the end of this story.)

Jeanine Esposito signed “without.” She’s one of 30 Westport models in Miggs Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion.”

The route for the artwork from Westport to the UN was not direct. Yurkiw admired Burroughs’ “signs,” and wanted the organization to showcase it. (Click here for details on that unique piece.)

It took years to find the right people at the UN to help. Then came a search for a letter from a government official. A serendipitous meeting with Congressman Jim Himes’ wife Mary led to a glowing endorsement from Senator Chris Murphy.

More red tape ensued. This will be the first time without sponsorship from a member nation; eventually, UN committees on disabilities and humanitarianism stepped up.

Mark Yurkiw (center, white shirt) meets with UN officials to discuss the upcoming exhibit.

The United Nations works slowly. Yet this fall — at one of its most public places — delegates, staffers and visitors will see Miggs Burroughs and Mark Yurkiw’s stunning art, on full display.

That might not be the end. Yurkiw has visions of taking his and Burroughs’ show on the road: to UN offices in Geneva, the Vatican, perhaps Kyiv.

“Signs of Compassion” will truly be — to use the “06880” tagline — “Where Westport meets the world.”

($12,000 is needed to bring Burroughs and Yurkiw’s exhibition to the UN. Click here to make a tax-deductible contributions can through the project’s partner, the Artists Collective of Westport. When asked “What is this for?,” type “UN Exhibit.”)

Westport Artists Offer Works To Support Lyman

One of the highlights of the recent LymanAID fundraiser for Westport’s sister city was an art show.

Mark Yurkiw put out the call for contributions. Many fellow Artists Collective of Westport members responded.

Some works were Ukrainian-themed. Others were not.

All are very, very special.

Most of the artwork was bought by attendees at the event. But a few remain.

Now Mark and the Artists Collective are offering them for sale through “06880.” All proceeds from the donated works benefit Lyman thanks to Ukraine Aid International, the Westport-founded organization that delivers relief directly where it’s needed most.

Available works are shown below, with estimated values. Readers are asked to offer at least 50% of the value — though, Mark says, “we hope you’ll be guided by your generosity to support the people in our war-torn sister city.”

Call 646-873-0050 to ensure that the art you hope to purchase is still available. You can also make an appointment to see the art in person, before buying.

When you are ready to purchase, call 646-873-0050 to schedule a pick-up. You can then make your donation by clicking the Ukraine Aid International website. Under the “Designation” dropdown menu, select “Westport — Lyman Sister City.”

“These are the best of our local artists, whose work is collected far and wide, Mark says.

“Their donations are outstanding examples of their work. Their generosity is overwhelming. “We were bowled over by the quality of the artists, and the works they offered. All we can say is ‘wow’ and ‘thank you!'”

Browse away. Then call, donate, and pick up.

Our sister city of Lyman thanks you!

Miggs Burroughs: Miggs is a lifelong Westporter. His work is represented in museums, and has been exhibited and collected extensively. Click here for more work information on Miggs Burroughs.

“Buddha & Shrine” (above). This large lenticular photo is mounted and ready to hang (18”x 22”). Estimated value: $600-$900.This is a limited edition, signed by the artist on the reverse.


Mark Yurkiw: “Yearning to Breathe Free” (above); sculpture, 4″ x 4″ x 4”; Plexiglass case mounted 3D print of original human size crouched Statue of Liberty; originally commissioned for coat drives that raised almost 2 million coats for the homeless. 3-D print signed for Ukraine. Estimated value: $250. Multiple limited edition 3-D printings are available.


Norm Siegel’s work has been accepted by Ambassador Oksana Makarova at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. Norm primarily works in the photo realistic style. He offers 4 works. To see more, click here.

“Untitled” (above) depicts the colors of the Ukrainian flag, oozing red between the blue sky and yellow fields which the flag represents. Oil on canvas, 16″ x 20”; estimated value, $250-500.

“Twist and Shout” (above); photorealistic abstract, oil on canvas, 30″ x 30”; estimated value, $1500-2250.

“Russo’s Roses” (above); oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″; estimated value, $1000-1500.

Norm Siegel: “Ode to a Geode” (above); oil on canvas, framed, 26″ x 32″; estimated value, $1500-2,500.


Suzanne Benton has exhibited her works extensively. Click here for more information.

“Morning (Taos Series)” (above); small acrylic abstract, framed borderless, 6″ x 6″; Estimated value, $100.


George Radwan: To learn more about this artist, click here.

“Doorways” (above); sculpture mixed media, 4″ x 10″ x 11″. This is 1 out of 9 of an original series; each is a unique doorway. In this piece, the graphic “A” refers to anarchy. Estimated value, $1500-2000.


Joanie Landau: To learn more about this artist, click here.

“We Need You Emma Lazarus” (above); digital collagraph, 20” x 20”; estimated value, $860. The title refers to the Statue of Liberty poem by Emma Lazarus.


Lynne Arovas: To learn more about this artist, click here.

“Where Sky Meets Sea” (above); acrylic impasto painting, 13.5″ x 13.5”; framed and signed; estimated value, $300.


David Black (1931-2022) worked in acrylic, and is widely collected. His career and talents included violinist, opera singer, actor, director, playwright, author and award-winning Broadway producer. This painting is donated by Wendy Van Wie to benefit Lyman in memory of David, who lived in Stonington.

“Provence, France” (above); large 38″ x 47” impressionist landscape, framed. Estimated value: $3500-5000.  


Julie Leff: To learn more about this artist, click here.

“Serenity” (above); 27″ x 32” bouquet of photo realistic flowers; limited edition 2/25 digital print, with certificate of authenticity; framed. Estimated value: $450.


Robert Anderson: “Portrait of my Wife” (above), 36″ x 36”; original acrylic airbrush painting; framed rounded walnut corners with linen beveled matt. Surreal figurative portrait of Mrs. Anderson. This style is identified as the most popular trend by ArtNet today, but it was painted c. 1982. It is donated in memory of the artist for Lyman, by Wendy Van Wie.

Roundup: Rainbow, Bees & Butterflies, Restaurants …

The storm that blew through Westport yesterday evening brought little rain, but strong winds.

They were brief — but enough to bring down tree limbs, and cause power outages in scattered neighborhoods.

They also produced a nice rainbow. “06880” readers all around town sent images. This one, by Theresa Anovick, captured it best:

(Photo/Theresa Anovick)

Meanwhile, Eric Bosch snapped this dramatic post-rain view …

(Photo/Eric Bosch)

… and a few yards away, so did Richard Abramowitz:

(Photo/Richard Abramowitz)


Scott Smith is one of many Westport gardeners and environmentalists who has observed something troubling outdoors. He writes:

“Where are the bees? The butterflies?

“The sunflowers in my garden are 10 feet tall. The purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, milkweed and other native flowers and bushes are blooming (at least the ones the deer don’t nibble).

“Yet I find our pollinator friends are few and far between. At least in my yard.

“It’s been a good summer for fireflies, the wasps are out and about, and with the recent rains the mosquitoes are ascendant. But where are the pollinators?

“I’ve not sprayed pesticides or any chemicals on my property for years, nor do most of my neighbors. So let me ask my fellow 06880 gardeners and backyard apiarists: Can you send some bees and butterflies my way?”

Scott Smith’s garden is beautiful — but bee- and butterfly-less.


Westport resident Jay Norris and chef/restaurateur/TV personality Marcus Samuelsson are breaking bread together.

The noted entrepreneurs have partnered to offer performance-based leases to minority-owned food businesses.

Norris is CEO of Guesst Software. Crain’s New York Business says the company — which facilitates short-term retail leases in dozens of the country’s leading malls — will now give “artisanal, mom-and-pop restaurants access to ‘A+’ locations–without the upfront cost or standard 15-year lease.”

For example, UrbanSpace — which runs food halls through New York City — will commit 10 spaces at their Bryant Park holiday market to qualified minority-owned businesses who set up leases through Guesst. Norris says that allows them to “explore the world” beyond their own neighborhoods.

Samuelsson told Crain’s that large restaurants like his usually sign 15-year leases. His partnership with Norris allows landlords to be flexible and patient with rents.

Norris plan to launch a “women’s merchant movement” in the fourth quarter. His goal is to “give a voice to voiceless minority business owners,” no matter who or where they are.

To read the full Crain’s story (behind a paywall), click here.

Jay Norris (left) and Marcus Samuelsson,


For several years, Saugatuck Shores residents have worried about speeding  on their narrow streets.

After pursuing conventional means of trying to control the problem did not help, residents began a friendly “slow down” sign campaign.

Two slogans were chosen. Two young children — 4-year- old Valery Kolotnikova and 5-year-old Anya Jain — contributed artwork.

Miggs Burroughs — Westport’s very talented, very generous graphic artist — pulled together the text and illustrations.

The result: beautiful bespoke signs that appear to be helping.

To order a sign, email Liz Milwe: lizmilwe@gmail.com

Valery and Anya, and their sign.


A sobering opinion piece in today’s New York Times, exploring the sad state of public swimming lessons and pools in the United States — leading to 11 drowning deaths a day across the country — does mention several bright spots.

Including Westport.

The final 2 paragraphs of Mara Gay’s piece, “When It Comes to Swimming, ‘Why Have Americans Been Left on Their Own?'” read:

Coral Gables, Fla., has a colossal, stone-ringed public pool known as the Venetian, complete with waterfalls and grottoes. Austin, Texas, boasts a three-acre public pool fed by underground springs. Ann Arbor, Mich., has public pools with giant water slides. In 1960 the elegant Connecticut shore town of Westport bought the deed to a country club. Residents there swim in a public pool that sits beside the shimmering waters of the Long Island Sound.

Every American deserves the chance to swim somewhere just as nice.

(Hat tip: Robin Jaffee Frank)

Longshore pool (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)


Tom Kretsch provides today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, with this comment:

:A little touch of color on our beautiful river, the Saugatuck. A river runs through us, and little treasures abound.”

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)


And finally … on this date in 1975, Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa disappeared from the parking lot of a Detroit-area restaurant. He was never seen again.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog — and a non-profit. Please click here to support us with a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you!)

Roundup: Cannabis, Lynsey Addario, Y Selfies …

Grow your own.

Starting today, Connecticut residents 21 and older can grow marijuana at home. Plants should be kept indoors, away from children and pets and not visible to the public.

There are limits: 3 mature and 3 immature plants, and no more than 12 plants per household.

Connecticut legalized adult-use cannabis in July 2021. Recreational sales began in January. For a full CT Mirror story, click here.


Lynsey Addario is featured in tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine.

The Staples High School Class of 1991 graduate/Pulitzer Prize- and MacArthur Fellow winner photographed, videoed and wrote the text for “A Boy’s Life on the Front Lines.”

It’s a tragically inspiring and moving account of an 11-year-old Ukrainian, navigating a childhood transformed by war.

But you don’t have to wait until tomorrow. Click here for the raw reality of one young life, in a brutal war that rages still. (Hat tips: John Hartwell and Roberta Wise)

Life amid the rubble. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)


Miggs Burroughs has been a Westport Weston Family YMCA member for decades.

He hasn’t been around as long as the Y itself. But the award-winning artist is helping the community organization celebrate its 100-year anniversary, with a fun, engaging “This is My Y” selfie project.

To take part, take a selfie (or have someone snap a photo of you) while you are in or around the Y — a spot where you would say, ‘This is my Y.” Shooting hoops, pumping iron, doing Pilates, swimming — it’s all good.

Then email it to 100years@westporty.org. The deadline is August 4.

NOTE: Please send high-quality images(largest/actual size). And please don’t include other people’s faces in your photo.

Not a selfie — but a celebration of one of the Y’s many activities.


Another important institution — the Westport Country Playhouse — hosts “Summer Thrillers: A Mystery Author Discussion” — as part of its second summer production, “Dial M for Murder.”

Mystery authors Christin Brecher, Edwin Hill and Andrea Penrose will discuss the mysteries of mystery writing on July 9 (2 p.m., WCP barn; free with reservation — click here).

There’s time for an audience Q-and-A. Books will be on sale, with authors available for signing.

“Dial M for Murder” — the classic suspense thriller about a devious husband, his wealthy wife and her lover — runs July 11 through 29. Click here for more information, and tickets.


The new sculpture on Soundview Drive has drawn interest — and praise — from the many folks who stroll the beach exit road.

It was moved earlier this week’s from the owner’s previous home, in Greenwich. Here’s a nighttime view:


Speaking of Soundview Drive:

Every year at the fireworks, thousands of Westporters have fun walking and biking up and down the beach exit road.

Closed to traffic, with parties up and down (and in the middle of) the street, it’s a bit like Venice Beach in California (Westport-style).

Every year, I wonder — right here on “06880” — why we can’t do this more often. Wouldn’t it be great, I ask, if on 2 or 3 Sundays every year, Soundview is closed to vehicles? Bands could play. Jugglers could juggle; face painters could face paint. Everyone would have a blast.

Every year, people say “What a cool idea!”

And every year, there’s no follow up.

So, here’s my challenge: If you’d like to explore the idea of closing Soundview Drive to traffic a couple of times each summer, click “Comments” below. Or email 06880blog@gmail.com.

Hopefully, other Westporters think this is a “sound” idea.

Strolling along Soundview Drive. (Photo/Dan Woog)


The other day, Richard Hyman spotted several Mylar balloons near the Sherwood Island State Park shore.

“They bring short-term joy, but long-term pain: to animals that mistakenly eat them and die.” he says.

To learn more, he offers this link to a non-profit group, Balloons Blow.

A danger to nature. (Photo/Richard Hyman)


Sorelle Gallery’s next exhibition, “Kaleidoscope,” features new artwork by Connecticut artists Kelly Rossetti and Alina B. It opens Thursday (July 7), with a reception the next day (Friday, July 8, 3 to 5 p.m.).

Click here for more information.

Two works in Sorelle Gallery’s upcoming “Kaleidoscope” exhibition.


Robert Perliss died Wednesday. He was 96.

The Brooklyn Polytech graduate spent a long career in space exploration, most notably as a senior engineer on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope under Perkin-Elmer. He was honored by the Goddard Space Flight Center for his contributions to the success of the HST.

He also served as an engineer on the KH-9 Hexagonal and inception of the Kitt Peak Observatory, one of the largest solar telescopes in the world.

Bob was a long-time member of Temple Israel, and an active contributor to libraries in Westport and Norwalk. He donated extensive documents on the Hubble program.

Bob was good friends with New York comic writers Jerry Marcus, Orlando Busino, Dana Fradon and more. He was very proud of the superheroes created by family members Martin Goodman and Stan Lee.

Bob is survived by wife, Ruth-Anne; children Steve (Jolie Chan), Leora Freedman (Eric); stepdaughters Jody Melissa and Lorraine Ring, and grandchildren Nessiya, Molly-Anne, Ila, Claire, and Alec.

Bob Perliss


Westport has plenty of great breakfast spots.

This osprey headed home the other day, past the library, after picking up a meal for the family. It didn’t stop — but Ellen Patafio captured the “Westport … Naturally” image well.

(Photo/Ellen Patafio)


And finally … as Connecticut residents are now able to legally grow marijuana at home:

(After you finish planting your own cannabis [see story above], please consider a contribution to “06880.” Just click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Chamber’s 1st Citizens, Civil War, Staples Graduation …

A capacity crowd (including namesakes Rev. John and Judyth Branson) filled Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall last night, for the annual 1st Citizen Award dinner.

The 7th annual event — sponsored by the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce, but the first held since the pandemic — honored Westport Library director Bill Harmer, CastleKeepAdvisors founder and CEO Charlie Haberstroh, and 4 student entrepreneurs: Marley Brown, Akhila Kooma, Addison Moore and Jamie Semaya.

Charlie Haberstroh (center) and his family.

The theme of the evening — echoed by Chamber director Matthew Mandell and keynote speaker US Senator Richard Blumenthal — was “giving back to the community.”

Westport Library director Bill Harmer speaks. Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell is at left.

All 6 honorees have done that in major ways. And all expressed thanks that the communities of Westport and Weston have inspired, and enabled them, to do so.

Keynote speaker Senator Richard Blumental. (All photos/Dan Woog)


Also last night: the opening of a new exhibit at the Westport Museum for History & Culture.

“Reluctant Liberators: Westport in the Civil War” was curated by students. Staples High School junior Talia Moskowitz took the lead, as part of an independent study project.

She got help from the museum’s high school interns: Amelia Gura, Devan Patel and Oscar Scher (Staples), Stephanie Field (Weston) and Tess Innes (Wilton).

The exhibit includes information on early Westporters like the Toquet, Coley and Ketchum families, and an exploration of racial issues during that time.

It runs through November 11.

Talia Moskowitz, at the Westport Museum for History & Culture exhibit.


Speaking of Staples: Can’t make it to graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2023? Live far away? Or you couldn’t snag a ticket?

No problem.

Next Tuesday’s ceremony (6 p.m., football field) will be livestreamed. Click here for the link.

It’s also be available on Optimum Channel 78. Enjoy!


As the end of school nears, here’s an important reminder: Not every family here can afford the camps and enrichment programs many take for granted.

Westport’s Department of Human Services can help.

Last summer, 58 income-qualified youth, from 32 families, participated in the department’s campership program.

This year, the number may be higher.

Human Services director Elaine Daignault encourages residents who can, to contribute. Online donations can be made to the “DHS Campership Fund” (click here), or mailed to 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

For more information — including how to qualify for a campership — email youth and family specialist Annette D’Augelli: 203-341-1050; adaugelli@westportct.gov.

Summer Camp has been part of growing up for decades. In 1953, Westport artist Stevan Dohanos used Camp Mahackeno for this Saturday Evening Post cover.


Tomorrow marks the start of Wakeman Town Farm’s farm stand.

Open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., it features fresh produce, fresh-cut flower bouquets, WTF logowear and honey, and products from local vendors like artisan baked goods, extra virgin olive oils, gourmet balsamic vinegars, Chaga mushroom elixirs, homemade salsas and more.

The gardens are open. It’s also a chance to see the animals, and chat with farmers.

PS: This week: limited amounts of country and roasted garlic sourdough, multigrain pan loafs, focaccina minis, olive-Focaccia and bomboloni Nutella.

Wakeman Town Farm farm stand.


When it comes to powerful adjectives and action verbs, no one beats the New York Post. 

Yesterday’s story on the the future of Phil Donohue and Marlo Thomas’ former Beachside Avenue home begins:

A Connecticut “Gold Coast” mansion sold by talk show pioneer Phil Donahue for $25 million is to be be bulldozed by its current owners who say it is falling apart and overrun by vermin.

The once-palatial Tudor on Westport’s most exclusive avenue has become a home for rats and raccoons with a caving-in roof, its new owner Peggy Reiner claims.

She is involved in a bid to tear down the 8,500 square foot manse after building a 20,000 square foot beach-view home with a commanding prospect of Long Island Sound in front of it.

The long story describes the history of the current property, and others nearby.

It also calls “06880” a “popular gossipy and newsy blog.”

Nice. But we’ll stick with “where Westport meets the world.”

Click here for the full Post story. (The “06880” mention comes near the end.)

The New York Post story includes this Google Earth photo of Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas’ “vermin”-filled old house (rear), and the 20,000-plus square foot home that replaced it.


The recent haze from Canada’s wildfires prompts this message, from Westport’s Office of Emergency Management:

Daycare providers, summer camps and older residents should subscribe to the Air Quality Index . It is fast, easy and provides important daily information. The link includes ground-level ozone, its health effects, what to do on a high ozone day, and how to reduce ground level ozone in your backyard.

Learn how to cope with days like this. Subscribe to the AQI. (Photo/Charlie Scott)


Speaking of air quality: Neighbors & Newcomers has postponed today’s year-end party (scheduled for Compo Beach), due to the outdoor conditions.

A new date will be announced soon.


Speaking of health: Both the federal and state governments have declared an official end to the COVID public health emergency.

What does that mean for testing, vaccines, insurance coverage and more? Click here for a full report from CT Mirror.


When Judy Auber Jahnel saw a tiny insect she could not identify, she emailed a photo to the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension.

They told her it was a spotted lanternfly nymph — quite different looking from the mature one she’s familiar with. they look quite different.

She sent this link to “06880,” in the hopes that readers will learn about them — and the damage that spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults can cause.

Spotted lanternfly nymph. (Photo/Judy Auber Jahnel)


There must be a back story to this.

Stupid parking tricks, at the Westport train station. (Photo/Jeremy Deutsch)

And we’d sure like to hear it. Click “Comments” below.


Everyone shops at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

Including the town’s 1st selectwoman and police chief.

Jen Tooker and Foti Koskinas were part of yesterday’s crowd.

The market runs every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.


Yesterday’s Roundup posed a question: What’s up with the Photoshopped figure on top of the Westport Country Playhouse photo I posted on “06880” a couple of days ago.

It took about 12 minutes to find the answer.

Miggs Burroughs — Westport’s graphic artist/photographer extraordinaire, who has worked with nearly every organization in town — Photoshopped Ann Sheffer on the roof of the building, several years ago.

It was a gift from the Playhouse to her, for her many years of service and support.

In fact, Ann — one of our town’s most philanthropic residents — spent one summer, back in the day, as an usher there.

Decades later, she made it onto the roof.

And now the mystery is solved.


Also yesterday, our Roundup gave an incorrect date for this weekend’s “Last Lollapaloosa” at Blau House & Gardens.

The correct day for the Bayberry Ridge event is Sunday, June 11.

The day includes tours of the magnificent property, yoga, children’s book readings, a reception and more.

Click here to register (deadline: June 5), and for information on payment and shuttle transportation from Coleytown Elementary School.

A view of the Blau gardens.


David Vita spotted this handsome hawk yesterday. It poses proudly, for its “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/David Vita)

David adds: “This made me think about all the animals that had to breathe this foul air the past days.”


And finally … George Winston, the new age pianist (he called it “rural folk piano”) died Sunday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He was 74, and had been ill with cancer.

Click here for a full obituary.

(“06880” will cover Staples’ graduation — as we do with every big town activity, and many small ones. Please help us keep doing it. Click here to contribute — and thank you!)

Roundup: Post Road, Playhouse Jazz, Miggs’ Art …

The first casualty of the Post Road East construction project was a dozen or so trees at Linxweiler House, between McDonald’s and Fresh Market.

The second casualty is a dozen or so businesses on the other side of the street.

Crews have completely blocked the median’s left-hand cut-through, just before the Roseville Road light. There is also no left-hand turn onto Hillspoint Road.

Work is shut down for Easter weekend. So customers headed west who want to patronize Calise’s Market, International Wines, the Double L Farm Stand or other stores have to head to Mitchells or beyond, to turn around.

A plumbing business there missed a delivery yesterday. The driver refused to turn around, forcing the owner to travel to Bridgeport to pick it up.

There is no word on how long the closures will last.

Yellow construction truck blocks the Post Road East cut-through. (Photo/Michael Calise)


The Westport Museum for History & Culture and Westport Country Playhouse are collaborating on a new micro-exhibit.

“Music of the American Experience: Black Excellence and the Sounds of the Jazz Age” is on view in the Playhouse lobby, from April 11th to 29th.

Tying in with the Playhouse’s current production, “Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical,” the exhibit explores music featured in the show, and the historical events that led to the Harlem Renaissance.

It’s free, and open 2 hours before show time.

Last fall, the Museum’s exhibit “Departures/Arrivals” accompanied the WCP production “From the Mississippi Delta,” about the Great Migration.

“Ain’t Misbehavin’”’s score of jazz, blues and swing music of the 1920s and ’30s provides insight into a vibrant time in American history and music.

For more information on the show, including tickets, click here.

The cast of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (from left): Judith Franklin, Will Stone, Miya Bass, Jay Copeland, Paris Bennett. (Photo/Ron Heerkens Jr.)


It’s about time.

Miggs Burroughs is the Westport Book Shop’s guest exhibitor of the month.

The Staples High School graduate has designed hundreds of logos, ads, brochures and websites for commercial and non-profit clients throughout Fairfield County — often pro bono.

He created Westport’s town flag, a US postage stamp, an Easter egg for the Reagan White House, and 4 Time magazine covers. He’s also a co-founder of the Artists Collective of Westport. His honors and awards are too many to list here (so click here to see).

Westport Book Shop will exhibit Miggs’ “Signs of Compassion.” The work is a composite of 30 individual lenticular images, each showing a member of the Westport community using American Sign Language to sign a word or phrase from an Emily Dickinson poem about compassion. It can be seen during business hours (Sundays and Mondays, noon to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

A larger version will be exhibited in the lobby of the United Nations building soon.

Miggs Burroughs with “Signs of Compassion,” at the Westport Book Shop.


From time to time, we see a variety of markings on local roads.

These days, the Evergreen Parkway/Tamarac Road intersection is particularly colorful.

It’s part of the sewer project in the area. And every color means something different.

Alert — and engineer-minded — “06880” reader Mark Mathias notes: “Blue is for water lines. Yellow is for gas lines. Pink is a survey marker. White is the proposed dig area.”

At this spot, all of that will happen soon.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)


Speaking of local roads …

Bill Dedman offers a warning for “good Samaritans who clean up the advertising signs spamming the town streets and state highways.

“At least one repeat offender has started coating the backs of illegal signs in a noxious sticky gray non-drying paint, to try to deter removal.”

This sign was nailed to a utility pole on Main Street — a state highway (Routes 57 and 136) at Compo Rd North and Clinton Ave.

(Photo/Bill Dedman)

Bill adds tersely: “Didn’t work.”


Speaking of Staples High School’s biggest sports super-fans.

She’s also one of STAR Lighting the Way‘s biggest boosters.

On Sunday, May 7 — as she’s done since it began — Laura will be part of the 18th annual STAR Walk at Sherwood Island State Park.

It’s a fundraiser for the non-profit, which serves more than 700 area families. They support 11 group homes and 16 apartments so that people with intellectual and developmental differences can live independently. They provide training and job placement for 236 adults, plus intervention services for infants and children.

Last year, Laura raised over $16,000. “Team Laura” was second, out of 30 teams.

You can purchase “stars” ($1 minimum each). Click here, or send a check made out to STAR Inc. to Laura Blair, 58 Woodside Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

Laura Blair (right).


Here’s another important walk:

Ray Flanigan was a soccer star at Staples High School. After graduating in 1969, and then from Hartwick College, he coached and played on Westport teams. He moved to Bethel, and many Westporters made the trip to the photo shop he owned for decades.

His wife Juleen was a special education teacher, revered throughout the state. A severe concussion, suffered when a large truck smashed into her in 2014, resulted in permanent impairment.

In 2018 she was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s. Through fitness, nutrition, proper sleep, music, her faith and assistance from her family and friends, she delayed the disease’s progress.

In November — having difficulty recognizing family members, and needing full time care — she moved into a facility. The cost is $8,200 a month.

A walk on May 13 (11 a.m., Bethel High School track) will raise needed funds. But anyone, anywhere can donate to Juleen’s care. Click here for details.

Ray and Juleen Flanigan


Yesterday, “06880” profiled architect and solar energy advocate John Rountree.

Next Thursday (April 13, 5 p.m.., Zoom), he’ll present his insights on the benefits of solar energy in public buildings, to the Public Site & Building Commission.

Rountree is no stranger to the subject. He has already designed the solar panels for Westport’s fire headquarters and train station.

Click here for the meeting link.

This is a rendering John Roundtree made for Westport fire headquarters. The actual view today looks very similar.


Westport’s sister city of Lyman, Ukraine continues to need our aid.

And Westporters of all ages  help.

Yesterday, Staples High School sophomores Sam Rossoni and Alex Kuster spent several hours sorting through and documenting supplies, donated by the town for police organizations in the embattled city.

It takes a village — and ours stands ready to help.

Alex Kuster and Sam Rossoni flank Ukraine Aid International’s Katya Wauchope, at the police station garage where goods for Lyman are stored before shipment.


On Tuesday, Staples High School’s Club Green formally thanked Westport’s Representative Town Meeting for passing an ordinance limiting the use of leaf blowers.

But, senior Tanvi Gorre says, “the RTM set more than a green standard throughout this process. As a student involved in the process, the RTM gave me the liberty to share my voice and aid change in our town.

“Although our young voices are still deemed null in a sea of experience, I never experienced this feeling with the RTM. They were willing to see the power in someone who hasn’t seen the world for what it is, but instead for what it can be.

“They were willing to respect me enough to challenge me. For that, I am truly grateful.”

Tanvi Gorre thanks the Westport RTM, on behalf of Club Green and herself.


Staples freshmen Adam Turner and Matthew Lupinacci helped lead Maritime Rowing Club’s Under-16 coxed quad to victory at the San Diego Crew Classic last weekend.

The premier regatta includes over 100 races, and draws more than 4,000 athletes. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Crew Classic, but only the 4th year that youth sculling events were included.

Other Maritime rowers from Westport included Mina Leon (part of the 4th place women’s under 17 4x), and Daniel Kleeger (part of the 6th place men’s youth B 4x B).

Boys Under 16 picture: L-R: William Whitman, Henry Brauweiler, Asher Daniel, Matthew Lupinacci, Adam Turner


Caron Keenan — former chair of Staples’ foreign language department — died peacefully on Wednesday. He was 84, and lived in Fairfield.

The Norwalk native originally intended to enter the priesthood. After graduating magna cum laude from Fairfield University and earning an M.A. in French at Assumption College, he taught middle school in Stamford before joining Staples as a French and Latin teacher in 1967.

He was also an assistant headmaster for library and media, before retiring in 1995.

Caron — a passionate ham radio operator (WA1OMJ) — helped run Staples’ radio station WWPT. He was an early adopter of Apple computers, promoting computer labs in Westport schools and repairing Apple II(e)s and the first Macintoshes.

He had a lifelong relationship with France. On a sabbatical, he lived in Rennes with his young family. He organized school exchanges, there and made many close friends.

He wrote a book about American high schools for French audiences, “Life in a High School.”

In retirement he enjoyed researching his ancestors in the US, Quebec and Ireland.

Caron is survived by his wife of 59 years, Lynn; children Christine Fodor (Gabor) of Fairfield, Keenan (Ashlee) of St. Augustine, Florida and Kevin (Sarah Azaransky) of New York City, and grandchildren Calli, Michael and Daniel Fodor, Ryan Keenan, and Finn Keenan and Anna Lucy Azaransky. Other family includes the Sjodins, Kanes, Caskins and Eckloffs.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, April 12 (10:30 a.m., The Chapel at St. Pius X, 834 Brookside Drive, Fairfield. Burial will follow at St. John’s Cemetery, Norwalk.

Caron Keenan


Staples High School Class of 2002 Jared Frank visited his hometown recently. In the heart of downtown, near Gorham Island, he spotted this sleeping swan.

It’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, and a peaceful way to begin the Easter (egg) weekend.

(Photo/Jared Frank)


And finally … speaking of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (story above): Here’s Fats Waller’s original stride piano performance of the song. He co-wrote it for the musical “Connie’s Hot Chocolates” (called “Hot Chocolates” when it moved from Connie’s Inn in Harlem to the Hudson Theater on Broadway).

He re-recorded “Ain’t Misbehavin’” as a vocal in 1943.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. We’re a non-profit, and we rely entirely on reader support. Please click here to contribute. Thank you!)

Roundup: World Record Set, Amis Closes, Marigny Art …

This is one of the greatest sports items I’ve ever run:

On Saturday in Staten Island, Westport’s own remarkable athlete (and artist) Norma Minkowitz broke the 400 meter world — yes, world — indoor record,

For the women’s 85-90 year-old age group.

Norma’s record time was 1:50.99. That smashes the previous record of 1:51.89 — held by Emma Mazzenga of Italy, since 2019 almost a full second.

Here she goes:

And here’s what happened next:

But wait! There’s more — much more!

Norma had just 30 minutes to prepare for her next race: a grueling 800 meters.

Typically they’re run on separate days — certainly not just half an hour apart.

Yet Norma smashed/demolished/obliterated the American record. She ran a 4:33.38. The old record was — are you sitting down? — 6:14.93, set by Florence Meiler last year.

With a bit of rest, Norma might have made it 2 world marks in less than an hour.

Norma Minkowitz, with her medals. (Photo/Jeff Mitchell)

Congratulations, Norma. You’re amazing.

And to the rest of Westport: What did you do this past weekend? (Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

BONUS LAP: Click here for an in-depth “06880” story on Norma Minkowitz.


Amis restaurant closed yesterday.

The restaurant — one of the anchors of Bedford Square when it opened 6 years ago — posted this sign:

(Photo and hat tip/Larry Bartimer)

In response to a request for information, a restaurant representative said: “Simply put, just not enough sales.”


Earlier this winter, Wendy Van Wie was the winning bidder on a work of art. It showed Marigny, France — our first sister city, since just after World War II — and was donated by residents there to help raise funds for the new sister city our two towns share: Lyman, Ukraine. (Click here for the back story.)

The artwork recently arrived in Westport. Wendy’s husband Mark Yurkiw, his fellow Westport Artists Collective member Miggs Burroughs, and Katya Wauchope of Ukraine Aid International created a short film. It honors and thanks our friends from Marigny, and celebrates our connection with Lyman.

Click below to see:


Longtime Westporter Martin (Marty) Albert died on Thursday, from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 77 years old, and had been diagnosed nearly 30 years ago.

The Brooklyn native graduated from Jamaica High School in 1962. He earned degrees from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, Boston University Law School, and a master’s in taxation from NYU. He worked as an attorney at Cohen & Wolf for 35 years.

He enjoyed golf, skiing and walking. He served as vice president of United Way (Bridgeport), vice president of the United Jewish Appeal, board member of the Jewish Home for the Elderly Foundation, president of Birchwood Country Club and vice president of Temple Israel.

Martin is survived by his wife Janet, children Elizabeth Heyer (Joseph) and Andrew (Rachel), sister Naomi Gardner, and grandchildren Samson, Austin and Presley Heyer, and Madison and Aaron Albert.

Funeral services will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, February 28, 10:30 a.m., Temple Israel). Burial will follow at Temple Israel Cemetery, 225 Richards Avenue, Norwalk. Shiva will be observed at the home of Janet Albert on Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1 from 2 to 8 p,m. To share a condolence message, click here.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation.


I’m not sure if a rock has ever been the centerpiece of our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

But it doesn’t get more natural than this view, from Compo’s South Beach:

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)


And finally … in honor of Norma Minkowitz (story above):

(“06880” — your hyper-local blog — relies on reader support. Please click here to make a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you!)


This story has become a Martin Luther King Day tradition on “06880.” After the events of the past couple of years, today — more than ever — we should think about the history of our nation before Dr. King was born.

And where we are, more than half a century after his death.

Today is Martin Luther King Day. Westporters will celebrate with a day off from school or work. Some will sleep in; others will shop, or go for a walk. Few will give any thought to Martin Luther King.

Twice, though, his life intersected this town in important ways.

The first was Friday night, May 22, 1964. According to Woody Klein’s book Westport, Connecticut, King had been invited to speak at Temple Israel by synagogue member Jerry Kaiser.

King arrived in the afternoon. Kaiser and his wife Roslyn sat on their porch that afternoon, and talked with King and 2 of his aides. She was impressed with his “sincerity, warmth, intelligence and genuine concern for those about him — our children, for instance. He seemed very young to bear such a burden of leadership.”

Martin Luther King, with Sarah and Tema Kaiser at their home on Brooklawn Drive, before his Temple Israel appearance. Their brother Michael had a cold, and was not allowed near Dr. King.

King’s sermon — to a packed audience — was titled “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.” He analogized his America to the time of Rip Van Winkle — who also “slept through a revolution. The greatest liability of history is that people fail to see a revolution taking place in our world today.  We must support the social movement of the Negro.”

Westport artist Roe Halper presented King with 3 woodcarvings, representing the civil rights struggle. He hung them proudly in the front hallway of his Atlanta home.

Artist Roe Halper (left) presents Coretta Scott King with civil rights-themed wood carvings.

Within a month Temple Israel’s rabbi, Byron Rubenstein, traveled south to take place in a nonviolent march. He was arrested — along with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

In jail, the rabbi said, “I came to know the greatness of Dr. King. I never heard a word of hate or bitterness from that man, only worship of faith, joy and determination.”

King touched Westport again less than 4 years later. On April 5, 1968 — the day after the civil rights leader’s assassination in Memphis — 600 Staples students gathered for a lunchtime vigil in the courtyard. Nearby, the flag flew at half-staff.

A small portion of the large crowd listens intently to Fermino Spencer, in the Staples courtyard.

A small portion of the large crowd listens intently to Fermino Spencer, in the Staples courtyard.

Vice principal Fermino Spencer addressed the crowd. Movingly, he spoke about  his own experience as an African American. Hearing the words “my people” made a deep impression on the almost all-white audience. For many, it was the 1st time they had heard a black perspective on white America.

No one knew what lay ahead for their country. But student Jim Sadler spoke for many when he said: “I’m really frightened. Something is going to happen.”

Dr. Martin Luther King

Something did — and it was good. A few hundred students soon met in the cafeteria. Urged by a minister and several anti-poverty workers to help bridge the chasm between Westport and nearby cities, Staples teachers and students vowed to create a camp.

Within 2 months, it was a reality. That summer 120 elementary and junior high youngsters from Westport, Weston, Norwalk and Bridgeport participated in the Intercommunity Camp. Led by over 100 Staples students and many teachers, they enjoyed swimming, gymnastics, dance, sports, field trips, overnight camping, creative writing, filmmaking, photography, art and reading.

It wasn’t easy — some in Westport opposed bringing underprivileged children to their town — but for over a decade the Intercommunity Camp flourished.

Eventually, enthusiasm for and interest in the camp waned. Fewer Staples students and staff members wanted to devote their summer to such a project.  The number of Westporters willing to donate their pools dwindled. Today the Intercommunity Camp is a long-forgotten memory.

Sort of like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Even on his birthday.

MLK speech


Martin Luther King Day bonus feature: In the late 1950s, Westporter Tracy Sugarman took his son Dickie, and Dickie’s friend Miggs Burroughs, to a picnic in Stamford.

Rev. Martin Luther King was there, at the invitation of the host: Jackie Robinson.

Sugarman — a noted illustrator – was also a civil rights activist.

Miggs — a junior high student — took the Minox “spy” camera he’d bought earlier that summer.

He still has those photos. Here are the 2 pioneering Black Americans: Martin Luther King and Jackie Robinson.

(Photos/Miggs Burroughs)

Westport Does It: $252,800 For Lyman!

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

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

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

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

This was once a family’s home in Lyman.

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

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

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

Distributing holiday meals in Lyman.

And this is just the start.

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

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

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

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

New town-wide initiatives are in the works too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ve only just begun.

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