Tag Archives: Minute Man monument

Tulips Together

Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) does not always agree on everything.

That’s the messy part of democracy.

But this morning, members were unanimous: The Minute Man Monument needs more tulips. RTM member Andrew Colabella writes:

Last year, 100 tulips were planted by the Minute Man statue, as part of a beautification project.

The results were eye-popping, colorful and bountiful in beauty.

Blooming tulips.

This year, I decided to expand to 300 tulips.

Many hands made the work lighter, and smarter.

Top: Jimmy Izzo hangs with the Minute Man. Fellow RTM members include (middle, from left): Nancy Kail, Harris Falk, Seth Braunstein. Front: Don O’Day, Andrew Colabella, Kristin Mott Purcell.

The group came armed with shovels, a cordless drill, and donuts.

It was great to see families that biked, drove or walked by. A father and 3 children stopped, and asked to take part. Don O’Day lent a hand (below).

They asked about the history of the Minute Man statue, then posed with H. Daniel Webster’s 1910 sculpture.

With so much help, the work did not take long.

(All photos courtesy of Andrew Colabella)

The 300 tulips from Colorblends in Bridgeport came directly from the Netherlands. They were harvested this past summer.

Westport Hardware donated a bag of grass seed for top dressing, while Thomas Kerrigan of Kerrigan Industries provided a mixture of topsoil and compost.

I want to thank this group of green thumb enthusiasts and caring individuals for helping continue a vision I had a long time ago. It is finally coming to life.

Make sure to look for the tulips in the spring.

Minute Man, Doughboy: New Looks For Old Heroes

For over 100 years, Westport’s Minute Man has crouched, alertly and patriotically, near the entrance to Compo Beach.

He’s our beloved town symbol. And these days, he looks better than ever.

His dark metal shines. His lines are smooth. Even his historical plaque has been restored to its old glory.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Representative Town Meeting member and Staples High School graduate Andrew Colabella was intrigued by the project. He’d seen an “06880” of a man working alone, power washing the statue.

(Photo/Jamie Klein)

He wanted to learn more. Mike West, Parks & Recreation Department parks superintendent, told Andrew the man’s name is Francis Miller. He’s repaired and restored artwork since 1991.

On Monday, Andrew spotted Francis working on Veterans Green, across from Town Hall.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Andrew is fascinated with hands-on, labor intensive niche work, like welding and metal restoration.

He asked Francis how he restored both the Minute Man and doughboy.

He heats the metal with an acetylene torch, burning off foreign material. As it cools, he applies a mixture of waxes he made himself (it’s been approved by the National Parks Service and Conservation Department).

Francis uses a shoe polish brush that gets into the metal, but leaves no striations, grooves or runs. The waxes seal and bond to the metal.

Veterans Green doughboy. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Andrew’s questions were not idle ones. He recently completed his own metal restoration project just a few yards away.

He’d found the old, discarded solid brass “Public Notice” board in a dumpster.

Andrew kept the original imperfections and marks, dating back over 70 years. It’s now been re-hung in front of Town Hall — a great addition to the “new” front entrance.

Andrew Colabella’s restored Public Notice board, before installation outside Town Hall.

Andrew is impressed by Francis Miller’s restoration work. He hopes the rest of Westport will be too.

So as you head to the fireworks tonight — or any other time you’re near Compo Beach or Veterans Green — check out our newly restored Minute Man and doughoy.

And don’t forget the new Public Notice board either. It too is a beauty.

(“06880” is honored to honor Westport’s history. Please consider supporting the work we do. Just click here to contribute. Thank you!)

Roundup: Minute Man, LymanAID Party, Road Closures …

The Minute Man — proud symbol of Westport — looks prouder than ever.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

The 1910 statue was recently power-washed. Now it’s been refinished, and treated with a UV lacquer coating to prevent it from weather and foreign material.

Thanks go to Francis Miller, owner of Conserve Art. He’s the one who raised the statue a few years ago, to protect it from the elements.

Thanks to Francis, the plaque is now legible too. The next time you walk, jog or bike by, stop and read it. The history of the area — and the monument itself — is fascinating. (Hat tip: Andrew Colabella)


Signs like these are popping up all over town:

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)

They’re advertising the summer’s biggest (non-fireworks) party.

On Sunday, July 9 (1 p.m. to dusk), there’s a huge thank-you bash honoring our sister city of Lyman, Ukraine.

Everyone’s invited. It’s worth it just to see the great, welcoming site: the Ukrainian-American Club (just past the I-95 Exit 19 northbound entrance ramp in Southport).

The free, family-friendly event includes snacks, drinks, music and more.

There will be opportunities to help Lyman too: a raffle, treasure sale, Yankee auction, coffee table book pull, plant sale, “LymanADE” stand and more. Lyman Mayor Alexander Zhuravlov will speak on a big screen.

VIP tickets ($350) include reserved seating, a commemorative gift, open bar, homemade Ukrainian-inspired meal and more.

VIP Plus tickets ($1,000) receive all benefits above, plus signage with your family name or company logo, a message for the Ukrainian people, and a Ukraine flag signed by Mayor Zhuravlov.

To RSVP, purchase VIP tickets and for more information, click here. And if you’d like one of those cool yard signs, have questions, or would like to be a sponsor, email connievonzwehl@gmail.com.


Work has begun on the Whitney Street sewer project.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Between now and August 4, the road will be closed to through traffic during weekday work hours.

So all those drivers who used Whitney as a cut-through between Roseville Road and downtown (shush!) will have to head to the Post Road or North Compo.

But that would have happened anyway. Work on the Evergreen Avenue sewer has closed that important through road weekdays too.


A simple post on Facebook’s “Westport Front Porch” page urged the town to keep the rainbow crosswalk (on Jesup Road at Taylor Place), after Pride Month ends June 30.

By midday yesterday it had amassed nearly 400 likes, and about 300 comments.

Nearly every comment was positive — “It’s beautiful!” “It makes me so happy!” “There’s no time limit on inclusivity” — except for a tiny handful (“The rainbow is God’s symbol”; “What contribution or what value do the LGBT people bring to the table?…”).

There are several options to make a permanent crosswalk better suited to cars that turn, and New England weather. All material and work would be privately funded.

Meanwhile, a Change.org petition has also begun. As of yesterday afternoon, it had 147 signatures.

At 5 a.m. on June 1, Dr. Nikki Gorman (above) — one of the crosswalk’s sponsors — joined a dozen volunteers, including the 1st and 2nd selectwomen, and Public Works director, for the rainbow installation.


Pianist Janice Friedman headlines this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, June 22; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m., dinner service at 7; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399).

She’ll play with her longtime saxophone collaborator, Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall, plus bassist Leon “Boots” Maleson and drummer Brian Floody.

The evening begins with a presentation. The Jazz Society of Fairfield County — presenter of the weekly VFW post series — will give a $5,000 check to Ciara Bustillo-Rodriguez of Bridgeport, winner of their first Micky Golomb Memorial Scholarship.

Ciara will perform a few pieces with Janice and her group. She began studying music 8 years ago with the KEYS program.

She excels in both jazz and classical music, as principal flutist with the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestra Philharmonic, and their Jazz Orchestra.

Ciara is studying music at Western Connecticut State University, with the goal of a career as a jazz educator and performer.

The fund was established in memory of Myron “Micky” Golomb (1931-2019),
a jazz saxophonist and educator who moved to Westport in 1978. The award will be presented by his wife Kathy and their daughter Becky.

This is the final Jazz at the Post of the season. The series resumes in September. Reservations are strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Ciara Bustillo-Rodriguez


This week’s “What’s Next in Weston” podcast explores the town’s new relationship with Silver Hill Hospital.

1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor and Human Services director Alison Lisbon discuss new help for people with mental health issues.

Click below to hear the latest presentation from the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.


Every day brings new joy to Westport gardeners.  All are “Westport … Naturally”-worthy.

This is part of Rick Hochman’s back yard, off Long Lots.

(Photo/Rick Hochman)


And finally … On this day in 1837, Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne. She ruled for 63 years and 216 days — a record that stood until 2015, when Queen Elizabeth surpassed it. She lived, and reigned, for 70 years and 214 days.

(We’ll never forget Queen Elizabeth. Or Victoria! But please don’t forget to help support “06880.” Just click here. And thank you!)

Pic Of The Day #2251

Celebrating Pride Month, with sweaters and laces: Nancy Axthelm’s grandchildren Dylan (8) and Everett and Hudson (2-year-old twins). (Photo/Nancy Axthelm)

Roundup: AI, Free Haircuts, Change For Lyman …

David Pogue’s talk the other day about the potential and perils of artificial intelligence had everyone who saw it, well, talking.

Now the Westport Library — which hosted the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston event — has posted it online.

Whether you’re excited or ambivalent about the future of AI — or don’t know what to think — click below.

It may be one of the most important hours you’ll spend as a human being.


Yesterday’s announcement of LymanAID — the July 9 event thanking Westporters for their support of our sister city in Ukraine, and kicking off the next phase of help — created plenty of excitement.

And it brought a great offer from Felicia Catale. She’s not even waiting until July.

Felicia — the owner of Salon Nash, on Post Road West — is offering free haircuts on any Monday in June, for anyone who donates at least $60 to Lyman.

Those cuts and blow dries — for men, women and kids — usually go for a lot more than that.

Click here to donate via the Ukraine Aid International website (under “Designation,” choose “Westport-Lyman” from the dropdown menu).

Then call or text Felicia (203-747-9753) to make an appointment. Be sure to bring your donation receipt to enjoy your free, generous hair session!

Felicia Catale


Speaking of LymanAID: Staples High School sophomore Sam Rossoni is doing his part to help too.

It’s a big one.

He’s joined with Connie Caruso and a few other volunteers to run “Change for Ukraine: Making a Difference, One Cent at a Time.”

They bought boxes of plastic jars, and are distributing them to businesses, organizations and locations throughout Westport and nearby towns.

They in turn will give jars to individuals or families. Staples students can pick up jars at school.

Between now and early July, participants will try to fill each jar with bills, change and checks (payable to “Ukraine Aid International”). Each holds about $65 worth of coins.

Anyone who fills up a jar will have their lid entered into a raffle. One lid will be selected at random, during the July 9 LymanAID event. The winner gets a $1,000 cash prize.

Want a jar? Or want to contribute? Call or text Sam Rossoni: 917-535-0327.

Collection jars for Lyman.


One of the most dangerous intersections in town just got a bit safer.

Two new stop signs have been added to the north and south sides of West Parish and Hillandale Roads.

Previously, there were — confusingly — only 2 signs. Now drivers coming from all 4 directions must stop.

New north side stop sign on West Parish Road. (Hat tip and photo/Bob Weingarten)


Speaking of accidents: There was a bad-looking one yesterday at the Long Lots Road/North Avenue intersection.

I’m surprised there aren’t more. Between the volume of traffic, the 3-way stop that includes a dip in the road, 2 options southbound from North Avenue and westbound on Long Lots, plus the tempting roll-through-the-stop-sign-and-take-a-right from Long Lots, it’s (as the saying goes) “an accident waiting to happen.”


It’s more than a Teardown of the Day. Call this the Teardown of the Season.

Demolition has begun on the old Westport Inn. The 120-room Post Road East property — first built in 1960 as the New Englander Motel — is being developed by Delamar into an 85-unit boutique hotel.

Upgrades include less building and site coverage, and more green areas.

Delamar owns popular hotels in Southport, Greenwich, West Hartford and Traverse City, Michigan. A couple of miles from the old Westport Inn, they’re also redeveloping the Inn at Longshore.

The demolished front section of the Westport Inn. (Photo/Dan Woog)


As Westport prepares for Memorial Day, our beloved Minute Man is ready.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

But those American flags didn’t fall out of the sky.

Kudos to Westport Hardware for their donation.

And to Andrew Colabella, who has placed them at the base every year since 2008.


Another Memorial Day weekend tradition:

This morning, Scouts from Troops 39 and 139 placed American flags on veterans’ graves, at cemeteries around Westport.

This was the scene at the Green’s Farms Congregational Church Upper Burial Ground:

(Photo/MaryAnn Meyer)


“Below Surface” — the 19-minute documentary short film highlighting Patty Kondub’s life-changing Westport Weston Family YMCA Aquafit class — has earned raves. And awards.

On June 9 (7 p.m.), the Westport Country Playhouse hosts a special screening.

After the show, Patty joins the movie’s producers for a panel discussion. Tracey Knight Narang — a Tony Award-winning producer, and a playwright — moderates.

Admission is free. Click here to register.


Just a few days after another “06880” report on another delay in the ongoing saga of the Bayberry Lane bridge …

… it’s open!

Andrew Colabella was there early yesterday morning, to see the finishing touches put on the long-running project — and to (happily and helpfully) move the “Road Closed” sign out of the way.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


Sotheby’s auction of a vast collection of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s personal belongings — from chairs and rugs to a “White Stag Speedo Leisure Tennis Suit Worn by Newman” — has begun.

“A Life & Legacy: The Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman Collection” is live through June 12. Click here to bid.

Or just gawk. (Hat tip: Debbie O’Malley and Bill Kutik)

This photo of Paul Newman and fellow Westporter Michael Brockman at the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona race is valued at $800 to $1,200. Bidding starts at $200.


Comp Beach lifeguards return on Monday (Memorial Day).

But at least one was in the guard shack yesterday. Among the duties: updating the popular informational/inspirational sign, for the 2023 season.

(Photo/Karen Como)


The newest member of Westport’s deer community poses for its first “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Scott Weiner)


And finally … Ed Ames, whose long career stretched from lead singer of the Ames Brothers, to Fess Parker’s Native American companion on “Daniel Boone,” died last Sunday in Beverly Hills. He was 95.

Click here for a full obituary. And click not just on 2 of his most memorable songs, but on one of the most famous moments ever in Johnny Carson history. (Watch to the end!)

(Sure, it’s a holiday weekend. But “06880” is still at work, bringing you all the information you need about Westport. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Robin Tauck/Y Challenge, Narcan, Pop-Up Sale …

Robin Tauck and the Westport Weston Family YMCA are teaming up again.

The former trustee, benefactor of the Robin Tauck Wellness Center and longtime executive with her family’s international travel company celebrates the Y’s 100-year anniversary with a $100,000 matching challenge.

From now through June 30, Robin will match every dollar donated at $500 and above. Funds will go toward new programs for seniors, adults, and youth that improve health outcomes.

They include fitness and well-being for arthritis, Parkinson’s, cancer management and other diseases, and special strength and conditioning program for youths.

Funds will also benefit the Y’s financial assistance program, serving under-resourced families and those in need.

Donors who contribute $1,000 or more will enjoy a special summer event.

Fore more details and to participate in the matching grant challenge, click here. 

Questions? Email kguthrie@westporty.org


Opioid abuse is rampant everywhere — including Westport.

And in the event of an overdose, everyone can help.

A free overdose awareness and Narcan training session is set for next Friday (May 12, 4 to 5 p.m., Positive Directions, 90 Post Road West).

Topics include how and when to administer Narcan, and prevention resources and messages to share.

Registration is required; click here.


A pre-Mothers Day pop-up shopping event This Friday (May 12, 12-4 p.m., Yoga45, 201 Main Street) benefits A Better Chance of Westport.

A portion of sales will go to the local organization, which for 20 years has offered educational opportunities to academically gifted young men of color.

It’s a great way to shop local, at a women-owned store, for Mom — and for a great cause!


Among many other things, Verso Studios and the Westport Library are becoming a film hub for movie buffs throughout the area.

On May 19 (7 p.m., the Lundberg Family Foundation Masters Film Series launches, to tie it all together.

The first event is the Connecticut premiere of the documentary “Heaven Stood Still: The Incarnations of Willy DeVille.” Area residents Chris Frantz and Crispin Cioe are featured in the film.

A Q&A after the showing with the filmmakers, including the filmmakers; Frantz and Cioe, and DeVille’s niece.

The Lundberg Family Foundation Masters Film Series will showcase films and filmmakers. It bridges independent production and established innovation. Special screenings coupled with master classes will “educate and inspire on modes of production and storytelling craft, as well as technical, philosophical, and historical aspects.”

Master classes on June 14 and 21 will focus on techniques to convert a film concept into a compelling documentary story.


Brown University 1968 Bernicestine McLeod Bailey adds another degree later this month. The IT leader and longtime advocate for inclusion of alumni of color  will receive an honorary degree — doctor of humane letters — at the commencement ceremony.

Following her career as an IBM systems engineer, she established McLeod Associates, a pioneering minority-owned IT consulting firm.

McLeod Bailey is a founding member of TEAM Westport, and former board member of the Westport Library and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

At Brown, she is a longtime member of the Pembroke Center Advisory Council and served as founding chair of its Archives Committee with a focus on elevating gender history. She has established funds to support undergraduate diversity and initiatives highlighting Black history at the university.

McLeod Bailey served as a Brown trustee from 2001 to 2007, and is an honorary lifetime member of the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity. She also received the Brown Bear Award, the Brown Alumni Association’s highest volunteer honor.

McLeod Bailey and her husband, Brown alumnus Harold Bailey Jr., are the parents of Brown alumni Aisha (Class of 1999) and Harold III (Class of 2003).

Bernicestine McLeod Bailey


Last night’s Pic of the Day showed tulips blooming beautifully at the Minute Man monument.

How did they get there?

Andrew Colabella — RTM member and all-things-Westport booster — planted 100 bulbs.

Another 400 are coming this fall, he promises.

Andrew Colabella, with a bulb at the Minute Man monument. (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)


Former Westporter Kristin Erickson died April 25 in New Fairfield. She was 62.

She studied at Northfield Mount Hermon, Denison and Southern Connecticut State Universities, and a earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University.

As a hospice social worker, Kristin had “a remarkable capacity to show up for people and their families in very dark moments.” She was passionate about death with dignity, access to mental health resources, and caring for senior dogs and dogs with high needs. She was recently certified as a death doula.

Kristin and her former husband Dan Carpenter raised 3 children in Fairfield. They were her pride and joy. Her family says, “she was a creative, goofy, and above all, deeply loving mother. She also filled roles as a cool aunt, second mom to her kid’s friends, and dedicated dog mom.”

Kristin spent the past years between West Palm Beach and New Fairfield with her partner Ken Green and his dogs. She spent a lot of time with her mom, Sue, as well. Kristin had recently become certified as a death doula and had continued to hold space for people at the end of their lives.

Kristin is survived by her parents, Susan and George Erickson; children Nell, Guthrie and Aria Carpenter; siblings Jon and Martha Erickson and their partners Jayne and Bones; nieces Riley, Mullein, Romy, and Faye, and many lifelong friends.

n lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Compassion & Choices, a non-profit Kristin was passionate about.

Kristin Erickson


There’s always something different to see from Grace Salmon Park.

Patricia McMahon framed this “Westport … Naturally shot beautifully, as spring comes to the popular Saugatuck River spot:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


And finally … in honor of Bernicestine McLeod Bailey’s honorary degree from Brown (story above), here is the world’s greatest college fight song.

Sorry, Michigan and Notre Dame. But this one’s clearly the best.

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Pic Of The Day #2209


Minute Man tulips (Photo/Tom Lowrie)

Pic Of The Day #2037

Minute Man Monument (Photo/Michael Chait)

Sturgeon Moon

August’s full moon is called the “sturgeon moon,” because the giant sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during that part of summer.

It reached peak illumination at 9:36 last night. The day before, Jonathan Prager took this gorgeous photo.

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

Last night, Westporters were out in droves to document the moon. Ted Horowitz shot this with his iPhone:

(Photo/Copyright Ted Horowitz)

Taking another view, Patrick Kennedy describes this shot as “the full moon, guarded by our Minute Man”:

(Photo/Patrick Kennedy)

[OPINION] Clean Up Our Minute Man!

Like many longtime Westporters, Mike Elliot loves the Minute Man. Like the Compo cannons and Veterans Green doughboy, it is a Westport landmark.

However, the 1972 Staples High School graduate writes:

“The grassy area surrounding the stature always look like crap. It is impossible to mow, weeds always overtake it, and frankly it looks awful.

Westport Garden Club flowers temporarily hid the base of the Minute Man monument.

“It needs to be redone — but with a no-maintenance solution.

“My backyard patio has 4 inches of reinforced concrete, with 2 inches of blue stone. It will never have weeds. It always looks presentable.

“The Minute Man doesn’t need that kind of sub base. But if we held a fundraiser to redo the base with a concrete structure and inlay pavers, or cannon balls or some architecturally pleasing finish, it would always look clean and presentable. It would always remain our most iconic landmark.”

Mike has planted a great seed of an idea. Is there any interest in  helping it grow? Click “Comments” below.

Another view.