Tag Archives: MoCA Westport

Roundup: Saugatuck Hamlet And Provisions, Halloween Treats …

The next step in the plan to create a new zoning district in Saugatuck — part of the proposed Hamlet at Saugatuck project — is a Westport Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing. It’s set for Wednesday (November 2, 7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium).

The P&Z will consider Text Amendment #819 and Map Amendment #820.  

It’s the third public hearing on the proposal, but the first that will be in person. The first two were held via Zoom.

The meeting will be live streamed on the “Watch Town Meetings” page. Click here for the meeting agenda. Click here for meeting materials. Written comments can be sent to PandZ@westportct.gov,

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Speaking of Saugatuck: “06880” announced a few days ago that Saugatuck Provisions will be moving into the former Fleishers Craft Butchery.

But our little morsel was nothing compared to the meal Stephanie Webster delivered.

Her CTBites — the go-to platform for all things foodie in the state — has a full report on the new venture.

She describes the “culinary power team” of Chef (and Staples High School graduate) Matt Storch and Susan McConnell — both of the highly regarded Match Burger Lobster and  Match — along with Jimmy Bloom (Copps Island Oysters) and butcher Paul Nessel (well known from his Craft Butchery days across Riverside Avenue).

Stephanie calls Saugatuck Provisions “a new concept offering customers a curated selection of the very best ingredients from the land, sea and grocery, enabling guests to create beautiful restaurant quality meals at home.”

Click here for the full CTBites story.

And lick your lips.

Paul Nessel at work. (Photo courtesy of CTBites)

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Tom Scarice is a hands-on schools superintendent.

He doesn’t hide in his office. He loves getting out, and into schools.

But sometimes he doesn’t want everyone to know who he is.

Yesterday was a perfect chance for the boss to pop into a Long Lots Elementary classroom, incognito.

Take a look below. Can you guess which person in the photo is in charge of 8 schools, hundreds of employees and 5,000 students?

(Hint: He’s not wearing his usual jacket and tie.)

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“06880” got tons of Halloween photos yesterday.

This tied with the one above as our favorite. It’s from 23 Juniper Road:

(Photo/Pamela Long)

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Back in the day, women accused of witchcraft would be thrown into water. If they sank, they were innocent. If they stayed on the surface, they were guilty.

Looks like we had a couple of real witches in the water off Compo Beach yesterday!

(Photo/Karen Como)

Meanwhile, few hours later, and a few yards away, there was this:

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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More from Halloween 2022:

The photo below looks like 2 dads, dressed up for trick-or-treating (with, hopefully, their kids):

(Photo/Max Orland)

But, Max Orland says: The 2 men did not coordinate their “Teen Wolf” costumes.

They didn’t even know each other.

Mark Silverstein was giving out candy near Compo Beach, when the other dude — Danny — wandered by.

What are the odds? Cue the “Twilight Zone” theme …

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The Town Clerk’s office will be open this Saturday (November 5, 9 a.m. noon),  9to issue absentee ballots for Tuesday’s election.

Absentee ballots will continue to be available through Monday (November 7) at 4:30 p.m.

All absentee ballots must be returned to the Town Clerk’s office no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8.

The Town Clerk’s office is located in Room 105 of Town Hall.

NOTE: Besides elected officials, voters are asked whether to amend the state constitution to allow early voting.

Don’t neglect the question in the upper right corner of the ballot!

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MoCA Westport has carved out a niche for showcasing thought-provoking, impressive art, from a wide variety of artists.

Now, it’s teens’ time.

All high school students are invited to submit works for a High School Student Art Exhibition. It will run from January 13 to February 26.

Submissions should express the theme of “Who Are You When You Are Dreaming.” The open-ended concept was created by the Teens at MoCA council.

The guidelines:

  • All high school students may submit 1 work, and all works will be accepted. Participation is not limited to a specific town or region.
  • Art may be a drawing, painting, digital/graphic image, photograph, sculpture or video.
  • All 2-dimensional work must be framed and ready to hang.
  • Work may not exceed a maximum of 30 inches in either height or width.
  • Submissions are due by midnight on Sunday, December 18, 2022.

The fee is $10 per entry. Funding to waive this fee is available; email liz@mocawestport.org. For more information, click here.

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“06880” was honored this summer to tell the story of Wynston Browne. The non-speaking autistic Staples High School student had made spectacular progress in just a few months, using a spelling board — a low-tech communication device.

Three months later, Wynston continues his astonishing growth. Now Westport Lifestyle magazine has taken notice.

For the latest on Wynston, click here. It should be must-reading for everyone, everywhere.

Wynston Browne and his communication partner, Elisa Feinman, He chatted with customers at The Porch.

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Most “moon shots” on “06880” include some recognizable part of Westport.

This one doesn’t (though — trust me — it was taken at Compo Beach).

But it’s sure not a normal moon image.

(Photo/James Doan)

Photographer James Doan took it with a telescope and an attachment that houses his phone.

He’s a Staples High School junior, taking an astronomy class this year. I give him an A+ for this!

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The Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rats swim team are winners in the pool.

And out of it too.

This Saturday (November 5, 8 a.m. to noon), they’ll help neighbors in need. The Water Rats are sponsoring a food drive (plus non-perishable items) for the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

the Water Rats Swim Team in their food drive benefiting the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. The need is great: Pantry requests are double what they were last year.

You don’t even have to get out of your car. Just pull into the YMCA loop, and swimmers will take your donations.  See below for suggested items.

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This week’s Jazz at the Post show is “the most ambitious program so far” at the VFW location (Thursday, November 3, 465 Riverside Avenue; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.).

Grammy nominees Antonio Hart and Mike Mossman join veteran jazz warriors and recording artists pianist David Morgan, Ron Carter’s personal bassist Boots Maleson, drum master Tim Horner and the “Jazz Rabbi,” saxophonist Greg Wall,  for 2 sets of jazz classics. Sextet arrangements are by Michael Mossman.

The repertoire features tunes by Miles Davis, Jimmy Heath, Duke Ellington and Duke Jordan.

Reservations are strongly suggested: Jazzatthepost@gmail.com

Antonio Hart

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This year’s fall foliage is the finest in years. Consider this Halloween-colored beauty on Cross Highway — perfect for today’s post-Halloween “Westport … Naturally feature:

(Photo/Mark Yurkiw)

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And finally … in honor of James Doan’s stunning astronomical photo above:

(Even once in a blue moon, consider supporting “06880.” Please click here to donate.)

Roundup: Voters’ Guide, Traffic Study, Halloween …

The print version of the Westport League of Women Voters’ voter guide has gone the way of much of the print media: It’s disappeared..

But the LWV still provides important information. And it works for anyone, anywhere in the United States.

Just click on vote411.org. Enter your address. You’ll see every race being contested at your polling place. Clicking any office and candidate’s name brings up plenty of background information.

It’s a rich resource. And a lot better way to decide who to vote for than yard signs. (Hat tip: Charles Wiseman)

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In August, the Board of Finance unanimously approved funds for a traffic and safety study of Cross Highway, at the North Avenue and Bayberry Lane intersections.

Monitoring devices have been installed. They’ll measure things like traffic volume and patterns.

No — they’re not cameras catching stop sign violators.

Although that might not be a bad idea.

Traffic monitoring device at North Avenue/Cross Highway stop sign. (Photo/Matt Murray)

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Westport Chinese Takeout — the bare bones, simply named but popular restaurant on Saugatuck Avenue at Franklin Street, closed recently.

The location is historic. It was the original site of the Arrow Restaurant. The Nistico family eventually moved their famed Italian eatery to larger digs on Charles Street.

When the Arrow’s run ended there, it became Jasmine — a Chinese restaurant. When that closed, the owners opened the much smaller Westport Chinese Takeout — in the Arrow’s first spot.

Jasmine then became Blu Parrot, and later Mystic Market. Now it too is gone.

And the original Chinese Takeout owners sold to others too.

For now, a phone message says: “We’re sorry. Westport Chinese Takeout is no longer in business. In the meantime, we’re getting ready to bring you the best of Peruvian food at this location. We’ll see you soon!” 9(Hat tip: 

Westport Chinese Takeout is now closed.

Halloween alert: Tomorrow (Saturday, October 29, 2 to 4 p.m.) — not Monday — the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston hosts their annual (and very popular) “Trunk or Treat,” 

The parking lot will be filled with car trunks from church and community members, Staples PRIDE, and more, decorated for (non-scary) Halloween. Kids (up to age 12) can pick up candy and other goodies.

It’s free for the community — but there’s a chance to give back too. The church is collecting canned goods for the Person to Person food pantry. A donation of 5 cans of food per child attending is requested.

All (kids up to age 12) are indeed welcome at the United Methodist Church’s “Trunk or Treat” tomorrow. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of Halloween: Wednesday’s downtown parade was a smashing success.

We can’t ask the kids — they’re still devouring their candy — so here’s the perspective of a parent. Tyler Errickson writes:

“Westport is a special town, and my son Henry had a special time at the Halloween parade. He was proud to mount the Westport fire truck, on a very special day.”

Henry Errickson, on a fire truck at the Halloween parade. (Photo/Tyler Errickson)

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Jonathan Alloy reports on a long-running projecct:

“The bridge on Bayberry Road North Extension saw major progress on Thursday: The deck rails arrived.

“Each of the 7 concrete and steel rails is more than 50 feet long, and weighs over 19 tons.

“They came from Vermont, each on its own special 24-wheel trailer truck. A portable crane lifted them into place.

“Instead of being flat, the rails are built with a camber (arc) to allow for flex with weight and weather. Inside the concrete, steel cables allow for that bending.”

The trucks caused a traffic mess on Bayberry. Westport Police soon straightened things out.

Plenty of work remains. But yesterday marked a big step forward.

Trucks line Bayberry Lane yesterday morning …

… and work is completed yesterday afternoon. (Photos/Jonathan Alloy)

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Everyone in the world knows about TED Talks.

Everyone in Westport should know about TEA Talks.

The free Thinkers, Educators, Actors — “TEA” — event returns to the Westport Library on Sunday, November 6. Among the notables: an Emmy-winning composer, Oscar-nominated filmmaker, former Westport Teacher of the Year, and many more.

They’ll share the Trefz Forum stage, to explore provocative, topical subjects in the arts. Particularly apt for an event impacted for 2 years by COVID, they’ll consider the effects of recent history on creativity in film, music and visual art.

Were home-bound artists more or less creative? What new ways were discovered to express one’s creativity? Does the public now consume the arts differently from the way it did before?

Westport textile and fashion designer Shobana Mani converses with Oscar-nominated New York City filmmaker Kevin Wilson Jr.

Dr. Richard Epstein (Westport musician, dentist and WPKN radio host) speaks with Emmy Award-winning composer, music supervisor and pianist Michael Whalen

Westport 2013 Teacher of the year Cecily Anderson discusses the state of the arts with Westport artist Tom Berntsen and Norwalk street-muralist 5ive Fingaz.

TEA Talks is sponsored by the Westport Arts Advisory Committee. An audience Q-and-A and refreshments follow the presentation. For more information, click here.

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There’s a big honor ahead for The Conservative Synagogue‘s Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn and his wife Riki.

Next month, the New York Board of Rabbis presents the Westport couple with  Humanitarian Award.

They’ll be in good company. Receiving the same award: former US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The event is November 16, at the Pierre Hotel. Click here for tickets and more information. (Hat tip: Avi Kaner)

Riki and Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn.

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Speaking of honors: The Westport Garden Club earned several honors at this week’s Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s 93rd annual awards luncheon.

The club received the Certificate of Achievement – Arboreal for planting a swamp white oak at Grace Salmon Park for “Oaktober 2021.”

They also won a Certificate of Achievement – Historic, Memorial and Public Gardens for their 2022 renovation of the Nevada Hitchcock Garden at the Cross Highway/Weston Road intersection.  The garden — established in 1941 — was reworked to focus on native and pollinator plantings.

Two members received individual awards. Andi Turner was given a Certificate of Individual Achievement for her work as horticultural chair. At each meeting, she shares well researched and informative best practices .

The Tribute Award in Landscape Design went to Ellen Greenberg, a Westport Garden Club past president, for her leadership in the club and community, involving a diverse array of partners including the Waltersville School Garden Project with Pivot Ministries, Wakeman Town Farm Pollinator Gardens, a Kaboom playground project in Bridgeport, and  Aspetuck Land Trust’s Green Corridor Initiative and Haskins Preserve Project.

Westport Garden Club members at the Nevada Hitchcock Garden.

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Many Westporters know Pippa Bell Ader for her environmental activism.

She’s also a talented potter. Next Thursday (November 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), she’ll sell her work at the Westport Farmers’ Market (Imperial Avenue parking lot).

All money raised at the “Urban Farming and Food Justice” fundraiser go to Green Village Initiative. The non-profit grows food, knowledge, leadership and community, through urban gardening and farming, to create a more just food system in Bridgeport.

Can’t make it to the Farmers’ Market, but interested in helping Pippa and GVI? Email bellader@gmail.com.

Pippa Bell Ader’s pottery.

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MoCA Westport’s next 2 “Cocktails and Conversation” events are set.

On November 3 (6 p.m.), Diana Mashia — founder and CEO of Invest In Her Art — discusses “the power of story, and the role that narratives play in shaping identity, fandom, advocacy and positive social impact.” She’ll lead a conversation around “how to better utilize stories and the arts to build awareness and advance women and non-binary people.” Click here to register.

On November 10 (6 p.m.), exhibition co-curators Tom Berntsen, Liz Leggett and Ruth Mannes describes the design and installation of MoCA’s current exhibition, “From the Pen to the Knife,” and the fascinating story of artist Marian Christy. Click here to register.

Both events are free; advance registration is requested. Access to the exhibit beforehand is free; cocktails and drinks are available for purchase.

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You may have to slow down to read this Halloween-themed sign on Bridge Street, near the Cribari Bridge:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

It says “Fast Drivers are Scary.”

That’s true all year round. But especially now when it gets dark early, but people are still out walking, running and riding bikes.

Slow down — particularly on Halloween!

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Here’s another Halloween photo:

(Photo/Anne Bernier)

Anne Bernier explains: “Anyone has seen ‘Stranger Things 4’ episode 3 (or has heard the Kate Bush song ‘Running Up that Hill’) will understand the floating Halloween decoration my 8th grader Luke created. Hopefully it won’t scare off any potential trick-or-treaters.”

Beware: It’s in the Old Hill neighborhood.

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Yogi Bear has appeared in “06880” before.

But never like. Cathy Malkin snapped this great “Westport … Naturally” photo the other day.

Because what’s more natural than a pair of skeletons hanging out in lawn chairs on Fairfield Avenue?

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)

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And finally … Charlie Daniels was born on this day, in 1936. The singer/ songwriter/guitarist/fiddler died in 2020, at 83, after a stroke.

(Once again, “06880” is jam-packed with stuff. Once again, we hope you’ll click here to support our work.)

Roundup: Arrests, Susie’s House, Garden Cinema …

The Westport Police Department arrested 4 people between October 19 and 26 on the following charges:

  • Reckless driving; operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol; failure to drive in the proper lane; failure to wear a safety belt.
  • Criminal mischief (2 arrests)
  • Violation of probation (2 counts); failure to appear.

In addition, the WPD issued the following summonses:

  • Cell phone use, 1st offense (17 people)
  • Traveling unreasonably fast (5 people)
  • Speeding (2 people)
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension (2 people)
  • Failure to obey traffic control signal
  • Violation of Traffic Commission regulation
  • Failure to grant right of way
  • Insurance coverage fails minimum requirement.

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There will be new life for the old “poor farm” on Compo Road North.

First a farmhouse, then a home for needy Westporters, and most recently the site of “Susie’s House” for Project Return, the property between the Little League fields and town tennis courts will be renovated into 6 residential units for homeless women.

The agreement with Homes with Hope was ratified this week by the Board of Selectwomen. The non-profit agency will provide 24-hour supervision and counseling to the residents.

Homes with Hope has already raised most of the $900,000 needed for renovations, says CEO Helen McAlinden.

Project Return’s “Susie’s House,” on North Compo Road.

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The long saga of Garden Cinemas ended yesterday.

Demolition began on the Norwalk art house, beloved for many years by countless Westporters and other area residents.

Attempts to turn the theater into a non-profit, with film-related after-school activities, failed. The site will now be developed for the Wall Street Place condominiums. (Hat tip: Matt Murray)

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Tomorrow (Friday, October 28), Westport celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month. First Selectwoman Jen Tooker and the town’s Commission on People with Disabilities invite residents, businesses, employment services agencies and disability advocates to a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Senior Center.

The event includes coffee and donuts thanks to the Friends of the Senior Center, baked goods from Sweet P Bakery and the Porch, and a “network of employment champions.”

For more information about the Commission on People with Disabilities or the Employment is for Everyone initiative, click here, call Westport Human Services at 203 341-1050, or email humansrv@westportct.gov.

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One of the town’s most anticipated clothing tag sales takes place this weekend.

The Westport Woman’s Club holds its annual event tomorrow and Saturday (October 28 and 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and Sunday (October 30, noon to 3 p.m.). The site is the WWC clubhouse at 44 Imperial Avenue.

Gently used women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories are back, with a wide array of suits, dresses, pants, jackets, blouses, gowns, coats, scarves, shoes, jewelry, handbags and hats.

Funds raised from the clothing tag sale support the Westport Food Closet, many local charities, and need-based student scholarships.

Preparing for the Westport Woman’s Club clothing tag sale.

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On November 12, Sustainable Westport sponsors 2 important — and very “green” — events.

Free mattress and box spring recycling runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., at Earthplace (10 Woodside Lane). They must be dry and unsoiled.

Up to 90% of the 55,000 old mattresses disposed of every day by Americans can be recycled into new products like carpet pads, cushioning for exercise equipment and bike seats, insulation, air filters, and steel materials.

Boy Scout Troop 36 provides pickup service, for a small donation. Click here for details, and to sign up.

Then head to the Staples High School fieldhouse, for the first-ever Westport Holiday Green Festival (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The joint effort of Sustainable Westport and Staples’ Zero Waste Committee includes crafters, artists, local resources and businesses, presenters, food, and the Staples Zero Waste Committee thrift store.

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Westporters love to speculate about Bridgewater. The nation’s largest hedge fund is headquartered here, but keeps a very low profile.

Part of the curtain may be pulled back next fall. An “unauthorized, unvarnished” biography of its billionaire manager, Ray Dalio will be published then.

“The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend,” will be written by Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Rob Copeland. He’s conducting hundreds of interviews for the book.

“’The Fund’ peels back the curtain to reveal a rarified world of wealth and power, where former FBI director Jim Comey kisses Dalio’s ring, recent Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick sells out, and countless Bridgewater acolytes describe what it’s like to work at this fascinating firm,” publisher St. Martin’s Press says.

While working for Bridgewater — and later, as head of the FBI — Comey had a Westport home.

Click here for more, from the Washington Post(Hat tip: Bill Dedman)

Ray Dallio

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Jeera Thai has expanded its hours. The great, very authentic and much-loved Thai downtown restaurant is now open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, either in-person or takeout.

Click here for the menu, and more information.

Two Westport gems: Jeera Thai owner Luna (seated) and Savvy + Grace owner Annette Norton.

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La Plage’s special Halloween party begins this Sunday (October 30) from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s also a way to say goodbye to the patio bar (for the season).

There’s a DJ on the patio, complimentary bites, Belvedere shots — and a costume contest.

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Speaking of Halloween: Creative decorations are seen all over town. This is on Plunkett Place, off North Avenue:

(Photo/Baxter Urist)

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One of the stranger casualties of COVID was the “I Voted!” stickers. Handing them out to voters was deemed a health risk, I guess.

Just in time for the 2022 election, they’re back. The town registrars’ office has given permission to poll workers to hand out the civic souvenirs.

They expect a heavy turnout, and have ordered 15,000 ballots. The League of Women Voters has several thousand stickers on hand, and ordered 12,000 more.

Support democracy. Vote on November 8. Then — for the first time in 3 years — wear your sticker with pride.

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Salon Nash is one of the Westport’s most popular hair styling salons.

Now boys and girls of all ages can have their hair styled  in a grown-up salon — while enjoying an afternoon of fun friends.

Salon Nash is available for kids’ parties. There is plenty of room inside, plus an outdoor patio. Owner Felicia Catale, and her entertainment, can also come to you.

Salon Nash provides a 45-minute magic show, with balloon sculpting or face painting. Candy cups are also available. Meanwhile, Felicia will style hair for adults and children

Email catalefelicia@icloud.com, or call or text 203-747-9753 for details.

Party balloons, at a Nash Salon event.

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The Camp Gallery’s new solo exhibition for Westport artist Liz Leggett opens tomorrow (October 28, 5 to 8 p.m., 190 Main Street). She’s an abstract expressionist, working on canvas and panel.

Leggett will be at the opening. Wine and cheese will be served.

Liz Leggett’s solo show at the Camp Gallery.

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Sure, and Stephen Fogerty has been named one of the Irish Legal 100 for 2022 by the Irish Voice. The honor goes to 100 attorneys in the US who share pride in their Irish roots. Fogerty — whose roots are in county Tipperary and Sligo — practices with FLB Law in Westport.

Stephen Fogerty

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Longtime Weston resident Stephen Steinbrecher died October 18. He was 88.

In 1949 the graduate of the Walden School and Clark University met Phyllis Schwartz at the University Settlement camp in Beacon, New York, They were married 6 years later.

Steve served on the New York Hotel Trades council, where he bridged industry divides, and on the Clark University board of trustees, where he founded the David Steinbrecher Fellowship Program. For more on Steve Steinbrecher’s impact on Clark University, click here.

Steve also sat on the University Settlement board, and helped create the Phyllis Steinbrecher Fellowship program.

He is survived by daughters Marcy Steinbrecher Puklin of Norwalk and Laura Steinbrecher of Weston; grandchildren Rachel Johnson, Sarah Livingston, Matthew LiVigni and Mikaela LiVigni, and his beloved dog Brooklyn. He was predeceased by his wife Steinbrecher in 2009, and son David Steinbrecher in 2004.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Phyllis Steinbrecher Scholarship at University Settlement and the David Steinbrecher Fellowship Program at Clark University

Stephen Steinbrecher

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There must be a back story to this tree on Fairport Road.

Whatever it is, it makes an intriguing “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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And finally … I never cared for Roger Miller’s “King of the Road.” I cared even less for Jody Miller’s reply song, “Queen of the House.” But both Millers (no relation) won Grammys for their work.

I never heard (or can’t remember) her biggest hit, “Home of the Brave,” about a boy bullied and barred from school for being different.

But Jody Miller died earlier this month in Oklahoma, at 80. Today’s songs are hers. (And Roger’s.) Click here for Jody Miller’s obituary.

(There’s a lot to love — or at least read — in today’s Roundup. To help keep information like this coming, please click here to support “06880.”)

 

 

Roundup: Depression, Dumb Driving, Club 203 …

“Is My Teen Just Moody? An Overview on Adolescent Depression” is the depressing — but very important — title of a Westport Public Schools’ workshop.

Set for November 3 (7 p.m., Bedford Middle School auditorium), it offers parents ideas for distinguishing “normal” teenage mood swings from symptoms of something more serious.

The event explores signs and symptoms of clinical depression, and offers treatment options.

Presenter Elizabeth Cotter of Effective School Solutions ha over 20 years’ experience as a therapist, program director and in clinical leadership roles.

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Traffic was normal — that is to say, busy — yesterday at noon.

Pat Prenderville was 5th in line on Imperial Avenue, waiting for the Post Road/Myrtle Avenue light.

Suddenly, the driver of a white Audi pulled in front of all the cars waiting in Pat’s line, and zoomed to the front.

In the left lane.

And proceeded to wait there — now first in line — until the light changed.

The very entitled white Audi. (Photo/Pat Prenderville)

The Very Very Very Important Driver then headed straight across, onto Myrtle.

“It’s amazing they weren’t hit by cars turning onto Imperial,” Pat says.

It’s also amazing that I’m not amazed anymore to hear — and see — stunts like this one.

PS: It was lunchtime, so this was not a teenage driver.

And you wonder why kids drive like they do.

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Club 203 — Westport’s new social group for adults with disabilities — had its second event this week.

Once again, it was a smashing success.

Attendees, their guests and volunteers came dressed for Halloween. Trunks were decorated, and filled with treats, Scary movie clips played on the Remarkable Theater screen, and there was dancing and games for all.

As they did at their first outing, Club 203 members greeted old friends, met new ones, and had a blast..

Next up: Gaming and Pizza Night (November 19, Toquet Hall). For more information, click here.

Club 203 members Jamie Taylor and Andreas Wagner enjoy the Halloween party.

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With nearly 300 members, Staples’ Service League of Boys is the high school’s largest club.

They spend most meetings planning events. But this week they Jay Paretzky of Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services led hands-on CPR and AED instruction for the teenagers — and their parents.

Other meetings are “working” sessions. For example, SLOBs will pack and deliver hundreds of snack bags for Bridgeport schoolchildren.

SLOBs has a great reputation, at Staples and throughout the community. It’s not hard to see why.

SLOBs’ CPR training.

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Speaking of Staples: Jo Shields was impressed to find this message chalked on the high school sidewalk the other day, next to the main entrance:

(Photo/Jo Shields)

It says “Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of bravery.”

Similar messages could be seen on sidewalks all around the school. They’re part of the Guidance Department’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the importance of mental health.

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MoCA Westport’s first-ever Open Mic last night sounds great!

Sixteen performers — as young as 14, and as old as 87 — shared poems and music with the community. Westport poet laureate Jessica McEntee also participated. Performers ranged in age from young as 14 to as old as 87.

Click here for the full program.

Vivian Shamie performs at last night’s “MoCA Some Noise” open mic event. (Photo/Cynthia Dempster)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes courtesy of Susan Leone. It was taken from the Riverwalk, behind the Library.

Once again, she — and her friend — remind us how fortunate we are to live here.

(Photo/Susan Leone)

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And finally … on this day in 1879,  Thomas Edison applied for a patent for his incandescent light bulb.

Roundup: Comedy, MoCA, Thief …

A sold-out crowd filled Fairfield University’s Quick Center for last night’s “Stand Up for Comedy.”

The benefit — the 15th annual for Homes with Hope, but the first in-person comedy show for them since COVID struck — featured comedian Pat McGann. He knew his audience, and deftly straddled the line between humor and awareness of the the crucial work HwH does to ease homelessness and food insecurity in Westport.

A “paddle raise” pledge drive before McGann took the stage marked a milestone: Over 15 years, “Stand Up for Comedy” has now raised over $3 million.

Pat McGann, on stage at the Quick Center. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Also last night: MoCA Westport’s opening reception for “From the Pen to the Knife.” The exhibit features watercolors by Marian Christy. Now 90 years old, she invented Knifed Watercolors — using only palette knives and puddles of paint (no drawing, no brushes).

Christy was a Pulitzer-Prize nominated journalist for the first chapter of her life, when women had limited journalistic opportunities. During this second chapter, she pivoted from “the pen to the knife.”

The exhibition is on view through November 27. Docent-led tours are available on Thursday afternoons (advance registration requested). Admission is complimentary on Thursdays after 4 p.m. For more information, visit click here,

Marian Christy at MoCA. (Photo/Leslie LaSala)

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Also yesterday: Westoberfest — sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association — and the Fall Fete, showcasing Sconset Square. It was a full day in Westport, for sure.

Selfie at Sconset Square.

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Westport Police are attempting to identify a woman who stole $14,000 worth of jewelry from a Main Street business last week.

Anyone with information about the woman — seen in surveillance photos below — should call the Detective Bureau: 203-341-6017.

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It’s autumn in Westport — a time when everyone has a “favorite” tree.

I have several. They’re at Staples High School’s Loeffler Field — the long-time home of the soccer teams. They hold a special place in my heart, because I had them planted there 16 years ago, when we built a terrace at the top of the hill.

Shira Honigstein loves them too. She sent this photo, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Shira Honigstein)

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And finally … today is National Boss’ Day.

No, it doesn’t mean a song from Bruce Springsteen. Instead:

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(Speaking of jobs: “06880” takes a lot of work. To help support your local blog, please click here.)

 

Roundup: Bob Stefanowski, Alicia Mozian, Jez Benton …

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski addressed a large crowd at the Westport Library yesterday.

The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston sponsored the event, Former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe moderated.

Stefanowski described his youth in New Haven, in a home shared with his grandparents and students from Southern Connecticut State College.

Regarding the 2020 election, the GOP candidate said: It’s over. It was not stolen. It’s time to move forward. If Donald Trump is found guilty of anything, he should pay the consequences.

Connecticut is the 2nd highest taxed state in the nation, he noted, adding that as head of a company he had to chip away at unnecessary costs. Executives earning $30 million to $40 million were upset about losing company cars. Shareholders paid for those perks, Stefanowski said.

Who pays for excesses in state government? Taxpayers, he continued.

On Monday (September 19, 1 p.m. Westport Library), Governor Ned Lamont will speak. The Y’s Men sponsor that event too. (Reporting by  Dave Matlow)

Bob Stefanowski at the Westport LIbrary. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Conservation Director Alicia Mozian is retiring, effective October 1.

A town employee since 1986, she began her career as a planning aide in the Planning & Zoning Department. Other posts included conservation analyst, zoning inspector and planning assistant. She was appointed Conservation director in 2001.

Mozian says she is “grateful to have served a community that is so engaged and proactive in environmental affairs. Their enthusiasm both challenged and inspired me to do my very best every day to help protect the many natural resources whose care we have been entrusted to protect.

“I have worked hard to balance the rights of the property owner with the need for environmental protection, and I’m proud of my department in achieving this goal. I also want to thank the many volunteers who have supported and continue to support our department’s mission and foster good stewardship practices of not only our wetland and water resources but also the environment in general.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker promoted Colin Kelly to replace Mozian.

Alicia Mozian

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Jez Benton is a very interesting Westporter. He summited Mount Everest in 2005, and has since had a notable career in leadership development.

This week, he launched a video podcast. Jez interviews 6 CEOs, as they hike a mountain together. It’s called “Route to the Top” (get it?), and was filmed entirely by Jez on his iPhone.

His first guest is Neal Katyal, former Solicitor General of the US. Now a partner in a law firm, he talks about lessons learned while arguing cases in front of the Supreme Court.

Click below for that initial episode. Others will be available on LinkedIn (10 minutes), and Spotify, YouTube and Apple Podcasts (full 45 minutes). (Hat tip: Meghan Bell)

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On September 29, nearly 600 people will gather at Mitchells in Westport for the 12th annual Pinkchella.

The event — the first in-person gathering since COVID — is PinkAid’s big fundraiser. The Coachella-themed luncheon includes fashion, food, music and more.

Among the auction items: a stay at the One & Only resort in Montenegro, use of a private jet and courtside seats at a Milwaukee Bucks game with the team owner, a trip to French Polynesia.

The auction goes live September 22. It’s open to all; you don’t have to attend the event to bid.  Click here for more information and — on September 22 — to bid.

Breast cancer survivors will walk the runway at a “Celebration of Life” fashion show, as Pink Aid honors their experience, and the people in their lives who helped along the way.

Since 2011, Pink Aid has granted $6.6 million to support programs that provide diagnostic testing, wigs, recovery garments, meals, childcare, transportation to treatment, integrative services, education, survivorship programs and personal expenses for patients undergoing treatment.

They fund programs at hospitals, national non-profits and smaller grassroots organizations. They work to make sure everyone gets proper treatment regardless of financial barriers. They’ve helped breast cancer patients in 30 states; their goal is to “turn 50 states pink.”

For more information on Pinkchella, and tickets, click here.

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Three million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease.

This Sunday (September 18, Sherwood Island State Park, 10 a.m.), the first-ever Spin4 Crohn’s & Colitis Cure event raises money for research.

It’s a fun, energetic and community-minded stationary bike ride. People can create a team, join a team or ride solo. Spectators are welcome too.

Click here to register, or for more information.

Spinning for a Crohn’s and Colitis cure.

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For the past 12 months, a generous gift from an anonymous donor ensured free admission to MoCA galleries for everyone.

Fees resume October 16. MoCA officials says: “We are committed to keeping our admission fees low, so that the power of art to educate, enrich and build connections between us continues to be accessible to all. As a non-profit organization, we rely on admissions fees to help fund all of our programs.

“If you have financial need for free admission for yourself or for your family, please email us at info@mocawestport.org.”

Meanwhile, MoCA announces their first Open Mic Night (October 20, 5 to 7 p.m.). It’s an outdoor event, where poets, slam poets and musicians come together not as opponents, but as performers sharing their stories, passions and talents.

To perform, click here to register, pay a $5 fee and complete this form by October 17. Each poem or song must be original (multiple poems or songs are allowed within time frame); memorization is not required. Performers must be in high school or older.

There’s no charge for audience members, but advance registration is requested; click here.

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Aarti Khosla’s “Give a Little Love” campaign is in full gear.

For the 3rd year in a row, the owner of Le Rouge Chocolates hopes to donate a chocolate heart to every Westport Public Schools employee.

It’s a townwide campaign. For $8 each, customers can sponsor a heart for one Westport teacher. To donate one or more chocolate hearts online, click here.

Aarti hand-delivers the treats to each building. This was the scene at Coleytown Middle School:

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Speaking of schools: Staples High musicians Delaney McGee (trumpet) and Witt Lindau (drums) have received All-National honors. They were selected by video audition, from the top music students in the country.

In November they will participate in the National Association for Music Education honors orchestra and “modern band” (rock band) respectively.

Jason Capozucca (bassoon) and Ana Jahnel (tenor saxophone) were selected as alternates,

Witt Lindau (Photo courtesy of Staples Wreckers Instagram)

Delaney McGee

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There’s always something to learn at the Senior Center.

The other day it was electric vehicles.

Dawn Henry and Barry Kresch of the EV Club of Connecticut led an informational session on the value and joys of driving an electric vehicle. Five were on display outside.

Barry Kresch discusses electric vehicles, at the Senior Center. (Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)

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Salon Nash owner Felicia Catale offers a free wash and blow dry — plus discounts on Mary Kay products — on October 10 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Her salon is at 179 Post Road West, in Nash’s Corner plaza.

Felicia Catale

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It’s still mid-September. But Election Day will be here before you know it.

On November 2 (Westport Library, 7 p.m.), Westport’s League of Woman Voters sponsors a debate with candidates for the state Senate and House of Representatives, and probate judge.

“06880” readers are invited to send questions in advance. The email address is lwvwestport@yahoo.com.

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If you’re like me, you probably get 2 or 3 advertising mailers a week, filled with discount coupons. Many are for home improvements — new bathroom (“in a day!”), gutter work, driveway paving and the like.

Also: duct cleaning. One company advertises in all of them. I see this photo everywhere:

I couldn’t figure out what was so weird about it.

Then I realized: He’s doing a pretty poor job of it. I want the guy who cleans my ducts to be watching what he’s doing — not giving me a come-on look.

No matter how hot he is.

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There’s something about monarch butterflies — in all forms — that we can’t resist.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” monarch photo comes courtesy of Nancy Vener:

(Photo/Nancy Vener)

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And finally … in honor of Jez Benton’s new podcast, interviewing nationally known CEOs as they climb steep mountains:

 

 

 

 

Roundup: Serena Williams, Beach Scenes, EMS …

Many Westporters loved Serena Williams big US Open win last night over Anett Kontaveit, the world’s 2nd-ranked player.

There were a couple of local connections — and we don’t mean any fans lucky enough to be in the stands.

Westport-based Birdseye Sports is a large independent production company. Specializing in game-day broadcasting and video productions, they provide camera crews to major networks. ESPN, for example, subcontracts them for the US Open.

Ryan Smith — a 1997 Staples High School graduate, and director of the Bedford Middle School Acting Group — has worked the Open for Birdseye for the past 4 years.

He’s seen a lot. But last night was special. He was behind the camera for Williams’ match.

Ryan Smith, at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I still kick myself from time to time, for how lucky I am,” he says.

He did not get home until 2:30 this morning. But he got up early, to head back to Queens. He’ll be behind the camera tonight — again covering Williams. She and her sister play doubles, in what their fans hope will not be their final match together. (Hat tip: Kerry Long)

Ryan Smith and Serena Williams at work.

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Well, that was quick.

Summer, I mean.

School is back in session. And this was the scene yesterday — a beautiful, still-August morning — at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Karen Como)

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Speaking of the beach: “06880” has run stories recently about beach days of old. Rocks instead of sand at Compo; sand instead of rocks at Longshore; demolished bathhouses, no houses along the shore — different days, for sure.

Suzanne Sherman Propp owns an interesting piece of art. It combines several elements of old beach-y Westport — some real, some imagined — in a fanciful way:

Created by Suzanne Urban, in part from a 1906 postcard, it shows bathers at Old Mill Beach; nearby homes (that probably were not there then), and — in the background — the old Longshore lighthouse.

Urban is a 1971 Staples High School graduate. After studying art at Marymount College, she worked as an illustrator.

For steady income she became a secretary at Greens Farms Elementary School, from the early 2000s to 2014. Former Stapleites Propp and Carey Leonard also worked there.

Urban moved with her husband to Windsor. They live in one of the oldest houses (1664), in what residents claim is Connecticut’s oldest town settlement (1633).

Urban has found a niche selling “contemporary folk art” — including holiday-themed work — online.

Her Halloween witches, ghosts and pumpkin-heads and cute. But only a true Wesetporter — like me, Suzanne Sherman Propp, and any “06880” reader — can appreciate the Old Mill Beach of Suzanne Urban’s imagination.

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It’s not too late to sign up for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician training.

There’s an orientation tonight. Classes begin next Tuesday (September 6).  Most are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some Saturdays as well.

The course covers information needed for state certification tests, a prerequisite for joining WVEMS. Click here for more information.

Meanwhile, mark your calendar for September 9 (7 p.m.). DNR — the grimly named, highly entertaining and very professional rock band made up mostly of doctors — plays a free show at the Levitt Pavilion, in honor of Westport Volunteer EMS.

WVEMS personnel will be there, answering questions about donations or joining the ranks.

Standing by, at a Levitt Pavilion concert (though not one headlined by DNR).

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Speaking of the Levitt: Though summer is over (at least, for those with kids in school), outdoor entertainment is not.

In addition to the Orebolo show September 7, featuring Rich Mitarotonda, Peter Anspach and Jeff Arevalo — members of the popular Connecticut rock group Goose — The Levitt just added a special free-ticket show at 1:30 p.m. September 17.

It stars ElephantProof. The band includes Ben Atkind — a founding member of Goose.

ElephantProof is “a euphonic snapshot of the unique sonic energy born at the house parties your best friends still talk about to this day. Refined by disciplined training and years of performance experience, Ben Atkind (drums), Sean Cronin (guitar), Chris Enright (keys) and Shon Gordon (bass) are reconnected, traipsing along the rigid confines of genre using erudite tonal expression.”

I’m not sure what that means, but I’m sure it will be a cool show! Click here for more details, and tickets.

Another piece of Pavilion news: Karina Rykman, whose band plays tomorrow (Friday, September 2), has another gig after the Levitt. She’ll fill in on bass during next week’s Late Night with Seth Meyers Show.

PS: The Levitt has added a “child 12-and-under free ticket” to the BYO-lawn chair section of the Robert Cray show on September 10 (8 p.m.). Click here for details and tickets.

ElephantProof

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Tonight’s (Thursday, 6 to 7 p.m.) MoCA “Cocktails & Conversations” event features the curators of the current “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse exhibition.”

Attendees will peek behind the scenes, learning more about the works and the artists. Cocktails and drinks are available for purchase.

“Cocktails & Conversations” is free, but advance registration is requested (click here). The exhibition runs through October 2.

Curators of the MoCA exhibit, and speakers at tonight’s event (from left): Maria Gabriela Di Giammarco, Melanie Prapopoulos (founder and director of the CAMP Gallery), Mario Andres Rodriguez), in front of a work by Shelly McCoy. (Photos/Leslie LaSala)

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Earthplace’s fall activities for children and teenagers start soon

They include:

  • “Nature Investigators” (Wednesday afternoons, grades K-2)
  • “Animal Investigators” (Tuesday afternoons, grades 3-5)
  • “Teen Volunteer Club” (Tuesday afternoons, grades 6-12 — animal care skills with hands-on training).

Click here, then click “Programs” for more information.

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Cars with decorations like this can be seen all over town:

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

It’s a long-standing Staples High School tradition: Senior girls (and only the girls) boast about their 12th-grade status on the opening day of school.

And you’ll be seeing these for quite a while. Another part of the tradition is to leave the writing on for a long, long time.

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Sure, there’s a drought. But there are still lots of gorgeous colors out there. Lauri Weiser captured this, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … yes, it’s that time of year again.

The summer has flown by. Now it’s time to fulfill that promise:

 

(“06880” sees you in September … and every other month. Please click here to support the blog that’s here for you 24/7/365.)

Roundup: Lanternfly, Dead Tree,, Orchestrating Change …

Chuck Greenlee, acting Y’s Men Gardening chair, writes:

“Wednesday afternoon at the very popular Westport Community Garden, our our Ys Men Gardening group noticed an unusual flying insect. JP Montillier got an eerily good photo.

“It was our newest American insect invasive scourge: the lanternfly.”

Click here for more information on lanternflies.

Lanternfly (Photo/JP Montillier)

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Speaking of the less-wonderful side of nature:

Dave Wilson sent a photo of a dead tree on New Creek Road, near the Greens Farms Station and Beachside Avenue.

(Photo/Dave Wilson)

It’s dangerous. Dave says that a few requests have been made over the years to remove it.

He thinks it may have been tagged this week.

Fingers crossed …

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Nômade — the new restaurant replacing Tavern on Main — has had a few previews, before opening officially next week.

The previously dark interior has been reimagined, much more brightly. (The fireplace remains — but it’s now white). The patio is filled with tables, and a large bar. Wicker baskets hang from the ceiling.

The eclectic menu ranges from burgers and steaks to octopus, clams and ravioli.

The Nomade patio, overlooking Main Street. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Tickets are going fast for tonight’s (Friday) Levitt Pavilion show — the inaugural one, launching Hiss Golden Messenger and Aiofe O’Donovan’s “Turn Tail in the Milky Way” tour. (Next stops: Chautauqua, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.)

And kids’ tickets (12 and under) are free.

Both bands are part of the Levitt’s “Stars on Tour” event.

The show starts at 7 p.m. tonight. Doors open at 6; the Walrus Alley food truck will be there. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Tonight’s “Stars on Tour” folk double-header follows the free one last night. Intergenerational greatness was on stage, as Clueless (with School of Rock stars Ethan Walmark, Anais Preller, Jake Greenwald; Zach Rogers, Francesco Perrouna and Witt Lindau teamed up with perennial favorite the Mill River Band.

Dancing to the Mill River Band last night at the Levitt Pavilion, under a super moon.

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Yesterday was the first of the 3-day Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition.

The international event includes master classes by finalists at the Westport Public Library, and performances at MoCA Westport.

Today’s (Friday) events include a lecture by educator and musician Clipper Erickson, plus more master classes at the Library, and performances at MoCA. The competition concludes with an awards ceremony at MoCA on Saturday, (August 13).

Click here for tickets for all events, both in-person and virtual, and more information.

Heida Hermanns finalist Artem Kuznetsov leads a master class at the Westport Library. (Photo/Feria Sewell)

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Speaking of music: Me2/Orchestra is the only one in the world created by and for people living with mental illness. R

It was created by Ronald Braunstein. On a trajectory to becoming a leading conductor, he made his diagnosis of bipolar disorder public and was shunned by the classical music community.

He vowed to erase the mental health stigma. one concert at a time. The film “Orchestrating Change” follows Braunstein and several musicians for 2 years, capturing their setbacks and accomplishments.

The film ends in triumph for Braunstein, who thought he might never conduct again — and for the musicians and audience, whose perspective on mental illness is forever changed.

The Westport Library will show “Orchestrating Change” on September 13 (7 p.m.). Executive producers/directors Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin, and several people featured in the film, will be on hand for a talkback after the screening. Click here for more details. 

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The Staples High School football program was inspired yesterday by a visit from a combat wounded Army veteran, Intelligence Sergeant Quincy Lopez.

He cheered on the athletes, as they did a Marine Corps “Murph workout.” It’s a fundraiser for both Westport football and Catch a Lift, the program that helps wounded vets.

Sgt. Lopez spoke of being part of something “bigger than yourself.” He added:

“You are as strong as your strongest link, and as weak as your weakest link. If you guide your decisions by what makes the team better, that in turn makes you better.

“We will soon approach another anniversary of 9/11. The darkest of hours and ultimate tragedy was followed by the greatest period of camaraderie and unity.  Incredible gains can happen when everybody works together.  Keep this in mind as you persevere for whatever you do and aim to achieve.”

Staples football players listen intently. (Photo courtesy of Adam Vengrow)

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Colorful seacoast mushrooms at the Westport Farmers’ Market make today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo particularly colorful.

(Photo/Mike Hibbard)

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And finally … on this day in 1966, John Lennon apologized for saying that “the Beatles are more popular than Jesus.”

Classical Music World Watches Westport

From August 11 to 13, the eyes of the piano world will be on Westport.

Will we notice?

After a 2-year COVID absence, the Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition returns. The winner — one of the top young pianists on the planet — will earn $10,000. The other 3 finalists receive $2,500 each.

The 4 finalists (clockwise from upper left): Nathan Cheung, Katherine Benson, Artem Kuznetsov, Aaron Kurz.

The musicians will compete at MoCA, on the Hamburg Steinway “D” piano that once graced the Carnegie Hall stage. Sandwiched around the performances and awards ceremony are master classes at the Westport Library, plus a lecture on Nathaniel Dett — the pioneering yet long-forgotten Black composer whose work will be featured in the competition.

The international event has a strong local flavor, too. Staples High School 1983 (and Yale University and King’s College Cambridge) graduate Alexander Platt serves as artistic director. Longtime resident, internationally renowned pianist (and 1986 Hermanns winner) Frederic Chiu chairs the jury.

This is Big Time. So how come you haven’t heard of it?

You should have. The Heida Hermanns Competition is 50 years old. It alternates every other year, between pianists and vocalists. Both events draw enormous attention, in the classical music world.

The venue and sponsors have changed. It bounced for years between the Westport Arts Center’s various homes, and Town Hall. Now, MoCA has taken the reins. Hopefully, they can give it the press it deserves.

The public needs to learn a bit about its namesake, too.

Born in Germany in 1906, Heida Hermanns studied with some of Europe’s top musicians. She debuted with the Berlin Philharmonic at 18, then toured Euroope.

She married Artur Holde, a noted music critic and author. In 1936, with Nazi power on the rise, they emigrated to the US.

Hermanns made her debut at New York’s Town Hall in 1942. She gave annual recitals by composers outside the mainstream repertory, and performed often with John Corigliano. (The New York Philharmonic concertmaster lived in Westport. He’s buried in Assumption Cemetery.)

Heida Hermanns and John Corigliano (father of today’s composer).

A few years later, Hermanns and her husband moved here. The couple liked the town’s “eclectic, liberal, creative, artistic” reputation, Platt says. They quickly became involved in its cultural life.

She recorded frequently with Ruth Steinkraus Cohen (the musician and UN activist, for whom the Post Road bridge is named).

Hermanns and Holde formed Friends of Music and Performers of Connecticut (now called the Connecticut Alliance for Music). She also supported the Levitt Pavilion. When the Westport Arts Center was built in the 1980s, she underwrote the Artur Holde Concer tHall.

Hermanns died in 1995. But her support of young musicians lives on.

Musicians like Chiu and Platt are paying it forward. One way is by carrying on Hermanns’ legacy of highlighting overlooked musicians.

Nathaniel Dett

Artistic director Platt first learned of composer, organist, pianist, choral director and music professor Nathaniel Dett while in college. Platt is thrilled to program Dett’s music. Each finalist will include some of his work, as part of their recital.

“This will be the greatest Heida Hermanns Piano Competition ever.”

MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes, her staff and board are fully behind the event. The 3 American and 1 Russian competitors have a packed schedule — and should draw packed houses.

They should certainly enjoy conducting master classes at the Library, and playing at MoCA. As for the piano itself: there’s nothing better than that Steinway.

“It’s exactly what Heida would have played on in Vienna,” Platt says. “It will be like she’s back here with us.”

(Click here for tickets and more information on the Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition.)

(“06880” relies on contributions from readers (and music lovers) like you. Please click here to help.)

Alexander Platt conducts the Minnesota Philharmonic.

Roundup: Michelle Pauker, Bulkley Pond …

MoCA Westport roams far beyond our town’s borders.

The museum-and-more features artists — visual and musical — from around the world.

But one of the biggest draws ever was last night: Westport’s own Michelle Pauker.

The 2013 Staples High School graduate — and actress/singer/songwriter — wowed the overflow crowd with her “Broadway Through the Ages” repertoire. She was both graceful and great, leading the audience through a history of musical theater, from “Showboat” to Sondheim.

One of her songs was an original by Jake Landau, who served as her pianist and music director. A Staples classmate — and Juilliard and Oxford graduate — he’s now a quickly rising composer and conductor.

Michelle’s small band included fellow Stapleite Lucas de Valdivia, on cello.

It was a magical Westport evening, in the worldly MoCA space.

Michelle Pauker at MoCA. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Aspetuck Land Trust is removing the Bulkley Pond dam. It’s off the Post Road by Shake Shack, right on the Westport/Southport border.

The dam was a barrier to upstream fish passage for alewife and blueback herring, and the freshwater habitat these migratory fish require for spawning.

The project is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.

Bulkley Pond dam removal …

… and after. (PhotosDave Lowrie)

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The Fresh Market ospreys get most of Westport’s love. At least, they’re the most visible.

But let”s give it up for the Longshore birds. Molly Alger provides today’s “Westport … Naturally” raptor family:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … the Bulkley Pond story (above) reminded me of this great song, which never got the recognition it deserved.

Over 50 years later, the message still resonates.