Tag Archives: MoCA Westport

Roundup: Real Estate, Rabbis’ Honors, Raptors …

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Westport’s real estate market roars along.

Roe Colletti reports there were 115 house closings in the first quarter of 2021, a 47% increase from 2020 — and the highest number of houses sold in that quarter since at least 2000.

The average closing price rose 33% to $1.84 million, the quarter’s highest since 2000. Homes sold on average for 99.7% of the list price.

There were 87 houses pending (signed contracts) on March 31, up 81% from last year. The average list price of those homes was $2.2 million.

Housing inventory on March 31 was 135  — down 47.3% from the previous March 31, when there were 256 houses on the market. (Hat tip: Chuck Greenlee)

This 12-bedroom, 15 1/2-bathroom estate, set on 7 1/2 acres, is listed for $20 million. (Photo courtesy of KMS Partners @ Compass)

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This year’s New York Board of Rabbis’ Humanitarian Awards will honor first responders and essential workers.

Dr. Anthony Fauci will be feted. So will the Greater New York Hospital Association.

And … Westport’s own Avi Kaner.

The co-owner of Morton Williams Supermarkets (and former Board of Finance chair and 2nd selectman) will be cited for the work his family-owned business did during the pandemic.

Morton Williams stores never closed. Employees kept working; senior executives ensured that the supply chain continued.

The company became a lifeline to New York. They worked with the CDC to adjust trucking regulations so that truckers would be comfortable making deliveries. They were among the first in the nation to set aside special hours for seniors and immunocompromised customers; they lobbied aggressively for mask use, and ensured that supermarket workers were included in phase 1B of the state’s vaccinations.

There’s one more Westport connection to the May 10 event: Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of The Conservative Synagogue is president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

Avi Kaner in a Bronx Morton Williams store. (Photo/Danny Ghitis for the New York Times)

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Business Networking International does exactly what its name says.

But there’s a twist: Only one person per profession is allowed to join a chapter. For example, there is one CPA, one architect, one insurance agent.

BNI’s Westport chapter is strong and active. They’ve got 48 members. Last year, they conducted nearly $2 million in business.

There are openings now in a few categories: interior designer, home inspector, developer, heating and air conditioning contractor, fitness club or personal trainer, chef, and attorneys who practice estate and elder law.

Weekly BNI meetings are now held over Zoom. They’ll transition to a hybrid or in-person format this summer or fall. Click here for information, or email info@salonpaulmichael.com.

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Today’s osprey update:

Carolyn Doan reports that the Fresh Market ospreys had a busy week rebuilding and freshening up their nest.

Sometimes when they’re not at home, Carolyn and her son head over to Gray’s Creek. Those birds are usually eating. “The male’s chest is more white, while the female has tan markings,” she says. She took this photo of one finishing a fish.

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

Meanwhile, a group of Y’s Men strolled past this osprey at Longshore:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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Five Wreckers are Staples High School’s Students of the Month.

Senior Henrik Hovstadius, junior Bruno Guiduli, sophomores Leo Fielding and Ari Lerner, and freshman Domenic Petrosinelli were nominated by their teachers.

Principal Stafford Thomas called the honorees “the glue of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together, making it the special place that is.

Staples High School students of the month (from left): Henrik Hovstadius, Domenic Petrosinelli and Ari Lerner. Missing: Bruno Guiduli and Leo Fielding.

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The 2021 Music at MoCA Concert Series features a diverse range of jazz, pop and classical outdoor concerts, from April through October. Highlights include performers from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight series.

Multi-instrumentalist and soulful pop artist Matt Nakoa opens the series on Friday, April 30 (7 p.m). Click here for the full schedule, and tickets.

Season passes are available for all 13 concerts, along with jazz, pop or classical packages and individual concert tickets. MoCA members receive discounts. Food and drinks are available at each event.

Matt Nakoa

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And finally … so who is Matt Nakoa (the first MoCA concert performer this year — see above). Watch below:

 

Roundup: Earth Day, Animals, Toilets …

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Earth Day crops up soon. And Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace for a month of activities. Here are 2.

Today (Sunday, April 11, 1 to 1:45 p.m., Zoom, free) or next Sunday (April 18, 1 to 2:30 p.m., in person, $10 per person), join naturalist Veronica Swain for sessions on invasive plant identification and non-chemical removal. Click here to register for today; click here for next Sunday.

This Tuesday, (April 13, 12 noon, Zoom) the topic is toilets.

In “Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet,” award-winning science journalist Chelsea Wald dives into the future of thrones with Peter Boyd, Sustainable Westport chair. They’ll profile scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and activists focusing on making toilets accessible and healthier for humans and the planet. No s*it!

Click here to register. Click here to buy copies of the signed “Pipe Dreams” book.

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Weston celebrates Earth Day too.

A “Trash to Treasure Hunt” is set for Lachat Town Farm (April 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Local artist Andy Reiss will show how to create sculptures from items that would otherwise be thrown away.

For the first time, visitors can walk the farm’s new mile-long nature trail, and enjoy Lachat’s animals, woods and pond.

Experts will offer advice about recycling and seed planting. They’ll also launch a new environmental initiative in Weston: a bottle bank at the transfer station to recycle glass.

Every family that attends will get a free native tree sapling to plant at home.

Other Weston Earth Day events include Green Up Day (April 24, Norfield Church with Weston Kiwanis), and an online information session about recycling trends (April 29, transfer station).

Throughout April, Weston Library offers recycled children’s crafts both online and as packs to pick up. There’s also a book display in the children’s room about the environment and gardening.

For more information and how to register for all the events, click here. http://facebook.com/sustainableweston.

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Speaking of nature: Gil Ghitelman spotted this visitor near the Westport Library yesterday. He (or she) was waddling out of the Saugatuck River, and appreciated the steps.

(Photo/Gus Ghitelman)

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Staples’ spring sports teams are back in action, after missing the entire 2020 due to COVID.

Two squads made impressive debuts. Carter Kelsey (6 innings, 12 strikeouts) and Matt Spada (1 inning, 3 strikeouts) combined for a 6-0 no-hit win over Darien. It was the Wreckers’ first game since winning the 2019 state “LL” championships.

Boys lacrosse delivered a 7-3 victory over New Canaan, traditionally one of the top teams in the FCIAC league.

And looking back at winter sports: The boys ice hockey team reached finished 8th in the state Division 3 hockey rankings. Four players earned Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Division 3 honors: seniors Owen Sherman and Victor Sarrazin (1st team), and senior Zachary Schwartz and sophomore Aaron Kail earned (2nd team). Schwartz also received the state’s Hobey Baker Character Award, for outstanding performance on and off the ice.

Clockwise, from upper left: Owen Sherman, Victor Sarrazin, Aaron Kail, Zachary Schwartz.

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MoCA Westport has announced a Summer Open Calls. The juried exhibition  is open to all emerging, mid-career and established visual artists over 18.

It will be on view from June 25 to August 21, 2021. Submission deadline is May 21.

All mediums will be considered. There are no size limitations. Artists must submit digital samples of 5 to 10 works of art, a resumé and brief artist statement. Click here for applications. For more information email liz@mocawestport.org or call 203-222-7070.

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And finally … happy 89th birthday to Joel Grey!

Roundup: Longshore Pool, Chickens, High Honors …

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Several “06880” readers have asked: Will the Longshore pool open this summer?

Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava says: “We anticipate opening. We are awaiting further guidance from the state. We are currently working on procedures based on requirements.”

Westporters eagerly anticipate seeing this again. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

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Speaking of Longshore: Jackie Perrotta spotted this hardy tree — growing through a rock — near the golf course:

“We gave it a tug to see if it’s real. It is quite sturdy,” she reports.

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It’s spring, which means you’ve been thinking about raising chickens.

Or maybe you already have a flock, but want to learn more about organic nutrition or chicken swings.

Cluck — I mean, click — on a link next Monday (April 12, 7 p.m.).

Bruce Benedict (Benedict’s Home and Garden) and Mackenzie Chauncey (Kent Nutrition Group) will tell you (virtually) everything you want to know about starting and raising your own backyard flock.

Bruce will walk you through the best coops, breeds and feeders to keep your birds happy and healthy. Mackenzie will guide you through feeding, from baby chicks to laying hens, and all their nutritional needs along the way. You’ll also see how see how WTF is raising their own chicks.

Click here to register. NOTE: Like raising chickens, this is a family affair — suitable for all ages.

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In June, 19 Staples High School students will graduate with High Honors. That’s the top 4% of the graduating class.

Principal Stafford Thomas says, “the most astonishing aspect of this accomplishment is that these students were involved in a number of extracurricular activities and various aspects of school life, which took a great deal of time, focus and concentration outside of the classroom as well. We were lucky to have had them for 4 years. We will no doubt be hearing about their next great achievements in the years to come.”

High Honors students are listed below, under the photos.

From left: Assistant principal Patrick Micinilio, Gary Lu, Principal Stafford Thomas,  Carolyn Everett, Emma Dantas, Claire Redmer, Claire Lee, Sophia Lauterbach, Hanna Even, Simon Rubin

From left to right: Samantha Webster, Nasir Wynruit, Andrea Bautista, Henry Portman, Charlotte Zhang, Rishabh Mandayam, Teagan Smith, Alexander Toglia, Elana Atlas, Konur Nordberg.

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MoCA Westport’s opening reception for its new “Smash” exhibit was — come on, this is too easy — a smash.

Contemporary artist Marilyn Minter’s videos are exhibited together for the first time in a public institution.

The show includes her custom-designed AMC Pacer, featuring an interior, surround viewing of her work “Green Pink Caviar” — shown for the first time ever.

Click here for more information.

Marilyn Minter’s AMC Pacer. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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Speaking of art: George Billis Gallery on Main Street announces a new show: “Cityscapes.” More than 15 artists exhibit a variety of works.

Opening reception is this Friday (April 9, 4 to 7 p.m.). It runs through May 9.

“Day in the Square” (Glenn Ness), at George Billis Gallery.

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And finally … on this day in 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo.” The rest is history.

Roundup: Easter, Daffodils, Dragon …

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Westport is getting ready for Easter weekend.

A Sunday sunrise service is set for 6 a.m. at Compo Beach, between the cannons and the pavilion. It’s co-hosted by 4 churches: Saugatuck, Greens Farms and Norfield Congregational, and United Methodist. All participants are asked to please wear masks!

Also on Sunday, Saugatuck Congregational will hold a “drive-in” worship in the parking lot, at 10 a.m. The service — featuring live music, drama and Easter reflection — will be broadcast to car radios. Sit in the comfort of your car, or bring a beach chair and “tailgate.” The service will also be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. Click here for details.

And tomorrow (Good Friday, 11:30 a.m., Branson Hall), Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will screen the choral piece “The Last 7 Words of the Unarmed.” It will be followed at noon by an intergenerational neighborhood walk. Following a liturgy of Stations of the Cross, it will focus on racial justice and reconciliation. Participants will make a small loop around downtown Westport, stopping at various locations to pray and reflect.

Easter sunrise service, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Alison Patton)

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It’s April — and that means National Distracted Driving Month.

The Westport Police Department is joining with the Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office in a month-long “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign.

So put down your phone — this month, and every month. The first offense will cost you $150. Then it’s $300 the second time. And $500 for the third and subsequent violations.

But if it gets to that point, you shouldn’t be driving at all.

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The daffodils all along Prospect Road are blooming beautifully.

And if you know someone who has been bullied — or helped prevent bullying — they’re yours for the taking.

Melissa Ceriale — the owner, with her husband John, of an 8-acre oasis midway down the street — invites anyone who knows people in the categories above to clip a bouquet, and give it to them.

NOTE: Please take them only from the roadway in front of #11, 13, 21 and 25 Prospect Road — and not from the gardens themselves!

Daffodils on Prospect Road. (Photo/Melissa Ceriale)

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In other nature news: Last night, a huge dead tree on the big hill at the south end of Winslow Park, not far from the North Compo parking lot, came crashing down — smack across the walking path.

Bob Cooper says: “I’ve had my eye on it for a couple years, but this was sooner than I expected. It appears the lower end was rotting inside.”

(Photo/Bob Cooper)

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The Westport Youth Commission is one of our town’s great, under-the-radar groups.

Thirty members — 15 students, 15 adults, all appointed by the 1st selectman — meet monthly. They talk about teen needs, plan projects and programs, and (this is huge) provide high schoolers with a great experience in leadership.

Of course, every year members graduate. So the YAC is looking for students now in grades 8-11 (and adult members) to serve for the 2021-’22 school year. Freshmen join a special committee, before joining the board officially as sophomoes.

The appointment process includes an application, and at least one letter of recommendation. The deadline is May 14. Click here for the application. For more information, call 203-341-1155 or email kgodburn@westportct.gov.

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The Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge is the scene for just about everything. Political protests, Memorial Day parades, fishing — you name it, it’s happened there.

Though this scene Tuesday evening was probably a first:

(Photo/Barbara McDonald)

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Aquarion has announced its 2021 mandatory sprinkler irrigation schedule.

They say: “The schedule helps conserve water supplies by reducing overwatering of lawns and gardens through a maximum 2 days per week schedule. The purpose is to ensure that local water supplies remain sufficient for critical needs such as human consumption and fire protection.

“Lawns and gardens can thrive on reduced watering. By encouraging roots to grow deeper into the soil, they’re able to absorb more moisture and nutrients, even during dry spells. Customers may continue using drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand-held watering at any time.”

The schedule begins today, and is based on the last digit of your street address.

If your address ends in an even number, or you have no numbered address, you can water only on Sundays and Wednesdays, from 12:01 a.m. to 10 a.m., or 6 p.m. to midnight.

If your address ends in an odd, number, you can water only on Saturdays and Tuesdays, same times as above.

For more information, click here. NOTE: Some residents may qualify for a variance. For example, if you’ve installed new plantings or sod in the spring, you arw allowed to water more frequently to help get plants established.

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MoCA Westport’s new exhibit, “Smash,” is dedicated exclusively to the videos of
Marilyn Minter.

It opens to the public tomorrow (Friday, April 2). Reservations are available through the website, On Free Fridays, reservations are not required, and admission is free. Click below for a sneak peek:

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The Westport Library’s Verso Studios are certainly versatile.

Starting April 12 (7 p.m.), it’s the focus of a Video Production hybrid course. The instructor is the Library’s own Emmy Award winner, David Bibbey.

The first 4 sessions are virtual. The final 2 are in-person. Participants will learn how to use professional video and audio recording equipment, lighting, and live switching/recording/streaming equipment. Participants can also serve as live crew for video shoots.

The cost is $150. To register, click here.

Part of the Westport Library’s Verso Studios.

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With all the talk about vehicular traffic on a renovated or rebuilt William F. Cribari Bridge, no one has thought about what would happen if a super tanker got caught nearby.

Evan Stein has it figured out:

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And finally … today is April 1.

 

Roundup: Operation Varsity Blues, Christopher Lloyd, Women’s Voices …

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Operation Varsity Blues” — the Netflix movie about the rich-and-famous college admissions scandal — has taken America by storm.

There’s a Westport angle. Thankfully, it has nothing to do with a parent pretending his or her child was a star water polo player, even if he or she cannot swim.

“Operation Varsity Blues” was written and edited by Jon Karmen. He’s the 2008 Staples High School graduate who made a huge name for himself there as half of “Rubydog” — a moviemaking duo who, working with media instructor Jim Honeycutt, made a number of way-beyond-high school videos back in the day. (Click here to see some of their pioneering work.)

Karmen is known too as the writer/director of “Fyre” (2019), a behind-the-scenes look at that infamous music festival.

“Varsity Blues” was #3 on Netflix’s Top 10 Most Watched Movies & TV Shows yesterday. But it wasn’t the only one with an “06880” connection. Jamie Mann’s “Country Comfort” checked in at #7. (Hat tip: Kerry Long)

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Speaking of Staples: More than 60 years after helping found Staples Players, Christopher Lloyd is still acting.

In 1958 he was a Staples High School student who wanted to do more than just act in a class play. He found a mentor in English teacher Craig Matheson. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lloyd went on to a career that includes “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Star Trek III,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and 2 “Addams Family” films.

At 82 years old, he’s got a new movie: “Senior Moment.” He stars with Jean Smart and William Shatner, who play a pair of older star-crossed lovers in an old-school romcom.

Lloyd talks about that project; his 5 wives — and growing up in Westport — in a wide-ranging Guardian interview. He was the youngest of 8 children, though the closest in age was 7 years older. Click here for the full interview. (Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)’

Christopher Lloyd in “Senior Moment.”

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Speaking again of Staples: Staples history classes absolutely crushed the National History Day regional competition.

Their papers, documentaries and exhibits examined everything from the Daughters of the Confederacy and Queer Communications in the Age of Oppression to Crypto-Analysis in World War I, Cigarette Advertising and the Freedom Riders.

How dominant was Staples? 32 students placed. There were only 5 other winners in the entire region, from just 2 other schools.

Placing first were Ishan Prasad, Sabrina Paris, Maya Hruskar, Lilly Weisz, Srushti Karve, William Jin, Michael Nealon, Zachary Brody, Jeffrey Pogue, Jack Ginsburg, Preston Norris, Tyler Clark and Matthew Gatto.

Finishing second were Nikos Ninios, Franca Strandell, Camille Vynerib, Julet Tracey, Lily Klau, Olivia Stubbs, Hannah Fiarman, Franky Lockenour, James Dobin-Smith, Coco Laska, Karlie Saed and Sarp Gurdogan.

Taking third were Sebastian Miller, Analise Vega, Emma Porzio, Arda Ernamli, Hannah Conn, Samantha Paris and Ethan Cukier.

Their (superb) teachers are Drew Coyne, Nell-Ann Lynch, Cathy Schager and Kelly Zrenda.

Up next: state and (hopefully) national competition.

A US championship? That would be historic.

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Speaking once again of the arts: On Tuesday (March 30, 7 p.m.), the Westport Country Playhouse presents a world premiere of “New Works/New Voices.” These 4 new pieces — all written by community members — honor women who inspired them: Constance Baker Motley, Anne Bogart, Mary Freeman, Mary McLeod Bethune and Gloria Steinem.

Local storytellers and actors will bring to life these very personal, beautiful stories recorded on the WCP stage.

Viewers are invited to pay what they can. 50% of ticket sales and donations during the broadcast go to the Playhouse’s community partner, Women’s Mentoring Network, providing career, educational and personal resources for the economic empowerment of low-income women and their families.

Click here to register for “New Works/New Voices.”

The artists and storytellers who will bring 5 women’s stories to life.

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Westporter Rob Simmelkjaer was confirmed yesterday, by a bipartisan State Senate vote, as chair of the Connecticut Lottery.

It’s a volunteer — but quite active — role he’s served in since May. Area senators Will Haskell and Bob Duff spoke warmly on the media executive’s behalf.

Rob Simmelkjaer

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Update from Parks & Rec: The concession stand at Compo Beach will open in mid-April. Last year, during COVID, it opened late, and ran only from a trailer adjacent to the brick building.

The concession stand at Compo Beach will be open next month.

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MoCA Westport has added 5 members to its board of directors. Two are from Westport.

Jennifer Kanfer has served on the board of The Conservative Synagogue, including co-chair of the Social Action, Membership and Fundraising Committees. and with the Coleytown Elementary School PTA. She previously worked in healthcare communications for 14 years. She holds a BA in political science from the University of Michigan, an MPA in healthcare policy and administration from NYU, and an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School.

Samantha Yanks is an award-winning editor with over 20 years experience in luxury fashion and lifestyle publishing. In 2018 she launched a social, digital and branding agency, Samantha Yanks Creative. She was most recently editor-in- chief of Gotham and Hamptons magazines. As senior accessories editor at O, she collaborated closely with Oprah Winfrey. Yanks has discussed fashion, beauty and lifestyle on “The Today Show” and “NBC Nightly News,” “New York Live,” “Good Day New York,” E!, the Martha Stewart and Howard Stern shows, and more. She graduated from Tulane University.

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‘Tis the season — for both holiday lights and daffodils.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … the great — and greatly underrated — Billy Stewart was born today, in 1937. He died in 1970, only 32 years old.

If you only have time to listen to one song, it’s “Summertime.” But everything he touched was a classic.

 

Roundup: Wakeman Town Farm, Rivals …

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Slowly, the Westport Library is moving back toward pre-pandemic operations.

Effective April 5, users will enjoy:

  • Expanded operating hours.  The building will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will continue to close on Sundays.
  • Limited seating at socially distanced tables in the Trefz Forum and on the Mezzanine.
  • Masks will still be required, and 6-foot social distancing remains in place.
  • Printing will be available for people working in the Library and remotely.
  • Children’s Library occupancy will continue to be limited.  Patrons are encouraged to make an appointment.
  • The Café will be opened for limited service between 10 a.m. and 1  p.m.
  • Appointments will still be required for the Maker Space and Verso Studios, but are no longer necessary for the Library Store.
  • The Library will resume collecting fines owed prior to the pandemic.

We won’t see scenes like this for a while. But the Forum is reopening for limited seating.

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Wakeman Town Farm’s new partnership with Homefront Farmers is already bearing fruit.

The Redding-based organic group building a special teaching garden onsite at the Cross Highway farm.

On April 6 (7 p.m.), Homefront Farmers’ experts will lead a Zoom session about vegetable garden design, how to extend your growing season with succession planning, organic pest management, and the joys of growing organic food. Click here to register.

There’s more! Starting April 3, Homefront Farmers will donate all proceeds from gift card sales purchased through @payitfwrd.co directly to WTF.

Meanwhile, this Monday, there’s a (non-Homefront Farmers-sponsored) Pollinator Pathway talk.

University of Connecticut advanced master gardener Alice Ely will teach Zoom participants how to plant for a continuous season of bloom, with abundant blossoms for pollinators (and people!) to enjoy. Click here to register.

Wakeman Town Farm’s garden. Yours can look like this too!

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After 9 light-hearted young readers’ books — the “Charlie Joe Jackson” and “Crimebiters” series — Tommy Greenwald turned serious.

“Game Changer” was a no-holds-barred look at youth football culture. There was not a laugh to be had. But it sure made people think.

Critics loved it. And the American Literacy Association named it one of 2019’s Top 10 books for reluctant readers.

Next up for the Westport writer (who, like his wife and 3 sons, is a Staples High School graduate): “Rivals.” A companion book to “Game Changer,” this one focuses on basketball.

The book explores the journeys of two 8th graders, Carter and Austin, as they navigate the pressures and pleasures of starring on their middle school teams, while an intrepid school sports reporter uncovers scandals that threaten to derail their season.

It’s told through a series of flashbacks, newspaper reports, social media posts and interviews — of course, in Tommy’s unique style. Click here to order, and for more information.

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Last summer, MoCA Westport was one of the few organizations to sponsor events.

Their outdoor concerts — with strict social distancing and other COVID precautions — were a huge (and welcome) success.

This year, MoCA plans a new series. The 13 performances — jazz, pop and classical — take place on Fridays, from April through October.

Three jazz concerts will again feature performers from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight series. They include the Alexa Tarantino Quartet, a highlight of MoCA Westport’s 2020 series.

Here’s the full 2021 Music at MoCA Concert Series schedule :

  • April 30: Matt Nakoa (Pop)
  • May 14: Isaiah J. Thompson: Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight (Jazz)
  • May 28: The Alexa Tarantino Quartet: Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight (Jazz)
  • June 11: Jocelyn and Chris (Pop)
  • June 25: Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, piano duo (Classical)
  • July 9: Oshima Brothers (Pop)
  • July 16: Horszowski Trio and Masumi Per Rostad; viola (Classical)
  • August 6: Catalyst String Quartet (Classical)
  • August 20: Samara Joy Ensemble: Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight (Jazz)
  • September 3: The Simon Mulligan Trio (Jazz)
  • September 10: Escher String Quartet (Classical)
  • October : Marielle Kraft (Pop)
  • October 15: The Figgs (Pop)

Tickets are now on sale to MoCA members. They’ll be available to the general public on March 22. To learn more or to purchase tickets, please visit mocawestport.org or call 203/222-7070.

Oshima Brothers

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And finally … Sally Grossman — the woman in red lounging in the background of the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1965 “Bringing It All Back Home” album — died last week in Woodstock, New York. She was 81.

Dylanologists have spent decades deciphering the artifacts in that photo. Among them — smack in the middle, and of special interest to “06880” readers — is “The Folk Blues of Eric von Schmidt.”

Von Schmidt is one of the most interesting Westporters I’ve ever known. The son of famed artist Harold von Schmidt, Eric was both a revered folk singer and a very accomplished artist.

His Evergreen Avenue studio was a magical place. He died in 2007. Tragically, cancer of the larynx had taken his voice. Click here for a fond remembrance.

Back to Dylan. On his first album in 1962, the singer introduced “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” this way:

“I first heard it from Rick von Schmidt. He lives in Cambridge. Rick’s a blues guitar player. I met him one day in the green pastures of Harvard University.”

In May 1964, Dylan visited von Schmidt at his then-home in Sarasota, Florida. Dylan recorded several songs there, including an early version of “Mr. Tambourine Man.” They were released in 2014 as part of Dylan’s “50th Anniversary Collection 1964.”

And in 1969, Dylan gave one more hat tip — literally — to Eric von Schmidt. Check out the cover of his “Nashville Skyline” album:

So what are we waiting for? Take it away, Bob!

 

 

Roundup: COVID Tests, Scott Bryce & Jodi Stevens, Animals …

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A hearty “06880” thank you to all who donated to this year’s “pledge drive.” Your support of our online community — and of me, personally — is greatly appreciated. (And yes, there’s still time — click here!)

To the reader who sent an anonymous note saying “calling us moochers won’t get us to contribute” — sorry. Sounds like you were just looking for a reason to not help out.

But hey — at least you paid for a stamp.

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In related COVID news, former Food & Drug Administration commissioner — and Westport neighbor — Scott Gottlieb told “Face the Nation” yesterday that 70% of Americans 75 and older, 60% of those 65-plus, and nearly 20% of all American adults will be vaccinated “probably by the end of this week.”

He also noted growing evidence that all vaccines prevent transmission of the coronavirus — not just symptoms.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

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St. Vincent’s on Long Lots Road has closed. But there’s a new COVID testing center nearby.

Sameday Testing has opened at 1260 Post Road East (near Fortuna’s, Greens Farms Spirit Shop and Vivid-Tek).

Founded just a few months ago, the startup of doctors, scientists and engineers has ramped up to test thousands of people every day, across the country. They offer employer-sponsored programs too.

Click here for an appointment. To learn more, email evan@sameday-testing.com
or call 203-520-7734.

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With a name like “Celebrity Parents,” I expected fluff.

But the current issue features an in-depth, insightful interview with Scott Bryce and Jodi Stevens.

The Westport stage and screen actors talk about how they met (several times); their relationship; raising an athletic son; Staples Players; Scott’s work with the New Paradigm Theater, and Jodi’s pivot to teaching in her home studio during COVID.

Click here for the very entertaining story. (Hat tip: Bobbie Herman)

Scott Bryce and Jodi Stevens (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Parents)

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MoCA Westport’s Winter Lights Festival lit up the town on Saturday.

Highlights included a walk-through light path (in collaboration with the Up | Next Teens organization; a maker space for families to create decorations together, and the high school student art exhibition “Hindsight is 2020.”

MoCA’s Winter Festival light path (Photo/Joel Triesman)

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Horses are back at Sherwood Island State Park. A group regularly trailers in their animals, for walks along the beach and through the beautiful paths. This shot was taken in the grove on the Sherwood Mill Pond side, near the fire gate to Compo Cove.

(Photo/Chris Swan)

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Another animal: This guy was happy to pose yesterday, for a Weston photo op:

(Photo/Steve Rothenberg)

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And yet more animals: Yesterday’s story about dog photographer Jim Boisvert reminded Matthew Mandell of a video he produced in 2013.

Part of the “What’s Up Westport” series, it’s title is “Dogs on the Beach.” Fifi, Fido, Fluffy: Here’s your 4 minutes of fame.

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And finally … Happy International Women’s Day!

Roundup: Beach Stickers, Rizzuto’s Igloos, Blue Light …

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This is usually the time of year when we sign up for beach stickers, handpasses and the like.

In this year of COVID, the Parks & Recreation Department says:

Spring and summer are just around the corner. Our team is hard at work getting things ready to open up our facilities and provide programs!

We plan to provide offerings that we were unfortunately unable to offer last year due to COVID-19. Please anticipate modifications while we follow best practices and state guidelines as we strive to create safe environments for all facility users and program participants.

Keep watching for more information later this month on programs, beach emblems and more! Stay safe!

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Despite the loss of signature fundraisers like the Yankee Doodle Fair, the Westport Woman’s Club held strong to its 114-year tradition of helping local organizations in need.

Last year, the WWC concentrated its donations on groups that offer COVID-related help. They include

  • Bridgeport Rescue Mission
  • Center for Family Justice
  • Circle of Care
  • CLASP Homes, Inc.
  • Department of Human Services
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Center
  • ElderHouse
  • Family & Children’s Agency, Inc.
  • Filling in the Blanks
  • Food Rescue Us
  • Homes with Hope
  • Malta House, Inc.
  • Person-to-Person
  • Rowan Center
  • Town of Westport: Department of Human Services Visiting Nurses & Hospice of Fairfield County Westport Volunteer EMS

Fingers are crossed for a Yankee Doodle Fair this year. But whether there is a full, scaled-down version — or none at all — the Westport Woman’s Club will find a way to make Fairfield County a better place for all.

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Spring is (almost) here. But to ensure that diners feel comfortable outdoors, Rizzuto’s is adding personal igloos.

Much warmer than the Inuit variety, they’ve got personal electric heat and lights.

They should be available this weekend. Let’s hope they’re the least snowy igloos we’ve ever seen.

Rizzuto’s igloos (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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Earthplace is the place for all things environmental. And March is the time for Earthplace to spring into new programming.

A few offerings:

  • Teen Volunteer Club
  • Talking $hit in Westport (recognizing scat! — Tuesday, March 16, 7 p.m.)
  • “Restoring Soil to Fight Climate Change” (Zoom seminar — Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m.)
  • Family Campfire (Saturday, March 20, 4 p.m.)
  • Environmental Book Club (“The Genius of Birds” — Wednesday, March 31, 7 p.m.)
  • Nature Trivia (Thursday, April 22, 5 p.m.)
  • Science in a Box program (for 2 participants)
  • Summer camp registration

Click here for details.

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The “blue light” mystery has been solved.

On Tuesday, “06880” ran a photo of a mysterious sight photographed by Nancy Vener, from Saugatuck Shores. Other readers sent similar photos:

(Photo/Nancy Vener)

Ever-vigilant Wendy Crowther found this statement from NASA’ Keith Koehler:

A 3-stage suborbital sounding rocket was launched in the afternoon on March 3, for the Department of Defense from NASA’s launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch was to study ionization in space just beyond the reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.

After flying to an altitude of several hundred miles and about 500 miles offshore, the rocket’s payload released a small quantity of vapor into the near-vacuum of space. There is no danger to public health or the Earth’s environment from the vapor release.

In other words: It’s just vapor. Or so they say …

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MoCA Westport’s spring Exhibition, “Smash,” premiers April 2. It’s devoted  exclusively to the videos of contemporary artist Marilyn Minter.

Both grandiose and intimate, in settings throughout the museum’s galleries, Minter’s videos will be exhibited together for the first time in a public institution. Seeped in lush imagery and moving between figuration and abstraction, his works encapsulate feminism, pleasure, voyeurism and notions of beauty, desire and chance.

Her custom-designed AMC Pacer –featuring an interior, surround viewing of her work “Green Pink Caviar,” will also be exhibited for the first time.

Click here for more information.

“Smash,” by Marilyn Minter

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It’s not too early to think about Easter — well, the catering part, anyway.

Mystic Market across from the train station is early out of the box. Their appetizers and platters (artichoke jalapeño dip in a bread bowl, charcutier board…), salads, soups (carrot giner, potato leek), brunch quiche, breads, sides, dinners (roasted pomegranate lamb, potato-encrusted Chilean sea bass, roast beef tenderloin, salmon filet, beef lasagna…) and desserts) must be ordered by April 1.

I’ll take one of everything, please …

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The March/April issue of Westport Magazine is out now. It’s a look at “fresh starts for spring, like salons, skincare, what’s happening, and the local real estate market,

Also featured: outdoor spaces, from batting cages and home farms to a 16-foot firepit, across from a swimming pool’s transparent outer wall.

Westport Magazine is available at Barnes & Noble, Balducci’s, Whole Foods and CVS.

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And finally … on this day in 1963, Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash in Tennessee. One of the first country music artists to cross over into pop, she was 30 years old.

 

Roundup: Restaurants, Art Portfolios, More

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A reader was excited by “06880” stories on the new restaurants that have opened recently in Westport, and others that are coming soon.

She says: “We look forward to trying them all as soon as we get our second COVID shot. Can you suggest to the new places that they offer incentives to those of us who have had both shots to come inside and celebrate — maybe a new kind of Early Bird Special?”

Done! And not just for new restaurants, either. As we emerge from the depths of the pandemic, perhaps some special promotions will encourage diners to go back inside.

At the same time, with the weather slowly getting better (though not today): Don’t forget about all the outside dining options too too.

In fact, on March 11 the Planning & Zoning Commission will consider continuing its temporary outdoor dining regulations.

Outdoor dining on and around Church Lane, last summer. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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MoCA’s high school art portfolio workshop — postponed earlier this month due to weather — has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 14 (noon to 3 p.m.).

The session provides information for students applying to college and other programs. It includes lectures, slide presentations, Q-and-A and individual portfolio reviews (up to 5 samples).

The cost is $75. Click here to register. For more information, email liz@mocawestport.org.

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Discovered yesterday by Nico Eisenberger in his garden: snowbells!

(Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

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On the other hand, there’s still tons — literally — of snow in the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Today’s rain will make only a small dent in this.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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And finally … Happy 40th birthday, Josh Groban!

Roundup: Gelato, Vaccine, Tyler Hicks, More

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What’s better than one gelato shop opening on Main Street?

Two.

Hot on the heels of news of Cold Fusion moving into the former Papaya Papyrus space next to Chase Bank in May, a sign in what was once Lucky Brand — across the street, and closer to the Post Road — announced the arrival “soon” of La Fenice.

Like its sister locations in Greenwich and Rye, it will serve gelato, crepes, pastries and coffee. Click below for a look at the Rye shop:

It’s not quite like the days when there was a frozen yogurt store on every Westport corner.

It’s better.

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First “06880” reported that St. Vincent’s was closing their Long Lots Road COVID testing facility on March 1.

Then we reported that it was remaining open.

This morning, a reader reports that his wife just phoned St. Vincent’s. She was told they are closing their Long Lots testing as of March 1.

St. Vincent’s Health Center testing will soon be in the rear mirror. (Photo/Adam Stolpen)

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It’s not just New York Times readers who appreciate Tyler Hicks’ work.

The 1988 Staples High School graduate just won 1st place in a new category — COVID-19 coverage — from Pictures of the Year International. It’s the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism program and competition in the world. This year’s awards were the 78th annual.

The honor — which follows many others, including multiple Pulitzers — is for Hicks’ photos of the pandemic’s devastation in the Amazon.

COVID in the Amazon (Photo/Tyler Hicks for New York Times)

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MoCA Westport and Up|Next Teens are partnering to present a Winter Lights Festival at MoCA. It’s set for this Saturday (February 27, noon to 6 p.m.).

The Festival features a maker and crafts space in a large outdoor tent, with supplies and step-by-step instructions for families to work together to create winter-themed decorations. The decorations will be incorporated into a walk-through Light Path, to be lit at sun down. The public can view the experience through the following weekend.

Also planned: live performances by high school musicians, food from The Melt truck, and hot cocoa.

The Festival includes free entry to MoCA ’s exhibition “Hindsight is 2020,” showcasing nearly 200 high school student artists from across the region.

Click here for tickets.

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The Fairfield County Directory — the “Yellow Pages” that is dumped in driveways and by mailboxes — will be distributed between February 25 and April 13.

The Selectmen’s Office says that residents with questions or concerns regarding the distribution of the directory should e-mail RealYPResolutions@thryv.com.

You may request directories or opt-out of future phone book deliveries by clicking here or here.

Let’s hope that works better than the national Do Not Call Registry.

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A group of swans is called a “flock” or a “wedge.”

Matt Murray spotted this flock/wedge — aka “a whole lot” — yesterday, at Sherwood Mill Pond.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … Today is the 41st anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice.” The US Olympic men’s hockey team came from behind to beat the overwhelmingly favored Soviet team 4-3, at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Al Michaels memorialized the moment on ABC: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!!!!”

That game was not, however, the final. Two days later the Americans clinched gold, with a win over Finland.

Westport connection: After a disappointing NHL career, goaltender Jim Craig worked for a marketing firm on Riverside Avenue.