Tag Archives: myTeamTriumph

Roundup: Robbery, High Tide, Triathlon …

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A rash of car break-ins and thefts is bad enough. Yesterday, a different crime was committed: an alleged robbery, just before noon on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

A man approached a couple quickly from behind, Westport Police say. The suspect walked in step with the male victim, allegedly brandishing a knife, threatening the female and demanding to be brought to the couple’s car.

The woman darted across the Post Road to escape. Her husband followed, and flagged down a patrol officer driving by. The suspect fled toward Jesup Green

A detailed description of the suspect was relayed to all officers. Patrol units flooded the area. During a search of the area, a member of the Westport Fire Department said he had seen a suspect fitting the description across from Playhouse Square.

Officers quickly James S. Cummings, 41, of Bridgeport. He was identified by the victims as the man who accosted them on the bridge. A knife was found in his possession.

Cummings was charged with attempt to commit robbery in the 1st degree, attempt at larceny in the 3rd degree, carrying a dangerous weapon, and threatening in the 2nd degree. He is being held on a $250,000 bond.

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Here’s the latest on one of Westport’s greatest, and so-glad-it’s-back-after-COVID, traditions: the Rotary Club’s Lobsterfest.

A crowd of 1,500 is expected this Saturday (September 18, 3 to 7 p.m.), for a townwide party.

Fewer than 80 tickets remain. You can get them at Hook’d by the Sound (Compo Beach concession stand), or by emailing leslie2of8@gmail.com. They’re $70 each, for either 2 lobsters or a 14-ounce steak.

Plus lots more, of course. Volunteers and Rotarians will cook and serve 2,500 lobsters, great steaks and a raw bar. They’ll serve beer and win (with a Tito’s scotch tasting). Plus there’s a great band, and plenty of kids’ activities (including magic shows, and an antique fire engine to climb on).

COVID protocols include 30% more tables, further apart, and fewer seats per tables. Masks are optional, but recommended when spacing is not possible.

There’s also a drive-through option, for guests who choose to party elsewhere.

As well as an exhibition tent, and a kickoff for Rotary’s Afghan relief resettlement project.

Volunteers are still needed! To help, click here or email lobsterfestvolunteers@gmail.com

As the sun set on Lobster Fest in 2016, no one wanted to leave.

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Burying Hill’s High Tide Club has been around a long time.

Not as long as the venerable beach perhaps. But its members have seen — and swum in — more than their share of incoming and outgoing tides.

Membership skews older. But recently an influx of younger swimmers has waded into the water. They’ve enjoyed the social gatherings too, while forming one of Westport’s most fun, under-the-radar groups.

Nico Eisenberger reports that at high tide yesterday — just after 4 p.m. — members brought food and drinks to celebrate another great season.

High Tide Club: It’s not just about swimming. (Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

The late summer weather was perfect. The camaraderie was strong. Nico says he and his wife “feel blessed to have this place, and these fun and funky folks, as part of our daily lives here.”

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Yesterday’s Westport Kiwanis Club Minuteman Triathlon was another success.

The family-friendly event at Compo Beach included a jetty-to-jetty swim, and short bike and running courses throughout the flat neighborhood streets. It was perfect for first-timers, and families that race together.

It was advertised as open to all abilities, and that was true.

MyTeamTriumph was out in force. The organization helps children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races.

Volunteer “angels” take “captains” out on the water in special inflatables. They assist with wheelchairs for the biking and running parts too.

There were plenty of smiles yesterday at the Minuteman Triathlon. And regardless of times, everyone was a winner.

MyTeamTriumph captains and angels. (Photo/Peter Swift)

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Munich has Oktoberfest. Westport has Westoberfest.

Now we’ve also got Oaktoberfest.

Okay, there’s no drinking, drinking games or lederhosen. But the October 4 event (7 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm) is still worth checking out.

Sponsored by Westport’s Tree Board, it’s a chance to learn about all the good things trees do in our yards — and how to return the favor, by caring for them.

Attendees receive free samplings, too.

Panelists include Mary Ellen Lemay (Aspetuck Land Trust), Danica Doroski (Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection), Doug Williams (Bartlett Tree Experts), and Tree Board members.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

White oak tree at Kings Highway Elementary School.

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Jesup Green is the site of this Saturday’s free, outdoor Japanese Fall Festival (September 18, 2-4 p.m.). The event — sponsored by the Japan Society of Fairfield County — features taiko drummers, an Okinawan dance performance, a live play of the Japanese folktale “Tanabata” (“Star-crossed Lovers”), traditional Bon dancing, Japanese calligraphy and a craft activity to make dance hats.

Click here for details.

A scene from the 2019 Japan Fall Festival.

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“06880” has posted many stories and photos of “Gloria,” the oyster boat owned for years by the late Alan Sterling.

It was beached this summer in Gray’s Creek, between Compo Beach and Longshore.

Bruce McFadden has watched and — photographed — the craft for years. He wonders if this is its final resting place.

“Gloria” (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

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Linda Doyle was harvesting rhubarb for jam, when she spotted this guy in her garden. What a great way to start off the “Westport … Naturally” week!

(Photo/Linda Doyle)

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And finally … in honor of yesterday’s gathering at Burying Hill Beach (see story above):

Roundup: Joey’s, Captain America, COVID …

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A year after Elvira’s reopened as Joey’s By the Shore — Featuring Elvira Mae’s Coffee Bar,” there’s more news from Old Mill/Compo’s favorite food spot.

The building is for sale. But Joey Romeo and Betsy Kravitz are not going anywhere. They’re keeping the business just as is — with great eats, an ordering window and a beachy vibe, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A long-term lease protects the business.

That’s the good great news. Now if only we had some good news about that long-halted home construction project on the site of the former Positano restaurant, a few yards diagonally across the street …

Betsy Kravitz and Joey Romeo, ready for another season.

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Both myTeam Triumph-CT and Remarkable Theater support the special needs community.

It’s no wonder they’re partnering for mTT’s “Spring Into Action” season-opening event. On Saturday, May 1 (gates open at 6:30 p.m.; movie at 7:30), myTeam Triumph sponsors a showing of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”  — the Marvel adventure film — at the downtown drive-in.

It’s not just that the Remarkable Theater employs people with disabilities for screenings at the Imperial Avenue lot. Or that myTeam Triump pairs children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities with volunteers, who join them in triathlons and road races.

The volunteers are called “angels.” The special needs participants are called … “captains.” So the May 1 film is very fitting.

All proceeds from the event will be shared by Remarkable Theater and myTeam Triumph-CT.

For more information and to buy tickets, click here. To learn more and volunteer with mTT (you don’t have to be an athlete!), click here. To donate, click here.

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Starting tomorrow, there’s another COVID testing center in town.

Progressive Diagnostics opens at 8 a.m. in Saugatuck railroad station parking lot #8. That’s the one off Saugatuck Avenue, between I-95 and the Exit 17 entrance/ exit ramp. They promise same-day PCR and antibody test results.

Weekday hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Speaking of COVID: Who better to answer questions about the virus than Dr. Scott Gottlieb — former FDA commissioner (and Westport resident)?

And who better to ask those questions than Dave Briggs — longtime journalist (and fellow Westporter)?

The event is on InstagramLive today (Thursday, April 22, 6 p.m., @WestportMagazine). You can ask questions now: DM@DaveBriggsTV.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

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Looking for a special Mother’s Day gift? Head to the farm!

Wakeman Town Farm offers spring arrangements, through Hedge Floral. Options include a garden bouquet in twig-wrapped vessel ($95) and posies in upcycled tin cans ($30).

Hedge designs each arrangement with the best of what’s available in early May.  That probably means Queen Anne’s lace, mustard, lilac, pieris, euonymus, viburnum, azalea, honeysuckle and spirea.

Click here to order. Deadline is noon on May 5. Pick-up is Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m. to noon at WTF.

A garden bouquet option.

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Speaking of nature: Jolantha celebrated Earth Day today with a few friends, on Weston’s Kellogg Hill:

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We’ve spent the past 13 months urging Westporters to wear masks.

Looks like we need to talk about helmets too.

An “06880” reader sent this photo, from earlier this week at the Compo Beach skatepark. Several other helmet-less youngsters were nearby, he reports.

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And finally … Jim Steinman died Monday in Danbury. He was 73, and had been in poor health.

His New York Times obituary explains that Steinman “wrote all the songs on Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf’s operatic, teenage-angst-filled 1977 debut album, which remains one of the most successful records of all time.”

Meat Loaf was one of Westport’s many famous musician residents. When he wasn’t recording operatic, teenage-angst-filled songs, he played softball at Compo Beach and Greens Farms Elementary School, and coached it too.

Just another normal neighbor. (Hat tip: Adam Stolpen)

Roundup: Primary Day Workers, Farmers’ Market For Kids, Navigating College During COVID, More


There’s an election coming up — and it’s not in November. The Democratic and Republican Parties hold primaries next Tuesday (August 11). Workers are being hired to man (and woman) the polls.

No party affiliation is needed. Most positions do not require prior experience. PPE is required (and supplied). For details, email mcowden@westportct.gov.


Oops! I had a couple of errors in yesterday’s story about the Westport Farmers’ Market kids’ crafts program. A corrected version appears here:

The pandemic has prevented live gatherings for the “Get Growing” kids’ program at Westport Farmers’ Market.

No problem! WFM has launched “Get Growing to Go!,” a craft kit of activities youngsters can do at home. The brainchild of Mae Farrell, it includes a free package parents and caregivers pick up at the Farmers’ Market Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Each week Mae announces the craft for the following week on Instagram and Facebook, and children and parents through the week’s activity — on their own schedule.

“’Get Growing’ is dear to my heart,” says WFM executive director Lori Cochran-Dougal.

“Mae has taken it to a whole new level, both in person and now virtually with the craft kits. Families are a big part of our market. We won’t let the pandemic prevent us from helping the next generation appreciate nature, farmers, and importance of a local food community.”

Parents can pre-order craft kits for pickup at the Farmers’ Market by emailing Mae any time between Sunday and Tuesday each week: getgrowing@westportfarmersmarket.com. The first pickup is Thursday, August 13, and each Thursday thereafter from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. WARNING: Only 30 craft kits are available each week.

For an introduction and sample, click here (Facebook) or here (Instagram).

Causeway Collaborative is a Westport-based organization that counsels and mentors young men between the ages of 17 and 30 who are struggling to navigate transitional stages in life.

That includes coping with COVID-19.

On Thursday, August 13 (7 p.m.), Causeway hosts a virtual (and free) event for parents of young adults, whose children are preparing to return to college during COVID-19. It’s a new struggle —  but one many Westporters can relate to. Click here to register.


MyTeamTriumph — the great local organization that pairs people with special needs with volunteers who help them take part in triathlons and road races — suffered a devastating loss Friday.

Connie Crowell and her 22-year-old son Jack died when their SUV plunged into the Housatonic River in Seymour. Both lived in Monroe, but had been very active with the Westport chapter.

The local group posted this video, and passes on word of a GoFundMe collection to cover funeral and memorial costs, and an education fund for Jack’s brother.


And finally … on this day in 1901, Louis Armstrong was born. For 69 years, he shared this wonderful world with us.

Catch A Lift Veterans Honor Westport

Nearly 250 years ago Westport patriots battled British soldiers, on their way to and from burning an arsenal in Danbury.

On Friday, more than a dozen military veterans — wounded in wars since 9/11 — came to Westport. They were honored at a Birchwood Country Club fundraiser for Catch a Lift, the foundation that helps them rebuild their lives through physical fitness.

Yesterday they returned the favor. Many of the vets headed to Compo Beach. They served as “angels” — helping children, teens and adults with disabilities in a fun run/walk, through another great organization called myTeamTriumph.

It was a win-win-win weekend: for the veterans, the myTeamTriumph runners and walkers, and the rest of Westport. We are inspired by them all.

When yesterday’s event was over, the Catch a Lift gathered for a “team” photo.

At the cannons, of course.

Catch A Lift, MyTeamTriumph Join Forces Tomorrow. Everyone Wins!

For 5 years, Westport has hosted Catch a Lift fundraisers.

Yet the attendees — wounded post-9/11 service members, who heal physically and mentally thanks to the gym memberships and home fitness equipment the organization provides — give at least as much to Westport, in terms of inspiration and motivation, as they get.

Now they’re going to give even more.

Tonight (Friday, November 8, 7 p.m., Birchwood Country Club) is the CAL gala. There’s great food, beverages, a DJ, video, and more than a dozen Catch a Lift guests of honor.

Catch a Lift veterans, at a Birchwood Country Club event.

Tomorrow (Saturday, November 9, 8:30 a.m.), those same men and women head to Compo Beach.

The combat veterans — all suffering from serious PTSD, some who are double amputees — along with their friends and family members, will push disabled athletes in myTeamTriumph. The event is a fun run, of about 2 miles.

MTT is a program for children, teens and adults with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

Over the years, Catch a Lift and myTeamTriumph have formed a special bond.

Adam Vengrow — a Westporter, and vice president of the CAL board of directors — has worked closely with mTT board member Andy Berman. Combining their efforts, Vengrow says, demonstrates the power of volunteerism and collaboration.

Andy Berman (left) and Austin enjoy a myTeamTriumph event.

Curt Lueker — another Westporter, who is founder and president of myTeamTriumph — calls the partnership “a unique match.”

Tomorrow’s event is open to anyone who wants to or walk. Click here to sign up.

We welcome our Catch a Lift guests to Westport. And we are awed by what they give us when they’re here.

PS: Last weekend, Berman finished the New York City marathon. For him, this run will be a walk in the park.

Great Team Triumph At Triathlon

Last year, only 1 myTeamTriumph captain participated in the Westport Kiwanis Club Triathlon at Compo Beach.

MTT is a program for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

What a difference a year makes.

Last weekend, there were 10 captains. Five got out of their wheelchairs and — with assistance from their angels — walked across the finish line. One — a frequent participant in MTT events — crossed on her own feet for the first time.

Another captain completed the entire 5K run by herself. An angel ran beside her.

Over 40 angels and volunteers took part. Nearly half were Westporters.

Here are some scenes from that great day.

Setting up at sunrise.

Captain Wolf finishes the swim.

Another leg of the triathlon.

Many captains are non-verbal. The friendship between Captain Austin and Andy is beyond words.

Captain Alexei switches events.

A determined Captain Sami completes her first walk across the finish line.

Captain Wolf enjoys her trophy.

Captain Bella and her angel are all smiles.

Captain Charlotte and her equally proud dad.

Captain Jack and angel Adam share a special moment.

(For more information on myTeamTriumph — including how to get involved — click here. Hat tips: Karen Strauss-Ziebell, Curtis Lueker and Andy Berman.)

Sami Triumphs With Her Team

Sami is 22 years old. Nonverbal and developmentally delayed, she lives with her family in Westport.

Her mom, Lori Leskin, heard about myTeamTriumph. That’s the program for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

Last May, “06880” featured MTT in a story on STAR’s 5K Walk, Run & Stroll at Sherwood Island.

Lori wasn’t sure if Sami would like being in a race. But she gave it a try.

From the first moment, Sami loved it. She now gets very excited when she arrives at an event, and sees MTT’s red tents and racing chairs.

Sami Leskin, racing with myTeamTriumph in the Westport Triathlon …

“She loves hearing her name yelled out when she’s on the course, and then coming across the finish line,” notes Curtis Lueker, a Westporter and myTeamTriumph’s Connecticut chapter founder.

“She loves feeling included in the community. That’s what MTT is all about.”

Recently, Sami competed in the Westport Tri — her first triathlon. MyTeamTriumph pulled her in an inflatable boat, then pulled and pushed her through the bike/run.

… and finishing the water portion.

“It was an amazing day,” Curtis says. The highlight came when the team pushed her chair through the Compo Beach sand, crossing the finish line together.

Sami has become a celebrity around town. People know — and admire — her accomplishments, thanks in part to Facebook.

It’s a win-win-win: for Sami, her MTT team, and everyone cheering any race.

(To learn more about myTeamTriumph — including how to volunteer — click here.)