Tag Archives: New England Hemp Farm

Roundup: Long Lots Preserve, Hemp, Traffic …

The Long Lots Preserve is one step closer to reality.

But the ecologically important, sustainably sound and very natural project around the perimeter of the Westport Community Garden needs our help.

Under the direction of Lou Weinberg — and with the help of many volunteers and businesses — neglected public open space, overrun with invasive plants and pests, is being turned into a native New England environmental oasis.

The project includes the removal of non-native plants. Then comes dense planting with native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. They attract and sustain hundreds of year-round and migrating organisms. including the endangered monarch butterfly and native mason bees.

If the Long Lots Preserve gets $7,500 from at least 70 people, Sustainable Connecticut will match it with $7,500 more.

All money raised will purchase plants at wholesale cost. All deductions are tax-deductible.

Click here to donate online, and for more information. Checks can be mailed to Long Lots Preserve, 1630 Post Road East, Unit 129, Westport, CT 06880.

PS: Partners include Connecticut Audubon, Aspetuck Land Trust, Earthplace, Bartlett Tree Experts, AJ Penna & Son, Robbie Guimond, SIR Development, Southwest Conservation District, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Service Forestry Program,  Community Gardens members, many private citizens and 2 Staples High School interns.

The Long Lots preserve weed suppression team (from left0: Lou Weinberg, Darryle Kowalsky, Frank Rosen, Julie O’Grady, Andrew Coleman.

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New England Hemp Farm has transitioned from its Brooks Corner store, to an online and wholesale business.

But you can still buy its full line of products — for yourself and your pet. They’ve partnered with Earth Animal, on Post Road East.

CEO Matt Bannon says, “Since humans and their pets both have an endocannabinoid system and suffer from similar conditions such as inflammation, anxiety, autoimmune and sleep cycle issues, this is a unique opportunity to keep a local presence.”

It’s a great fit for several reasons. “Earth Animal is committed to a health and wellness philosophy for pets and humans. They’re friendly and welcoming people who allow us to provide all of our products to clients who prefer to shop in-person. And this allows us to support another business right here in town.

 

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When classes resume Tuesday, the Westport Police Department will increase traffic enforcement in school zones. Officers will look for drivers on cell phones, speeding and disregarding bus signals.

The department says: “We urge commuters to allow extra time, as they will be sharing the roads with school buses making frequent stops, as well as children who will be walking and/or biking to school. Obey the school bus laws, which include slowing down and preparing to stop for yellow flashing school bus lights and stopping for red flashing school bus lights.”

They urge parents to discuss safety with their children — and with young or inexperienced drivers at home.

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Speaking of safety:

I got 2 emails within half an hour yesterday. As Westporters return from summer trips, and we head into even busier traffic times, both are worth noting.

Shelly Sherman writes: “Please emphasize the need for cars to slow down. and stop at crosswalks on Compo Road South. More than once I’ve had to sprint across with my dogs to avoid being run over by cars speeding to ???

“This area of Westport has so many runners, walkers and bikers, it’s amazing more people haven’t been hurt. Pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way — but I’d not want to test that theory every morning.”

Carol Sampson describes another danger, in a different part of town:

“Despite the sign saying ‘State Law Yield to Pedestrians’ at Post Road and Bay Street, it is clear from my experience today that few people actually stop. (One did, but the others whizzed by.) What is wrong with drivers in this town?”

Hmmm…let me think…

Entitled? Distracted? Selfish? What have I missed?

It’s a beautiful day. Just don’t try to cross the Post Road here. (Photo/Carol Sampson)

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Staples High School Class of 2012 graduate Sam Reiner met Mallory Silliere 2 years ago this month, on a dating app.

On their second date, he took her kayaking on the Saugatuck River. They pulled up to the Black Duck for lunch. It’s remained one of their favorite dates.

Last Saturday, Sam proposed to Mallory — on the dock behind the Duck.

A small group of family and friends helped celebrate.

Wedding plans are TBD. It may not be at everyone’s favorite dive bar. But there are still bachelor and bachelorette parties to plan …

A Black Duck proposal.

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Last month, “06880” reported on the Wings4Peace national art-and-gun safety awareness project.

Yesterday, artist Darcy Hicks provided an update. She says:

“Today marks 3 months since the Uvalde massacre. This morning, part 2 of the Wings4Peace message reminds communities everywhere to remember those children – and all children who are affected by gun violence.

“Last night, people across the country put out the second set of wings, which say ‘in America,’ making the message so far, ‘Peace in America…’

“Each month on the 24th the sentence grows, with the mission to inspire people to take action against gun violence. Art has always inspired societal change.”

For more information, click here.

Darcy Hicks’ “Wings4Peace” artwork, at the Westport Museum for History & Culture.

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Speaking of back-to-school (see above): Are you ready for winter and spring break?

Builders Beyond Borders is already planning service trips to Ecuador. To learn more, students and families are invited to a pair of open houses: this Sunday (August 28, 3:30 to 5 p.m.) and September 14 (6 to 7:30 p.m.) at the B3 office (66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk). RSVP here.

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The other day, Tricia Freeman headed down the internet rabbit hole. She ended up at a 1950 New Yorker story about Ernest Hemingway.

In the piece by Lillian Ross, the author has just arrived in New York, heading to Europe. There are 2 Westport references, starting with:

“Where I like it is out West in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and I like Cuba and Paris and around Venice,” (Hemingway) said. “Westport gives me the horrors.”

Is that Westport, Connecticut? With so many of them in the world — and so many non-East Coast places mentioned in the quote — who knows?

But the second one narrows it down:

“Hunting is sort of a good life,” Hemingway said. “Better than Westport or Bronxville, I think.”

That’s it.

Besides his long friendship with the late author A.E. Hotchner, did Papa Hemingway have any connection at all with our town?

If you know — or think you do, click “Comments” below. And if you want to read the entire (long) New Yorker piece, click here.

A.E. Hotchner and Ernest Hemingway.

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cARTie — Connecticut’s first (and only) non-profit mobile art museum bus — bridges inequities in education and arts access across the state.

Each year, they exhibit a juried art show of diverse high school student art. It’s interactive, designed to inspire young students and families.

Several current and former Staples students have exhibited with cARTie.

This year’s event is Sunday, September 18 (3-5 p.m., Westport Museum of History & Culture). The afternoon includes “paint and sip,” live music, a silent auction and raffle, awards and food. Click here for more on cARTie.

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Yesterday’s “06880” noted the ongoing drought, and asked for photos.

Stacy Prince sent this, of the Aspetuck River at the Coleytown Road and North Avenue corner.

(Photo/Stacy Prince)

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Jonathan Prager describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“A nifty bumblebee blissfully nestled into the blossom of a sedum spectabile sponging up its nectar. I hope you enjoy this as much as s/he enjoys it!”

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … as back-to-school traffic picks up, and traffic continues crazily in other parts of town (see above):

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Roundup: Cell Tower, CBD, CT Challenge …

Yesterday’s Roundup gave an incorrect date for the Connecticut Siting Council’s public hearing on the cell tower application for 92 Greens Farms Road.

The correct date is next Tuesday, August 9.

The Zoom meeting begins at 2 p.m. with an evidentiary session. Public comment follows at 6:30 p.m. Click here for the link.

To participate in the 6:30 p.m. public comment session, email siting.council@ct.gov with your name, email address and mailing address, by August 8. Public comments may also be submitted to the Council by email (see address above).

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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New England Hemp Farm — the CBD and hemp shop in Brooks Corner — will close on August 31.

But its many customers will still be able to buy rubs, drops, gummies and more, online.

Business is great, says owner Matt Bannon. His landlord has been good. But rents are rising, and as online sales rise, that’s where customers can find them.

“We give great thanks to this community,” Matt says. “When we first came to Main Street, knowledge of the benefits of CBS were a big unknown. The open-mindedness of this town was refreshing.

“We’ll miss the people most. We made thousands of friends, who support us in person. We look forward to continuing to serve and support them online.”

New England Hemp Farm is the approved vendor for Northeast Pharmacy Service. They represent almost 300 independent pharmacies.

Meanwhile, Matt continues to look for a local store that will carry their products. Interested owners can email matt@newenglandhempfarm.com for information.

New England Hemp Farm started as a pop-up store, in Brooks Corner.

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Last weekend’s Roundup noted that Wafu – the Asian fusion restaurant in Southport — is closed. But based on a phone call I made to the Westport location, in Bedford Square, which called itself “Korean BBQ,” I added that it was still open.

Yesterday, “06880” reader Clark Thiemann was dining at Amis. He noticed this sign:

(Photo/Clark Thiemann)

To which we can only say: Wafu, WTF?

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Last night’s screening of “The Sandlot” at the Remarkable Theater drive-in was perfect family fun.

The Imperial Avenue parking lot was filled with families like this one.

Baseball, movies, a gorgeous night — what’s not to like?

Tomorrow’s feature: “Mamma Mia!” (Wednesday, August 3, 8:15 p.m.; gates open at 7:15). Click here for tickets.

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An “06880” reader warns recently learned of 5 unauthorized withdrawals from his wife’s debit card. The amount stolen was $520.

All took place at the ATM at 1460 Post Road East — while his wife was in possession of the card. She has never given her PIN to anyone.

Keep an eye on your statements. And on that ATM.

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United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has given funds to 17 organizations. The goal is to increase equity and opportunity in 3 areas: health, education and financial stability. Amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000.

Among them: Westport-based Positive Directions. Click here for a full list.

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The CT Challenge — a bike ride of varying lengths, in part through Westport, to raise funds for programs for cancer patients and survivors — always draws thousands of participants and spectators.

Every one has a story.

Last weekend, Dave Lowrie heard this:

“On a random bike ride, I came upon two men about to finish their second “Century Ride” (100 miles). When I sat with them after they finished, I learned that Alec Fraser, age 62, and Danny Faryniarz, 58, rode for Team Julian. It is named for Alec’s son, who succumbed to cancer at age 19.

“Julian was a student and water polo athlete at Santa Clara University. So last year Alec cycled across the country, from Connecticut to California in his honor.

“When he arrived in San Francisco, Alec was joined by 50 of Julian’s water polo teammates. They rode together the final 3 hours to Santa Clara, where the water polo pool was re-named for Julian.

“The foundation in his name (https://teamjf.org/ includes events throughout the year.

“On top of that, after Danny’s first 100-mile Challenge ride, he discovered he had type 1 diabetes. In spite of that he finished that and Saturday’s races. These guys are inspiration personified!”

Danny Faryniarz (left) and Alec Fraser. (Photo/Dave Lowrie)

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Carl McNair is an avid environmentalist. He — and his family — walk the talk, in all that they do.

But even Carl was impressed by a guy he saw the other day, at Compo Beach.

“He rides his e bike — and tows his human powered surf ski,” Carl marvels.

He gets a good workout, too.

(Photo/Carl lMcNair)

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Rikki Gordon and Allen Peck’s beautiful Aussie Chloe is a perfect model for an early August “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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And finally … this is International Clown Week.

So unless you suffer from coulrophobia — smile!

(Here’s a serious subject: “06880” relies entirely on reader support. If you’d like to help, please click here.

Roundup: Home Buyers, Save The Sound, Merritt Parkway …

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Is it true that every new Westport home buyer comes from Manhattan or Brooklyn?

No. It only seems that way.

According to Coldwell Banker realtor Judy Michaelis, 38% of Westport buyers in the 6 months between January 1 and June 30, 2021 came from … Westport.

Whether trading up, downsizing or moving closer to the beach or woods, nearly 4 in 10 new homeowners are actually still our neighbors.

The next biggest chunk — 17% — came from (yes) New York City.

That was followed by “other states” (15%), Stamford (10%), Norwalk and other Connecticut towns (8% each), New York state (3%) and Wilton (1%).

Wherever you’re from: Welcome to our town, 06880. And also to our “06880” blog.

Many New York City apartment dwellers come to Westport seeking more space.

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Save the Sound’s annual Connecticut Cleanup begins at the end of August, and runs through October.

It’s the largest volunteer effort of its kind in Connecticut. Last year, 1,495 volunteers took 7,498 pounds of trash out of 133 miles of coasts and streams.

This year, Save the Sound is adding a crowdsourcing effort to discover new cleanup sites. Westport is one of 15 communities already on the list for an event.

Click here to register, and for more information.

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Brian Keane is headed to the New England Music Hall of Fame.

The Emmy Award-winning film documentary composer — also a professional guitarist, film producer and Staples High School Class of 1971 graduate — joins a glittering case of 2021 inductees. They include the late Muddy Waters and his son, Mud Morganfield; blues greats James Cotton, James Montgomery and Duke Robillard, and John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band.

Connecticut Magazine features Keane this month. Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Brian Keane

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For the past couple of years, the state Department of Transportation has been removing trees, bushes and buffering hills from the northbound side of Merritt Parkway Exit 41, near the Westport Weston Family Y.

Now they’re putting stuff back. It won’t look the same as it did before.

But it won’t look the way it did recently, either.

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)

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Speaking of nature: The Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers arrangements are always gorgeous. This week they had competition, though — they had to look good in a place that’s already beautiful.

They do.

Check out the photo below, from one of Westport’s hidden jewels: the Wadsworth Arboretum. The arrangement comes courtesy of Dottie Fincher and Susan Nettesheim.

(Photo/Susan Nettesheim)

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Local to Market — the new artisan food-and-crafts store in the old Remarkable Book Shop — hosts a farm stand on their patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today (Saturday, July 31).

They feature Silverman’s Farm and Shaggy Coos farm. There’s fresh veggies including corn and peaches, fresh milk, and 2 local artists: pottery by Anna Aron and woodturnings by Dick Stein. A portion of all sales goes to charity.

In addition, Local to Market is looking for a store manager and sales associate. It’s a great chance to be part of the resurgence of Main Street — and help all kinds of local folks get to market (duh).

Email info@localtomarket.com for details.

The Local to Market patio opened recently, across from Cold Fusion.

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Also downtown this afternoon: Jack Eigen will be selling his ice cream (featured recently on “06880”) in front of New England Hemp Farm, in Brooks Corner.

There’s a connection: Colin Bannon, the hemp store owner, is Jack’s Staples High School lacrosse coach.

Just one more way in which Westport coaches go the extra mile for their players.

Jack Eigen, making ice cream.

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After Thursday’s rain, a couple of deer appeared at Lori Lustig’s house. This one didn’t know whether to be scared of — or play with — their dog “Ollie.”

And vice versa.

Just one more example of “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lori Lustig)

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And finally … sure, Brian Keane earned fame (and Emmys) scoring music for documentary films.

But he’s also an accomplished jazz guitarist. He’s played with greats like Larry Coryell. Click below, to a enjoy a classic tune.

Roundup: Texting; Triking; More


Each week, the Westport Police Department writes tickets for driving while using cell phones.

It’s against the law. Distracted driving can cost you from $150 to $1,000.

To help you avoid those fines, the WPD has partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraiton’s “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” effort. Throughout August, the campaign will help enforcement efforts to catch distracted, texting drivers.

The WPD says: Pull off the road safely to text. Or let your passenger text. And don’t forget to activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature. Or just put your phone in your trunk, glove box or back seat!


The pandemic can’t keep David Bibbey down. Or in the studio.

The Westport Library media studio producer brought his Van Raam trike to down, and rode around. Guided by Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, he set out to discover how the town is reopening.

Click here for interviews with 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker, Westport Downtown Merchants Association head Randy Herbertson, artists Miggs and Trace Burroughs, and folks at Savannah Bee Company, Fleet Feet, Walrus Alley and New England Hemp Farm.

David Bibbey


And finally … Hurricane Hanna hit the southern Gulf Coast this weekend. The area was already reeling from the coronavirus. Here’s to all our friends in that big, wonderful state.

 

New England Hemp Farm Brings CBD Here

High-level lacrosse took a toll on Colin Bannon’s body.

The 2013 Staples High School graduate went on to star at Endicott College: 4-year varsity starter, 3-time All-American. But after majoring in business management, and earning a graduate degree in marketing and sales, his body was banged up.

His back, shoulders, hips — you name it, it hurt.

Bannon worked a couple of jobs — for a lacrosse company, and home remodeling — before being named assistant varsity coach at Staples last year.

About the same time, he discovered CBD.

Colin Bannon

Known technically as cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Used in products like oils, edibles and tinctures, it helps users feel relaxed and calm.

CBD is often confused with THC — the psychoactive compound in cannabis. They are very different.

THC gets users high. CBD does not.

Confusion also arises because the cannabis sativa plant has 2 primary species: hemp and marijuana. Hemp has a much higher percentage of CBD, and much lower levels of THC.

The Food and Drug Administration currently approves only one CBD medication: Epidiolex, for certain types of epilepsy. But the compound is used frequently for many other health conditions.

The legality of CBD varies from state to state. Last year, President Trump signed a farm bill that removed hemp as a Schedule I substance. It is now called an “agricultural commodity.”

The bill also removed restrictions on the sale, transportation and possession of CBD derived from hemp (with certain regulatory restrictions).

Hemp plant

Three months after Bannon began using CBD, he felt remarkably better. His back and shoulders no longer ached. His hips were better aligned. He joined a growing number of Americans touting the compound’s benefits.

Not long after, he was chatting with Brian Edmonds. Chair of New York Athletic Club’s lacrosse program, he’d recently retired from Cantor Fitzgerald after more than 30 years in finance.

Edmonds had found that CBD relieved his chronic joint pain. However, with so many competing products and brands on the market, he worried about competing claims regarding quality, purity and appropriate dosages.

Edmonds partnered with Keith Bunovsky, a lifelong Connecticut farmer, and moved from Fairfield to Mystic to start a new business: New England Hemp Farm.

Their goal is to bring high quality, guaranteed CBD products to the chaotic marketplace. They pay fair market prices to their farmers in Monroe and Canterbury. They also donate a percentage of profits to help preserve New England farms, and benefit inner-city programs.

Two of New England Hemp Farm’s many products.

They’re renovating an old firehouse on the Poquonnock River. Called “The Barn,” it will serve as their flagship retail location — and offer food and live music.

But New England Hemp Farm also has a presence at the other end of the state — right here in Westport. On November 1, they open a pop-up holiday shop on Main Street’s Brooks Corner. They’ll sell CBD topicals, tinctures, edibles, liquid capsules — even pet treats.

They had a booth at the recent Westoberfest. It was packed.

And though the store is not yet open, people have stopped by, seeking information.

Colin Bannon will not be lax describing everything CBD has done for him.

New England Hemp Farm’s pop-up store, in Brooks Corner.