Tag Archives: North Avenue

Roundup: Coleytown Walkers, Appalachian Mountain Club, “Laramie Project” …

Ryan Faber writes:

“I’m one of the parents who continues to walk their kids to school (Coleytown Elementary) every day on the sidewalk along the Easton Road ‘speedway,’ instead of adding to idling cars waiting for drop-off. Over the years, more and more families have decided not to walk. due to these issues.

“Our hope is to continue to do this. But it has become increasingly more dangerous.

“Easton Road is a poorly marked 25 mph zone, with cars during morning rush hour usually doubling that. To make matters worse, distracted drivers (often texting) have created a number of recent close calls for families (including us), and crossing guards who brave this dangerous stretch of sidewalk.

“Local parents and CES/CMS want more protection. But it’s a state road, and requests have gone unanswered for years.

“Things are getting worse. See this photo from the intersection of Easton Road and North Avenue, taken Friday morning:

(Photo/Ryan Faber)

That’s not all. Ryan sent along another photo, from August. It shows the aftermath of a car hitting a tree. Fortunately, he says, there were no pedestrians nearby.

(Photo/Ryan Faber)

Be careful out there!

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The Connecticut chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club comes down from the trail, and welcomes William Burnett, for dinner and a travel presentation with photos, video clips and sound.

The longtime friend of AMC offers “Nine Short Stories” on November 8 (6:15 p.m., Saugatuck Congregational Church Hoskins Hall).

The evening includes appetizers, beverages and dinner. It’s $10 for members, $15 for non-members. For more information, email easasso7@icloud.com.

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In 1998, the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard — a gay University of Wyoming student — stunned the nation.

Two years later “The Laramie Project” — a play exploring both the crime and the town’s soul-searching reaction to it — shone a light on issues like morality, religion and humanity itself.

Next month, the UU Players — part of the Unitarian Church in Westport — present the groundbreaking show.

Dates are Friday and Saturday, November 18 and 19 (7 p.m.) and Sunday, November 20 (2 p.m.). Tickets are $25, available at the door. For more information, call 203-227-7205.

Cast of “The Laramie Project” (from left): David Smith, Bob Perry, Dayle Brownstein, Julyen Norman, Arnela Ten Meer, Tom Croarkin, Linda Hudson, Candace Clinger, Meg Jones, Sarah Bell.

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Hook’d had some customer service issues this year.

Now they’ve reached out to a new customer base.

“Fur Friends Welcomed,” the sign says. “Pup cups” are $1.50 each.

Let’s hope they don’t bitch too.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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Meanwhile, it’s been nearly 2 months since lifeguards left their Compo Beach posts.

But that didn’t stop 3 intrepid Long Island Sound swimmers yesterday.

Hey — the sun was shining. So why not?

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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No, this is not Martha Stewart’s house. But she’d be envious.

It’s on Birch Hill Road in Weston. It’s almost too nice to trick or treat there.

Almost.

(Photo/Richard Ellis)

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Just in time for Halloween, Andrew Colabella spotted this timely license plate:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

It’s not just the tag. Check out the decoration on the rear window.

And — in case you can’t read it — the orange logo is for the Zombie Outbreak Response Team.

This driver clearly has Halloween covered.

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The fall’s foliage has been spectacular. Among the beauties joining our “Westport … Naturally” gallery: This one at Staples High School. It’s courtesy of 10th grader Max Saperstein.

(Photo/Max Saperstein)

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And finally … in honor of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s upcoming event (story above):

(“06880″‘s Roundup keeps you up on all — well, most — upcoming events. Please click here to contribute.)

 

4-Way Stop Signs: 4 Rules

“06880” has performed many civic functions over the years.

We’ve told you where to get COVID vaccines (remember those?).

We’ve given you details on dumping your yard waste after a storm. We’ve provided primers on septic systems.

Today, we’re a Driver Ed teacher.

Alert “06880 reader — and terrified-to-be-on-the-road-these-days Westporter — Lynn Flint sends along these reminders of who has the right-of-way at 4-way stop signs.

Three examples: Hillspoint and Greens Farms Roads; Cross Highway and Bayberry Lane; Cross Highway and North Avenue (tricky, because one of the stops is not visible to all other drivers).

The North Avenue/Cross Highway intersection may be the most dangerous one in Westport without a light. Who goes first?

Here are the rules:

1. The first vehicle to arrive has the right of way. Pretty easy: You get there (clearly) first, you go first.

2. Always yield to the right. When 2 vehicles arrive side by side, the one furthest to the right has the right of way. (That’s “right” — an easy way to remember it.) If there are 3 vehicles, the one furthest left goes last (“left = last”).

3. Straight traffic has the right of way over turning traffic. This applies when 2 cars face each other. If they’re both heading straight, or turning in the same direction (say, both left or both right), both can go at the same time. If one is turning, but the other is not, the turning driver yields to the straight-ahead driver. NOTE: This assumes that a driver who is turning uses the turn signal. That’s the little arm on the steering column. It is not difficult to push up or down, and it is not there for decoration.

4. Right turns take the right of way over left turns. This is Advanced Placement Driver Ed. Imagine 2 cars facing each other. One is turning right; the other is turning left. If they both go at the same time, they’ll crash. So the car turning right — the one closest to the turn — goes first.

There is no written test for this — just a practical exam.

See you on the road!

(Hat tip: TopDriver.com)

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Roundup: Superman, Madame Web, Richard Scarry …

It’s taken a while.

But last night, the Board of Finance unanimously approved funds for a traffic study of Cross Highway, North Avenue and Bayberry Lane.

The project will look at intersection safety, as well as adding a sidewalk on Cross Highway and a crosswalk near The Porch @ Christie’s.

Next stop: an appropriation request to the RTM.

The North Avenue/Cross Highway intersection may be the most dangerous one in Westport without a traffic light. Another contender: Cross Highway and Bayberry Lane.

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Superman came to the Westport Library last night.

The Man of Steel arrived on the Trefz Forum big screen. Westporter Arlen Schumer presented an in-depth lecture on Curt Swan — the longtime local illustrator who for 29 years was DC Comics’ primary Superman artist.

it’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Arlen Schumer and Curt Swan at the Westport Library! (Photo/Dave Matlow)

Swan’s 3 children were all in the audience. Chris lives in Westport;  Karen Brooks is in Wilton, and Ceal Swift is in Westbrook.. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Chris Swan and his sisters Ceal and Karen, in the Westport Library audience. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Camp A Cappella CT — the innovative program teaching vocal technique, beatboxing, ensemble skills and choreography to area youngsters —  returns this summer with an in-person program.

And another star on its faculty.

Michelle Pauker — the 2013 Staples High School graduate/Broadway performer who wowed a recent SRO MoCA crowd with an evening of song — will work her considerable magic.

Michelle earned a BA in music from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, concentrating in musical theater. Many Westporters already know her through her private lessons.

Michelle joins music educator Amanda Violone, in the upbeat, fun camp program.

Camp A Cappella CT was created by Danielle Merlis, following the success of her Cello Camp. The award-winning musician was initially inspired at Long Lots Elementary School, earned first chair honors in the Staples High orchestra, and went on to perform with Chris Brubeck and the Eagles, at venues like Lincoln Center.

Camp A Cappella CT welcomes singers in grades 1 to 12. It runs August 22 to 27  at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, alongside The Cello Camp, now in its 7th year.

For information and registration for Camp A Cappella CT. click here.

PS: You don’t have to attend (or have a kid who does) to enjoy the camps’ final concerts (August 27, 5 p.m. cellists, 7 p.m. singers, Christ & Holy Trinity Church). Everyone is welcome.

One day at Cello Camp …

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Next up on the big screen: Westporter Kathy-Ann Hart.

She’s the latest addition to the cast of “Madame Web.” The Marvel comics-based film’s cast includes Dakota Johnson, Mike Epps, Adam Scott and Sydney Sweeney.

Though she began performing as a child in her native Trinidad, Hart is a newcomer to film. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2003, she worked for many years as a corporate attorney and non-profit executive. She moved to Westport in 2017.

Kathy-Ann Hart

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Gas prices have dropped for over 50 straight days. They’re now nearly $1 less than this spring’s (very high) highs.

Today — and today only — you can get $1 off each gallon, at the Shell station across from Westport Country Playhouse.

They’ve renovated their interior, so it’s a brighter and better-stocked (if not particularly healthy) convenience story mart than before. They’re celebrating today, with the special $1 off offer. (Hat tip: Ifeseyi Gayle)

The Shell station opposite Westport Country Playhouse. (Photo/Ifeseyi Gayle)

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Like many places of worship, the Unitarian Church in Westport welcomes guest speakers.

But this Sunday (August 7, 10 a.m.) is special. Darcy Hicks will also make art with the congregation.

As “06880” reported last week, Darcy is part of Wings4Peace. The grassroots gun safety coalition, formed in the wake of the Uvalde shooting, creates “wings” artwork all across the nation.

The UU church invites artists, non-artists, students, builders, artisans and activists to join them, and Darcy, on Sunday.

Darcy Hicks, with her “Wings4Prace.”

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The Weston Flea is Saturday, September 10 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Weston High School). This month, organizers invite anyone looking to sell home goods, tag sale items, crafts, art, new business ideas and more, to reserve space.

Popular items include toys, garage and garden items, tools, rugs, candles, soap and jewelry. The cost is $25 for 2 parking spaces ($20 for seniors).

To reserve a spot, call 203-222-2608 or email wpetty@westonct.gov.

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This fall, Fairfield Museum presents an immersive exhibit on the life and work of Richard Scarry.

The children’s book author and illustrator — known for the book “Busytown,” and characters like Huckle the Cat, Lowly Worm, Miss Honey and Mr. Frumble — lived in Westport. He began illustrating in 1948, but his work remains popular today. The Fairfield Museum show will introduce him to the next generation.

It will include original artwork, unpublished drawings, rare books, large-scale reproductions of his illustrations, a reading nook, and a museum-wide scavenger hunt.

Click here for more information. Click here and click here for 2 “06880” stories on Richard Scarry’s connections to Westport.

 

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Yale New Haven Health cut the ribbon on its new Digestive Health Center yesterday.

The facility, at 325 Riverside Avenue, provides care for medical and surgical patients, including bariatric, colorectal and hernia surgery and gastroenterology.

Yale New Haven Health, at 325 Riverside Avenue.

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Lauri Weiser writes: “I have no idea why this iris wanted to bloom again now, in my back yard. Maybe it just wanted to be a “Westport … Naturally” photo!”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … getting ready for next month’s Weston Flea (see story above):

 (“06880” relies on contributions from readers like you. Please click here to support this blog.)

Roundup: WTC, RTM, Y …

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A crowd of 100 people gathered in the cold yesterday evening at Town Hall, for a candlelight vigil to support Ukraine. Mark Yurkiw reports:

“I was surprised to learn how many Ukrainians and non- Ukrainians showed up. and how concerned so many were for their friends and family in Ukraine.

“They told stories of intermittent conversations between scrambles to bomb shelters, and children sleeping on thin mats on concrete. An invisible yet potent bond wove through the crowd.

“It took me by surprise, and made me realize how cathartic it is for a crowd of strangers to feel almost instantly connected.”

A rally in Westport is set for this Saturday (March 5), at 11 a.m. on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown.

Ukraine rally at Weston Town Hall (Photo/Mark Yurkiw)

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February 26 marked the 29th anniversary of the first World Trade Center bombing — the one in 1993.

There’s a new memorial on the site, built after the 2001 terrorist attack. For almost a decade, RTM member Andrew Colabella has gone there on that date, to pay respects and join the survivors who gather there.

His cousin was one of 6 people killed in the 1993 attack.

This year, Andrew met Daniel Geraghty there. In November, the former Staples High School English teacher published Cast Away Stones: An Eyewitness Account of 9/11 and Memoir of a Survivor, Soldier Citizen, a gripping account of his 20-year battle to overcome PTSD.

Andrew Colabella (left) and Daniel Geraghty, at the 9/11 Memorial.

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Speaking of the RTM: Sure, you hear about it all the time. (Like in the item just above this one.)

But admit it: Do your know what it does? Or even what the acronym stands for?

On March 23 (7 p.m., Westport Library in-person and Zoom), Westport’s League of Women Voters presents “Know Your Town: The RTM.”

Former moderator (what’s that?!) Velma Heller will discuss its history. Current member Matthew Mandell will explain what it can do — and what it can’t. Current moderator Jeff Wieser will offer his insights too.

Click here for more information, and registration.

Okay, okay: RTM stands for “Representative Town Meeting.” Impress your friends!

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The other day, “06880” published Carl Addison Swanson’s “Kvetch of the Week.” He noted that an 80+ North Avenue neighbor was afraid to get her mail, for fear of being hit by a speeding car.

Carl noted his frustration at trying to get blinking lights or other traffic control devices on the heavily traveled road, home to 4 of Westport’s 8 schools.

Fast (ho ho) forward a few days. There’s now a sign showing “Your Speed” at the base of the hill, near the Bedford Middle School entrance.

Congrats, Carl — and everyone else who lived in the area. And let’s hope there are more such solutions to come.

“Your Speed” sign on North Avenue. (Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)

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The new manager and vice president of People’s United Bank’s Westport office is … Matthew Cummings.

It’s a homecoming of sorts. He’s a 1986 graduate of Staples High School, where he captained the ski team and played football and baseball. He lifeguarded in the summers, then graduated from the University of Colorado.

Matt’s (very proud) mother is Betty Lou Cummings, former 2nd selectwoman, Apple Festival co-founder, and volunteer with countless other organizations and projects.

She’s also a former Michigan State University cheerleader. And Betty Lou never stops cheering for her son.

Matthew Cummings

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After 34 years leading the Westport Weston Family Y’s gymnastics program, Sally Silverstein has retired.

But she won’t be forgotten.

This Friday (6:30 p.m.), the Y, hosts a naming ceremony for the Gymnastics Center’s new Sally Silverstein Viewing Area. Many of the program’s 500 gymnasts will be there. Of course, Sally’s many friends — and all her former athletes, and their families — are invited.

Sally Silverstein

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Speaking of plants: Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows some nice basil, flowering in Molly Alger’s windowsill:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally …  it’s March 1. It’s the month that comes in like a — well, you know:

Regulation 32-18 Says: Don’t Demolish. Renovate!

It’s not easy to save historic structures in Westport.

Economics, legal restrictions, changing tastes — all make it much simpler to tear down old buildings, rather than save them.

The town desperately needs a regulation that encourages homeowners and builders to preserve, rehabilitate, restore, reconstruct and/or adapt historic proprties.

Well, shiver me timbers! There is one!

Zoning Regulation 32-18 covers “Historic Residential Structures.” Actually, it does far more. It encourages their preservation.

But you’d have to be someone — an architect, say — well versed in Westport’s zoning code to know it.

In the spring of 2020 Simon and Robbyn Hallgarten — who had already renovated (and substantially saved) a historic home near Longshore — bought property on North Avenue.

Simon and Robbyn Hallgarten’s main house, on North Avenue.

The land — between Staples High School and Cross Highway — included a Victorian home and carriage house. Both were built around 1886.

Several “experts” told Simon that if he wanted to do renovate the carriage house, it had to be moved to conform to property setbacks. Otherwise he’d have to leave it as is, or tear it down.

Fortunately, Simon kept asking. Finally he found an architect who said: “Look at Section 32-18.” (You can, too. Click here.) 

Simon and Robbyn saved the 130-year-old structure.

Under normal zoning — because the carriage house sits within the property’s setback — any modifications or change of use would not be permitted.

Under 32-18 though, the Hallgartens provided the town with a perpetual maintenance easement over the structure. In return, they converted the historic timber-framed building into a garage gym, spare bedroom, en suite bath and great 2nd floor office/den space.

The renovated carriage house.

Simon wonders “how many other historic buildings could be maintained if only owners and architects were aware that they could be significantly renovated, and even go through a change of use – subject only to an agreement to maintain the structure going forward.”

Well — in a slightly different form — here’s another 32-18 success story. Last April, I wrote about a 2-story, 1,230-square foot 1892 farmhouse on Turkey Hill South.

Rahul Ghai and his wife Priyanka Singh used the regulation — obtained by the prior owners — to restore the 127-year-old structure, and also build a large house nearby.

The project won a Connecticut Preservation Award — one of only 10 in the state.

The story said that 32-18 had already prevented 22 other historic structures from being demolished.

Of course, 22 (now 23) successful preservation projects is a drop in the bucket, compared to the number of houses being demolished annually.

So whether you’re a developer, architect, homeowner — or someone who lives near a historic structure — remember those numbers: 32-18.

When you hear of a successful renovation using that regulation, let me know.

Maybe one day there will be so many, it will no longer be news.

Roundup: Homeless, Speed, The Brook …

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A Westporter who asked for anonymity writes:

“Yesterday I saw 2 people that I believe are homeless.

“One was asking for money in front of Fresh Market. After I gave him some, he showed me his injuries from overseas military assignments. I then stayed in my car watching, as many Westporters passed him by.

“The second individual I saw yesterday morning walking in Southport towards Westport (see photo).

“I wonder: What is Westport doing to help these people?”

Walking toward Westport.

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“06880” readers know Caryl Beatus for her insightful comments, on a broad range of subjects.

The Longshore Ladies Golf Association know her as a friend.

On August 31, they’ll celebrate 60 years of existence with a luncheon. (A year late, because of COVID. Good things come to those who wait.)

Caryl — an original member, when the organization was formed in 1960 — is an important part of those 60 years.

In 2017, the LWGA recognized her service by naming its annual member/member tournament after her.

Caryl has served the LWGA in many capacities. She oversaw the creation and revision of its by-laws, was tournament chair, and for many years organized biannual luncheons.

She has put in countless hours, and always made herself available to help move the organization forward.

Patty Kondub, a past president and coach of the Staples girls golf team, says that a decade ago, when she and Caryl were both injured, Caryl convinced her to serve with her as a “co-hostess.” Every week early in the morning they greeted members, explained the tournament, and introduced players to each other to build camaraderie.

Patty notes that Caryl is a “good luck charm.” Many LWGA members have shot their best rounds while playing with Caryl in their Tuesday tournaments.

Congrats to the LWGA for 60 (61) years — and to Caryl Beatus for all she has one, during those 6 decades.

Caryl Beatus (right) and Anne Krygier, enjoying another day on the links.

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Longtime Westporter — and North Avenue-area resident — Carl Addison Swanson shares an email he sent to 1st Selectman Jim Marpe:

“Last year, over 100 children died and another 25,000 were injured on their way to school.

“In Westport, where I grew up and have been associated with this town since 1952, North Avenue is used as a commuter route for those living in Easton, Weston, Wilton, Fairfield and Southport. Drivers drive too fast. A recent study, using a radar gun, clocked 72% of drivers exceeding 45 m.p.h. on the road.

“What makes this issue more critical is that 4 schools are situated on North Avenue: Coleytown Middle, Coleytown Elementary, Bedford Middle and Staples High School. And while a traffic guard is used to direct traffic, they are not there when, many times, children cross before and/or after school hours due to sports or extracurricular activities. Further, many adults use these crossways to take a walk or bike ride at odd hours.

“I have written to the Westport Police Chief with return comments such as we do not use traffic lights to control traffic,’ and the placement of little green men cones (as seen on Riverside and downtown) are too expensive. Really?

“In every other jurisdiction I have lived in, from Texas to Vermont, the state and town protects their children by blinking lights, a speed limit of 5 mph during peak times, and strict enforcement by the local police on each and every school.

“For a town that bases its importance on the education of their youth, you seem to yield to the flow of traffic rather than the safety of our residents?  A grassroots effort by concerned Westporters to change this is now being organized.”

Carl Addison Swanson would like to see — at the minimum — signs like these near our schools.

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Speaking of school:

Tracy Porosoff spotted this near Shake Shack.

“Am I the only one confused?” she asks.

No.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for first responders, frontline workers, teachers, and community groups to attend “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse.”

The 3 nights of concerts by Broadway artists Shoshana Bean (Wicked, Waitress), Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!, The Book of Mormon) and Brandon Victor Dixon (NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Hamilton) will be taped August 31 through September 2, for a future national television broadcast. There are 2 shows each night: 7 and 9 p.m.

For complimentary tickets, Jennifer Carroll: jcarroll@westportplayhouse.org.

The public can buy tickets, starting at $20. Click here for more information.

Gavin Creel

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A former Westporter used to frequent the Brook Café with a friend. For his birthday, she wants to give him some memorabilia — perhaps a box of matches, glass or napkin with the bar’s name on it.

If anyone has any souvenirs from “the Brook,” please email me directly: dwoog@optonline.net. I’ll connect you with our reader.

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The transfer station will be closed to residents next Wednesday (August 25) for repairs. It will be open though for private residential and commercial haulers.

Transfer station will be closed Wednesday. (Photos/Ernie Lorimer)

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Upcoming Westport Library events  of note:

Food and travel writer Alexander Lobrano — a Weston High graduate, and former Westporter — sits for a conversation with Kelle Ruden on August 31 (7 p.m.),

Lobrano’s memoir, My Place At the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris is a moving coming-of-age story. Through a series of encounters with culinary figures like Paul Bocuse, Julia Child and Ruth Reichl, Lobrano hones his palate and finds his voice.

Click here to join via livestream or in person. Copies of My Place At the Table are available for ordering and pickup at the Library, or shipping if further away.

Author/essayinst/memoir writer Mary-Lou Weisman hosts :Introductory Memoir Writing Workshops” this fall. They are on Mondays, from September 20 through October 25 (12:30 to 2:30 pm). Click here for more information, and to register.

Alexander Lobrano (Photo/Steven Rothfeld)

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Ken Yormark boasts, “I got 2 eagles at Longshore.”

Congratulations! But he’s not referring to his golf game. He means — with a smile — this “Westport … Naturally” at the town club.

At any rate, it’s a nice “shot” of a couple of “birdies.”

(Photo/Ken Yormark)

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And finally … following up on the eagles above, and the feeling it evokes:

Roundup: School Traffic, Football, Yarn Day, More


Sure, half of all Bedford Middle and Staples High School students are not on campus, at any given time.

But with most parents opting to drive and pick up their youngsters — some buses reportedly carry only 1 or 2 kids — traffic on North Avenue and nearby streets has been heavy, at the start and finish of the school days.

It may take a few days to sort out what works. Until then: Avoid those areas at those times if you can.

Bedford Middle School traffic, yesterday afternoon. (Photo/Adam Vengrow)


It’s a win-win: The Westport Library and the Ruden Report.

Ruden — a Staples High School graduate whose website, Instagram and Facebook platforms are the go-to sources for coverage of Fairfield County high school sports —  are collaborating on a new project: The Ruden Report Live at the Library.

The show debuts today (Thursday, September 10, 7 p.m.) from the Library’s Forum. Tonight’s topic: the recent decision to cancel this year’s high school football season. Guests include noted New Canaan High coach Lou Marinelli, St. Joseph’s Jack Wallace (2019 Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year), and Jeff Jacobs, sports columnist at GameTime CT and Hearst Media CT.

Upcoming Ruden Reports will be recorded in the libary’s media studios. Some shows will be streamed live.

Ruden has been a sportswriter for over 35 years. He has written for the New York Times, and worked at ESPN and CBS Sports. 

Dave Ruden at work.


Speaking of sports: Staples football players joined hundreds of others from around the state yesterday in Hartford. They protested the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and state Department of Public Health decision to cancel this fall’s high school football season.

Tonight at 7 p.m., former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor (and Westport resident) Dave Briggs interviews Wrecker head football coach Adam Behrends on Instagram Live. You can hear the discussion @WestportMagazine.

A small part of the large crowd in Hartford yesterday. (Photo/Dave Briggs)


This Saturday is Local Yarn Store Day. And Westport’s local yarn store — called, appropriately enough, Westport Yarns — is celebrating big time.

The shop across from Fresh Market offers free 45-minute lessons at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Three people (12 years old and over) will get yarn and needles, and learn how to knit. At 12 and 2 p.m., there are free crochet lessons. To register, call 203-454-4300.

In addition, there are hand-dyed yarns for purchase. Earlier this year, a similar trunk show sold out quickly.

Rumor has it that Westport’s yarn bomber may stop by. No promises, but hey. You never know.

One of the yarn bomber’s first works, at fire headquarters. Westport Yarns is just a few yards away. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Speaking of cars: After a careful look at COVID requirements and a review with town officials, organizers have canceled the Concours and “Cars & Coffee” events set for October 4, in downtown Westport.

However, the “Tour d’Caffeine” is still on. The socially distanced ride through Fairfield County’s back roads ends with lunch at the Redding Roadhouse. It is limited to the first 25 who sign up. Click here to register.


And finally … in honor of Local Yarn Store Day:

North Avenue Water Tank Agreement Reached; Site Work Begins Thursday

It’s tough to get anyone, anywhere, to agree on anything these days. And in Westport, a long-running, particularly thorny issue was the North Avenue water tank project.

Area residents worried about installation of big, tall tanks near their property, and traffic issues during construction across from Staples High School. On the other side: the need for upgraded facilities, plus Fire Department concerns about inadequate water supplies in town.

An aerial view shows the North Avenue Aquarion tank site, opposite Staples High School.

But town officials, Aquarion representatives, North Avenue neighbors and the state Public Utilities Regulatory Agency worked together to address water supply, public safety and construction concerns.

Today, the town and Aquarion announced that site preparation will begin Thursday (June 4), with the installation of erosion controls, temporary fencing and limited site clering.

The project itself includes construction of two water tanks (28 and 33 feet tall — lower than the original 40-foot plan); removal of an existing tank, and extensive landscape restoration. Sound dampening equipment will be installed. Work is expected to take 2 years.

Among the conditions of the settlement agreement is appointment of an ombudsman: former assistant town attorney Gail Kelly. She will act as a liaison between the neighbors, town officials and Aquarion, providing weekly construction updates to residents, and meeting with school and police personnel to insure minimal impact on North Avenue traffic. No road closures are planned.

In addition, an independent site monitor will ensure permit compliance.

PURA members and protesters at the Aquarion North Avenue water tower site in December, 2018.

Construction hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with pre-arranged extensions as required.

First Selectman Jim Marpe thanked all parties for their cooperation, along with state legislators Will Haskell, Tony Hwang, Gail Lavielle and Jonathan Steinberg.

Click here for construction status, work schedules and project updates.

The Sidewalks Of Westport

With Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools closed, it may be a while since you’ve driven on North Avenue.

If you have, you’ve noticed construction underway on a new sidewalk. It parallels the old one, from Long Lots Road north to Cross Highway. But it’s closer to the road, with no grass strip in between.

The old sidewalk was separated from North Avenue by a grass strip …

What’s up with that? several readers wondered.

I asked Peter Ratkiewich. The Public Works director said the new sidewalk will be 5 feet wide, elevated above the road by a 6-inch concrete curb. For the most part, it will run along the edge of the road. In certain areas with obstructions, it will deviate from the road edge.

The old sidewalk — parts of which were over 30 years old — will be removed entirely. That area will be restored with topsoil and seed.

… while the new one will not be. (Photos/Michael Fleming)

The new construction will facilitate maintenance (including winter, when it must be plowed or shoveled).

This is the same method of construction used all over town. The North Avenue sidewalk will look very similar to the one on Imperial Avenue, built about 6 years ago and hailed by many residents.

North Avenue resident Michael Fleming is not pleased, however. He started a petition asking the town to retain the sidewalk buffers.

The Imperial Avenue sidewalk.

In other sidewalk news, Public Works has nearly completed a new sidewalk on Maple Avenue North. They’ll start the Myrtle Avenue project soon.

Ratkiewich is still waiting for word from the state on the Riverside Avenue reconstruction project. It will include some sidewalk replacement.

The Main Street sidewalk project has been submitted to the state for final review. He hopes to have that project underway before fall.

Next year, Ratkiewich hopes to rebuild the Hillspoint Road sidewalk from Old Mill Beach to Greens Farms Road, and the Compo Road South sidewalk from the Post Road to Bridge Street.

The North Avenue project was scheduled before COVID-19. And yes, the lack of traffic has made the work easier.

 

Pic Of The Day #764

Tim Fielding says: “This fella made it across North Avenue onto my property yesterday. He seems to have come from the wetlands by the Aquarion water tanks, and is heading toward the ones in back of Staples. Very purposeful and surprisingly mobile!”