Tag Archives: Old Dominion

Roundup: Outdoor Dining, Old Dominion, Billy Joel …

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Over the past 2 years, the restaurant industry has been rocked by COVID. Amid all the bad news, one bright spot was the rise — and popularity — of outdoor dining.

This Monday (March 14, 7 p.m. Zoom), the Planning & Zoning Commission meets to consider permanent outdoor eating regulations.

Under new state legislation, the P&Z can determine the size of an outdoor dining area, when it can operate, and what public safety protections are needed.

Planning and Zoning Department director Mary Young says, “The Planning & Zoning Commission looks forward to hearing from food establishment owners to help set reasonable standards, allowing the Restaurant Renaissance in Westport to continue and provide safe and secure dining options for patrons under the ‘New-Normal’ conditions.”’

Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell predicts, “some restaurants are going to love this. Some are not going to like it at all. It depends on whether you have the land, an amenable landlord, a parking lot to use or a town road to be able to do it. The Chamber sees both sides to this.”

Monday’s public hearing will be livestreamed at www.westportct.gov, and on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.  Comments can be sent to the meeting to PandZ@westportct.gov. Click here for the full text amendment.

Out door dining on church Lane. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Lynsey Addario’s photo last Sunday — of a family killed by a Russian mortar attack — horrified the world.

Yesterday, the New York Times photojournalist — a Pulitzer Prize winner, and 1991 Staples High School graduate — spoke compellingly about that image, and the events surrounding.

In an in-depth interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper — at 3:30 a.m. Ukraine time — Lynsey talked spoke of her surreal feelings as she realized the Russians were targeting civilians. With mortars whizzing just 30 feet away, she witnessed the killings.

Cooper asked her thoughts as she took her photos. She felt she had to document the event for the world. With a 10-year-old of her own, she had to maintain her professionalism — even as she noticed the family’s luggage lying next to them.

She also talked about her feelings afterward, and what it’s like to witness such scenes over and over again.

It was excellent journalism from Anderson Cooper — and one more reason to pray for Lynsey’s safety, and that of everyone in Ukraine.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Lynsey’s photo was also featured on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday. Scott Pelley used it to frame that night’s Ukraine story. Click here for the link. (Hat tips: Susan Woog Wagner and Hedi Lieberman)

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A bright young man from Westport
Who really cares about transport,
Said to get to the train,
Wheels2U is a gain!
It’s like your own private escort!

Okay, it’s not Keats. It’s not even Ogden Nash. But it’s a good way to introduce the Westport Transit District’s limerick contest.

The goal is to raise awareness of Wheels2U Westport, the on-demand, group ride, door-to-train platform shuttle service.

The top 7 entries win gift certificates to Westport restaurants of their choice, ranging from $100 to $25.

Want some info before writing your poem? WTD director Peter Gold calls Wheels2U “easy, inexpensive and convenient. It comes when you call it, picks you up at your door, and takes you right to the platform at the Westport and Greens Farms stations. No more walks from the parking lots in the cold and dark. And it’s a greener way to get to the train.”

Westport residents use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup between 5:45 and 10 a.m., and 4 and 9:30 p.m., almost anywhere in town. Pickups should be requested 20 minutes before you would normally leave to drive to the station.  The fare is just $2, when paid with the Wheels2U app.

The contest is open to all Westport residents. Enter as often as you like. Email entries to pgold@westportct.gov no later than March 25. Put “Limerick Contest” in the subject line, and include your name, address, and email. Click here for the full rules.

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For Old Dominion, winning awards is old hat.

The group — whose lead guitarist is 1997 Staples High School graduate (and former soccer star) Brad Tursi — was named Group of the Year at Monday’s ACM ceremony in Las Vegas.

It was the 5th consecutive year they’ve won country music’s top prize.

Their acceptance speech included a tribute to the citizens of Ukraine. (Hat tip: Tricia Freeman)

Old Dominion, at the CMA Awards. Staples grad Brad Tursi is on the far right.

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Speaking of music: Every month, Billy Joel sells out Madison Square Garden. Now his music is coming to the Levitt Pavilion!

Yeah, read that sentence again. “His music” — not the Piano Man himself.

But this is no tribute band. It’s Mike Del Guidice & Big Shot. He tours all over the world with Billy Joel. His band performs astonishing renditions of those songs, plus others by Elton John, the Beatles and other beloved artists.

The concert is Friday, May 20 (7:30 p.m.). Levitt Pavilion member pre-sales start today (Wednesday, March 9, noon). Click here to become a member. Sales to the general public start Friday (March 11, 10 a.m.).

Mike Del Guidice and friends.

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On April 7, some of Westport’s best chefs will leave their kitchens. They’ll head to Aitoro’s, the great appliance store just over the Norwalk line. There — amid high-end appliances — they’ll offer great food for a good cause.

It’s a benefit for the Make-a-Wish Connecticut chapter. The nonprofit helps fulfill the dreams of critically ill children.

Among the celebrity chefs: Bill Taibe (The Whelk, Kawa Ni, Don Memo); Matt Storch (Match Burger Lobster, Match Restaurant), Jes Bengtson (Terrain Garden Café, Amis Trattoria), Robin Selden (Marcia Selden and Naked Fig Catering), Dan Kardo (Oar & Oak), and Christian Petroni (Food Network star).

Tickets include samplings, and complimentary beer and wine. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

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Bill Webster sends today’s captivating “Westport … Naturally” photo, and adds:

“People often hear the tom turkey gobbling on spring mornings, but seldom do you get a chance to see a wild turkey strut. The turkey strut is an incredible courtship display that is intended to attract hens and display dominance.”

(Photo/Bill Webster)

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And finally … in honor of the great photo above:

Roundup: Old Dominion, Pumpkins, Sports, More


The third time’s the charm.

Of course, so were the first two.

For the third year in a row, Old Dominion was named Vocal Group of the Year, at the Academy of Country Music awards ceremony in Nashville. Lead guitarist for the Nashville-based band is 1997 Staples High School graduate Brad Tursi.

Perhaps the ACM can take a page from international soccer. After a team wins its 3rd World Cup, the trophy is retired.

Why the analogy? In 1996, Tursi led his Staples team to the state final.

His current career is plenty rewarding too. Congratulations, Old Dominion.

Now go out and make it 4 in a row! (Hat tip: Jeff Lea)

Brad Tursi

 

 


Still got pumpkins?

The Westport Farmers’ Market will collect them today, as they open the winter season at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden (7 Sylvan Road South, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Last week at the 2nd annual Pumpkin Composting Collection with Action Waste Solutions, the WFM collected more than 2,000 pounds of pumpkins.

That’s 2,000 pounds of food not added to the waste stream. Some pumpkins went to vendors and Bridgeport Rescue Mission to be cooked and eaten; some went to farm animals.

Whatever could not feed people or animals will be composted.

Last week’s pumpkin haul.


For weeks, it was uncertain whether there would be a high school fall sports season in Connecticut.

There was — though shortened, and without any FCIAC (league) or state tournaments.

The FCIAC was divided into 3 groups. Staples competed in the Central Division, against only 5 opponents: Norwalk, Brien McMahon, Wilton, Danbury and Ridgefield. Teams played home-and-away, back-to-back contests. Those same 6 schools then played a season-ending mini-tournament.

On Tuesday the girls’ volleyball team captured the divisional crown with a 3-0 win over Ridgefield.

The field hockey team fell to Ridgefield 2-1, in the Central final. In the regular season, the Wreckers won twice against the Tigers.

The girls soccer team was set to play for a Central Division trophy of its own this afternoon. They were to face archrival — you guessed it — Ridgefield. Earlier this year, the squads tied twice. The move to all remote learning for Staples through tomorrow has postponed the title match.

Action from Tuesday’s Central Division field hockey final.

(Photos/J.C. Martin)


And finally … happy 75th birthday to Neil Young!

 

Roundup: Old Dominion, The Sun And The Moon, More


COVID kept the live audience away from last night’s 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

But a nationwide television audience watched Old Dominion walk off with 2 huge awards: Best Group and Best Song (“One Man Band”).

Country music may not be huge in Westport. But we’re hugely proud of Old Dominion. Lead guitarist Brad Tursi is a 1997 graduate of Staples High School, where he was known not as a musician, but as a soccer star. He’s in the far right in the clip below, wearing a flannel shirt.  (Hat tip: Claudia Bradley)

He’s the first musician shown, in the official “One Man Band” video too:


Staples High School sophomore Phoebe Miller took this picture yesterday evening. She says that smoke from the wildfires out west has drifted far east. It blocks the sun’s rays, making it appear much larger and more orange than usual.

(Photo/Phoebe Miller)


This news will brighten your day:

International Observe the Moon Night will be celebrated in Westport (and everywhere) on Saturday, September 26. The Westport Astronomical Society says the annual worldwide public event “encourages observation and appreciation of the moon.

“All are invited to observe the moon, learn about NASA planetary science and exploration, and celebrate cultural and personal connections to our nearest neighbor. All you need to do is look up!

This year the moon will be just past 1st quarter – a great phase for evening observation.

If the skies are clear, the WAS will open the dome to its observatory on Bayberry Lane. Telescopes will be available.

The WAS adds: “The giant satellite has been our constant companion for 4.5 billion years, and viewed by every human who ever walked the Earth. It’s one of the solar systems’ most remarkable objects, and is quite likely a major reason that life even exists on our planet.”

Amazing full moon at Compo Beach (Photo/Michael Tomashefsky)


Seen at Compo Beach. Beware!

(Photo/Les Dinkin)


Crank up The Machine!

The final Supper & Soul drive-in concert of 2020 features The Machine — a longtime internationally touring Pink Floyd-style band. The event — co-sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library — is set for Saturday, October 3 (7 p.m., Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Tickets for the always-popular event are $150 per car (5-person maximum. They go on sale tomorrow (Friday, September 18) at 10 a.m. Click here to purchase.


And finally … in honor of International Observe the Moon Night (see above):

Brad Tursi Scores Again

Old Dominion has a new honor.

But it’s the same as the old one.

Earlier this week, the 5-man band was named Vocal Group of the Year, at the 53rd annual Country Music Association awards.

Old Dominion won it last year too. Both times the ceremony was held in Nashville, where the band is based.

Nashville — nearly 1,000 miles from Westport — is the adopted hometown of Old Dominion lead guitarist Brad Tursi.

Brad Tursi

He got his start right here. At Staples High School, the 1997 graduate was known primarily as a soccer star. His 1996 team reached the state finals.

He always loved music though, and since college has made his mark on the country scene. Besides his current group, Tursi has written songs for other country artists.

Old Dominion is for real. They were named Sirius XM Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2015. Through albums, EPs and constant touring, they’ve developed a strong, loyal fan base.

Their third album — titled “Old Dominion” — was released last month. It debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.

Their new single — “One Man Band” — is climbing up the Billboard Hot 100. Old Dominion performed that song at the CMA Awards.

Unlike Nashville, Westport may not be a hotbed of country music.

But we sure are proud of one man, in that one band.

(Hat tip: Jeff Lea)

Westporter Earns Huge Country Music Honor

Earlier today, “06880” highlighted a recent songwriters’ “boot camp” academy held on Saugatuck Island.

Last night in Las Vegas, a Westport musician made headlines of his own.

Guitarist Brad Tursi — a 1997 Staples High School graduate, best known here for his soccer prowess — and his band Old Dominion was named Vocal Group of the Year, at the 53rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

Billboard called it”the biggest upset of the night.” They beat Little Big Town, winners 4 of the past 5 years. Other contenders were Lady Antebellum, Lanco and Midland.

Brad Tursi (right) with fellow Old Dominion members, after being named Vocal Group of the Year. (Photo/New York Daily News)

Old Dominion’s 3rd straight nomination came on the heels of their 2nd album, Happy Endings — nominated for ACM Album of the Year, with Number 1 singles “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” and “Written in the Sand” — and a world tour.

They continue to tour and record this year.

No word on whether the Vocal Group of the Year will make a stop in Westport.

(Hat tip: Jeff Lea)