Tag Archives: OneWestport

COVID-19 Roundup: OneWestport/ASF Stuff; Aztec Two-Step; Tech Help; More


Just days after COVID-19 slammed into town, OneWestport provided residents with a one-stop spot to learn which restaurants, stores and services were open — and how to access their websites.

It still does. But now — just in time for Mother’s Day — OneWestport has added a new feature: an online store.

Partnering with ASF — the sports-and-more store that supports every local team and fundraiser that asks — they developed a design matching the style Staples High freshman James Dobin-Smith used to create the look of OneWestport.

They’re selling hoodies, t-shirts, tank tops and hats, in a variety of styles, for all ages. As with most ASF merchandise, you can add your name to the sleeves.

In keeping with the site’s we’re-all-in-this-together ethos, 100% of profits go to Homes With Hope, Westport’s supportive housing agency.

It’s a win-win-win: for the organization, the store and us. Click here to see what’s available, and place an order.


For nearly 50 years, Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman were Aztec Two-Step. After Neal’s wife died in 2017, Rex started working on a song about love and loss.

He lives in Westport, and his wife Dodie Pettit has replaced Neal in the duo. Like musicians everywhere, when the pandemic hit they had to cancel all upcoming concerts

Rex and Dodie spent a month reworking and recording the song — “Words (How Do You Tell Someone)” — in their home studio. Bandmates came over — one at a time, masked — to overdub their parts. Among them: Westport flutist Joe Meo.

“With all that’s going on, it feels relevant,” Rex says. “Give it a look and listen. If you think it will help a friend or loved one, please pass it on.”


Claire Lee is a junior at Staples High School. Starting as a freshman, she volunteered at the Westport Library, helping patrons with technology-related issues.

COVID-19 has forced her to stay home. However, she still wants to help the community. And — as many folks work from home without their usual tech report, and others grapple with new technology to try to keep in touch — the need is greater than ever.

But — thanks to technology — help is at hand. Claire created Tech Check, a free website through which she offers assistance for tech-related issues.

Just click here, scroll down, fill out the info, and look for a return email from “TechCheck06880@gmail.”

Claire is available by Zoom too. If you don’t know how to use it, that should be part of your first request!

Claire Lee


More Staples news: Yesterday, the “We the People” team celebrated their spectacular 5th place finish at the national competition the previous weekend.

It was held virtually, of course — via Zoom — so yesterday’s event was equally COVIDian.

The team met in the Trumbull Mall parking lot, not far from where Suzanne Kammerman, their social studies teacher and advisor, lives.

All were spaced 6 feet apart. They cheered Kammerman; the parents cheered their kids. It was not the same as hugging and high-fiving.

But it’s still a season, and finish, they’ll remember forever.


There’s a new thing on Instagram, called Yorkshire Silly Walks. It comes from Monty Python, and includes “The Ministry of Silly Walks.”

Yesterday, Robbie Guimond’s 3 daughters borrowed the idea — complete with a sign. So if you find yourself on Riverside Avenue, in the vicinity of his Bridgebrook Marina, be warned: You are commanded to walk silly.


And finally … as the greatest city in the world starts to emerge, slowly, from the worst of the pandemic, here’s its greatest tributes ever:

Signs Of The Times

Amy Schneider’s collage reminds us that there are plenty of restaurants open for business — with curbside pickup and home delivery, of course. (Merchants too: Earth Animal is tucked in there, bottom row.)

As the pandemic slogs into a new month, remember how important our local places are. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce maintains a great list of open restaurants and markets; click here, then scroll down.

OneWestport offers an extensive list of restaurants, along with clothing stores, salons, fitness centers and more. Many of those businesses are closed, but links to their websites provide information on online opportunities, including gift cards.

The Finding Westport site also includes event planners, repair shops, graphic designers and the like.

Hard times continue. But thanks to these resources, we can make life a little easier for some of the restaurants and businesses that have served us so well, for so long.

PS: Hey, dads and kids! Remember: Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day. Many restaurants have special menus. And the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has an extensive list of restaurants and shops that offer Mother’s Day gifts. Just click here.

There are many very excellent restaurants in town. Jeera Thai is a favorite for flavor, fresh ingredients and friendliness. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Spectacular New Site Makes Helping Local Businesses Easy

For the past few days — as the rippling cascading effects of COVID-19 on the local economy have become apparent and frightening — many Westporters suggested ways to help.

One of the best is to purchase gift cards from local stores, restaurants, salons, gyms and the like.

A group of friends approached Danielle Dobin with the idea. She loved it. Like the others though, she wondered: Who needs help? How can I contact them? Who even sells gift cards?

Danielle — who in her spare time chairs Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission — brainstormed with them. Their solution : a website showcasing all the spots in town that need help, with clickable links to every one.

James Dobin-Smith

Then her family and theirs — the Weilguses, Kamos, Cammeyers, and the Posts and Rutsteins (you know those last 2 from the WestportMoms.com platform) — got to work.

Over the past few days they tracked down dozens of local stores, restaurants and service providers. They compiled tons of information.

And they handed it all to Danielle’s son James Dobin-Smith.

The Staples High School freshman is a member of Staples Players. He’s an honor student, keenly interested in world affairs. But he had absolutely no background in web design.

No problem! He’s smart, creative, and a digital native. Almost instantly, James taught himself.

The result — rolled out just moments ago — is OneWestport.com. It’s visually appealing, chock full of links, and insanely easy to use.

The homepage of OneWestport.com.

All you do is click to purchase gift cards online (or by phone or email, if no online option exists). You can use them tomorrow, or months from now. (One added feature: the hyperlinks take you directly to the gift card page. It’s truly one click — you don’t have to search for it yourself on a business website.)

From sporting goods to sushi, furniture to flowers, paintings to pasta, and clothing to cupcakes, Westport retailers sell everything and anything.

Nearly 200 places are listed, by category: Clothing/Jewelry, Fitness, Salons, Nails/Spas, Miscellaneous (Compo Flowers, Earth Animal, Age of Reason, Rockwell Art, Splatterbox, Stiles Market, The Toy Post, Westport Hardware, Bungalow, photographers).

Age of Reason is a great place to use a gift card right now. Kids need items for education and entertainment. And the store offers free delivery.

The Restaurants category can keep you busy (and well-fed) until this crisis is over — no matter how long it lasts. It includes places you might not otherwise think of, like Aartisan Chocolates and The Cake Box.

(It’s also a great way to order takeout or delivered meals, from those restaurants, delis and markets that offer them.)

“Purchase a gift card today for use in the future to purchase a birthday gift, an anniversary gift, or simply an everyday purchase for your family,” OneWestport suggests.

“Our local retailers need to make payroll, cover their expenses, and pay rent.  Buying gift cards now for use later can help our local businesses manage this near-term cash-crunch and ultimately weather this uniquely challenging storm! Together, we can make the difference for our local retailers!”

As extensive as the families’ work has been, they know it’s not complete. They’ll update the website daily, until school restarts. To add a business to the resource, email jamesdobinsmith@gmail.com.

This is these Westporters’ gift to the town. OneWestport does not profit from any purchases, in any way. All gift cards go straight — and fully — to the retailer, restaurant or service provider.

It’s the gift that will keep on giving. And helping save our town.

Oh, yeah: If you liked the awesome cover photo — a drone shot of downtown by John Videler — you can purchase it (or any of his work too). Just click here!