Tag Archives: Paul Newman

Roundup: Rob Simmelkjaer, Paul Newman, President Kennedy …

On the even of today’s New York City Marathon — and a couple of weeks before Roh Simmelkjaer takes over as CEO of its organizer, New York Road Runners — the New York Times sat down for a chat with the Westport resident.

Simmelkjaer is familiar to local residents. He’s a former member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Democratic Town Committee.

Persona — the interview and conversation-focused social media startup he founded — had a heavy local presence.

Simmelkjaer has also been a top manager at ESPN, an on-air Olympics personality for NBC, and — most recently — director of the Connecticut State Lottery.

He calls the Road Runners gig his “dream job.” (He comes prepared: He’s finished the New York Marathon twice.)

Click here to learn about Simmelkjaer’s plans — including a greater focus on the mental health aspect of running, and expanding the organization’s reach — in the Times’ Q-and-A. (Hat tip: John Suggs)

Rob Simmelkjaer

=======================================================

Also in today’s New York Times: a review of Paul Newman’s new posthumous memoir, “The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man.”

It’s by Richard Russo, who has some skin in the Westport actor’s game. Newman’s portrayal of Sully in the film adaptation of Russo’s novel changed the author’s life, opening doors to a screenwriting career.

Click here for the full Times piece.

======================================================

CraftWestport — the Young Woman’s League’s mega-pre-holiday fair — returns to the Staples High School fieldhouse today, after 2 COVID years off.

Among the 175-plus exhibitors: Aiden Schachter.

The Staples High School student is selling his LED lightclouds. That may be a first for the event — and he may be the youngest vendor ever.

The show runs until 6 p.m. today. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Aiden Schachter, and his lightcloud booth.

======================================================

As the political season heats up, so does the work of Marc Selverstone.

The 1980 Staples High School graduate — An associate professor in presidential studies at the University of Virginia, and chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs there — is about to publish “The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment in Vietnam.”

It’s called “a major revision of our understanding of JFK’s commitment to Vietnam, revealing that his administration’s plan to withdraw was a political device, the effect of which was to manage public opinion while preserving United States military assistance.”

Selverstone is an expert on the subject. At the Miller Center he edits the secret tapes of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

Click here for more information, and to purchase.

======================================================

How do stress levels affect children’s brain development?

That’s the topic of the next Positive Directions “Lunch and Learn” series.

Frank Castorina, PD clinical supervisor, provides insights on November 16 (noon to 1:30 p.m., Westport Weston Family YMCA0.

It’s an important and timely topic. And lunch is provided! Click here to RSVP.

=====================================================

Speaking of stress: Relax with some wine! (Adults, not kids …)

Westport Sunrise Rotary has just the ticket. Their “Westport Uncorked” wine tasting fundraiser is set for The Inn at Longshore (Friday, November 18. 6:30 p.m.).

Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served, along with dozens of fine wines provided by The Fine Wine Company of Westport. (All wines are available for purchase).

Every dollar raised goes directly to charities supported by Westport Sunrise Rotary. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Good times at the 2019 Uncorked wine tasting, at the Inn at Longshore.

=======================================================

In advance of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ November 25 release of “Live at the Fillmore 1997” — their first live record in over a decade — Emmy-winning Westport animator Jeff Scher has created a great video.

Viewers will recognize plenty of local scenes, including Compo Beach, North Avenue and Cross Highway. There’s also the “Heroes Tunnel” through West Rock Ridge near Wilbur Cross Parkway Exit 59 in New Haven.

Click below to see:

=======================================================

Westporters turned out in force yesterday, to help the Westport police force — and folks in need.

The Police Department and Stop & Shop sponsored their annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. All donations — 436 bags, filled to the brim — support Homes with Hope’s Food Pantry at the Gillespie Center. and Westport Human Services’ Food Pantry.

Some residents went out of their way to bring food. Others spotted the food drive, and added non-perishable items to their shopping lists.

At the end of the day, an entire (and enormous) truck was filled with much-needed goods. Thanks to all who contributed — and of course to the WPD, and Stop & Shop.

RTM member Jimmy Izzo, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (with his wife Mary Ellen and grandson Charlie), and Police Chief Foti Koskinas (center), with volunteers and Westport Police Department officers at the Thanksgiving food drive by Stop & Shop.

=======================================================

“Script in Hand” — the Westport Country Playhouse’s very popular series of staged readings — returns November 14 (7 p.m.). The show is “Ripcord.”

Click here for details (including a plot summary) and tickets.

======================================================

If you’ve eaten at La Plage, you know there’s fine dining by the water.

If you’re a bald eagle, you agree. Seth Goltzer spotted this bird enjoying a tasty meal of squirrel at Longshore.

It’s the real world. And it fits perfectly with our “Westport … Naturally” concept.

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)

=======================================================

And finally … Aaron Carter, the singer and actor (and brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter) was found dead yesterday at his California home. He was 34.

(Your clock should have been set back an hour last night. And don’t forget to support “06880” either! Please click here to contribute.)

Friday Flashback #318

With a 6-part HBO Max series and a newly published memoir, Paul Newman has been back in the spotlight lately.

Both include plenty of details about his half century in Westport.

It’s well known that Newman and his wife, fellow actor Joanne Woodward, found our town thanks to the Nike Sites.

Proposed at the height of the Cold War as missile defense systems to protect electronics manufacturing facilities in Bridgeport — with the missiles housed underground on North Avenue, and a launch center on Bayberry Lane — they were highly controversial. (Click here for the full back story.) 

Westport writer Max Shulman wrote about the Nike Sites — the town’s reaction, and how it dealt with frisky GIs — in his novel Rally Round the Flag, Boys!

In 1958, the book became a movie. Newman and Woodward played characters based on town official Ralph  Sheffer and his wife Betty. They soon moved here — and never left.

The defense system was outdated from the moment it opened. In 1960, control was transferred from the US Army to the National Guard. The Nike Sites were closed 3 years later.

The Bayberry Lane barracks are now the Aspetuck Health District office; behind it is the Westport Astronomical Society’s observatory. (Now it makes sense why those structures are there, right?)

A typical Nike site — much like the North Avenue one. Missiles were buried underground.

For years the North Avenue site — just north of Staples High School — was abandoned. In 1973, the US government transferred control of the land to the town.

Neither CNN nor Newman’s memoir mention what happened next.

The Westport Astronomical Observatory — the former Nike Site launch center on Bayberry Lane — in 1975.

On October 1 of that year, a ceremony was held.  Paul Newman took part.

He called it “a great day for Westport.”  The Staples band played a couple of tunes, including — inexplicably — “On Wisconsin” and Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4.”

Paul Newman (far left) at the Nike Site ceremony on October 1, 1973. From left: 2 unidentified men; 1st Selectman John Kemish. (Photo courtesy of Jim Kemish)

First Selectman John Kemish said, “The land once needed for war will now be dedicated to the pursuit of peace.  The property will now be redeveloped by our Board of Education as a facility for our children.”

It took a while for that to happen.

A plan to create a “Workshop to Nike” for Staples students — with bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, storage space, dorm rooms and a dining hall for any school group to use — was never completed.

Project Adventure — a one-quarter physical education option — installed a ropes course, high wire and 30-foot balance beam there. It too was abandoned.

Generations of Staples graduates recall the Nike Site as an overgrown, unpatrolled area — perfect for teenage mischief, tantalizingly close to the school.

Finally, the town found good use for the land. Today — shorn of any trace of both the military and its then-derelict state — it is the site of Bedford Middle School.

Few people remember those days. Fewer still remember the Paul Newman connection.

The North Avenue Nike site today.

Roundup: Halloween Parade, Mike Sansur, Paul Newman …

Halloween comes early!

The annual downtown Children’s Halloween Parade is set for next Wednesday (October 26). Kids and parents meet at the Post Road East/Main Street intersection at 3:30 p.m.

They’ll march up Main Street, turn right to Avery Place, then turn left on Myrtle Avenue to Town Hall and Veterans Green. Children may trick-or-treat along Main Street and outside Town Hall. 

Entertainment, refreshments and a small gift will be provided on Veterans Green across from Town Hall at 4 p.m. 

The Parks and Recreation Department, Westport Downtown Association and Westport P.A.L. are sponsoring the event. It’s for all children — “especially those 8 and under.”

NOTE: There is no parkin on Main Street between 2 and 4 p.m. during the parade.

Seen at a previous Halloween parade.

=======================================================

The Westport Education Association is raising funds to honor one of its own.

Beloved Staples High School technology education teacher Mike Sansur was killed Saturday, when his vehicle was rear-ended on I-95. His 21-year-old son — who is studying to be a teacher too — is hospitalized with serious injuries.

A GoFundMe page will help defray medical costs for Mike’s son, and help with future college costs for his 2 high school daughters.

The WEA says, “Mike touched the hearts of all students who walked through his door. A former student said was the “the only class where I felt like I belonged. He opened up a world of possibilities, and a desire to learn more. He taught the importance of attention to detail, design, and craftsmanship, which influenced me to pursue architecture. As I write this, the lamp he helped me build is still on my desk. Its light will not go out.”

Click here to contribute, and for more information.

Mike Sansur

=======================================================

In the wake of “The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man” — Paul Newman’s new memoir — it’s hard to keep up with media mentions.

But a story in the current issue of The New Yorker caught my eye.

Twice, writer Louis Menand references the book’s genesis: over 100 interviews with and about the actor, conducted by his screenwriter friend Stewart Stern.

But in 1991, Newman asked Stern to stop. In 1998, Newman “took the cassettes to the dump and burned them all.”

Later, Menand mentions the incident again: “the auto-da-fé at the town dump seems a pretty clear indication that Newman did not want a memoir.”

The New Yorker is well known for its rigorous fact-checking.

It seems pretty clear that “the town dump” is our town dump. After all, this is where Newman lived. It’s where he kept the tapes.

But wait! We don’t have a “town dump.” It’s a “transfer station.”

And there’s no place there to burn anything.

So … maybe Paul Newman did not burn those hundreds of tapes here, but somewhere else?

Or maybe they were never burned at all?!

=======================================================

One of the major themes of “From the Mississippi Delta” — the current Westport Country Playhouse production — is civil rights.

That’s inextricably tied in with voting rights. So — with an election looming next month — Westport’s League of Women Voters is offering political information in the Playhouse lobby through the show’s run. It ends on October 30.

For over 70 years, the LWV has been a non-partisan Westport institution. They do not support individual candidates; instead they advocate for voter education and enfranchisement. They actively register voters, and organize candidate debates.

Before each performance of “From the Mississippi Delta,” LWV volunteers will offer information on times, locations and requirements for voting in the November 8 mid-term election, including how to get an absentee ballot and online registration.

They will conduct in-person voter registration for people with valid identification (driver’s license, passport, or Social Security card).

The LWV will also explain the ballot referendum about adding days to voting in Connecticut. Right now, we are one of only one 4 states that limits voting to one day.

=======================================================

Before Halloween and Election Day, there’s another holiday.

United Nations Day is not a big one. Except for the people who believe in things like, um, world peace.

To celebrate, the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut is sponsoring a talk and Q-and-A at the Westport Library (October 24, 7 p.m.).

Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-founder of the Yale Forum on Religion & Ecology, will speak on “Reimagining Our Environmental Future Together.” Her goal is to inspire people to “preserve, protect and restore the earth community.”

After nearly 3 COVID years away from cabaret,  Leslie Orofino is back. And “Laughing at Life.”

This Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Lecture honors the founder of the UNASC. She was  a longtime Westporter, and advocate for all things UN-related.

====================================================

Speaking of world peace: World-famous photojournalist (and 1991 Staples High School graduate) Lynsey Addario has spent more than 2 decades reporting in the face of conflict, corruption and censorship. She’s done it in the Middle East and Africa; now she capturing the horrors of war in Ukraine.

On November 9, she’ll receive a “Courage in Journalism” award from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

The virtual ceremony is set for November 9 (5:30 p.m.). CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell will host. Click here for free registration, and more information. (Hat tip: Naree Viner)

Lynsey Addario

=====================================================

Westport’s prized vocalist joins director (and fellow townie) Louis Pietig in 2 performances at New York City’s Don’t Tell Mama.

“Laughing at Life” — that’s the show’s name — is a “foot-stomping, life-affirming journey of love.” It includes songs by Alberta Hunter, Fats Waller, Cole Porter, Bob Dylan and many others.

The first show is this Saturday (October 22); the next is Sunday, October 30. Both are at 4 p.m. There’s a $20 cover, with a 2-drink minimum. Click here for reservations.

Leslie Orofino

=================================================

Not much gets by Bob Weingarten.

He spotted frost yesterday morning on a Morningside Drive South roof.

“It’s the first of the season,” he reports.

Spring arrives in 152 days.

Frosty roof. (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

=======================================================

Autumn continues to awe. Jonathan Alloy sends along today’s spectacular “Westport … Naturally” foliage. It’s at Long Lots Elementary School. Similar scenes can be found all over town.

But not for long.

(Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

=======================================================

And finally …  On this date in 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in the Mississippi woods. Six people, including 3 band members, were killed.

(“06880 relies entirely on reader support. Please click here to help.)

Roundup: Paul Newman, Free Money, Brooks Corner …

The Paul Newman story continues.

In the aftermath of a 6-part television series on the legendary actor/race car driver/philanthropist, attention is now focused on a posthumous memoir.

“The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man” — set for official publication tomorrow — has an extraordinary back story. Melissa Newman — one of his and Joanne Woodward’s daughters — spoke about it, in a long story in yesterday’s New York Times.

His long life in Westport is mentioned, of course — and there’s a photo from inside his North Avenue home.

Click here for the full, fascinating story. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

==================================================

A recent “06880” Roundup story on free money — well, money that’s yours, but is being held unbeknownst to you by the Connecticut state treasurer — intrigued Ken Stamm. (Click here and stop reading immediately, to go to the website.)

In August, he had already gone hunting for hidden treasure. When he returned to the site following the “06880 notice, he found good news: Notarization is no longer required.

The bad news: Despite the website’s promise that you will be “reunited with your money as quickly as possible,” Ken says “it appears nobody’s home.”

Despite duly filing a valid claim with all evidence online (and keepin records of everything), he has yet to receive a response.

“Apparently,” Ken says, “this issue is enough of a problem to rise to one of the top 6 on which one of the state treasurer candidates is running.”

=======================================================

COVID is still with us.

Curbside pick-up — not so much.

Except at Brooks Corner.

In the small shopping plaza on Main and Elm Streets, the first three parking spots are reserved for store employees to scurry out and — with the windows down or trunks popped — deliver goods to well-protected customers/drivers.

But not all retailers.

You can’t drive up and pick up your Brooks Brothers suit (or even a tie). Before New England Hemp Shop Farm opened, you had to park and walk inside for your CBD oil, topicals and edibles.

Nope. The 3 spots are for Lux, Bond & Green only.

I’m not sure how that little perk came about — or why it continues. But it sure seems like those are 3 parking spots everyone in Brooks Corner would like back.

Including — probably — Lux Bond & Green.

=======================================================

Yesterday — for the 12th year in a row — the Westport Woman’s Club team took part in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Sherwood Island State Park. Team members posed below:

From left: Vivien Rosenberg, Audrey Rabinowitz, Barbara Raffel, Arlene Johnson, Kate Weber, Toni Donahue, Leah Scherzer.

=======================================================

Also yesterday: a Westport Library’s free concert.

Andrew Wilk produced the event, featuring American String Quartet violinist Peter Winograd and famed pianist Rohan De Silva. They met at Juilliard.

Peter Winograd and Rohan De Silva. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

=======================================================

“Busy as a bee” is not hyperbole.

Werner Liepolt captured a swarm recently. They gathered pollen from English ivy and delivered it to their hive. It’s one more piece — though often unseen — of “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Werner Liepolt)

=======================================================

And finally … Jeanne-Paule Marie “Jeannine” Deckers  — aka The Singing Nun– was born today in 1933, in Brussels. The singer-songwriter/guitarist (and nun) reached the top of the charts with her upbeat tune “Dominique” in late 1963. A few weeks later the Beatles arrived in the US, and changed the music industry forever.

She and her close friend Annie Pécher died by suicide in 1985. They took overdoses of barbiturates and alcohol. In a note, they wrote that they wished to be buried together with the funeral rite of the Catholic Church.

(“06880” prays for reader support. Please click here to contribute.)

 

Roundup: [UPDATE] Book Display, Book Sale, Wine …

[UPDATE] Several readers have pointed to a Westport Journal story that includes a photo of the banned book display at the Staples High School library. The book covers are exhibited, and students could browse the contents.

I have removed a story posted earlier today, citing a reader who emailed me saying she had changed her mind about the display, after learning that the book jackets had been covered.

That appears to be erroneous information. I have deleted this story, and will also remove other comments pertaining to it.

I apologize for posting her story.

=====================================================

The “garden” part of Westport Community Gardens is clear to anyone wandering by the 100 plots just south of Long Lots Elementary School. They’re beautiful, and bountiful.

But the “community” part is just as important. Led by Lou Weinberg — and with plenty of help from everyone else — there’s as much camaraderie and spirit as there are vegetables, flowers and birds.

Yesterday, the Gardens community celebrated with a fall harvest party. Dozens of families shared friendship, music, pizza, gelato — and of course, plenty of salads.

Community Gardens fall harvest party.

=======================================================

No, you did not miss the Westport Library’s summer book sale.

The mega-event has been moved to fall. This year, it’s Friday, November 11 through Monday, November 14.

There are thousands of gently used books for children and adults in over 50 categories: non-fiction, fiction, romance, cookbooks, antiquarian, plus music CDs, and movie and TV series DVDs. Also, “a limited selection of artworks and ephemera.” 

Westport resident Joseph Califano — President Carter’s Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare — has donated dozens of books signed and inscribed to him, from his personal library.

There’s a new “Fiction for $1 Room”: an entire conference room filled with hardcover fiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, young adult fiction and paperback novels — all just $1 each.

Also: a large selection of holiday-themed books, CDs and DVDs. Crank up that Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!

Click here for information on prices, hours (and early-bird access).

Westport Library book sale.

=====================================================

Last night’s hunter’s moon was gorgeous.

“06880” readers sent plenty of photos. Here’s the view from Sherwood Mill Pond …

(Photo/Matt Murray)

… and Long Island Sound:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

======================================================

Westporters love wine.

Which is why the Sunrise Rotary Club’s next event is such a winner.

“Westport Uncorked” (November 18, 6:30 p.m., the Inn at Longshore) is “a wonderful evening of dozens of fine wines (and heavy hors d’oeuvres).

Every dollar raised goes directly to charities supported by Sunrise Rotary. Click here for tickets, and more information.

=======================================================

Staples High School Class of 1978 graduate Dave Ruden served as chair emeritus of this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. He lost his mother to the disease.

Ruden’s day job is publisher of The Ruden Report — the go-to multi-platform site for coverage of Fairfield County sports. So he put out the word to all 16 FCIAC schools — asking all sports, all seasons to help.

Over 60 responded, raising funds and walking yesterday at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk.

Among them: Staples baseball, cheer, boys ice hockey and girls tennis volleyball.

The Staples boys soccer program participated too — big time. Led by tri-captain Alex Laskin, they raised $9,428. That was the most of any FCIAC team — and 5th highest, among the 284 groups that raised funds.

Way to go, all you Wreckers!

Boys soccer varsity team, at the Alzheimer’s Walk. (Photo/Mark Sikorski)

=======================================================

Speaking of sports: On Election Day night, you may be cheering or crying.

Earlier in the day, your kids will definitely cheer.

That is, if they’re part of the Staples High School cheer team’s clinic (November 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). It’s open to children in grades kindergarten through 8 (

The $75 fee includes lunch and a t-shirt. It’s a fundraiser for the team. Click here to register, and for more information.

The Staples High School cheer team.

=======================================================

“The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man” — Paul Newman’s memoir — will be published October 18.

Next month (November 20, 3 p.m.), it’s the topic of a Westport Country Playhouse discussion.

Who better to talk about the beloved actor/philanthropist/race car driver — and longtime Westporter — than Melissa Newman? She wrote the book’s foreword — and is his daughter.

She’ll be joined by Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist, who served WCP co-artistic director with Newman’s wife, actor Joanne Woodward.

An audience Q-and-A will follow the talk.

Tickets are $45, and include a copy of the book. To purchase, and for more information, click here.

Melissa Newman

================================================

In August, “06880” reported on Steve Bannon’s podcast about Westport. The segment alleged that our town is run by an “unelected Marxist Politburo.”

It included an interview with the editor of CD Media. The initials stand for “Creative Destruction,” which is “reopening newspapers up and down the Colonies.”

CD Media’s chief investigative correspondent and senior editor Christine Dolan comes to Westport on November 1 (6:45 p.m., Westport Library). She’ll bring her “American Conversation” series, to discuss “How Public Policy is Putting Our Children at Risk.” The event is co-sponsored by Children’s Health Defense, the anti-vaccine group chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Among the topics her panel will address:

  • “Significant increase in child human trafficking”
  • “Exponential increase in youth deaths from fentanyl”
  • “Alarming increase in suicides of young people”
  • “Decrease in mastery of basic academic skills.”

Click here for tickets and more information. (Hat tip: Tom Prince)

Promotional photo for CD Media’s November 1 event.

=======================================================

Soccer’s World Cup kicks off next month, in Qatar.

Games will be played primarily from what is early morning to mid-afternoon, Eastern Standard Time. An “06880” reader named Fernando asks:

“What are the bars and other places in the area that will be open for all the matches? Are there any places that did this in 2018 that can be counted on to do it again, or new venues that will do so?”

If you know the answer, click “Comments” below.

=====================================================

The praying mantis is Connecticut’s state insect. (I know, I know …)

A pair of “06880” readers had the same idea this weekend: send a photo, for “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/Ken Yormark)

(Photo/Jill Grayson)

=======================================================

And finally … contrary to what I learned in school, Christopher Columbus did not “discover” America. It was already here — and was home to a thriving population.

It took hundreds of years, but today we celebrate the indigenous people of North America — those millions  who were here first.

Roundup: New Apartments, Paul Newman, TAP Sleep …

In October 2016, “06880” ran a story about 785 Post Road East.

A developer hoped to tear down the apartment building between the Toyota dealer and what was then Westport Wash & Wax. He’d clean up the land, and build a new office/retail/food store complex, plus residential units.

The structure was dilapidated. But the 16 units were some of the most affordable in Westport.

Because they were built before 1990, they did not count toward the number of Westport’s affordable units, to satisfy the 8-30g formula.

The former apartment building at 785 Post Road East.

Finally — nearly 5 years later — the building was demolished last month.

In its place will be 14 luxury apartments: 8 townhouse units with garages underneath, and 6 flat-style units. Ten are 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom units; the other 4 will have 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom.

The complex will also include a 5,000-square foot retail/office building, in front of the apartments. There will be 4 buildings, in total.

Artist’s rendering of 785 Post Road East.

The new structures are reminiscent of other recent construction at 793 Post Road East, at the foot of Long Lots Road. That complex replaced a small building that had been both a stationery store and a residence.

=======================================================

Paul Newman sometimes broke the Westport speed limits.

Then he took his cars to the race track. Lime Rock Park was one of his favorites.

Now, the upstate raceway has named the not-quite-straight (but very fast back stretch) “Paul Newman Straight.”

Lime Rock also announced a partnership with the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the non-profit that helps over 20,000 seriously ill children and family members each year, free of charge. Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Frank Rosen)

=======================================================

Having trouble sleeping? Never feel fully rested?

TAP Strength can help your ZZZs.

The wellness center is sponsoring a talk with Sarah Swanberg, doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. She’ll discuss natural sleep solutions.

It’s September 27 (7 p.m., TAP Strength, 180 Post Road East). It’s free, but space is limited. Email nancy@tapstrength.com to reserve a spot.

=======================================================

I’m not sure whether this photo is more appropriate for “the dog days of summer” or “taking a rest on Labor Day weekend.” Either way, it’s a perfect Sunday shot for our “Westport … Naturally” series.

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

=======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1781, 44 Spanish settlers founded El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels). Today, the name of the city is simply “Los Angeles.”

 

Roundup: Tutti’s, Kugel, Newman & Redford …

A man with a big heart needs a new one.

And one of Westport’s most big-hearted restaurants is helping.

Jimmy Nuzzo — known to many as “DJ Jimmy Jams” — was born with a congenital heart defect. After open-heart surgery at age 7, he lived a healthy life for years. He owns Dance to the Music Entertainment, and is a loving husband and father.

Now he needs a new heart — and liver.

Jimmy Nuzzo (3rd from left), with his family.

On Sunday, August 28 (4 to 7 p.m.), Tutti’s on Riverside Avenue is offering a $25 penne with meatball dinner — large enough to feed 2 people. It’s to-go (and cash) only. 100% of the proceeds go to help Jimmy.

Mangia!

=====================================================

Speaking of dining (though a different cuisine):

Chabad of Westport hosts “Kugel with a Twist” (September 7, 7 p.m.).

The Nosher editor Shannon Sarna Goldberg and Connecticut food blogger Liz Arronson Rueven will chat about modern takes on Jewish comfort food.

It’s free, and open to the community. However, attendees are asked to bring one kosher item (dried fruit, raisins, dates, nuts, tomato/spaghetti sauce, cereals, oatmeal, jelly, canned tuna, ketch, mustard, mayo, vegetable/corn oil) to stock Chabad’s mobile kosher food pantry, to arrive this fall.

Anyone donating $180 to held fight food insecurity will receive a signed copy of Sarna’s “Modern Jewish Comfort Food.”

Click here to register, and for more details.

Eat!

Kugel

===================================================

Longtime Westporters Carl Addison Swanson and his editor Jo Ann Miller have just published their 54th book,

It details Swanson’s experiences — some fictional — during his 1969 Vietnam tour. tour.

“365 Days and a Wake-up” is “not your normal war novel with blood, guts and gore,” Swanson says.

“I was watching ‘M*A*S*H,’ the movie, on late night TV, and remembered some of the humorous things, amidst the insanity, of events which occurred. I attempted to capture them.”

Swanson, known for his fast-paced, plot-driven narratives as well as his prolific publications, owns a Bermuda publishing house, and is a senior editor at a national magazine.

“365 Days” is available Labor Day. The hardback version follows in mid-October. Click here to order. Click here for Swanson’s website.

=======================================================

Paul Newman has been in the news lately.

The actor/car racer/philanthropist died in 2008, but his life in Westport with Joanne Woodward is featured in the CNN/HBO film “The Last Movie Stars.”

Arthur Klausner sends along a recent Tweet that “stars” Newman’s friend, Robert Redford. In the clip from 1980, the former Weston resident recalls a long-running practical joke the two men played on each other, involving melted-own automobiles and their homes.

Arthur wonders how long the “garden sculpture” remained at Newman’s North Avenue home.

=====================================================

The Levitt Pavilion has just added a new ticketed show.

Orebolo — featuring Rick Mitarotonda, Peter Anspach and Jeff Arevalo of Goose — take the stage on September 7 (7 p.m.).

The trio has built a national following nationwide. Formed during the initial COVID surge, they shared a home. They learned new covers, and explored Goose’s deep catalog acoustically.

Tickets are $15 (members) and $18 (non-members, plus a $2 facility fee). Member pre-sale is active now; public tickets are available Monday (August 22) at noon. Click here to order, and for more information.

Orebolo

In other Levitt news, an opening band has been added to this Sunday’s (August 21, 6:30 p.m.) Allison Russell ticketed show.

She hand-picked Bailen, after opening with them at the Edmonton Folk Fest. Children under 12 are free (with an adult in the BYO-lawn chair section).

As for Allison: she released a new single yesterday, featuring Brandi Carlile:

======================================================

Also this weekend: a pair of Friends of Sherwood Island State Park programs.

Tomorrow (August 20, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.), 2 interns with a big net will set up on the beach across from the Nature Center. They’ll show how many creatures they can pull out of Long Island Sound.

On Sunday (August 21, 2 to 3:30 p.m.), butterfly expert Michele Sorensen will lead a walk. She’ll start at the Nature Center porch, then explore nearby gardens and dunes for a variety of species. Buckeyes, swallowtails, sulphurs, fritillaries, monarchs, skippers and pearl crescents are all possible. It’s suitable for ages 5 and up.

Click here for more information.

Monarch butterfly (Photo/Tammy Barry)

====================================================

Native Westporter and Pepperidge Farm manager Agnes “Aggie” Veno died peacefully last week, with her family by her side. She was 67.

Aggie was passionate about arts and crafts, and participated in craft fairs throughout Fairfield County. She was especially good at crocheting. She was also an excellent cook and baker, who enjoyed gatherings with her extended family.

She was an avid volunteer at St. Luke Church too.

She is survived by her mother Marie, sister Joann (Steve) Porch, godson Nicholas Vena, Jr., and many cousins, including Sadye Bella Bustillo, who had a special place in her heart. In addition to her father Andrew, she was predeceased by her brother, Andrew J. Veno, Jr.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held today (Friday, August 19, 10 a.m., St. Luke Church). Interment will follow at Assumption Cemetery in Greens Farms.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. To send an online condolence, click here.

Aggie Veno

===================================================

One more rainbow photo from last night — this one perfect for “Westport … Naturally.”

Koda lives on Soundview Drive. But he’s a frequent visitor to Old Mill Grocery, around the corner.

(Photo/Karalyn Hood)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of last night’s beauty, enjoyed by Koda (and many “06880” photographers):

(To share a pot of gold — or just a few pennies — with “06880,” please click here. Support for this blog is greatly appreciated!)

Roundup: Pivot Ministries, Ed Capasse’s Clarinet, Paul Newman’s Cars …

Today dawned gloriously.

And the weekly Sunday morning Compo Beach service — sponsored by several local churches — welcomed back the Pivot Ministries.

Their special brand of song and testimony got the day off to a glorious start, for a large group of worshipers. Today’s service was hosted by the United Methodist Church. (Hat tip: Gloria Smithson)

Pivot Ministries, at Compo Beach this morning. (Photo/Karen Como)

=======================================================

Yesterday’s story about Ed Capasse, and his appearance as a Staples High School marching band trumpeter on a 1946 Saturday Evening Post cover drawn by Stevan Dohanos, drew several great comments.

It also drew a fascinating note from Dave Matlow.

The longtime Westport photographer says that once, in Capasse’s law office, they discussed a replica of the painting, which hung on the wall.

Capasse told Matlow that he did not actually play the trumpet. He was a clarinetist. But Dohanos thought a clarinet was too hard or time-consuming to draw — so Capasse ended up with the brass instrument.

Now, can anyone answer this question: How did Capasse play in the marching band and on the football team, simultaneously?

Ed Capasse, in the 1948 Staples High School yearbook.

=======================================================

Speaking of music:

The 3-day Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition ended last night, with an awards ceremony at MoCA Westport.

And the winner of the $10,000 grand prize is …

… Russian-born Artem Kuznetsov.

The other 3 finalists — selected through a worldwide audition — earned $2,500 each.

Directed by noted Westport native Alexander Platt, the competition is in its 50th year. It includes master classes, lectures,  and performances. The jury chair was internationally famed — and Westport resident Frederic Chiu.

A celebration of the Heida, featuring alumni finalists, is set for November 19 at MoCA Westport. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Alexander Platt (far left) with 2022 Heida Hermanns finalists (from left): Nathan Cheung, Katharine Bensen, Aaron Kurz and winner Artem Kuznetsov.

Meanwhile, when the competition was over, a young pianist — perhaps a future Heida Hermanns Competition winner — tried out MoCA’s magnificent Steinway.

(Photos/Leslie LaSala)

=======================================================

The original home at 2 Owenoke Park dates back to 1910.

But this is hardly a beach shack. The 4,400-square foot 2-story colonial sprawls so widely, I could not fit it all into one camera shot.

(Photos/Dan Woog)

It’s a fine-looking home. But enjoy it while you can.

Because, yes, that’s a “Demolition” sign plastered on the first floor, in between some of the many windows.

The property sold for $3,112,500 in June. The new owners plan a new home, with a pool.

Here’s the FEMA-compliant look:

=======================================================

Lisa Seidenberg writes:

“Friday’s knife attack on author Salmon Rushdie brought some thoughts to mind.

“One is that, while violence has become an unfortunate norm in our country, it  seems so incomprehensible and despicable that physical violence is inflicted on a writer. The ‘fatwa’ or death decree issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini was in 1989 — long before the perpetrator was born. That books and cartoons and art should inflame self-appointed religious zealots to violence is beyond disturbing.

“I  recall hearing Rushdie speak at Staples High School in 2015. It was memorable for the intense security surrounding the event. One passed through a checkpoint like at an airport. Purses were inspected. Backpacks were not allowed at all into the building, presumably to stop a makeshift bomb. Some parents objected, but in the end, it was great exercise in free speech and example to students.

“The Westport speech was riveting. Rushdie was well-spoken and erudite, and had a surprisingly sharp and witty sense of humor. He is a product of upper echelon British schools, and his language reflected that.

“In retrospect, I am thankful that so much security was in place in Westport. Sadly, protection must be provided, not only for politicians but for artists and writers who speak bravely.

For more on Rushdie’s Westport appearance, click here.

Salman Rushdie/© Beowulf Sheehan http://www.beowulfsheehan.com

===================================================

Bonus feature! Remarkable Theater has just added a special film.

“Minions” will be shown at the Imperial Avenue drive-in tomorrow (Monday, August 15, 8 p.m.; gates open at 7 for tailgating).

“Girls Trip” follows on Wednesday (August 17; 8:15 start, 7:15 gate).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

=============================================

Magnus and Lavinia Larsson are Food Rescuers.

Yes, it’s capitalized. Food Rescue US is an app that actually makes you want to look at your phone.

The idea is spectacularly simple. Food services — grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, companies — register. When they have extra food — at the end of the day, after an event, whatever — they post it online.

Individuals register too. They check the app when it’s convenient. If they see someplace nearby, they agree to pick it up.

Then they deliver it to social service agencies — soup kitchens, shelters, veterans facilities, etc. — that have also registered with Food Rescue US.

Magnus reminds “06880” readers: “There are lots of people less fortunate, and also lots of food waste. Yesterday, Lavinia and I brought generous donations from Whole Foods (thanks, Siobhan!) to an agency in Bridgeport. They’ll distribute it in the community.”

To learn more, click here.

======================================================

Most of the Paul Newman news this year has been about “The Last Movie Stars”: the HBO 6-part series on the longtime Westport actor and his wife, Joanne Woodward.

This one is about his cars.

When he got into auto racing, Newman was as successful as with acting (and, later, philanthropy). He and Carl Haas formed a team with drivers like Mario and Michael Andretti. They racked up 108 Indycar wins,

In October, those cars — and other Newman/Haas items — will be auctioned off in 78 lots, by RM Sotheby’s. Click here for details.

During the 1960s and ’70s though — when hitchhiking around town was a thing — countless Westporters knew Paul Newman as the driver who would always pick them up.

His car back then was a Volvo or VW. “Hop in, son!” he’d say.

And off we went.

(Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

Pual Newman (left) with his friend, the late Westporter Michael Brockman.

======================================================

This is a laugh: Save the date (October 15).

Homes with Hope’s 15th annual Stand Up event — a comedy fundraiser for the multi-service housing and food provider — is set for Fairfield University’s Quick Center. It’s the first time live since COVID struck.

The headliner is Pat McGann. He’s a veteran of Madison Square Garden, David Letterman and Stephen Colbert.

Ticket details will be available soon.

Pat McGann

=====================================================

Longtime Westport dentist Dr. Victor Oliver died earlier this year. He was 83.

He graduated from Providence College, then studied dentistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He served as a dentist in the Air Force in Albany, Georgia for two years.

Following his service, Victor and his wife Pauline settled in Westport. He opened a home dental office in 1968, and practiced there for 50 years.

Victor was an avid tennis player. He and Polly loved vacationing in Florida, and weekend trips to Nantucket. His family says, “He will be remembered for his gentle dental care and his dedication to his patients. He was a kind and generous man who always made time to help anyone in need. He was known for being a quiet reserved man — unless you were sitting in his dental chair, where he was the most talkative, trying to make you at ease.”

Victor is survived by his wife of 59 years Pauline; daughters Kimberly (Jim) Vallieres of West Hartford, and Robin (Sean) Ross of Holly Springs, North Carolina, and grandchildren Sean Heintz, Emma Heintz, Olivia Heintz and her fiancé Jonathan Davis, Audrey Ross and Jack Ross.

Donations in Victor’s name came be made to the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 370036, West Hartford, CT 06137, where for many years he enjoyed watching his daughter Kim play violin.

Dr. Victor Oliver

=================================================

Many “Westport … Naturally” photos show living things that fly, buzz, bite, crawl, bark, meow or do similar things.

Some show blooms and buds.

This one just sits there. It’s majestic — and often overlooked. But it’s an anchor of downtown, and as much a part of our natural world as any other creature or plant.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

=======================================================

And finally … Bill Pitman died earlier this week, in California. He was 102.

You don’t know his name. But you know his music.

For decades, he was a session musician. As part of the Wrecking Crew — a “loosely organized corps of peerless Los Angeles freelancers who were in constant demand by record producers to back up headline performers … (an ensemble that )turned routine recording sessions and live performances into extraordinary musical moments” — he backed up the Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, Monkees, Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, Ricky Nelson, Jan and Dean, Johnny Rivers, the Byrds, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, the Everly Brothers, Peggy Lee and “nearly every prominent performer of the era.”

Pitman’s work ranged from “Strangers in the Night” and “The Way We Were” to “Be My Baby,” “Good Vibrations” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”

He also worked on TV and film scores, cartoon soundtracks — you name it.

Click here for Bill Pitman’s very intriguing obituary.

Roundup: Bridgewater, Blight, Sunrise Rotary …

Want to buy a hedge fund?

Or at least, rent their building?

A “For Lease” sign stands on Weston Road, at the entrance to Bridgewater Associates’ Glendinning. The parking lot has been fairly empty, since the start of COVID.

Bridgewater’s Glendinnin gPlace campus, off Weston Road.

The sign advertises 8,000 to 50,000 square feet. Cushing & Wakefield’s website lists only 7,553 square feet. The price is negotiable.

Bridgewater — the world’s largest hedge fund — now houses most employees at its Nyala Farm complex, off I-95 Exit 18.

The “For Lease” sign by Bridgewater’s Weston Road office park. (Photo/Matt Murray)

======================================================

There’s a new addition to the town’s “blight list.”

Westport’s Blight Prevention Board added 6 Ulbrick Lane, off Bulkley Avenue North, at its meeting this week.

It’s been vacant about 10 years. Grass has grown high outside; visitors report rodents and vermin indoors.

6 Ulbrick Lane (Photo/Jack Krayson)

Meanwhile, as first reported by Westport Journal, the house at 233 Hillspoint Road — diagonally across from Old Mill Grocery, now wrapped in blue after work construction was halted 2 years ago — has been taken off the blight list.

The Zoning Board of Appeals reached a settlement with the owners earlier this summer. Work was stopped after officials detected several permit violations.

Construction can begin again at 233 Hillspoin Road. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Also off the blight list: 1 Fresenius Lane, on Long Lots Road.

=======================================================

An all-star cast will be honored next Friday (August 19, 7:30 a.m., Greens Farms Church).

Westport Sunrise Rotary fetes Sam Gault, Vincent Penna Sr., Fire Chief Michael Kronick and Dr. James Wong.

Gault and Penna are longtime key volunteers at the club’s Great Duck Race fundraiser for many years. Chief Kronick is a longtime leader of the town’s fire service. Dr. Wong recently retired from his ophthalmology practice, after many years.

The public is invited to attend, and enjoy a buffet breakfast. To confirm, text Ron Holtz at 203-993-4970.

======================================================

The New York Times’ Ginia Bellafante weighs in on “The Last Movie Stars,” HBO’s 6-part series on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

She includes this reference to their life here:

“Once, Newman came home to their place in Westport, Conn., to find Joanne refashioning an outbuilding in crazy colors with ad hoc furniture — a place for them, she told him, to retreat to their carnality.”

That’s quite an image. To read the full piece, click here.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. The relationship is the focus of an HBO series.

=======================================================

I spotted this decal on a car yesterday, in the Trader Joe’s lot:

I’m surprised these parents don’t know for sure where their kids go to school.

=======================================================

Tatyana Hixson found this hiding among her tomatoes: a perfect “Westport … Naturally” shot. (Photo/Tatyana Hixson)

=======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1889, William Gray of Hartford was granted a patent for a “coin-controlled apparatus for telephones.”

The Last Movie Stars

“The Last Movie Stars” is a fascinating 6-part documentary on HBO Max.

Beginning Thursday (July 21), stream, it documents Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s decades-long careers — and partnerships, as spouses and actors.  

Ethan Hawkes is the director. Paul and Joanne’s youngest daughter, Clea, recommended him for the job.

He had great material to work with: transcripts from 1991 interviews Newman commissioned, with fellow actors, directors, even his first wife. He wanted a record to show that his life had not been charmed; that not everything came easily.

The interviews were taped. But Newman later destroyed the tapes at “the dump” — presumably, the one right here in Westport.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, on what looks like their Westport property (Photo/Dennis Jackson, courtesy of “CBS This Morning”

I learned all that, and much more, from a 10-minute preview today on “CBS Sunday Morning.” Ben Mankiewicz gives viewers a thorough look into the series. It includes mentions of the couple’s professional and personal difficulties, and Newman’s drinking,

But it also mentions their astonishing philanthropy (they gave away between $800 million and $1 billion, Clea estimates), and their deep love for each other. It grew even stronger after Woodward’s dementia diagnosis and — 10 days later — Newman’s own, of terminal cancer.

For decades, people here thought of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward not as Hollywood stars, but as Westport neighbors.

“The Last Movie Stars” will show the rest of the country why we were so glad they were here. (Click below for the “CBS Sunday Morning” story. Hat tip: Dennis Jackson)