Tag Archives: Paul Newman

Roundup: Cottage Cluster Housing, RTM Rules, Bill Mitchell …

On Monday (7 p.m., Zoom), the Planning & Zoning Commission will review text amendment application #835, for Cottage Cluster Developments. The amendment would create an opportunity for 100% affordable cottage cluster housing on town-owned land.

The targeted beneficiary of this text amendment is 655 Post Road East — Linxweiler House, across Crescent Road from McDonald’s.

The amendment would “promote sustainable development practices through smaller, more efficient housing and effective use of residential land, increase the diversity of housing choices by allowing for a grouping of smaller, single-family dwellings on one lot, and provide additional below market rate housing within Westport, located on lots owned by the Town of Westport.”

The proposed regulations would apply to 63 town-owned properties. However, regulations limits the number of developments in town to 5.

Deputy P&Z director Michelle Perillie says her department “is working to implement the goals of the Town of Westport Affordable Housing Plan, which recommends encouraging sustainably developed modular construction kits and prefabricated cottages to build multifamily and small houses quickly and efficient.”

All application materials may be viewed on the Town’s website. Click here to see all application materials. To see all eligible properties, scroll down to Text Amendment #835: “Cottage Cluster Developments.”

The meeting will be livestreamed on the town website, and aired on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Comments can be sent prior to the meeting: PandZ@westportct.gov or offered during the meeting. Click here for the Zoom link.

If passed, a text amendment would allow cluster cottage housing at Linxweiler House on the Post Road.


The Representative Town Meeting meets on Tuesday.

The night before (Monday, October 2, 7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the RTM Rules Committee meets.

They’ll address a petition, submitted by 38 electors. It says:

RESOLVED, that the full Westport RTM at its October 3, 2023 meeting affirms that the meaning of the term “Shall” in “Sec. A 162-6. – Agenda” of the “Representative Town Meeting Rules of Procedures” as found in Exhibit A of the “Code of Ordinances of Westport Connecticut” is to be “construed as being mandatory”, per the definition of the word “Shall” in “Sec. 1-2. – Definitions and rules of construction” and that “Sec. A 162-6. -Agenda” compels and requires the Moderator, or in the event of the Moderator’s inability to act, the Deputy Moderator or, in the event of the inability of both, the Town Clerk to place on the RTM meeting agenda such matters as petitioned by at least 20 Westport Electors not less than 14 days prior to a Representative Town Meeting.

The agenda item was submitted by Jeff Wieser. He’s the RTM moderator, and also chair of its Rules Committee.


Bill Mitchell — self-styled “socks salesman” and “doorman,” but actually one of Westport’s most beloved figures, thanks to his generosity, grace, spirit, and senses of humor and fun — will sell his last pair of socks, and open his last door, at Mitchells this Saturday.

He’s been his parents’ employee, then co-owner, and always the public face of the high-end, customer-centered clothing and jewelry store.

He’s retiring now, after 58 years with the family business. His squintillion friends are invited to say thanks and goodbye — or, more realistically, to share stories and laughs — this Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The coffee pot (well, its 2023 equivalent) will be on. There will be plenty to eat (as always).

It’s just another Saturday at Mitchells. But also one for the ages.

Bill Mitchell says goodbye.


Longtime Westporter Stacie Curran is proud of her town.

So she was very distressed to learn that “the hard-working, super-kind, smart, approachable construction crew” on the Post Road renovation project at Roseville/Hillspoint Roads and Bulkley Avenue “believe we are the most arrogant, horrid town of drivers they have ever worked among — well worse than Greenwich, Darien, Ridgefield (they named a few).”

They cited frequent behaviors: “cursing, speeding, flipping them off, not caring about safety…”

So Stacie did what Stacie does: She brought them homemade chocolate chip cookies, and pounds of donated coffee cake from The Porch at Christie’s and their Sweet P Bakery.

It helped.

Marlin (on the far right in the photo below, holding a tray of cookies and box of coffee crumb cakes) of Guerrera Construction Company said, “Westport, you’re not all that bad.”

But some of us are.

These guys are just doing their job. And their job is to make the Post Road safer, in the long run.

So don’t cruse, speed or flip them off.

Be kind. Smile. Wave.

And if you really care: Be like Stacie. Give them cookies and cakes, not the bird.

Smiles from the Post Road crew. (Photo/Stacie Curran)


Paul Newman died 15 years ago this week.

But his memory lives on. It’s particularly strong here in Westport, the town he lived in for 50 years, loved — and where he and his wife Joanne Woodward raised their family.

On October 10 (7 p.m., Westport Library), their daughter Melissa will launch her new book: “Head Over Heels: Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman, A Love Affair in Words and Pictures.”

She and her longtime friend — filmmaker/Remarkable Theater co-founder Doug Tirola — will chat, in the Trefz Forum. Melissa will share insights into her affectionately curated and lushly illustrated book, which offers a fresh perspective on her parents.

Newman will sign copies of the book too, which will be available for purchase there.


Staples Players staged 2 memorable productions of “The Laramie Project” (and one of “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later”).

Now there’s another Players connection with the ground-breaking play about a town’s reaction to the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard.

Staples Class of 2011 grad Matt Greenberg is producing a staged reading of “The Laramie Project” — with its originators, the Tectonic Theater Project.

And it will take place at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie.

The event is October 11 — the day before the 25th anniversary of the 21-year-old’s death.

Greenberg — who starred in Players’ “Curtains,” among other shows — is now assistant professor of acting and musical theater at Wyoming.

Click here for more details on the show.

Matthew Greenberg


Westport Police made 2 custodial arrests between September 20 and 27.

A woman was arrested for driving under the influence and failure to drive in the proper lane, following a 1-car accident at 11:30 p.m. on Cross Highway.

A man was arrested on 4 counts of failure to appear.

Police also issued these citations:

  • Failure to obey traffic control signals: 4 citations
  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 1
  • Failure to grant right of way: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 1.

Don’t drink and drive!


For 24 years, the non-profit Westport-based Oyebog Tennis Academy has supported underserved children in Cameroon, More than 20,000 children have participated in tennis programs starting at age 3.  Two OTA students earned full scholarships, and are competing on NCAA Division I college teams. 

This year the Staples girls tennis team raised thousands of dollars for OTA. But the need is great, as demand keeps growing.

Gently-used items — racquets, gear, shoes, even household items — will be shipped soon. Donations can be dropped off today through Saturday, September 30 at 104 Long Lots Lane.  

OTA will also sponsor a pro-am tennis event at the Country Club of New Canaan on September 30. The Bryan Brothers will compete against local players, and some of the best young players from Cameroon. Click here for tickets, and more information.


First, Make-a-Wish Connecticut announced the stars of their October 3 (6 p.m., Aitoro Appliance, Norwalk) “Taste of Wishes” event. Six boys and girls will have their wishes come true: They’ll cook with the area’s top chefs.

Now Make-a-Wish has announced the menus.

  • Jes Bengston: Swedish meatballs, pomme puree, apple and kohlrabi relish.
  • Matt Storch: Ricotta gnocchi “Rolled Live,” tossed with vodka sauce and garlic bread,
  • Robin Selden: Braised short ribs with shiitake beurre blanc and butternut squash puree, and salted dark chocolate Bridgewater chocolate chip cookies baked to order.
  • Dan Kardos: coconut mussels with basil and curry butter.
  • Anthony Kostelis: Tomato risotto with sundried peppers and taleggio.
  • Christian Petroni: Surprise dish.

Additional food vendors include Sweet Brioche Artisan Pastries, Forever Sweet, Copps Island Oysters, Crust Issues, Amit, Dave & Charlie’s Hometown Deli, Blind Rhino, Bartaco and Candy Connections.

A VIP ticket includes early entrance and a sneak peek, Prosecco, and great swag. Click here for VIP and general admission tickets, and more information.


Today’s wonderful “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from the wide-ranging and talented Johanna Keyser Rossi:

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … Terry Kirkman, who sang, played 2 dozen instruments, wrote music and formed the group the Association, died last weekend in California. He was 83, and suffered from congestive heart failure. Click here for a full obituary.

If you don’t remember their name, you know at least some of their songs:

(Every day, we “round up” the most important Westport news. If you appreciate our local journalism, please consider a tax-deductible contribution. Click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Lyman Library Talk Video, Kindergarten Change, Paul Newman’s Projectors …

Earlier today, Russian artillery killed 8 civilians and injured 13, in Westport’s sister city of Lyman, Ukraine.

Just 2 days ago, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and CNN’s Alisyn Camerota drew a large crowd, for their discussion of the town officials’ recent trip to the Donetsk region.

Plenty of others could not make the 2 p.m. event.

Fortunately, the Westport Library and Y’s Men of Westport and Weston taped it all. Click below, for a very important hour.


A little-publicized state law change may have big implications for Westport’s littlest residents.

And their parents.

Governor Lamont signed bill HB 06880 (a total coincidence; nothing to do with the name of this blog) into law on June 27.

It covers a variety of education topics. But one significant change is that beginning with the 2024-25 school year, the kindergarten age cutoff changes from December 31 that school year to September 1, so that any student entering kindergarten must already be 5 years old.

Because enrollment in private “5s” programs generally begins in early fall, families with students who will now be ineligible for kindergarten for the 2024-25 school year may need to think about private options.

Click here for the full bill. The relevant section begins on page 3. (Hat tip: Caroline Ferson)


Ever wanted to go inside Paul Newman’s projection room?

Now you can. It will just cost you at least $700.

Liveauctioneers.com posted this listing for “The Projection Room, Westport, CT”:

“Simplex 35 mm Projectors PR-1003 with Kowa Company Ltd. and other lenses; Kni-tron Xenon Lamp Houses L-100-3 (5134, 5138) with Simplex Electric Changes Overs SA5 (188C, 182C) …” — and 8 other lines of similar technical stuff.

Then came the money shot: “The Newman’s [sic] Westport, CT barn housed a full projection room for screening movies. The above-listed equipment is being sold as-is, to be de-installed and picked up by the buyer in Westport, CT at their expense.” Click here for more information, and to bid. (Hundreds of other Newman items are listed too.)

The projection equipment’s estimated worth is $1,500 to $3,000. The cost of de-installing it yourself in the late actor’s barn: priceless. (Hat tip: Frank Rosen)

A small part of Paul Newman’s projection equipment.


The teardown of 254 Hillspoint Road has been followed by demolition of a rock ledge.

The work has been followed closely, by the hundreds of people who walk daily between Compo and Old Mill Beach.

(Photo/Nathan Greenbaum)


David Bigelow — who lived most of his life in Westport, and with his wife Eunice helped turn Fairfield-based Bigelow Tea company. and its “Constant Comment,” into a national leader in flavored tea — died last month. He was 96.

A celebration of his life is set for August 25 (11 a.m., Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, Fairfield). Memorial contributions to the David and Eunice Bigelow Foundation can be made online, or to 201 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield, CT 06825.

Click here for a full CT Insider story. Click here for the full obituary.

David and Eunice Bigelow


Longtime Westporter Gerald “Jerry” Minsky died Thursday at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was 78.

A graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School of Coney Island, New York and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he earned an MBA from the University of Buffalo.

Jerry was an executive and mentor in the finance industry for many years. He was an innovator of computer leases and tax shelters, and was involved with the program that put the first camera on the moon.

His family says, “He was a world traveler, who always knew the best places to eat. He loved jazz and blues, and enjoyed cigars in the backyard. He played basketball, and was the first Ben Franklin Mascot.

“Jerry was also an avid tennis and pickleball player, and a late believer in the game of golf. He was an extremely intellectual person who loved reality TV, and family was the center of his world.”

Jerry is survived by his wife Lynne Minsky of Westport; sons Greg and Geoff;  grandchildren Jack, Maddie and Sadie Minsky; nephews Richard (Som) Stein and Daniel (Wannarawee) Stein; great-nephew Tankhun Stein, and his cherished dog, Mickey. He was predeceased by his sister Arlene.

A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Sunday, July 9, 3 p.m., Temple). To join a live stream and share a condolence message, click here. Shiva will be observed at the Minsky residence on Sunday following the service, and on Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Mozaic Senior Life (formerly Jewish Senior Services), 4200 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604.


Milkweed comes in many forms — all vital for monarch butterflies Here’s one, courtesy of Werner Liepolt, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.


And finally … on this date in 1889, the Wall Street Journal published its first edition.

(Hey, Mr. Businessman: “06880” is a great investment! If you appreciate what we do every day — and have done for 14 years — please consider a tax-deductible contribution. Please click here. Thank you!

Westport Country Playhouse: Next Act — Or Final Curtain?

For over 90 years the Westport Country Playhouse has entertained, inspired and awed theatergoers.

From the opening curtain in a converted tannery through the rest of the 20th century, “the Playhouse” became a launch pad for Broadway shows, an important stop for hundreds of actors, and an iconic Westport jewel.

Now, in its 92nd year, the Westport Country Playhouse is limping through a truncated season.

It might not make it to 93.

Classic shot of a classic theater.

I love the Playhouse. I was introduced to live theater there, through children’s shows. I’ve seen countless productions, plus concerts like Arlo Guthrie.

A highlight of my life was performing on its stage – the same one used by Henry Fonda, Paul Robeson, Helen Hayes, Eartha Kitt and James Earl Jones – for a “Moth” taping 3 years ago.

It is painful to write this story.

It would be more painful to lose the Playhouse entirely. But that may very well happen.

And it could happen very, very soon.

The Westport Country Playhouse is on precarious footing. The last 2 shows of its planned 5-play 2023 season have already been canceled. The third is in jeopardy.

In recent years, not enough seats have been filled. (Photo/Robert Benson)

Attendance has plummeted; so has the subscriber base.

As the core audience aged, there was little outreach to younger and newer residents. The Playhouse has virtually no social marketing – the best way to create buzz, and reach today’s theater-goers.

Artistic director Mark Lamos’ selection of plays failed to resonate with patrons. Now he’s departing, leaving no one at the helm.

If the theater goes dark, it will be almost impossible to put the lights back on.

All is not lost, however. A rescue plan has been floated.

As in past crises – most recently the early 2000s, when Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward rode to the rescue – this one has quintessential Westport roots.

Andrew Wilk, in the “Live From Lincoln Center” production truck.

Andrew Wilk is a 5-time Emmy-winning executive producer and director of television programming (and a renowned playwright, director and symphony conductor).

He moved to Westport 17 years ago, attracted in large part by the town’s support for the arts.

Wilk produced PBS’ legendary “Live from Lincoln Center” series for many years; served as chief creative officer for Sony Music Entertainment, and executive vice president for the National Geographic Channel (among many other accomplishments).

He created and developed last year’s 3-part PBS entertainment specials, shot at the Playhouse. (He worked on that project for almost 2 years – pro bono.)

Wilk spent months developing a new business strategy and turnaround plan. Covering everything from programming to union contracts, it outlines a path toward recovery and sustainability for an institution that for years has spent more than ticket sales, donors and grants bring in.

Wilk devised the plan on his own time. He’s willing to oversee it in the coming months – gratis.

So far, the Playhouse board has not accepted his broad, generous offer. Perhaps they think they must “save” the Playhouse, before creating a new artistic model.

Wilk proposes to save the Playhouse by reimagining it. First, a transitional season would begin rebuilding the audience through a robust season of well-known musical titles “In Concert.” They’d be headlined by a small number of Broadway stars, with an orchestra.  Concerts include evenings of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Jerry Herman, Rodgers & Hammerstein and others.

Those concert productions would be augmented by smaller, fully professional productions of recognizable shows, like “The Fantasticks” and “I Do! I Do!,” as well as classic comedies and dramas.

Back in the day, crowds lined up for comedies, dramas — and shows that were headed to Broadway. (Photo/Wells Studio)

There would be student productions too, with actors from Staples and area high schools and colleges, of shows like “Rent,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Falsettos,” plus “Jesus Christ Superstar” using local community groups, and Broadway stars in a few primary roles (thanks to Wilk’s extensive contacts).

Wilk estimated costs for every show, right down to transportation and rights fees. He’s addressed the thorny question of union contracts, and even figured out rehearsal schedules.

His plan appears to be the only one addressing the theater’s many urgent challenges.

The Westport Country Playhouse has been on the brink of disaster before. They’ve always pulled rabbits out of the hat (and, in the case of Newman and Woodward, conjured up a production that – harkening back to the Playhouse’s mid-20th century heyday – moved on to Broadway).

The world has changed since then. It’s changed even since Newman and Woodward’s “Our Town.”

This is our Westport Country Playhouse. It is our town.

But unless the people in charge of our town’s historic gem act quickly, decisively and creatively, the theater that last week was honored as a Literary Landmark may soon become just one more theatrical memory.

(The Westport Country Playhouse was asked to comment on its future. Board chair Anna Czekaj-Farber said: “Nothing new at the moment. We are getting ready for our New Works reading (Monday, June 5) our next Script in Hand on June 12, and Patti LuPone’s  great evening June 15.”)

Twenty years ago, Paul Newman helped save the Westport Country Playhouse. Can it be saved again?

Roundup: High Honors, Restaurant News, Playhouse Tours …

As graduation nears, every night brings a different celebration.

All are special. But the High Honors dinner at Staples last night was particularly meaningful.

Nearly 2 dozen students — the top 4% of the Class of 2023 — were honored for their achievements.

Each invited one teacher. Each educator spoke for a few minutes about “their” student.

Bonds between the teachers and teenagers were strong and deep. A wide variety of disciplines was represented: English, social studies, science, math and music.

There were stories of STEM students who found loves for literature and government; of conversations about life before and after school that transcended classrooms; of challenges made and surpassed.

Each student thanked their teachers — and their parents — for getting them where they are today.

There are many reasons to be fearful about the future of our world. Last night offered 21 reasons to be very, very optimistic.

High Honors students, front row (from left): Ryan Salik, Kyle Ambrose, Krishna Reddy, Matthew Shackelford, Tom Zhang, Jaden Mello, Eva Simonte, Quinn Mulvey, Meredith Mulhern, Sharmila Green, Lucia Wang, Rebecca Schussheim, Lilly Weisz. Rear:
Witt Lindau, Colin Morgeson, Nikhil Kanthan, Jet Tober, Katherine Valante, Reilly McCaffrey, Julia Herlyn, Janna Harrison Moore.


Two bits of culinary news, both from Bill Taibe:

Kawa Ni’s rooftop now offers cocktails, wine, beer, sake bombs and snacks “up top” on Fridays and Saturdays (5 to 9 p.m.). Seating is first-come, first-served.

The rooftop is available all other nights for private events. Email manager@kawaniwestport.com.

Meanwhile, Don Memo offers music every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. on, at the patio in front of the Post Road restaurant. (Westport’s original Town Hall, for those who remember.)

(Speaking of dining: Don’t forget our “Restaurants” tab at the top of the “06880” home page (and here). It’s a handy link to our sponsors — including one-click menus.)

Music at Don Memo. (Photo/JC Martin)


The taping was not until 11 a.m. And it was not a Westport story.

But an NBC camera crew was at Staples High School’s Laddie Lawrence track before 9 a.m. yesterday. They were setting up for a few shots of Craig Melvin — the anchor who lives in Westport — as part of a “Today” show piece on a father-son track coaching duo.

They’re from Pittsburgh. But who’ll notice?

NBC’s “Today” camera crew at Staples. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Briggs)


Also yesterday morning:

A Metro-North employee handed out computer and smartphone screen wipe cloths to commuters.

It was part of a “safety reminder initiative.”

On the back of the cloths is information about suicide prevention, including a phone number (800-273-TALK) and text (NEXT2U, to 741741) for people in crisis to use.

At the Westport train station yesterday. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


Have you ever wanted to go backstage at the Westport Country Playhouse?

On Saturday, June 10 (1 to 4 p.m.), you can do that for free. See where sets and costumes are made. Hang out in the green room downstairs, and peek in the dressing rooms where Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman and so many other stars once dressed.

The day includes kids’ activities, music, food trucks and beer tastings.

The box office will be open too, for special ticket discounts.

Former Playhouse company manager Bruce Miller, with some of the 500 head shots near the dressing rooms, underneath the stage.


Westport Police made 2 custodial arrests between May 24-30.

An investigation following a mail theft led to an arrest for illegal possession of personal ID, identify theft, and illegal trafficking in personal identification.

An investigation following complaint that a check with stolen, altered and deposited led to an arrest for larceny, identity theft and forgery.

Police also issued the following citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 2 citations
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Distracted driving, not cellphone: 1
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations: 1
  • Failure to comply with federal regulations for a flotation device: 1
  • Failure to comply with federal regulations for a distress signal: 1
  • Operating a boat without certification: 1
  • Operating an unregistered vessel: 1

    Boats are like cars: They must be registered! (Photo/Daniel Rosenkranz)


Yesterday’s early June weather was gorgeous. Sunset was early-June late; only 3 weeks remain until the days start getting shorter.

The sign at Hook’d said they’re open until 7:30 p.m. That’s part of their contract with the town.

But a few minutes after 7, this was the scene:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Looks like another summer of uncertainty for the beach concessionaire.

And another summer of big business at Old Mill Grocery & Deli, just down the road.


The Westport Library Adult Summer Reading Challenge returns for its 7th year. There’s a fresh set of categories, to keep readers involved from now through the end of August.

There are 25 challenges: Read a book about an antihero, or one that should be a movie, or one with a neuro=diverse protagonist … you get the idea. Click here, then scroll down for the challenges.

After reading a book, fill out this form. There’s a leaderboard, to track your progress (and see what others are reading).

There are only 2 rules: Each category may be filled only once. And each book can be used for only 1 category.

Happy reading!


Speaking of the Library:

Don’t forget tomorrow’s (Saturday, June 3, 7 p.m.) record release party. Verso Studios has produced the first vinyl record ever recorded, produced and released by a public library.

Tomorrow’s event features live performances from The Problem With Kids Today (New Haven), indie rock mainstay Ports of Spain (New Haven), Lulu Lewis duo Dylan Hundley & Pablo Martin (New York), and folk/Americana artist Kierstin Sieser.

The release party is free. A $25 ticket option includes a copy of Verso Records: Volume One (and a free drink). No record player? A digital copy will be available for $10.

Click here for more details about the record, and the release party.


The Verso Records release party is not the only entertainment in town tomorrow. In fact, it’s not the only one at that parking lot.

Grammy-winning Gen Z jazz artist Samara Joy takes the Levitt Pavilion stage for a 7:30 p.m. show. This is a ticketed event; click here for tickets, and more information.

Samara Joy


The spotlight still shines on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County will honor the longtime Westporters with a special President’s Award. It recognizes their “significant impact on arts, culture, children’s education and illness and environmental preservation” in the county.

The Daniel E. Offutt III Arts and Culture Empowerment (ACE) Awards breakfast is set for June 21, at Norwalk Shore & Country Club. Over 200 arts and culture leaders, legislators, artists and others will attend. Clea Newman will accept the honor.

Over the years, Newman and Woodward actively supported many organizations, including the Westport Library, Westport Historical Society and Westport Country Playhouse. They also dedicated themselves to land preservation in Connecticut, including  the Newman-Poses Preserve near their Coleytown home.

Paul founded, with A.E. Hotchner, the Newman’s Own Foundation. Since 1982, it has given more than $600 million to worthy causes. Paul’s interest in helping children with serious illnesses lead to the establishment of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

The breakfast will also honor Jenny Nelson of Westport. She’ll receive the Educator Award, for her work in Fairfield County.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.


The Westport Community Gardens — and “06880”‘s “Westport … Naturally” feature — proudly announce the birth of 4 killdeer chicks:

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … on this day in 1835, PT Barnum — the future mayor of Bridgeport -and his circus started their first tour of the US.

(Quit clowning around! Please click here to support “06880.” Thank you!)

Roundup: Dog Fest, Equity Study, Fire Danger …

This Sunday, Westport’s dog park really goes to the dogs.

The 7th annual Dog Festival takes over Winslow Park on May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event — produced by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS — celebrates all things canine.

The day includes guide dog and training demonstrations, a police K-9 presentation, an obstacle course (the winner gets a year’s supply of dog food), adoptables, kids activities, food trucks, information on non-profits, and more.

Prizes will be given for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds and dog that most looks like its owner. Dog owners can register for the competitions at the festival, or online.

Surrounding the main activities are over 60 pet-related vendors, picture taking, caricatures, face painting, balloon bending and giveaways.

Proceeds from the entrance fee of $10 per person, and $30 for a family of 4 will benefit nonprofit organizations. So far, over $36,000 has been donated by the Chamber to local groups.

Parking is available at business lots along Post Road East. Click here for more Dog Festival information.


For months, the Board of Education has discussed an “Equity Study Action Plan.” The goal is to help all students feel a sense of belonging.

The debate continued Monday night, for 3 hours. But one of the most compelling comments came not from a board member, but from a teenager.

One who cannot even speak.

Wynston Browne — an autistic Staples High School sophomore — has made remarkable progress over the past 2 years, using a spelling device. His parents and teachers realize now that a very keen and incisive mind had been locked away for over a decade. Wynston’s goal is to be a neuroscientist.

On Monday, Wynston typed. His words appeared on screen: “I want to do things that all kids my age do. I want to eat lunch with friends in the Staples cafeteria, and laugh instead of being laughed at. I want to attend classes that are challenging.”

And, he concluded: “Everyone got it wrong, for so long. It’s time to make it right, starting now.”

Click here to see Wynston’s compelling 6-minute speech. He did not speak out loud — but his words said it all.


Effective immediately, the Westport Fire Department has banned all outside burning until further notice. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the entire state, due to extremely dry conditions.

The ban includes all recreational campfires and fire pits. Brush fires spread rapidly, and can threaten homes and property. 


Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast features an introduction to the Westport Center for Senior Activities’ new director, Wendy Petty.

She discusses her plans for the center with 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker. Click below to listen to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston production:


Westport Rotary club’s weekly lunches are always illuminating.

For 39 local non-profits, yesterday’s was also lucrative.

In a ceremony at Green’s Farms Church, the civic group distributed grants to each one. Funds came from the more than $200,000 raised by ticket sales and from sponsors of September’s LobsterFest.

Giving Committee chair Peter Helt handed charitable checks to representatives of, among others (in alphabetical order): A Better Chance of Westport, Builders Beyond Borders, Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Mercy Learning Center, Norwalk Housing Foundation, Positive Directions, Remarkable Theater, Staples Tuition Grants, Westport Book Sales Ventures, Westport Country Playhouse, and Westport Volunteer EMS.

75 percent of LobsterFest proceeds go to local organizations; 25 percent to international organizations.

Rotarian Rick Benson described a few of those projects, including water sanitation efforts in Kenya and providing medical equipment to a hospital in Uganda.

Rotary Club members and grant recipients, at Green’s Farms Church.


Jeff Scher is a prolific filmmaker and animator.

The 1972 Staples High School graduate — now back in Westport, working in a Cross Highway studio a few steps from his house — has created everything from an HBO documentary about a Holocaust survivor, to holiday videos for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and a short film about summer and water.

He made the official video for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children.”

Now he’s made another one for Graham Nash’s new album. It’s environmentally themed — and there’s a “no mower” section that’s very Westport.

Click below to see:


Wheels2UWestport’s Park Connect returns this summer. The service — funded by Connecticut’s Departments of Transportation, and Energy and Environmental Protection — provides free rides to and from anywhere in Westport and Sherwood Island State Park.

Similar free-ride programs are available at 6 other state parks.

Rides are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays, beginning Memorial Day weekend and running through Labor Day.

Rides are available through the Wheels2U app Westporters use to and from the train station.

For more information about Wheels2U and Park Connect, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.

Sherwood Island — Westport’s “other” beach — is Connecticut’s first state park.


The Westport Woman’s Club and Congregation for Humanistic Judaism team up for an important event this Sunday (May 21; light breakfast, 9:30 a.m.; program, 10 a.m., 44 Imperial Avenue; click here for the livestream link with passcode 581845).

Dr. Deborah Varat, professor of art history at Southern New Hampshire University, presents “Arthur Szyk’s ‘The New Order’: How the Cartoons of a Polish Jew Helped Prepare the US for War.”

The cartoonist’s work helped Americans visualize and personalize the Nazi evil, against which they ultimately had to fight. Today his illustrations and impact on moving American public opinion toward readiness for war are commemorated in museums around the world. For more information on Szyk, click here.

Arthur Szyk’s “Freedom From Fear.”


Lime Rock Park celebrates the 37th anniversary of Paul Newman’s Trans-Am win with an exhibit of his racing estate on May 27, during the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic.

It includes helmets, racing suits and other memorabilia that former Westport resident Newman used during his storied career. Click here for tickets. (Hat tip: Frank Rosen)

Paul Newman at Lime Rock.


The Saugatuck Rowing Club was not around — not even a dream — when the Staples High School Class of 1983 graduated.

But that’s where their 40th reunion will be, on July 29 (6 to 10 p.m.).

Click here for tickets. Click here for the ’83 Facebook page.

Graduation Day, 1983.


This pond did not look particularly inviting — unless you’re a dog.

Mark Mathias captured today’s wet “Westport … Naturally” image at the Leonard Schine Preserve, off Weston Road.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)


And finally … happy 81st birthday to Taj Mahal.

The multi-talented musician (guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica and many other instruments) has incorporated Caribbean, African, Indian, Hawaiian and South Pacific sounds into his blues/rock/gospel/funk repertoire.

He has played all over the world — including, in 1971 and ’73, at Staples High School. He returned in 1974, to the Westport Country Playhouse.

(It’s a dog’s world, as the first story above explains. Don’t be a bitch. Help support “06880.” Please click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: Staples Basketball, 8-30g Video, Heart Disease …

There will be no 5-peat for the Ridgefield High School boys basketball team.

But there may be a first for Staples.

The 4th-seeded Wreckers demolished the #1, 4-time reigning champion Tigers last night 71-54, in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) semifinal at Wilton High.

Staples’ only league championship came exactly 60 years ago, in 1963. But there was no actual tournament then — just the standings — so this title would be a long-awaited first.

First-year coach Dave Goldshore’s team faces #3 Danbury for the crown tomorrow (Friday, March 3, 6 p.m., Wilton). The Hatters topped Trumbull 52-50, in last night’s other semi.

The Wreckers — who got 23 points from Chris Zajac, 16 from Gavin Rothenberg, 15 from Cody Sale and 11 from Sam Clachko — proved their earlier 61-54 victory at Ridgefield was no fluke. After that loss, the Tigers went on a 16-game winning tear.

Beyond their first-ever FCIAC tournament crown, Staples has added motivation in tomorrow night’s title match: Danbury won this year’s regular season game, 63-54.

The 2023 Staples High School boys basketball team.


Speaking of Staples:

Yesterday’s incident, in which a Jeep driven by a teacher crashed through a door and windows, and into a culinary classroom, could have been tragic.

Fortunately, it happened before school. No one was injured, including the driver.

Fire officials shut off a gas leak. Classes began, after a delay.

The classroom was a mess yesterday:

(Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

But officials say it will be only a few days before the damage is fixed.

Meanwhile, here is the scene from the parking lot:


Monday night’s informational session on 8-30g — the state’s affordable housing regulation — drew nearly 200 virtual attendees.

The event was recorded, and is now online. Click below to see:


Andrew Wilk has a big heart.

The longtime Westporter — and Emmy-winning television executive producer and director of shows like “Live at Lincoln Center” — often donates his talents to his home town.

Up next: a 3-part Westport Library series focusing on cardiovascular health.

Part 1 (March 14) focuses on coronary artery diseases, with Drs. Robert Altbaum, Ari Pollack and Mitchell Dreisman in conversation.

Part 2 (March 22) covers valvular heart disease; Part 3 (April 17) is on atrial fibrillation.

All 3 sessions begin at 7 p.m. All will be led by Dr. Altbaum, with coronary experts. Click here for details.

NOTE: Heart disease may not seem to be in Andrew Wilk’s wheelhouse. But before he turned to television and the performing arts, he wanted to be a doctor.

Andrew Wilk’s first session on heart disease includes (starting 2nd from left) Drs. Robert Altbaum, Ari Pollack and Mitchell Dreisman.


Jen Greely lives on Caccamo Lane. Though close to downtown, she often spots wildlife in her back yard.

In almost 10 years though, she’d never seen a bobcat.

Until Tuesday.

Click below for her fascinating video:


Nathan Selsky went for a walk yesterday by the Saugatuck River boat launch, underneath I-95.

His good time was interrupted by racist graffiti.

(Photo/Nathan Selsky)

The spray-painted messages included “Tired of anti-white propaganda,” “Reject white guilt!” and “Blacks 14% population, 53% homicide.”

Nathan says: “I know of no better way to stop behaviors and actions and feelings like this, than to discuss and understand it.”


Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward continue to make news.

This June, Sotheby’s will auction “The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.” A series of sales of more than 300 items — drawn primarily from their Westport home — will include film and entertainment memorabilia, automotive and racing collectables, family photographs, antique furniture and fine decorative arts.

Special items include autographed letters and photographs from presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and Joanne’s wedding dress and ring from her marriage to Paul in 1958.

PS: Happy belated birthday to Joanne Woodward. The actress turned 93 on Tuesday.

Click here for more information. (Hat tip: Valerie Szeto)

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, back in the day.


Bridgewater Associates — the Westport-based world’s largest hedge fund — keeps a low profile.

But a Bloomberg article yesterday notes:

Bridgewater is capping the size of its flagship funds, plowing more money and talent into artificial intelligence and machine learning, expanding in Asia and in equities and doubling down on sustainability. To pare costs and free up resources, it’s also embarking on a firm-wide reorganization over the next two weeks, eliminating about 100 jobs in a workforce of roughly 1,300.

“Just doing what we’ve been doing isn’t good enough,” (CEO Nir) Bar Dea, 41, said in an interview. “Evolve or die. That’s what’s happening here.”

Click here to read the full story.

In other Bridgewater news, Rob Copeland’s new book — “The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend” — is available for pre-order.

Called “the unauthorized, unvarnished story of famed Wall Street hedge fund manager Ray Dalio,” it “peels back the curtain to reveal a rarified world of wealth and power, where former FBI director Jim Comey kisses Dalio’s ring, recent Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick sells out, and countless Bridgewater acolytes describe what it’s like to work at his fascinating firm.”

(Hat tips: Allan Siegert and Bill Dedman)


Fresh off last night’s packed opening of the Artists Collective of Westport March pop-up show opening, Eric Chiang is showing various artworks — from small to very large, and from realistic landscapes to abstract — at 3 other high-quality group shows, now through May.

  • Through Mar 18: “Artists Collective Members Show” (Gordon Fine Art Gallery, 1701 Post Road East).
  • March 8 – May 9: “Music to Our Eyes” and “Piece by Piece” (Westport Library); opening reception March 8, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Early March through April 16: “Home” (Greens Farms Church Gallery Hall).

NOTE: The Artists Collective show is on view at the Westport Country Playhouse barn now through Sunday, March 5 (2 to 6 p.m.). There’s an artists’ talk Sunday, at 5 p.m. too.

Art by Eric Chiang.


Speaking of art: The Westport Book Shop‘s guest exhibitor for March is George Radwan.

He’s showing birdhouses, inspired by shacks he saw years ago in Soweto. He’s also exhibiting small mixed media pieces, constructed of found and repurposed materials.

All artwork is available for purpose. To see more of Radwan’s work, click here.

George Radwan, at the Westport Book Shop.


Speaking still of art:

Bonnie Marcus has owned a design company (next to Arezzo Restaurant) for over 20 years. From her small studio, she and her team of Westport moms ship invitations and greeting cards to thousands of stores around the world, including Bloomingdales, Harrods, Target and Barnes & Noble. Celebrities like Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford and Christina Aguilera A-listers who have ordered invitations for special events.

Tonight you can see where Bonnie’s creativity comes from. An art exhibit featuring her great-uncle — abstract artist/painter/printmaker/social activist Louis Schanker opens at the Stamford JCC (7 p.m.).

Shanker and his wife, blues singer and socialite Libby Holman, enabled their close friend, Martin Luther King Jr,. to travel to India to learn firsthand non-violent techniques to battle racism in America.

Shanker’s paintings, sculptures and prints are on display through March 17. Click here for details.

Coretta Scott King and Bonnie Marcus.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is celestial: Venus and Jupiter, taken by Diane Lowman from her window.

Is the one on top Venus (smaller than Jupiter?) or Jupiter (further away than Venus)? Diane did not say.

(Photo/Diane Lowman)


And finally … Karen Carpenter was born on this day in 1950, in New Haven. She died 32 years later, from complications of anorexia.

(Wow — there’s a lot of news today. “06880” covers it all, every day. To help keep it coming, please consider a contribution. Click here — and thank you.)

Friday Flashback #335

Nearly 15 years after his death — thanks to a new TV series and book — Paul Newman lives on.

I’m not sure where this came from. But it’s a reminder that — as world-famous as he was — the actor/director/race car driver/philanthropist was, at his heart, just our neighbor.

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.

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