Tag Archives: PJ Romano Field

Roundup: Staples Hoops, Leaf Blowers, PJ Romano Field …

Today is the big day.

Staples High School’s boys basketball team plays in its first state tournament final in — are you sitting down? — 86 years.

Tipoff is 6:15 p.m. (Sunday), at the Mohegan Sun arena. The Wreckers — seeded 7th in Division II — face #1 St. Bernard’s-Uncasville.

The game can be heard on WWPT-FM (90.3) and wwptfm.org. The expert announcing team includes seniors Jack Ginsburg and Colin Menninger.

You can watch it on the proprietary Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) website, but must subscribe ($11.99 a month; cancel anytime); click here for details.

Staples got to the finals with an astonishing 18-point, 4th-quarter comeback in the semifinals against Fairfield Warde.

The winning basket came after sophomore Adam Udell stole an inbounds pass, then calmly finished a layup.

Here’s a remarkable photo. It shows Udell scoring; a Warde player on the ground, after falling trying for the pass — and the scoreboard showing both the tied score, and the time left: 13.5 seconds.

(Photo/Michelle Garrity)

Meanwhile, I could not find a photo of the state championship 1937 team. But here’s one from the next winter (1938).

Legendary coach Roland Wachob is in the middle. The squad included George “Nooky” Powers, considered one of the greatest Staples athletes of all time.

1938 Staples High School basketball team. (Photo courtesy of “Staples High School: 120 Years of A+ Education,” by Dan Woog)


Townwide restriction on gas-powered leaf blowers begin May 15, and run through October 15.

The devices can only be used weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,  Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3.m., and not at all on Sundays or holidays. (Longer hours are allowed for homeowners doing their own yard work.)

Wakeman Town Farm wants to make Westporters (and their landscapers) aware.

To make some noise, they’re raffling off a state-of-the-art EGO electric leaf blower.

Tickets are $20 each. Proceeds benefit WTF’s educational and sustainability programs. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

The winner will be announced on (of course) Earth Day: April 22.

EGO electric leaf blower.


A frustrated “06880” reader writes:

“I brought this topic a year and a half ago. I was told it would be an easy repair — and it had already been approved in the town budget.

“It never happened. So I’m asking again:

“Please repair PJ Romano Field.”

She sent along this message, from “a group of concerned moms”:

“The field — managed by Parks & Rec — should be a safe place for children. But it’s not. There are at least 19 cracks they can trip over.

One of the many large cracks at PJ Romano Field.

“Located between Kings Highway and Saugatuck Elementary Schools, it’s a great place for sports.

“Elementary school children love to ride scooters and bicycles. But they end up with scraped and bloody knees, hands and elbows, because of deep, big cracks. There’s a bigger accident waiting to happen.

“Spring is arriving. Kids will be coming out again. Please make it safe.”


Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast is part 1 of a 2-part interview with Department of Human Services director Elaine Daignault.

She explains many important services provided to Westport residents. There’s a lot you may already know — but plenty more to learn.

The podcast is presented by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston. Click below to listen:


Turnout was great at last night’s MoCA Westport opening reception. The new “Rainbow in the Dark”  exhibition features 20 works of German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle, including a neon exhibition.

His works also include foil and strip paintings, and sculptures. Remnants of consumer society, discarded materials, symbols of urbanity, and industrial change are key.

“Rainbow in the Dark” is on view through May 28. Docent-led tours are held Thursdays at 1 p.m. Drop-in docent-led tours are available every Saturday and Sunday, including a Sunday drop-in interactive tour for families.

To learn more about the exhibition, click here.

From left: L to R): Artist Anselm Reyle, MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes, curator Emann Odufu, MoCA director of exhibitions Liz Leggett,


Kids love Percy Jackson books.

And “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson” is wholesome family entertainment.

The Coleytown Company production opens March 31 (7 p.m., Coleytown Middle School). Additional shows are April 1 (1 and 7 p.m.), and April 2 (1 p.m.).  Click here for tickets.

Ellie Arber is Charon in Coleytown Company’s “Lightning Thief.”


The Circle of Friends’ 17th annual fundraising dinner will honor more than 150 local teen volunteers. All share friendships with people with special needs.

The event is April 23 (5:30 p.m., Westport Woman’s Club). There’s entertainment, and a special “Heart of Friendship” video.

The gala will take place Sunday, April 23 at 5:30 PM at the Westport Women’s Club, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT. Stephen Schwartz, [resident of Westport’s Promark Group, is the guest of honor.

High School seniors from Staples High, Weston, Wilton and Greenwich will receive Fellowship Awards for their combined 4,000 “friendship volunteer hours”.

Circle of Friends is an all-volunteer organization that involves children teens and adults with special needs in a wide range of social programs and weekly play dates. Over 300 families are involved.

For reservations, sponsorship opportunities, ads in the virtual journal or more information, click here, call 203-293-8837 or email cof@circleoffriendsct.org.


These Compo Beach ducks reminded Molly Alger of a conga line.

They reminded us all of the beauty we see every day. It’s “Westport … Naturally”!

(Photo/Molly Alger)


And finally … I never heard of Jim Gordon. But his New York Times obituary is fascinating. It says:

Jim Gordon, a talented but troubled drummer who was ubiquitous in the recording studios of the 1960s and ’70s and who, as a member of Eric Clapton’s band Derek and the Dominos, helped write the romantic ballad “Layla” — but who suffered from schizophrenia and spent nearly 40 years in prison, convicted of murdering his mother — died on Monday in a prison medical facility in Vacaville, Calif. He was 77….

When people say that Jim Gordon is the greatest rock ’n’ roll drummer who ever lived,” Mr. Clapton wrote in “Clapton: The Autobiography” (2007), “I think it’s true, beyond anybody.

As a member of the talented “Wrecking Crew” group of Los Angeles studio musicians, he worked on recordings like John Lennon’s “Imagine,” George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.” Click here for his full obituary.

(Good luck to the Staples boys basketball team. They’ve already proven themselves champions. You can be a champ too — just click here to contribute to “06880.” Thank you! PS: Go Wreckers!

Glenn’s Bench

Glenn Hightower — the educator, coach, church and civic volunteer, and avid athlete — died on January 1, 2017. 

Today — nearly a year later — friends and family members remembered him at one of his favorite spots. “06880” reader Tom Kretsch reports:

Despite frigid temperatures, a warm group gathered at the former Bedford Middle School on Riverside Avenue (now Saugatuck Elementary School).

They unveiled a plaque mounted on a bench along the track where Glenn spent many hours coaching, running and leading his school community.

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)

His daughters Heather, Holly and Julie were there with their families. After brief remarks by fellow runner Pat Kennedy, Holly read a poem — “Success,” often attributed to Emerson — that was always on Glenn’s desk.

Then — spontaneously — others spoke about personal experiences with Glenn as a runner, parent, colleague or friend. Heather led the group in singing “Amazing Grace,” followed by a prayer from United Methodist Church minister Ed Horne.

Now, as people visit PJ Romano Field to exercise or watch their children play, they will pass this simple bench with a wonderful tribute to a true community leader.

Heather, Julie and Holly Hightower, on their father’s bench.

Staples Cupola Mystery Continues

This morning, I posted a 1913-era postcard of the original Staples High School.

It shows what I called a bell tower — a feature I’d never seen before, in any photo or painting of the brick structure built in 1884 (and torn down in 1967).

Several commenters — calling it a “cupola” — debated whether or not it existed. Some thought it was actually part of another building, in the distance.

Alert “06880” reader Neil Brickley — who grew up in Westport, loves its history, and regularly accesses the University of Connecticut photo archives, which include a fascinating 1934 aerial survey of town — found this view.

Staples aerial view 1934

Staples High School is the dark building near the center of the photo. It’s situated about where the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium is today — just southeast of the track and athletic facilities (variously called PJ Romano Field and Doubleday Field) that are still there.

It doesn’t seem to show a cupola/bell tower/whatever. And it sure does not look like there’s any building behind it either.

However, a similar photo from a February, 1914 edition of the Westporter-Herald newspaper  — sent by another reader — shows almost exactly the same view:

Staples High School - 1914 Westporter Herald

The same reader sent along another postcard of Staples. This one is from a later date — you can tell, because there are post-1914 cars, and the plantings are fuller.

Staples High School Riverside Avenue without cupola

Perhaps the bell tower/cupola actually did exist once, but was demolished or destroyed prior to 1934.

Or perhaps this photo, and the postcard, were both embellishments.

I’m reminded of another old postcard. This one shows Compo Beach, just after the turn of the (20th) century:

Compo Beach with flying machine

None — not one — of the formally dressed beach-goers and bathers looks up at what must be a very new-fangled flying machine.

Rod Serling, where are you now that we need you?